Pitt | Swanson Engineering
Ferrous Physical Metallurgy Concentration

The Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science is offering a Ferrous Physical Metallurgy (FPM) concentration to students in the materials science and engineering, mechanical engineering, and engineering physics programs. Twelve units are required to complete the concentration. A minimum 2.5 GPA is required for students to participate and students must obtain a GPA of at least 2.5 for the courses taken.


The need for an area of concentration in ferrous physical metallurgy is a response to the changes incurred by the steel industry around the world. The most pressing future challenge to the steel industry is the impending absence of expertise in ferrous physical metallurgy. An estimated 1,000+ engineers with knowledge in steels will be needed in the North American Steel Industry over the upcoming years. This concentration represents a significant opportunity to educate and prepare future engineers.

To meet these and other future challenges, the industry needs to employ resources who possess an education, training, and knowledge in physical metallurgy with special emphasis in ferrous physical metallurgy. The goal of this concentration is to provide a strong educational and training program focused on the use of physical metallurgy, advanced alloy design philosophies, and modern thermo mechanical processing strategies for the enhanced design and manufacture of high-performance steels.


For a background in physical metallurgy, the following four courses are required for the FPM concentration:

MEMS 1010: Experimental Methods in Materials Science and Engineering (3 units) Pre-req: ENGR 0022.
MEMS 1101: Ferrous Physical Metallurgy (3 units)
                      Pre-reqs: ENGR 0022, MEMS 0051, and MEMS 1010.
MEMS 1102: Principles and Applications of Steel Alloy Design (3 units) Pre-req: MEMS 1101.

MEMS 1103: Principles and Applications of Steel Processing Design (3 units) Pre-req: 1102.


 MEMS 1010 is a required course in the materials science curricula. In the mechanical engineering curricula, MEMS 1010 would satisfy the engineering elective. The remaining three courses would satisfy technical elective requirements in both curriculums.  

Course Descriptions

 MEMS 1010: Experimental Methods in Materials Science and Engineering (3 units)
This laboratory will give the student practical experience of the experimental methods used in modern materials science and engineering. The first set of experiments will introduce the common methods for analyzing material structure including: optical microscopy, X-ray diffraction, and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The second part of the course will concentrate on methods used to measure material properties such as the tensile test, hardness test, impact testing as well as electrical and magnetic property measurement methods. PRE-REQ: ENGR 0022.

MEMS 1101: Ferrous Physical Metallurgy (3 units)
This course will introduce the students to the thermo mechanical processing of austenite in plain carbon, high strength low alloy steels, high formability sheet steels and high alloy and special steels. The course will also present the use of hot rolling as a thermo mechanical treatment. The importance of thermo mechanical treatment, micro structural control and mechanical properties will be presented. PRE-REQs: ENGR 0022, MEMS 0051 and MEMS 1010.

MEMS 1102: Principles and Applications of Steel Alloy Design (3 units)
This course will present the students with a discussion of the properties that are required of engineering alloys for a given commercial application. The alloy design, thermo mechanical processing and required package of mechanical properties for plate, strip, bar, rod, wire and tubular products will be reviewed. These include: strength, toughness, formability, weldability, fatigue resistance and corrosion/oxidation resistance. PRE-REQ: MEMS 1101.

MEMS 1103: Principles and Applications of Steel Processing Design (3 units)
This course will present case studies of actual components used in commercial applications in the automotive, construction, oil, gas, and nuclear industries. This course will guide the student from the alloy selection, micro structural processing, and mechanical properties to the final fabrication steps. PRE-REQ: MEMS 1102



 First Year 
 Summer Term after Sophomore year   Fall Term(Fifth term)    Spring Term  (Sixth term)  
 Internship    MEMS 1010     MEMS 1101 


 Second Year  
 Summer Term after Junior year   Fall Term (Seventh term)    Spring Term (Eighth term)  
 Internship    MEMS 1102    MEMS 1103 

Benefits of Enrollment

• Summer internships at sponsoring companies.
• Part-time, paid employment during the academic year (optional).
• Inside track for employment upon graduation.
• Lucrative fellowships for those who qualify.



Students considering enrolling in the ferrous physical metallurgy concentration are encouraged to declare during their sophomore year. Only six internships per summer will be available on a first come, first serve basis. To declare, please complete the FPM enrollment form (PDF) and submit to the undergraduate administrator.



Inquiries regarding the concentration in ferrous physical metallurgy can be directed to:

Anthony J. DeArdo [DeArdo@pitt.edu]
(412) 624-9737

C. Isaac Garcia [CIGarcia@pitt.edu]
(412) 624-9731