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Materials Engineering

Course Description

Materials are at the heart of our quality of life and economic welfare and this will continue to be the case in the foreseeable future, especially considering the need to build a sustainable world and to use our resources intelligently.

Materials engineers invent, design, make and use materials for products, processes and services. They carry out these activities based on an in-depth understanding of materials processing, the structure of materials and materials properties and the intricate interrelationships between them.

The materials engineering programme offers ample opportunity to develop strong analytical skills and problem solving abilities, for example through the incorporation of case studies and mini-projects that familiarise the student with the development, processing, characterisation and evaluation of the most important material families. Moreover, practical experience will be gained in advanced material characterisation and evaluation as well as modelling techniques. In the Master's thesis, the student will apply his/her knowledge to a research topic of choice. These topics are usually embedded in a cutting-edge research project in co-operation with other institutions and industrial companies.

The programme offers four options:

- metals and ceramics
- polymers and composites
- nanomaterials
- biomaterials

On top of these you can choose out of 3 Professional Profiles:

- research
- production
- management

These Professional Profiles can help students to orient themselves to their future professional careers.


The programme prepares students to become academic engineers with the acquired knowledge to understand and engineer the complex relations between production, structure, properties, and applications of materials. In this way they can assume a prominent role in the development, production, design and application of traditional as well as advanced materials. Aspects of safety and environment of the production and use of materials are also taken into consideration.
At the end of the programme, it is expected that the student has fundamental scientific knowledge in the field of physics, chemistry and mathematics and is able to translate this knowledge into useful applications. The student will also have a prominent knowledge of design methodologies and skills. The student will have developed a strong analytical and problem solving attitude and will be equipped to conduct fundamental as well as applied scientific research. The student will be capable of transferring technological knowledge aided by his/her communication capacities and supported with insights in ethical, social and economic problems. The student can easily acquire new insights, methodologies and results within his own discipline and apply these in a research or industrial environment. Finally the student will be able to assume the role of the engineer in society in a critical way and will have developed an overall quality reflex.

Graduates of the Materials Engineering programme will also obtain the following specific competencies:
- A broad-based fundamental knowledge of the production, processing and properties of structural materials (metals, ceramics, polymers and composites)
- A perceptive knowledge of the properties and structure of functional materials
- A comprehensive knowledge of the main material characterisation techniques and modelling techniques relevant to the production and design and use of materials
- An understanding of the sustainability aspects of materials

Career paths
Graduates have access to a wide range of engineering sectors. Prominent technical industries such as the automotive, aerospace, energy, microelectronics, and chemical industries and emerging sectors such as nanotechnology, biomaterials and recycling are keen to hire qualified and talented materials engineers. Materials engineers are also well suited for functions as process engineers, materials or product developers, design specialists, quality control engineers or consultants. Graduates with an interest in research can apply for an R&D position or start a PhD. Several alumni have also gone on to start their own companies.

Entry Requirements

Direct access: Bachelor in de ingenieurswetenschappen, major subject materiaalkunde; Bachelor in de ingenieurswetenschappen, major subject elektrotechniek / geotechniek en mijnbouw / werktuigkunde / chemische technologie, with subprogramme materiaalkunde.Admission decisions are based upon evaluation of a complete application file: Bachelor of Engineering (or equivalent diploma).Except for native speakers, students should present proof of a test of English proficiency. More information: www.kuleuven.be/admissions

Email Enquiry

Recipient: KU Leuven

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