Materials Engineering is the specialty that studies and processes materials such as plastics, ceramics, metals and composites to make virtually any product used by humans, from a bottle to a microchip or an optical fiber. At present, familiarity with materials engineering is one the most desirable areas of knowledge in research around the World.
The study of materials is based on the relationships between the structures, properties, and uses of the materials being analyzed. Materials engineering and science includes the study of materials under both normal and extreme conditions; therefore, it is necessary to study materials not only in laboratories, but also using computer simulations, and to understand how to control their production and evaluate final products.
Accreditation through the Canadian Engineering Accreditation Board (CEAB) is a guarantee of quality offered by the program to its students that the training they are receiving has been formally evaluated and meets international criteria. This accreditation also opens opportunities for work or postgraduate studies abroad.
Research and Extension
Professionals in this career know the atomic structures of materials and their physical, mechanical and chemical properties, as well as how to work with them. They build, control, investigate, recycle, design and develop materials to improve society and the quality of life of its members.
This career is appropriate for dynamic, creative and innovative persons who are interested in applying their knowledge to produce tangible results.
There is an extensive range of employment opportunities in companies such as:
- Manufacturers of products for the international medical sector, such as Abbott, Boston Scientific, Hologic, etc.
- High-technology companies, such as Intel, Microcircuit, Baxter, etc.
- Processors of metallic or ceramic plastic materials, such as Metalco, Vicesa, etc.
- Government companies, such as ICE and RECOPE.
- Companies in which the properties of materials are verified or their deterioration due to interaction with the environment is controlled.
The Materials Engineering Program has professionals and technicians specialized in many different areas of metallurgy and materials engineering.
In addition, the following laboratories are available:
- Non-destructive testing laboratory (END).
- Corrosion and coatings laboratory.
- Metallographic analysis laboratory.
- Hardness laboratory.
- Mineral and extractive metallurgy treatment laboratory.
- Sand and foundry laboratory
- Spectrometric metal analysis laboratory.
- Differential calorimetry laboratory.
- X-ray diffraction laboratory.
- Electrochemistry laboratory.
- Porous and cellular materials laboratory.
- Ionizing radiation technologies applications laboratory.
- Computer materials mechanics laboratory.
- Materials mechanics laboratory.
- Modeling and simulation laboratory.
- Materials mechanization laboratory.
- Welding laboratory.
- Thermal and thermo chemical treatments laboratory.
The curriculum for the Materials Engineering program was updated in 2018 to better reflect the market’s needs and new trends in materials engineering worldwide.
The licentiates’ degree program has a duration of 5 years, and it is also possible for students to obtain a bachelor's degree when they complete the first eight semesters of the program. Students can also prepare two theses (for bachelors’ and licentiates’ degrees) allowing them to better integrate into the industry. Most of our students obtain a job before graduating.
The curriculum has been accredited since 2011 by the Canadian Engineering Accreditation Board (CEAB) under international standards established by the Washington Agreement, which brings together the various engineering program accreditation agencies of 20 countries, representing 75% of the world’s population. With CEAB accreditation, Materials Engineering graduates’ degrees are recognized as partially equivalent by Engineers Canada for their professional practice in that country. In addition, CEAB accreditation is recognized in Costa Rica by SINAES.
To certify the quality of engineering programs in Costa Rica, the Federated College of Engineers and Architects (CFIA) of Costa Rica created its own engineering programs accreditation agency (AAPIA), in conjunction with the CEAB and the Engineers Ireland accreditation agency. The AAPIA will thus replace the CEAB in Costa Rica as of 2019, with the benefit that the degrees of graduates from the TEC Materials Engineering program would not only be accredited in Costa Rica and partially in Canada (with the CEAB), but also in the rest of the 20 member countries of the Washington Agreement.
Signatory countries which are full members of the Washington Agreement:
- Hong Kong
- New Zealand
- South Africa
- South Korea
- Sri Lanka
- United Kingdom
- United States
Countries in the process of incorporation as full members of the Washington Agreement:
- Costa Rica
The Materials Engineering career aims to provide its graduates with a series of attributes and abilities:
- Basic knowledge of engineering: Demonstrated proficiency at a university level in mathematics, natural sciences, engineering foundations and engineering expertise appropriate for the program.
- Problem analysis: Ability to use appropriate knowledge and skills to identify, formulate, analyze, and solve complex engineering problems to reach informed conclusions.
- Research: Ability to conduct investigations of complex* problems through methods including experimentation, data analysis and interpretation, and synthesis of information to reach valid conclusions.
- Engineering Design: Ability to design solutions for complex engineering problems, as well as to design systems, components or processes that meet specific needs, taking into account relevant aspects of public health, safety, and standards, as well as cultural, social, economic and environmental considerations.
- Engineering Tools: Ability to create, select, apply, adapt and extend appropriate engineering techniques, resources and modern tools to a range of engineering activities, from simple to complex, while understanding the limitations of the approach chosen.
- Individual and Team Work: Ability to work effectively in teams either as a member or a leader, preferably in a multidisciplinary environment.
- Communication Skills: A capacity to communicate complex engineering concepts within the profession and in society in general. Such ability includes reading, writing, speaking, listening, the ability to understand, write reports and prepare documentation, as well as giving clear instructions and responding to them.
- Professionalism: An understanding of the roles and responsibilities of professional engineers in society, especially the primary role of protecting the public and the public interest.
- Impact of Engineering on Society and the Environment: Ability to analyze social and environmental aspects of engineering activities. Such a capacity includes an understanding of engineering's interactions with the economic, social, health, safety, legal and cultural aspects of society, uncertainties in predicting such interactions, and the concepts of sustainable design and development and care of the environment.
- Ethics and Fairness: Ability to apply professional ethics, responsibility and fairness.
- Economy and Administration: Ability to properly incorporate business and economic practices including project analysis and risk and change management in the exercise of engineering, understanding the limitations of such approaches.
- Continuous Learning: Ability to identify and direct one’s own educational needs in a world of change to permit maintaining professional competence and allow contributing to the advancement of knowledge.
All these attributes are strengthened in all courses in the program, not only because of accreditation requirements, but because the Tecnológico de Costa Rica has decided to move towards a model of formation of students by attributes.