Nuclear Science and Materials BSc

Start date
3 years
UCAS code
Course Type
Undergraduate, Single Honours

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2023/24:
£9,250 (UK)
£27,180 (International)
Further fee information

Our unique Nuclear Science and Materials BSc degree programme was designed in response to demand from industry for a new generation of graduates with the knowledge to build the nuclear power plants of the future.

 This unique Nuclear Science and Materials BSc degree course is designed to develop the skills and understanding required to prepare you 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 to deliver 20-40% of the UK’s electricity, both to replace retiring plants and for increased capacity. There is a significant demand for graduates to work in this rapidly growing sector.

With more than 60 years’ experience in teaching the physics of nuclear reactors and more than 100 years’ experience of teaching materials science, Birmingham is one of the best places to study nuclear science. You will be taught by experts in the field enabling you to gain strong theoretical and practical skills in the subject. 

Our multidisciplinary Birmingham Centre for Nuclear Education and Research boasts world-leading research and facilities and has strong links with the nuclear industry, which recruits extensively from our educational programmes.

On the course – a joint programme delivered between the School of Metallurgy and Materials and the School of Physics and Astronomy – you will develop engineering skills alongside fundamental science principles, which includes linking the behaviour and properties of materials to fundamental knowledge of their atomic structure. By the time you graduate, you’ll have a detailed understanding of nuclear reactor physics, materials, nuclear science and nuclear radiation. 

There is an opportunity to apply for a year in industry during your degree, usually between Year 2 and Year 3. Academic members of staff will help you to find suitable internships, review your application materials, and assist and mentor you throughout your year in industry. A year in industry is an invaluable opportunity to take on a role within a company, apply the theoretical knowledge of your degree course to real-world issues and will enhance your career prospects. Contact the Admissions Team for further details.

Why study Nuclear Science and Materials BSc at Birmingham?

  • University active in graduating students for the nuclear industry uninterruptedly for the past 60+ years
  • Course focuses on the fundamental physics and engineering challenges facing the industry, resulting in graduates with the knowledge and skills required to both work on decommissioning, current nuclear projects, research, and future developments
  • Students get hands-on practice using different types of radiation detectors and handling radioactive sources
  • World-leading facilities including two particle accelerators which can be used to simulate the effect of radiation on power plant components
  • An opportunity to apply for an industrial placement

As the course is a joint program between the Schools of Physics and Materials and Metallurgy, we are given the unique chance to study a wide range of modules, covering not only core nuclear physics, but the materials and engineering principles behind the construction of a nuclear plant. It is very exciting to study under lecturers who are at the forefront of their research and we are often given the chance to attend extra lectures covering their cutting edge work. Their support and enthusiasm for the field make for a really positive experience. What's more, it is amazing to study at a University with such a rich history in nuclear physics, playing a key role in the development of reactors.

Emily Lewis, MEng, Nuclear Engineering.


Year 1

Year 2

In your second year you will study subjects including Nuclear Physics and Fracture, Fatigue and Corrosion.

There is an opportunity to apply for a year in industry during your degree, usually between Year 2 and Year 3. Academic members of staff will help you to find suitable internships, review your application materials, and assist and mentor you throughout your year in industry. A year in industry is an invaluable opportunity to take on a role within a company, apply the theoretical knowledge of your degree course to real-world issues and will enhance your career prospects. Contact the Admissions Team for further details.

Year 3

In your final year you will study a range of highly specialised topics developed in conjunction with our partners in industry.

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. Unless indicated otherwise, the modules listed for this programme are for students starting in 2023. On rare occasions, we may need to make unexpected changes to core modules; in this event we will contact offer holders as soon as possible to inform or consult them as appropriate.


Annual tuition fees 2023/24

  • £9,250 - UK
  • £27,180 - International

Visit our tuition fees page for more information.


At Birmingham we ensure that fears about finance do not constrain prospective students from considering university and that excellence is rewarded.


Tuition fees for placement years (where applicable)

There is a reduced tuition fee for the academic year spent in industry or whilst studying abroad (where available). Fee information and further clarification is available on the University fees and funding page.

How To Apply

Apply through the UCAS website using code H821

UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) is a UK organisation responsible for managing applications to university and college.

View advice on how to apply for undergraduate courses.

Standard offer

International Requirements

Number of A levels required:
Typical offer:
Required subjects and grades:
A level Mathematics and Physics both 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. 


Only considered when combined with other qualifications.

Other qualifications are considered – learn more about entry requirements.

Foundation Year

Are you a UK student and would like to study for one of our degrees but lack the entry qualifications we require? If you are not studying A Level Mathematics you can consider a Foundation Year programme which can lead to entry onto one of our courses.

Alternative offers through our Pathways to Birmingham programmes and our Contextual Offer scheme

Students who are eligible and successfully complete a Pathways to Birmingham programme will receive special consideration from admissions tutors and an alternative offer (typically two grades below the standard offer). In addition, our Contextual Offer Scheme recognises the potential of students whose personal circumstances may have restricted achievement in school or college. If you are eligible to benefit from the contextual offer scheme, you will receive an offer which is one grade lower than the standard offer.

International Students

We accept a range of international qualifications, please contact the admissions tutor for more information.


Standard English language requirements apply, learn more about international entry requirements.

Depending on your chosen course of study, you may also be interested in one of our foundation pathways, which offer specially structured programmes for international students whose qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to UK universities. Further details can be found on Birmingham International Academy web pages.

Programmes at Birmingham combine teaching from lecturers who are global experts in their field, with leading-edge teaching facilities and laboratories to enhance your learning experience. We have strong partnerships with key employers who provide projects and work placements for our students and regularly recruit our graduates.

How you will learn

Our programmes include lectures, practicals and case studies, group and individual research projects and the development of transferrable skills to give you access to a wide range of careers. At Birmingham, we advocate an enquiry-based learning approach, so from the outset you’ll be encouraged to become an independent and self-motivated learner – qualities much sought-after by employers.

There are many opportunities for industrial internships and placements within the School during the summer, giving you the chance to put your skills into practice.

The third and fourth years will allow you to gain specialist knowledge in areas that most interest you, such as aerospace, biomaterials and computer simulations. You will also take part in a group research project during your third year. MEng students will undertake an individual project in their final year.

How you will be assessed

Assessment is through a mixture of written exams and continually assessed coursework. 

As well as end-of-year exams and written assignments, assessment methods include oral presentations, computer-based tests, laboratory and project reports. Each module is assessed independently and most contain some components of continuous assessment. Some modules are completely assessed by either examination or coursework.

Your personal tutor

As soon as you join us, you’ll 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.

Seminars and tutorials

Small-group tutorials and personal tutorials run alongside the lecture course and are aimed at addressing any individual problems you may have and allowing you to consolidate the lecture material, as well as testing your understanding through problem-solving exercises.

Lecturers and world-leading researchers

You’ll be taught by a mixture of professors, doctors and postgraduates, thus giving you a rich diversity of academic knowledge and experience. Our lecturers are not only experts in their field; they are passionate about passing on their expertise. All our researchers work at the cutting edge, often at intermediate technology readiness levels, delivering new materials technology to industry for inclusion in their products.

Resources and facilities

Our School is part of the largest centre for materials research in the UK. Our facilities provide you with the best possible environment to grow and succeed. Our first-class teaching and laboratory facilities include state-of-the-art study spaces and computer suites where we use the latest educational technologies to reinvent lab classes and showcase the fundamental principles behind materials engineering.

Contact Hours

You can expect an average of about 20-25 hours of contact time per week, comprising approximately 5 hours of laboratory based activity, 14 hours of lectures and 4 hours of small-group teaching (tutorials). As you progress through the programme, an increasing amount of time will be devoted to project-based learning.

There is a high and increasing demand for the next generation of professional nuclear engineers and scientists, providing impetus for the UK economy through continuous innovation. Birmingham graduates are highly sought-after by the nuclear industry as well as by a wide range of other industrial and commercial sectors.

Graduates who have studied our courses:

Example employers

  • Rolls-Royce
  • EDF Energy
  • Culham Centre for Fusion Energy
  • National Nuclear Laboratory
  • Atkins
  • Frazer-Nash
  • PWC
  • Deloitte
  • KPMG

Example careers

  • Nuclear waste decommissioning engineer
  • Nuclear power generation engineer
  • Electrical engineer
  • Engineering research consultant
  • Financial consultant

I work for the Science and Technology Facilities Council, the UK government agency for science and engineering research. I am a graduate in the Scientific Computing department where I use simulation codes to model the behaviour of experimental reactors and develop software tools for the use of instrument scientists. In practice most of my time is spent programming and building computational models.

I found the Nuclear Engineering course varied in subject matter and I am able to leverage many of the different skills I learnt from university at work. It gave me a broad set of experiences to draw on and so I also had a flexible choice of industries during the job application process.

Emily Lewis, MEng Nuclear Engineering.

Careers Network

We provide a wealth of opportunities to develop your career. From your first day at Birmingham to after you graduate, the Careers Network  is here to help you identify and achieve your individual career aspirations through its wide range of services.

Our dedicated careers team brings you information, advice and guidance tailored to your specific needs. Careers advisers offer one-to-one advice appointments where you can discuss your career plans and explore your options. 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.

Visit the Careers Network website for more details


Our multi-award-winning work experience team has dedicated internship officers to help find the right work experience for you. Make the most of these opportunities and apply for our Work Experience Bursary Scheme, the Birmingham Undergraduate Internship Programme or one of our successful mentoring schemes. 

The video below talks to students, staff and employers about their internship experience:

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