Education is central to the mission of the MIT Materials Science and Engineering Center. MRL MRSEC offers a broad range of educational outreach programs for K-12 students and teachers, as well as undergraduates. The overriding objectives of all these programs are:

  • To inform and enthuse students and teachers about the interdisciplinary field of materials science and engineering
  • To enhance the content knowledge of program participants
  • To provide students and teachers with “hands-on” experience with state-of-the-art research equipment and techniques
  • To contribute materials science and engineering content for K-12 classroom material
  • To encourage students to pursue careers in science and engineering

Pre-college students are introduced to the world of materials science and engineering through programs that engage them in hands-on activities led by MRL MRSEC faculty, staff, and students. K-12 teachers are provided with opportunities to actively participate in MRL MRSEC research. In addition, the Center offers teachers focused workshops to increase their content knowledge. Local community college students and undergraduates from colleges and universities across the country spend summers on campus learning about science concepts and new technologies via direct participation in faculty-led, interdisciplinary materials research groups.

In addition to educational outreach to the broader community, MRL MRSEC offers education programs for MIT students at both the undergraduate and graduate level. They participate in frontier science and engineering research as an integral part of their professional education. In addition to participating in current research, they learn about cutting-edge materials topics through the MRL MRSEC colloquia and are trained to use state-of-the-art research equipment in the Shared Experimental Facilities.

For more information on any of the programs we offer, please contact:

Ms. Susan Dalton, Assistant Director
Materials Science and Engineering Center
Materials Research Sience and Engineering Center Program
& Materials Research Laboratory Operations

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
77 Massachusetts Avenue, Room 13-2054
Cambridge, MA   02139
phone: 617.253.7632

Read more about our Educational Outreach Program in our current annual report (PDF).


FOR K-12
Since 1992, the Materials Science and Engineering Center has operated a Science and Engineering Program for Middle School Students designed to familiarize young adolescents with the field of materials science and engineering. In the course of hands-on explorations of the properties of various materials and the manipulation of those materials for specific applications, students learn basic materials science concepts. They also learn firsthand that science is fun!

This program targets seventh and eighth grade students from two Cambridge public elementary schools. A group of twelve students and the science teacher from each school spends a full summer week on the MIT campus. They return for several after school sessions during the academic year.

While on campus, the students are mentored by MIT undergraduates. The activities are designed and taught by faculty, technical staff, graduate students, and undergraduates. Recent program activities include:

  • polymer demonstrations
  • microscopy
  • constructing a telescope
  • lasers
  • making a hologram
  • metal casting
  • glassblowing
  • blacksmithing
  • electric circuitry
  • making a motor
  • smelting copper

Each week includes a shoot-the-hoop design contest that challenges the students to design and build a machine, using a given set of materials, which will launch a marble through an upright hoop and into a basket beyond it. The final activity of the summer program is the actual contest, which is attended by families of the participating students.
Read more here.


MRL MRSEC sponsors undergraduate involvement in MRSEC research through MIT's Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP). After consulting with a potential faculty supervisor, students submit written proposals for each term of UROP research. Once the proposal has been approved, the students join the faculty member's research group. UROP students work part-time during the academic year, full-time during the summer.

In addition, the Center offers several outreach programs for undergraduates from outside of MIT:

  • Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU)
  • Community College Program (CCP)
  • Universidad Metropolitana Program (UMET)

Read more here.


The Materials Science and Engineering Center sponsors involvement in materials science and engineering for middle, junior high, and high school teachers through two main outreach programs:

  • Research Experience for Teachers (RET)
  • Science Teachers Enrichment Program (STEP)
  • Both programs focus on strategies for transferring the teachers' research experience to the classroom.
  • In addition, MRL MRSEC occasionally offers special hands-on teacher workshops that address state education standards.

Read more here.