Science and Engineering of Materials MRes

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This programme comprises a major research project and six taught modules, four compulsory and two optional.

The research project can be taken full-time or part-time and can be carried out in the University or by industrial collaboration with a company. The School will provide the research supervisor and will arrange for all necessary facilities and resources.  Alternatively, the research project can be carried out in an industrial research laboratory with both academic and industrial supervisors.  This route is suitable for candidates seconded from industry. 


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This programme can be taken on a full- or part-time basis. This one-year Course (full-time) comprises a major research project (two-thirds of the year) and six taught modules (one-third of the year), which are taken intermittently throughout the year. 

Students with an appropriate technical background (a Materials Science first degree) can start the course at any time.  Students without a background in Materials Science are required to take the Introduction to Materials module (see module section), and must start the MRes Course at the beginning of the academic year, in September.  

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Why study this course

Metallurgy and Materials and the IRC in Materials Processing together make up one of the the largest centre for materials research in the UK. Our Research School comprises more than 20 full-time academic staff in addition to honorary and visiting staff, research fellows and over 100 postgraduate students.

Our diverse research portfolio ranges from fundamental aspects of materials science to practical high performance engineering applications. Research is funded from a wide range of sources including the UK research councils, the EU and a cross-section of UK and overseas industry.

Most of our research projects involve active collaboration with industrial partners which can benefit you during your research project on this course.


Research project

This is compulsory and can be carried out in a broad range of topics related to Materials Science.  The School will provide the research supervisor and will arrange for all necessary facilities and resources.  Alternatively, the research project can be carried out in an industrial research laboratory with both academic and industrial supervisors.  This route is suitable for candidates seconded from industry. 

The project involves full-time research for two thirds of the academic year (or the part-time equivalent).  It is assessed by examination of the thesis (which should be a maximum of 15,000 words in length) with a full academic year to submit following your module completion and experimental work in the labs (i.e. by 25th September 2018 full FT students and 25th September 2019 for PT).

Taught modules:


  • Introduction to Materials (for students who do not have a Materials Science undergraduate degree) OR an optional module (see below)
  • Effective Project Management (taught through School of Chemical Engineering)
  • Materials Characterisation
  • Communication Skills

You may choose two (or three*) options. Example optional modules are listed below:

  • Biomaterials
  • Design Against Failure   
  • Electron Microscopy 
  • Functional Materials 
  • Intermetallics, Metal Matrix Composites and Ceramic Matrix Composites
  • Materials for Sustainable Environmental Technologies
  • Net Shape Manufacturing 
  • Polymer Science and Soft Matter
  • Sensors and Composites
  • Surface Engineering

*If you have a background in Materials Science, you will take an additional option in place of Introduction to Materials.

Please note: The modules listed on the website for this programme are regularly reviewed to ensure they are up-to-date and informed by the latest research and teaching methods.

Fees and funding

Tuition Fees 2019/20 academic year:

  • £4,320 UK/EU students, full-time
  • £2,160 UK/EU students, part-time
  • £21,420 International students, full-time

Learn more about fees and funding.


Scholarships and studentships

We offer a range of postgraduate scholarships for taught programmes and research opportunities to ensure the very best talent is nurtured and supported at postgraduate level.

Additional scholarships can be found in the funding database.

Contact the department for further information.

Entry requirements

A 2:1 Honours degree in a physical science or engineering subject. Learn more about entry requirements

International students

We accept a range of qualifications from different countries – learn more about international entry requirements. Standard English language requirements apply.

How to apply

Learn more about applying.

When clicking on the Apply Now button you will be directed to an application specifically designed for the programme you wish to apply for where you will create an account with the University application system and submit your application and supporting documents online. Further information regarding how to apply online can be found on the How to apply pages

Apply now

The programme is currently delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials, project-based and laboratory-based teaching and learning methods.

Examples of MRes in the Science and Engineering of Materials Research Projects

  • Reliability of optical fibre sensors for smart structures 
  • Mechanical reliability of optical fibres for telecommunications
  • Chemistry and stability of localised corrosion sites
  • High Resolution Synchrotron X-ray studies of pitting corrosion
  • Simultaneous thermal (DSC), spectral (FTIR) and physical (TMA) analyses of polymers
  • Design, fabrication and evaluation of a novel fibre optic acoustic emission sensor 
  • Detection (and modelling) of moisture ingress in composites using optical fibre sensors 
  • Self-sensing glass fibre composites: Chemical process monitoring
  • Self-sensing glass fibre composites: Damage detection
  • Characterisation of photo-curable dental resins using a non-contact probe

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.

Our unique careers guidance service is tailored to your academic subject area, offering a specialised team (in each of the five academic colleges) who can give you expert advice. Our team source 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.

If you make the most of the wide range of services you will be able to develop your career from the moment you arrive.