Matlab doesn't play nice with Gnome. Two-finger scrolling with a touchpad doesn't work right, which is by far the most annoying thing about it. Also, pretty much all the interesting graphical features of Matlab aren't in the main window anyway. At any rate:
echo alias matlabcli='matlab -nodesktop -nosplash' >> ~/.bashrc
">> doc" to bring up the help window
">> edit [filename]" to use Matlab's editor (which kind of sucks)
I use this with terminator: vim in a tile on the left, Matlab in a tile on the right. I find it to be much more convenient than using Matlab's full GUI.
Side note: Matlab totally without a terminal: Alt+F2 and type "matlab -desktop" because otherwise it doesn't work. See this if you want to put that in a launcher.