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Materials science courses

Everything is made of something! Materials science (sometimes referred to as 'Materials Engineering') provides students with a route into the manufacturing industry where they will be charged with developing new materials. These materials must posses innovative qualities to meet the needs of new products as they emerge, each with their own revolutionary functions and purposes. It’s an interdisciplinary area which spans chemistry, physics, maths and engineering and offers endless possibilities as materials scientists combine materials in new ways. Graduates move on to roles in management, research and development roles, while others even move into sectors like consultancy and IT.

Studying materials science at university

Example course modules

  • Structure of materials
  • Properties of materials
  • Transforming materials
  • Electronic properties of materials
  • Engineering applications of materials
  • Characterisation of materials
  • Crystallography
  • Mathematics of materials science
  • Mechanical properties

Who studies this subject

  • Female : 36%
    Male : 64%
  • Mature : 4%
    School leaver : 96%
  • Full-time : 100%
    Part-time : 0%

What you need to get on a course

Subjects you need

A-levels (or equivalent) usually required

  • Maths
  • Physics

Useful to have

  • Chemistry

Application checklist

Here's a guide to what to expect from the application process - also check individual university entry requirements, as these may differ.

  • January application
  • October application
  • Personal statement
  • Portfolio
  • Interview
  • Entry test
  • Work experience
  • Audition

Personal statement advice

Your personal statement is a core part of your university application, and getting it just right takes time. Before you start work on yours, take a look at our five quick tips on writing a personal statement. We'll help you past that writer's block!

Career prospects

Sources: HECSU & KIS
The good news is that the materials industry is well-regarded as it contributes £200 billion each year to the UK economy. Materials science graduates can pursue a number of career paths including materials engineer, metallurgist and quality manager. Starting salaries for materials engineers range between £20-26,000 but can rise to £27-40,000 as you gain experience. Popular employers sit in the aerospace, armed forces, nuclear and pharmaceuticals industries. There are also opportunities to enter a number of emerging areas such as nanotechnology and biomedical materials. You might be interested to know that materials engineering employs more women than other engineering fields.
Professional and accrediting bodies:

Six months after graduating

Typical graduate job areas
  • Business, research and administrative professionals

Longer term career paths

Jobs where this degree is useful

  • Materials engineer
  • Metallurgist
  • Product/process development scientist

Other real-life job examples

  • Biomedical engineer
  • Higher education lecturer
  • Manufacturing systems engineer

What employers like about this subject

A materials science course teaches subject knowledge as well as a number of skills which appeal to employers across a broad range of sectors and industries. Studying for a materials science/technology degree provides you with a strong set of transferable skills. These include numerical, analytical, problem-solving and independent-thinking skills. Materials-based graduate positions often require you to work in teams made up many different departments as well as consulting clients; this requires strong diplomacy and communication skills in order to put your ideas across properly.