What type of education is appropriate for people interested in Materials Modeling? Obviously, the more education, the better. I'm sure a PhD in physics, another in chemistry, topped off with one in structural engineering will help. But most people will not choose to pursue that much education.

What is a good baseline education for people interested in Materials Modeling?

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    $\begingroup$ Nowadays most people just turn the crank on programs without knowing much at all. If you just want to use software, very little is needed. If you want to write software, I would say a Masters is a go d starting point. $\endgroup$
    – B. Kelly
    Commented May 1, 2020 at 10:34
  • $\begingroup$ For future readers, while there are some nice resources list here, we have had a number of similar questions that went into more specific detail, some of which you can find in the "Related" section. Also highly relevant: mattermodeling.stackexchange.com/questions/4035/…, $\endgroup$
    – Tyberius
    Commented Jul 7, 2021 at 20:22

2 Answers 2


As evident from the name, Materials Modelling (or Computational Materials Science as it is sometimes called) lies at the intersection of materials science and computational engineering. To answer this question, the level of education required depends entirely on what one intends to do with materials modelling.

Materials science is quite interdisciplinary, and it is possible to work on different aspects of materials modelling (like the application of existing models/software to new materials/problems, building new models/software etc.). If one is interested in doing research in the field of materials modelling, typically, it is possible to start participating in research while pursuing an undergraduate degree in a related discipline. So, the undergraduate major could be materials science/engineering itself, physics, chemistry, chemical engineering, mechanical engineering, mathematics, computer science, the list cannot be exhaustive. Also, one can work on a materials modelling problem for their PhD while being officially affiliated to any of these disciplines. So, one often pursues some form of education while already working with materials modelling, and then continues to work in the field.

If the question intended to know of any prerequisites to start doing materials modelling, then the answer could be some understanding of materials behaviour, and the ability to use computational tools to solve problems (which can also be learnt as one starts). The book Introduction to Computational Materials Science by Prof. Richard LeSar is an accessible starting point.

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    $\begingroup$ Good recommendation, thank you. $\endgroup$ Commented May 1, 2020 at 12:52

I think that it is not the education per se (a Masters or PhD in Physics or Chemistry, for example), but the set of disciplines you take that will help you to better understand and work in the Materials Modeling area.

Courses like Classical Mechanics, Electromagnetism, Quantum Mechanics, Statistical Mechanics and Solid State Physics are fundamental.

Also, courses in programming languages are helpful.

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    $\begingroup$ One thing I really appreciate about your answer is the specificity of the knowledge you believe is helpful for many applications. $\endgroup$ Commented May 2, 2020 at 2:03

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