The Department of Materials Science and NanoEngineering was founded as a part of Rice's George R. Brown School of Engineering on Monday, according to department chair Pulickel Ajayan.

Ajayan said the new department will strengthen the relationship between the two distinct areas of study. 

"The founding of the Department of Materials Science and NanoEngineering is designed to bring focus to these two strong disciplines spread across Rice campus through an academic unit that would develop core curriculum, student training programs [and] industry relations, and establish a platform for interdisciplinary research," Ajayan said. "Undergraduate students should benefit from the new opportunities the department would bring through new educational resources, new avenues in the job market and internships, research opportunities and a new base to explore their interests in new focus areas in science and engineering."

According to its website, the department will include professors from the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science and will offer bachelor's, master's and doctorate degrees in materials science.

"The Department of Materials Science and NanoEngineering was officially created in November 2013 to bring together these faculty under one program and focus research efforts," the website states.