Materials Chemistry has emerged as an important sub-discipline within Chemistry. It cross-cuts the traditional Organic/Inorganic/Physical boundaries of Chemistry and overlaps many disciplines from Engineering to the Biosciences.
Materials chemists now have a leading role in areas such as microelectronics, polymer science, catalysis and nanotechnology. They also make an important contribution to areas of more traditional chemistry such as the pharmaceutical sector where understanding the 'physical properties' of intermediates and products is now recognised as essential in optimising the synthesis and properties of pharmaceutically active ingredients in medicines.
The degree consists of advanced lecture courses such as:
These are studied concurrently with a predominantly practical based course offering an introduction to research methods.
Students then proceed to a period of full-time research project work leading to the submission of their Master's dissertation.
Lectures are given by leading researchers in the area of materials chemistry. The lecture courses are supported by tutorial sessions and assessed by examination in April/May.
The Introduction to Research Methods course includes an exciting problem solving exercise where you learn important skills such as Communicating Science, Innovation, Dealing with Intellectual Property and Grant Application Writing, together with a literature survey and written report, defining the scope of the subsequent individual research project work.
On completion of the course, you should have developed a depth of comprehension and critique in the core elements of your subject area, including:
Additionally you will have enhanced your professional/practical skills through:
You will also have had the opportunity to develop transferable skills such as:
If you’re a graduate from a science, mathematics, technology or another engineering discipline, this programme provides the knowledge and skills to convert to a specialism in materials science and engineering or metallurgy to meet the present needs and future challenges of advanced materials and manufacturing in areas such as transportation, bioengineering, energy, electronics and information technology, sport and sustainable development.
Alternatively, if you’re already a professional engineer in the materials sector, you’ll have the chance to expand your expertise to enhance your career prospects.
Core modules cover key topics such as materials structures, processing-structure-property relationships, characterisation and failure analysis. You’ll also choose one from three groups of optional modules to focus your specialism to suit your own career plans and interests. Taught by experts in world-class facilities, you’ll gain the skills to thrive in a growing and fast-changing field.
You’ll benefit from the chance to study in cutting-edge facilities where our researchers are pushing the boundaries of materials science and engineering and metallurgy. We have state-of-the-art preparative facilities for making and characterising a wide range of materials, as well as equipment and instrumentation for carrying out more fundamental studies into their process-microstructure-property relationships.
The course is designed to provide graduates with the educational base required for Chartered Engineer (CEng) status. Accreditation is currently being sought from IoM3
Compulsory modules at the beginning of the programme lay the foundations of your studies in materials science or metallurgy. You’ll learn about processing-structure-property relationships, which lie at the heart of the discipline, as well as examining topics such as mechanical, physical and chemical behaviour, phase transformations and how the structure and local chemistry of materials may be characterised. You’ll cover materials and process selection and their role in design, and extend this into the principles and practice of failure analysis.
This prepares the way for three sets of specialist modules: you can decide to specialise in metallurgy, functional and nanomaterials or take a broader materials science approach covering metals, ceramics, polymers, composites and biomaterials. You’ll complete your taught modules either by studying a module in materials modelling (if you already hold an accredited Engineering degree) or participating in an industry-focused interdisciplinary design project.
You will complete your programme with a major individual research project of your own. With guidance from your supervisor, you will work on a topic related to the internationally-leading materials and metallurgical research carried out in the University, or you could propose a topic of your own related to your own professional work or that of an industrial sponsor.
Want to find out more about your modules?
Take a look at the Materials Science and Engineering module descriptions for more detail on what you will study.
Our groundbreaking research feeds directly into teaching, and you’ll have regular contact with staff who are at the forefront of the discipline through lectures, seminars, tutorials, small group work and project meetings. Independent study is also important to the programme, as you develop your problem-solving and research skills as well as your subject knowledge.
You’ll be assessed using a range of techniques including case studies, technical reports, presentations, in-class tests, assignments, vivas and projects.
The research project is one of the most satisfying elements of this course. It allows you to apply what you’ve learned to a piece of research focusing on a real-world problem, and it can be used to explore and develop your specific interests.
Recent projects by MSc Materials Science and Engineering students have included:
There is currently an increasingly high demand for qualified materials scientists, materials engineers and metallurgists.
Career prospects are excellent and cover a wide range of industries concerned with the research and development of new and improved materials, materials synthesis and commercial production, and materials exploitation in cutting-edge applications in engineering and technology.
You’ll have access to the wide range of engineering and computing careers resources held by our Employability team in our dedicated Employability Suite. You’ll have the chance to attend industry presentations book appointments with qualified careers consultants and take part in employability workshops. Our annual Engineering and Computing Careers Fairs provide further opportunities to explore your career options with some of the UKs leading employers.
The University's Careers Centre also provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more at the Careers website.
With an increase in the number of undergraduate degrees offering the MChem qualification, our Chemistry MRes allows BSc graduates to become equally competitive by studying for an enhanced qualification that will set them apart throughout their career.
Our MRes qualification is also a convenient entry point into the UK academic system for overseas students, and many of our MRes graduates go on to successfully complete a PhD.
Our academics are at the forefront of their field, having recently discovered a method for the rapid detection of drugs from a fingerprint; and a naturally sourced, environmentally safe chemical for the treatment of an important agricultural pathogen.
This programme is studied full-time over one academic year. It consists of three taught modules and a research project, which contributes 75 per cent of the final credits to the degree and includes the laboratory based research, library work, COSHH, record keeping and writing the dissertation.
We would normally expect the laboratory based part of the project to be, on average, two to three full days per week during the teaching semesters and five days per week during non-teaching times (for example, over the Christmas, Easter and summer breaks).
Example module listing
The following modules are indicative, reflecting the information available at the time of publication. Please note that not all modules described are compulsory and may be subject to teaching availability and/or student demand.
The programme provides opportunities for students to develop and demonstrate knowledge and understanding, skills, qualities and other attributes in the following areas:
Knowledge and understanding
Intellectual / cognitive skills
Professional practical skills
Key / transferable skills
The Chemistry programme is run within the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences and the cross-faculty Surrey Materials Institute (SMI). Staff in the Department of Chemistry have expertise which includes all aspects of chemistry:
You will receive a thorough education in advanced aspects of chemistry, but also undertake independent research via a project, guided by a dedicated and experienced supervisor.
Projects are available across a range of topics in chemistry, and may extend into areas of biology, forensics or materials science. Past MRes students have continued to further (PhD) education and to posts in research in industry.
We often give our students the opportunity to acquire international experience during their degrees by taking advantage of our exchange agreements with overseas universities.
In addition to the hugely enjoyable and satisfying experience, time spent abroad adds a distinctive element to your CV.
This international Master program provides a complete training offer in the domain of chemistry and physical chemistry of materials.
The aim of this Master program is to provide students with a complete training in the domain of chemistry and physical chemistry of materials, starting from the stage of conception, synthesis and elaboration, to physico-chemical characterizations, and their use for specific functions and applications.
The studied materials are very diverse (inorganic materials, polymers, colloidal materials, hybrids, composites etc…) and draw upon the main research fields studied within the laboratories of the University of Bordeaux.