MEng Materials Science and Engineering with Textiles Technology / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Themed Research Project

Course unit fact file
Unit code MATS31702
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 6
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Department of Materials
Available as a free choice unit? No


A short research project carried out on an industrially relevant problem under the supervision of an academic member of staff in a small group of 4-6 students, developed as part of a thematic programme. The students will all contribute individual independent tasks and manage their own work schedule, but the group guided by the supervisor will develop the overall objectives of the programme. Each group will be assigned a virtual budget, which they will manage to select appropriate research facilities and technical consultancy sessions from an academic.



  • Provide experience of research in a simulated real-life R&D work situation.
  • Develop the skills required to manage and plan, a programme of research to achieve a specified set of objectives by carrying out an individual themed research project as part of a bigger programme team.
  • Develop the ability to apply engineering knowledge, critically assess, and prioritise information, to solve a complex problem in materials science, requiring in depth knowledge of the underlying principles.
  • Develop the ability to review the literature, discuss the results of the research and write a substantial technical report to a professional standard.
  • Develop experience in managing a project budget and designing a work programme within budgetary constraints
  • Develop skills in presenting the outcomes of project work to a non-specialist audience
  • Develop practical research skills and experience of research equipment and the industrial context of the research.


Learning outcomes

A greater depth of the learning outcomes will be covered in the following sections:

  • Knowledge and understanding
  • Intellectual skills
  • Practical skills
  • Transferable skills and personal qualities

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures, Question and answer sessions, small group consultation, recommended textbooks, web resources, electronic supporting information (Blackboard).



Knowledge and understanding

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the Materials Science associated with the project topic and its relevance to the industrial context.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the background to the project, industrial context and knowledge of the relevant literature.
  • Have knowledge of the principles behind the experimental or modelling techniques utilised in the research.
  • Know how to prepare a project budget

Intellectual skills

  • Show improved logical reasoning and problem solving ability.
  • Have an appreciation of the importance of critical evaluation of results and data including uncertainties, errors and accuracy.
  • Be able to critically assess and summarise key information through review of the literature.
  • Be able to analyse a project budget and use it to help in critical decisions
  • Be able to use project management software to keep track of progress on a project and adapt as required

Practical skills

  • Perform simple calculations and statistical analysis to process data and quantify variables, errors etc.
  • Perform budget calculations to determine feasibility of proposals against a fixed budget
  • Show competence in the experimental or modelling techniques utilised in the research.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Show competence in planning and project management.
  • Work effectively in a group to solve problems.
  • Construct and write a technical report and literature review.
  • Budget management
  • Presentation of research results to non-specialists
  • Demonstrate an awareness of safe working practices and risk assessment.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written assignment (inc essay) 90%
Oral assessment/presentation 10%

Feedback methods

Written and verbal

Recommended reading

Project specific reading lists for scientific content to be provided to each group by their academic supervisor before start of project.

Generic information on project management available on-line and also in:

“Project Management for Dummies” Nick Graham

“Project Management Pocketbook” Keith Posner


Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 20
Independent study hours
Independent study 180

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Charles Darko Unit coordinator

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