Undergraduate degree programme Nuclear Science and Materials BSc H821
This unique course, which has a student satisfaction rating of 95%, is designed to develop the skills and understanding required to prepare students for the Nuclear Sector. One of the major challenges the UK faces is reshaping how it generates electricity as there is a move away from fossil fuels. The Government are investing in the construction of a suite of new nuclear power stations which could deliver up to 40% of the UK’s electricity. There is a significant demand for graduates to work in this rapidly growing sector.
The University has over 50 years’ of experience in teaching the physics of nuclear reactors and associated research. There are very strong links with the nuclear industry who recruit strongly from our educational programmes. These courses are affiliated with the Birmingham Centre for Nuclear Education and Research.
The present course combines modules in core physics, mathematics and computing together with engineering principles and materials, so that students possess engineering skills but have a grasp of the fundamental science. The course is a joint programme between the School of Metallurgy and Materials and the School of Physics and Astronomy, with additional courses being delivered by Engineering Schools.
By the end of the course students will have a broad grasp of physics and engineering principles together with a detailed understanding of nuclear reactor physics, engineering and materials together with an understanding of nuclear science and nuclear radiation.
MEng Materials Engineering
“Birmingham was one of the best departments in the country for Materials Engineering and when I came on an Open Day, the campus was so beautiful and the department was really friendly and all the students and academics were really enthusiastic. We have quite a small course so all are lectures and classes are small so you don’t get forgotten. We also have weekly tutorial meetings which mean we can ask questions and your tutor can check you understand important principles. As we are a small course, we also socialise a lot. We often have lunch together and go for meals or pub quizzes.”
This course has been designed in response to demand from the Nuclear industry for a programme at undergraduate level to equip students with the fundamentals to help provide non-fossil fuel alternatives for our future energy requirements.
This course brings together a range of modules drawn from top ranked schools across the University. Students will study modules from the Schools of Physics (ranked 2nd in the UK by the Times) and Metallurgy and Materials (ranked 6th in the UK), meaning that you will receive a first class grounding in the issues facing the nuclear industry today, taught by some of the leaders in their field.
The course offers a modular programme of study which normally leads to the award of Bachelor of Science (BSc) in three years.
Core modules in your first year will include:
- Fundamentals of Material Science
- Classical Mechanics and Relativity
- Fluid Flow and Thermodynamics
You will also study computing and mathematics to ensure that you have the essential skills for higher study in further years.
In your second year you will study subjects including Nuclear Physics and Fracture, Fatigue and Corrosion.
In your final year you will study a range of highly specialised topics developed in conjunction with our partners in industry, including:
- Advanced Nuclear Physics
- Design of Reactors
- Radiation Protection and Detection
Students who choose to follow the Nuclear Engineering MEng route will have the opportunity to study further specialised topics.
This course has been designed to ensure that you have the theoretical foundations necessary to conduct further research in this growing area, or to obtain a graduate role in a range of disciplines from reactor management to radiation safety.
Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining accreditation
This degree programme will be accredited by the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining, and the Nuclear Industry. More information about can be found at www.iom3.org
Generic skills-training, focusing on transferable skills and employability, is embedded throughout the course from the outset, and will ensure that you are equipped with the ICT, presentation, team-working and problem–solving skills which will enhance your employability on graduation.
BSc or MEng? The first two years of the BSc course are identical to our Master of Engineering (MEng) programme H822, which means that you can delay your final choice of degree until the end of your second year. Entry onto the MEng programme is dependent upon successful completion of your second year and you must provide excellent results (i.e. be on target for a minimum of a high 2ii).
This new course has been designed in response to demand from the Nuclear industry for a programme at undergraduate level to equip students with the fundamentals to help provide non-fossil fuel alternatives for our future energy requirements.
Materials scientists are at the forefront of new technology, pushing forward the boundaries of science and engineering with designers and engineers of every discipline. Research and development produce new materials to meet the demands of modern technology. For instance, metals grown from single crystals for advanced engines are making air travel safer. More durable plastic and glass components for mobile 'phones, make them thinner and lighter. Team GB won 7 out of 10 golds in cycling at the 2012 Olympics using bicycles made from advanced carbon fibre materials.
Our School and the Research Centre in Materials Processing together make up the largest centre for materials research in the UK. We work on a diverse range of projects in the aerospace, automotive, biomedical, sport and sustainable development fields. Join us, and become part of an academic elite designing a safer, more sustainable and brighter future!
- Number of A levels required:
- Typical offer:
- Required subjects and grades:
- A level Mathematics and Physics required at grade A
- General Studies:
- not accepted
International Baccalaureate Diploma: 6,6,5 at Higher Level, including 6 in Mathematics and Physics, with a minimum of 32 points overall.
Other qualifications are considered – learn more about entry requirements
Standard English language requirements apply
Learn more about international entry requirements
Depending on your chosen course of study, you may also be interested in the Birmingham Foundation Academy, a specially structured programme for international students whose qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to UK universities. Further details can be found on the foundation academy web pages.
Key Information Set (KIS)
Key Information Sets (KIS) are comparable sets of information about full- or part-time undergraduate courses and are designed to meet the information needs of prospective students.
All KIS information has been published on the Unistats website and can also be accessed via the small advert, or ‘widget’, below. On the Unistats website you are able to compare all the KIS data for each course with data for other courses.
The development of Key Information Sets (KIS) formed part of HEFCE’s work to enhance the information that is available about higher education. They give you access to reliable and comparable information in order to help you make informed decisions about what and where to study.
The KIS contains information which prospective students have identified as useful, such as student satisfaction, graduate outcomes, learning and teaching activities, assessment methods, tuition fees and student finance, accommodation and professional accreditation.
As a Birmingham student you are part of an academic elite and will learn from world-leading experts. At Birmingham we advocate an enquiry based learning approach, from the outset you will be encouraged to become an independent and self-motivated learner, qualities that are highly sought after by employers. We want you to be challenged and will encourage you to think for yourself.
Your learning will take place in a range of different settings, from scheduled teaching in lectures and small group tutorials, to self-study and peer group learning (for example preparing and delivering presentations with your classmates).
To begin with you may find this way of working challenging, but rest assured that we?ll enable you to make this transition. You will have access to a comprehensive support system that will assist and encourage you, including personal tutors and welfare tutors who can help with both academic and welfare issues, and a formal transition review during your first year to check on your progress and offer you help for any particular areas where you need support.
Personal Tutor: At the start of your degree, you will be assigned a Personal Tutor who will remain with you throughout your studies to help you in three important areas: supporting your academic progress, developing transferable skills and dealing with any welfare issues.
Delivery of the course
In your first and second years, the course is delivered as lectures, small group workshops, laboratories, computer-based activities, enquiry-based learning and tutorials. A strong emphasis is placed on design and research project work in your third and fourth years respectively.
Laboratory-based practical work forms an integral part of the School's degree programmes. Laboratory classes are embedded within a module and used, not only to develop your experimental practical skills, but also to reinforce concepts introduced in lectures or to explore a particular phenomenon. First year practical sessions, typically, last two hours and increase in length in subsequent years to allow for more advanced experiments.
Small-group tutorials/personal tutorials run alongside the lecture course, addressing any individual problems you may have and allowing you to consolidate the lecture material, as well as test your understanding through problem-solving exercises.
Enquiry Based Learning (EBL) provides an environment where your learning process is driven by enquiry and the lecturer's role is purely as a facilitator. EBL is typically a group activity.
This requires working in a team and you can be assessed in a variety of ways: in either a group or individually, by written reports and/or oral presentations. EBL will give you a research-orientated approach to a problem, and has a synergy within research-led institutions like the University of Birmingham.
Project work: A strong emphasis is placed on project work in your final year. The range of projects includes practical work in the laboratory, or computer-based projects. You can choose the topic of your project from a pool of titles and work with your project supervisor to tailor the project to your particular research interests.
The course modules are taught through lectures, tutorial problem classes, case studies, laboratory and/or project work. You will be assessed through a mixture of written examinations and continually assessed coursework. Examinations are taken in May and June.
Assessment methods used include end-of-year examinations, written assignments, and oral presentations, computer-based tests, laboratory and project reports. Each module is assessed independently and most contain some components of continuous assessment, which usually account for 15% to 40% of the marks. Some modules are completely assessed by either examination or coursework.
We place strong emphasis on providing prompt and informative feedback on all pieces of work that you submit during your studies. Feedback comes in a variety of forms, including written feedback on pieces of assessment, class feedback sessions and one-on-one discussions with your tutors. In all cases, the feedback will highlight the good points as well as those areas that require more attention.
As your degree progresses, you will attend fewer lectures and perform more independent studies and practical work in preparation for your final year project.
During your first year the University will require you to undergo a formal 'transition' review, mentioned above, to see how you are getting on and if there are particular areas where you need support. This is in addition to the personal tutor who is based in the School and can help with any academic issue you encounter. Our Academic Skills Centre also offers you support with your learning. The centre is a place where you can develop your mathematical, academic writing and general academic skills. It is the centre?s aim to help you to become a more effective and independent learner through the use of a range of high-quality and appropriate learning support services. These range from drop-in sessions with support with mathematics and statistics based problems provided by experienced mathematicians, to workshops on a range of topics including note taking, reading, writing and presentation skills.
At the beginning of each module, you will be given information on how and when you will be assessed for your particular programme of study. You will receive feedback on each assessment within four weeks, so that you can learn from and build upon what you have done. You will be given feedback on any exams that you take; if you should fail an exam, we will ensure that particularly detailed feedback is made available to enable you to learn for the future.
Feedback shows that 85%-95% of our students go on to work or study on graduation. Of those in employment, around 95% gain graduate-level jobs and are earning salaries in the region of £23,000-£29,000 pa six months after graduation.
Over the next ten years the UK will embark on an ambitious program of commissioning nuclear energy, creating opportunities from plant design and construction to finding sustainable ways of recycling nuclear materials. This new course has been designed in response to demand from industry for a programme at undergraduate level to equip students with the fundamentals to help provide non-fossil fuel alternatives for our future energy requirements. This challenging and growing field offers a range of well paid careers for graduates with strong technical and scientific skills.
We give you access to placement opportunities and careers advice and have strong links with a range of companies including:
- Magnox North
- British Energy
- Rolls-Royce M
- HSE (NII)
- Babcock Marine
- Nuclear Tech.
- BAE Systems
- RWE NPower
- Horizon NPower
Other areas that favour the problem-solving skills you will acquire are finance, law and marketing as well as teaching and/or research.
A rich vein of expertise will be available to you to tap into, not only through the University-level Careers Network, but from the School's own careers tutor. From these professionals you will gain the help needed to secure research or industry placements and, eventually, your graduate job.
Preparing for your future career should be one of the first things you think about as you start university. As one of our Materials students, exciting career choices will open up to you when you graduate with an accredited degree such as this. You could pursue a career in one of the automotive, aerospace or energy sectors; one of the manufacturing industries; or you could work in other areas of science and technology, such as materials testing or failure analysis. Other areas that favour the problem-solving skills you will acquire are finance, law and marketing as well as teaching and/or research.
Superb opportunities exist for you to gain industrial experience before you graduate. You will gain relevant work experience, and earn money putting into practice the skills and knowledge gained from your degree. Students on placement get involved in serious projects which ask difficult questions that require good engineering answers - and which often lead to sponsorship and/or the offer of a graduate job.
Another option is to join our MEng programme with industrial experience and spend up to six months with one of our industrial partners; usually between your third and fourth study years.
A rich vein of expertise will be available for you to tap into, not only through the University's dedicated Careers Network, but from the School's own industrial liaison officer. From these careers professionals you will gain the skills to help you secure a range of placements from vacation jobs to, eventually, your graduate job.
At School-level, you can opt to add a year to your programme, whatever the course you are studying, and spend this time on placement in industry. You will gain relevant work experience, and earn money putting into practice the skills and knowledge gained from your degree. Students on placement get involved in serious projects which ask searching questions that require good engineering answers - and which often lead to sponsorship and/or the offer of a graduate job. On successful completion of a placement in industry organised by the School, and success in your studies, you will be awarded the Certificate in Industrial Studies to add to your degree and improve your employability prospects.
At University-level, our unique careers guidance service is tailored to academic subject areas, offering a specialised team (in each of the five academic colleges) who can give you expert advice. Our team sources exclusive work experience opportunities to help you stand out amongst the competition, with mentoring, global internships and placements available to you. Once you have a career in your sights, one-to-one support with CVs and job applications will help give you the edge. In addition, our employer-endorsed award-winning Personal Skills Award (PSA) recognises your extra-curricular activities, and provides an accredited employability programme designed to improve your career prospects.
We also offer voluntary work which complements your studies by helping you gain practical experiences in occupational settings while contributing back to society. This can bring new skills that will be useful throughout your future and can make a positive impact on your learning whilst at university. Volunteering enables you to develop skills such as communication, interpersonal skills, teamwork, self-confidence and self-discipline all of which can be transferred into your studies.
Whichever of the above forms of careers guidance, or combination of such, you select you will find your prospects for employment after graduation considerably enhanced. If you make the most of the wide range of careers advice we can offer, you will be able to develop your career from the moment you arrive.
Career destinations of previous graduates include:
Jaguar Land Rover,
University Careers Network
Preparation for your career should be one of the first things you think about as you start university. Whether you have a clear idea of where your future aspirations lie or want to consider the broad range of opportunities available once you have a Birmingham degree, our Careers Network can help you achieve your goal.
If you make the most of the wide range of services
you will be able to develop your career from the moment you arrive.
Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) 2011/12
The DLHE survey is conducted 6 months after graduation.
Examples of occupations
Engineering Officer Cadet
Advanced Manufacturing Engineer
Junior Accounts Manager
Graduate Consultant Engineer
School Sports Partnerships Coach
Product Development Engineer
Further study - examples of courses
MSc Advanced Materials
MSc Material Science
MSc Diagnostic Radiography
MSc Energy Engineering
MRes Science and Engineering
PhD Metallurgy and Materials
Visit the Careers section of the University website for further information.