So I now get to test my beliefs this summer. I'm interviewing interns on Friday. I didn't get a crush of applicants, and promptly tossed the mechanical engineers (too much chemistry for them) and the biomed engineers (too little biomed for them) and were left with 5 candidates, 4 of which were MatSci majors and only 1 ChemE (who already has accepted an internship elsewhere). I thought it was a very strange ratio until I got my University of Minnesota Alumni newsletter for the Department of Chemical Engineering and Material Science  last night . The letter from the Department Head (Frank Bates) states that the undergraduate class in MatSci has recently double and that doubling is expect to occur again in the next few years. So that explains why there are so many MatSci applicants.
Unfortunately, Prof. Bates must have had a little bit too much space to fill, as he then tries to rationalize (?!) or at philosophize on the two areas being in the same department.
"MSE is fundamentally rooted in quantum mechanics; chemical engineering draws heavily on statistical mechanics. Traditionally, MSE has emphasized solids; chemical engineering has focused on fluids."Not being extremely familiar with MatSci (or MSE as it was called here), I'll withhold judgment on its roots in quantum mechanics (solid state physics I can maybe see), but to say ChemEng draws heavily on stat mech is enough to get anyone laughing. The one stat mech class I had was taught in the chemistry department, not the ChemEng department. In grad school, the department head constantly gave me a hard time for having done so well on the quantum/stat mech placement test ("No ChemE does well on stat mech. What's your problem?") I loved stat mech, I'm glad I took it as it certainly explained thermodynamics better than the thermo class did, but that's it. It's not an underlying basis for chemical engineering. Now tranport phenomena - that's a whole different story. And that whole solids/fluids distinction? Can anyone say that with a straight face?
So now I get to see this summer what a MatSci person knows. I am looking forward to it, as challenging my beliefs is something I strongly believe in.
(...so does that mean I need to challenge my belief in challenging my beliefs?)
 The department has been that marriage of two fields for some 40 years, so it is not a johnny-come-lately, but when I was there, MatSci was clearly the second-class citizen of the department.
 I did my undergraduate work at the U and that is also where all the candidates are doing theirs.