BSc Materials Science and Engineering / Course details

Year of entry: 2021

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Course description

Begin your journey into Materials Science and Engineering at Manchester, home to the most diverse university activity devoted to materials research in Europe. Material scientists are shaping our world and in the Department of Materials you will develop a true understanding of the science - in practical subjects that meet the needs of an ever-changing industry.

Our three-year BSc course provides both the fundamentals of materials science and engineering and the opportunity for specialisation in the areas that interest you most. In your final year, for example, you can choose to focus on a specific topic such as nanomaterials, metallurgy, polymers, biomaterials, textiles or corrosion science.

You'll be taught by leading academics in their field, we are proud of the Department of Materials' excellent Research ratings, and our high staff-to-student ratio means you will receive close individual attention and frequent tutorial sessions. Known for our congenial atmosphere, we place emphasis on academic and pastoral support, helping students from a range of educational backgrounds to reach their full potential.

What's more, our students typically go on to enjoy an average salary 15 months after graduation of £28,356 (Graduate Outcomes survey, 2019).


  • We will provide a broad and balanced curriculum in materials science and engineering that both meets the requirements for accreditation with the professional body and equips you with the necessary knowledge, skills and understanding to pursue a successful career - in either an industrial or research environment.
  • You will be taught by academic staff at the forefront of research in materials science and engineering, learning through both advanced course units and project work.
  • You will foster subject-specific and transferable skills, including experience of materials processing and characterisation methods, oral and written communication, group work and IT skills.
  • We will monitor, review and enhance educational provision to ensure it remains relevant to both the needs of your progression and to current developments in research and industry.

Special features

Excellent facilities and links

Get hands-on with a fantastic range of on-site facilities and equipment . The Department of Materials is associated with a number of leading centres and institutes, including Graphene@Manchester and the Henry Royce Institute .

Project work opportunities

Our final-year research project will provide you with in-depth experience of working in a team conducting cutting-edge research. It can be the ideal grounding for progressing into work in research and development, or going on to study at PhD level.


The course is accredited by the Institute of Materials (IOM3) and counts as academic training towards the professional qualification of either Chartered Scientist or Chartered Engineer.

Teaching and learning

At Manchester you will be taught by academic staff who are leading experts in Materials Science and Engineering, in a diverse and inclusive learning environment. Teaching and Learning will be delivered using a variety of methods, including: 

  • Lectures
  • Small group tutorials
  • Laboratory classes
  • Group work
  • Individual research projects
  • PASS sessions and peer mentoring 

Some activities will be delivered face-to-face and others online, following a blended learning approach.

The course contains strong practical elements: practical activities and laboratories associated to specific units in year one and two, and a practical group project in Year 3. Each year is designed to build your skills, knowledge, and confidence towards becoming a materials scientist or engineer. 

A typical week in your first year of study will comprise on average up to 35 hours of activity, of which approximately 10 hours will be timetabled study, 2 hours of laboratory/hands on activities and up to 25 hours will be independent or self-directed study.

As you progress through the course, an increasing emphasis will be placed on independent study, and this reflects you applying your knowledge and skills in substantial individual and group projects. In your third year of study, between 20 and 30 hours each week will typically be independent study. You will be supported by staff through all of your independent study, and this transition to being able to explore your own ideas through project work is an important attribute of a graduate engineer.  

PASS (Peer Assisted Study Sessions) and Peer Mentoring

We're proud of our innovative PASS (Peer Assisted Study Sessions) and Peer Mentoring scheme. The PASS scheme provides additional support around the current week's tutorial. It's entirely voluntary and consists of second, third and fourth-year current students helping first years to tackle problems defined by the content of the current tutorial. The emphasis is on showing students how to think about the problems, how to develop problem-solving skills and how to get the most from the educational resources available.

More about blended learning  

Some of your activity will be synchronous, where you learn live with your lecturer / peers and can interact as appropriate, helping you get support and feel part of a community. At other times it will be asynchronous, where you access materials like presentations, video content, online discussion boards or collaborative documents in your own time (within a framework provided by your programme).

We believe this blended approach will help each individual study in a way that works best for them and will ensure students receive the best student-experience.

Coursework and assessment

The course is assessed by a variety of methods, each appropriate to the topic being assessed. These methods include coursework exercises, written examinations, online examinations, and presentations. You will also have many opportunities to self-assess your progress using online quizzes and tutorial exercises. Coursework is a key element across all units, with a minimum of 30% coursework based assessment for each unit

Course content for year 1

Year one provides an overview of the full range of engineering materials used today and the key principles of Materials Science and Engineering that will be used throughout the course.

Course units for year 1

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Mathematics 1G1 MATH19731 10 Mandatory
Mathematics 1G2 MATH19732 10 Mandatory
Physics of Materials MATS15101 10 Mandatory
Equilibrium Thermodynamics MATS15201 10 Mandatory
Microstructures of Materials MATS15301 10 Mandatory
Computing & Communication MATS15501 20 Mandatory
Preliminary Chemistry Materials MATS15551 0 Mandatory
Mechanical Behaviour MATS16102 10 Mandatory
Structure of Solids MATS16202 10 Mandatory
Functional Properties MATS16302 10 Mandatory
Materials - Shaping the World MATS16402 20 Mandatory
Preliminary Physics MATS16661 0 Mandatory
Displaying 10 of 12 course units for year 1

Course content for year 2

Year two builds on the foundations established in the first year by focusing more on the processing, design, selection and application of different materials types in real industrial situations.

Course units for year 2

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Mechanics of Materials MATS23101 10 Mandatory
Materials Synthesis and Sustainability MATS23201 10 Mandatory
Phase Transformations and Microstructure Control MATS23301 10 Mandatory
Materials Processing MATS23401 10 Mandatory
Deformation Mechanisms MATS23502 10 Mandatory
Functional Behaviour MATS23602 10 Mandatory
Design, Management and Team Project MATS23702 20 Mandatory
Biomaterials & Biological Interactions MATS23801 10 Optional
Smart & Nano Materials MATS23901 10 Optional
Engineering Alloys in Service MATS24102 10 Optional
Performance Polymers, Fibres and Textiles MATS24112 10 Optional
Displaying 10 of 11 course units for year 2

Course content for year 3

In year three, alongside core units, you will have the opportunity to specialize through a choice of options. A key part of year three is a group project. During this project, you will focus on a specific topic working within one of the established research groups in the School. This enables you to develop further practical and analytical skills, as well as gain real experience of Materials Research.

Course units for year 3

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Modelling and Data Tools for Materials Scientists MATS31101 10 Mandatory
Materials Characterisation and Analytical Techniques MATS31201 10 Mandatory
Composite & Advanced Materials MATS31301 10 Mandatory
Advanced Manufacturing Processes and Microfabrication MATS31401 10 Mandatory
Functional Materials & Devices MATS31501 10 Mandatory
Structural Integrity MATS31601 10 Mandatory
Themed Research Project MATS31702 20 Mandatory
Drug Delivery & Biosensors MATS31802 10 Optional
Polymer Synthesis & Characterisation MATS31902 10 Optional
Metallurgy of Engineering Alloys MATS32102 10 Optional
Corrosion Science & Engineering MATS32202 10 Optional
Stem Cell & Tissue Engineering MATS32302 10 Optional
Multiphase Polymers & Nanocomposites MATS32402 10 Optional
Textile Manufacturing Techniques MATS32602 10 Optional
Nanotechnology MATS32702 10 Optional
Displaying 10 of 15 course units for year 3

Scholarships and bursaries

The University of Manchester is committed to attracting and supporting the very best students. We have a focus on nurturing talent and ability and we want to make sure that you have the opportunity to study here, regardless of your financial circumstances.

For information about scholarships and bursaries please visit our undergraduate student finance pages and our Department funding pages.

What our students say

Find out what it's like to study at Manchester by visiting the Department of Materials blog .


Electron Microscopy Centre
Electron Microscopy Centre

The Department of Materials is home to an extensive array of unique facilities and equipment, across both its materials science and engineering, and fashion business and technology arms.

We also benefit from close ties to a long list of leading centres, institutes and research hubs, including but not limited to, the National Graphene Institute, the Photon Science Institute, Henry Royce Institute, Electron Microscopy Centre, Dalton Cumbrian Facility and BP International Centre for Advanced Materials.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email: