Materials Science and Engineering Masters/MSc

New materials underpin development and progress across a wide variety of sectors. New technologies, from planes to batteries, from hip implants to electronic devices, are made possible, and often limited by, the materials we currently know and use.

Materials Scientists and Engineers work hard to understand how and why materials behave the way they do, and exploit this knowledge to develop new materials with amazing properties.

This one-year master course comprises 12 taught modules (two-thirds of the year) taken in Semesters I and II and an individual research project (one-third of the year) carried out in Semester III and summer in a broad range of topics related to Materials Science and Engineering in any of the Research Groups within the School of Metallurgy and Materials.

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Studying Materials Science and Engineering, you will develop a fundamental understanding of how the properties of a material, such as strength, electronic properties and biocompatibility, are affected by the material’s structure, such as its crystal structure or microstructure.

This knowledge can then be used to formulate strategies to develop new materials, such as alloys able to operate at higher temperatures for jet engine blades or high-toughness ceramics for armour applications. This programme will equip you with the skills required to join a wide variety of industries in the capacity of materials specialist, or continue your education at a PhD level.

This one-year master course comprises 12 taught modules (two-thirds of the year) taken in Semesters I and II and an individual research project (one-third of the year) carried out in Semester III & summer. In addition to technical modules, the course also provides training for transferable skills such as Communiation Skills and Effective Project Management.

Research projects can be carried out in a broad range of topics related to Materials Science and Engineering in any of the Research Groups within the School of Metallurgy and Materials or in industry. The project involves full-time research for one third of the academic year.

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Why study this course

Materials underpin almost all industrial sectors and the global challenges have increased the demand for new materials. Accordingly, there is a growing demand for materials engineers and researchers worldwide and in rapidly developing countries in particular. The School of Metallurgy and Materials has long been a centre of excellence in materials research and education. 

The course is designed for graduates who want to acquire knowledge, concepts and research skills in advanced materials in order to seek a research or technology development career in materials. It will also provide excellent preparation for those wishing to undertake the classic PhD, new PhD with integrated studies and EngD.

Why choose Birmingham?

  • One of the best centres for materials research in the UK
  • World-leading and unique facilities, such as the £60M High-Temperature Research Centre
  • Strong collaborations with a large number of industrial partners, including Rolls-Royce, Baosteel and many others
  • Wide range of research activities, from the atomic scale to components

Modules

This course consists of 180 credits distributed over 12 months. Two thirds of the content (120 credits) consists of taught modules, which are delivered in Term I and Term II. One third of the content (60 credits) is the individual research project, which is carried out in Term III and during the summer.

Semester 1 

Compulsory modules:

The core modules will ensure you will gain the adequate background to tackle most aspects of Materials Science and Engineering, and ensure you will develop key professional and research skills. You will learn the fundamentals of materials science, and how materials can be analysed and studied.

Module Title 
Introduction to Materials *  
Materials Characterisation  
Communication Skills  

* module is only compulsory for those students who do not have a Materials background from their undergraduate degree.

Choose 4 or 5 of the optional modules. Example optional modules include:

Module Title 
Design Against Failure
 
Biomaterials  
Electron Microscopy  
Functional Materials  
Polymer Science and Soft Matter  
Sensors and Composites  
Surface Engineering  

Semester 2 

Compulsory modules:

Module Title 
Effective Project Management  
Choose 4 of the optional modules. Example optional modules include:
Module Title 
Hydrogen and fuel cells  
Materials for Energy Generation and Storage  
Materials for Sustainable Environment Technology  
Net Shape Manufacturing  
Physical Metallurgy for Titanium and Nickel  

Semester 3 

Research Project

Research projects can be carried out in a broad range of topics related to Materials Science and Engineering in any of the Research Groups within the School of Metallurgy and Materials. The School in which the project is based will provide the research supervisor and will arrange for all necessary facilities and resources.

Example individual research projects:

  • Crack initiation and propagation in nuclear AGR graphite components
  • Drug release from dental cements
  • Plasma carburising of nanostructured austenitic stainless steels
  • Effect of graphite-based materials on golf ball response

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

Annual tuition fee for 2018/19:

UK/EU students: £9,270
International students £20,610
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

Typical offer:

UK/EU

Obtaining 2.2 or above in engineering/technical subjects (eg, physics, chemistry, materials science, engineering, mathematics or any physical sciences subject). Learn more about entry requirements

International students

Obtaining your degree with a final grade average of at least 80%. We accept a range of qualifications from different countries – learn more about international entry requirements. Standard English language requirements apply.

How to apply

International students requiring visas

Monday 2 July 2018 is the application deadline for international students who require a visa to study in the United Kingdom. We are not able to consider applications for 2018 made after this date; a new application should be made for September 2019. Applications will reopen for 2019 entry by 21 September 2018.

Before you make your application

You may wish to register your interest with us to receive regular news and updates on postgraduate life within this Department and the wider University.

Making your application

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

All students take twelve modules for a total 120 credits, plus a research project.

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

The research project involves full-time research for one third of the academic year. The project report must be submitted in September of your year of study and will be internally assessed by two academic staff. 

Each student will be required to give a project presentation (20 min talk plus 10 min for questions) which will be marked by two academic staff.

Our graduates go on to become engineers and scientists at a wide variety of industrial partners, or opt to continue their studies at PhD level.

Typical employers:

  • BAE Systems
  • Rolls-Royce
  • Royal Air Force
  • British Petroleum

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.