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Materials Science is an interdisciplinary subject, spanning the physics and chemistry of matter, engineering applications and industrial manufacturing processes.
Modern society is heavily dependent on advanced materials: lightweight composites for faster vehicles, optical fibres for telecommunications and silicon microchips for the information revolution. Materials scientists study the relationships between the structure and properties of a material and how it is made. They also develop new materials and devise processes for manufacturing them. Materials Science is vital for developments in nanotechnology, quantum computing and nuclear fusion, as well as medical technologies such as bone replacement materials.
This diverse programme spans the subject from its foundations in physics and chemistry to the mechanical, electrical, magnetic and optical properties of materials, and the design, manufacture and applications of metals, alloys, ceramics, polymers, composites and biomaterials. This work is supported by excellent laboratory and teaching facilities.
In a course taught partly by the Saïd Business School, the programme also offers an opportunity to develop an introductory understanding of entrepreneurship (learning how to write a business plan, raise capital and start a company). There are also voluntary options to learn a language through Oxford's Language Centre.
The Oxford Materials degree includes in its fourth year the special feature of an eight-month full-time research project, when you join a research team here at Oxford in one of the strongest Departments of Materials in the UK or, occasionally, at an overseas university or in an industrial laboratory (additional costs may be associated with a project outside Oxford). You will learn how to break down a complex problem, design an experiment or model, manage a project and communicate your results. These research skills are transferable to many career paths and are valued highly by employers.
The current MEng degree is accredited by the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3) on behalf of the UK Engineering Council, towards the achievement of Chartered Engineer status.
Many of our graduates apply their technical knowledge in the manufacturing industry, both in management and in research and development positions. Others enter the financial, consultancy and IT sectors. A significant proportion of graduates undertake research degrees in universities in the UK and abroad.
Katherine says: ‘After leaving University I started work for Rolls–Royce (on aeroplanes, boats and power stations) as a graduate engineer, moving engineering roles within the company and around the globe every three months.’
Work placements/international opportunities
Students are encouraged to undertake a voluntary summer project in industry or a research laboratory. Recent locations for overseas summer projects have included Beijing, Tokyo, Bochum, Krakow, Santa Barbara and Boston.
A voluntary industrial tour to an overseas destination is organised in most Easter holidays. Recent destinations include China, Sweden, Italy, Poland and Ontario.
There are three terms in the Oxford academic year, each eight weeks long. Students usually arrive a week early in the first term of their first year for welcome and induction activities. During years 1 and 2, the work is divided between lectures (about ten a week), tutorials/classes (about two a week), and practicals (two or three afternoons a week). Typically the work for each tutorial or class is expected to take six to eight hours.
Year 3 starts with a two-week design project, and about eight lectures and two classes/tutorials a week for the first two terms. Most of the third term is set aside for revision.
Year 4: Extended terms
The fourth year is entirely devoted to research - a special feature of the Oxford course - consisting of a full-time research project under the supervision of a member of staff. This final year has three extended terms of 11 to 13 weeks each and is 37 weeks in total. You will learn how to break down a complex problem, design an experiment or model, manage your time and project, maintain systematic records, present your work orally and write a substantial report. These research skills are transferable to many career paths and are valued highly by employers.
First University examinations: Four written papers; continual assessment components equivalent to a fifth paper
Examples of current options courses are available on the Materials Science website.
(At the start of Year 3 it is possible to transfer to a 3-year BA degree in Materials Science, graduating at the end of Year 3. See essential further information about this on the course website. The BA is not accredited.)
Final University examinations, Part I: Six written papers; continual assessment components equivalent to a further two papers
Research project (full-time)
Additional elements include Project management, Presentation skills and an optional Foreign language course
Examples of project titles are available on the Materials Science website.
For important additional detail on course content, progression and assessment, please see www.materials.ox.ac.uk/admissions/undergraduate.
Final University examinations, Part II (equivalent to 4 papers): Project dissertation submitted and assessed; oral examination of p
- Attestat o Srednam Obrazovanii (Certificate of Secondary Education) would not be sufficient for candidates to make a competitive application. If your qualification is listed as being insufficient to make a competitive application to Oxford, then you will need to undertake further study if you wish to apply.You could take British A-levels (the British Council may know where you can take A-levels in your country), the International Baccalaureate (IB), or any other qualifications listed as acceptable on this page. The first year of a bachelor's degree from another university could also be an acceptable alternative.
- IELTS: overall score of 7.0 (with at least 7.0 in each of the four components)
- TOEFL (paper-based): overall score of 600 with a Test of Written English score of 5.5
- TOEFL (internet-based): overall score of 110 with component scores of at least: Listening 22, Reading 24, Speaking 25, and Writing 24.
- Cambridge English: Advanced, also known as the Certificate of Advanced English (CAE): grade A if taken before January 2015, or a score of at least 185.
- Cambridge English: Proficiency, also known as the Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE): grade B if taken before January 2015, or a score of at least 185.
- English Language GCSE, or O-level: grade B (for IGCSE, please see below)
- International Baccalaureate Standard Level (SL): score of 5 in English (as Language A or B)
- European Baccalaureate: score of 70% in English.
Hill Foundation Scholarship
Russian nationals wishing to study for a second undergraduate degree.
Palgrave Brown Scholarship
Students must be ordinarily resident in and/or educated in the following countries:
Albania; Armenia; Azerbaijan; Belarus; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Bulgaria; Croatia; Czech Republic; Estonia; Georgia; Hungary; Kazakhstan; Kyrgyz Rep.; Latvia; Lithuania; Macedonia; Moldova; Montenegro; Poland; Romania; Russia; Serbia; Slovakia; Slovenia; Tajikistan; Turkmenistan; Ukraine; Uzbekistan.