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MSc Polymers for Advanced Technologies

This MSc course is designed for graduates with a background in chemistry or a related subject, who want to specialise in cutting-edge polymer science. Our Polymer Centre is the UK’s largest academic research network in the field, made up of 48 research groups that have a shared interest in polymer science.


To apply for this course, complete the University of Sheffield's postgraduate online application form.

Postgraduate online application form

You can find more information about the application process on the University's postgraduate webpages.

How to apply: applying essentials


If you would like to know anything else about this course, contact our postgraduate admissions office: chem-pgadmissions@sheffield.ac.uk

You can also visit us throughout the year:
Postgraduate open days, visit afternoons and online chats

Pathway programme for international students

Don't meet our entry requirements?
Pre-Masters in Science and Engineering

About the course

This 12 month course is divided into three semesters. The first semester focusses on giving you essential knowledge of polymer synthesis, characterisation, chemistry and physics is developed through lectures, coursework and laboratory classes. You will also get advanced training in how to find scientific information, plan a project and communicate. 

In the second semester, you can choose from a range of lecture modules based on the latest developments in polymer science. You will also start work on your extended research project, which will run until the end of your degree. Working in one of our state-of-the-art lab with expert researchers, you will manage your own project, and develop important skills such as time management, complex data analysis, and oral and written communication. At the end, you will produce a thesis and give an oral presentation to the department, before graduating with a great example of lab work for your CV.

After your degree

This course is designed to train you for a wide range of careers in polymer science and related fields, and give you the skills that employers are looking for. You will graduate with the ability to demonstrate your ability to work within a research group, organise your own research, see a project through to completion and communicate your findings.

Our students have an excellent record of students finding great jobs soon after graduation. Our former masters students now work in companies including AstroZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline, Unilever, and Shell. Others graduates go on to start a PhD, as this course is a great start towards a professional research career.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

For this course, we usually ask for a 2:1 BSc honours degree in chemistry, chemical physics, chemical engineering, materials or a related subject. We can also accept qualifications from other countries. You can find out which qualifications we accept from your country on the University's webpages for international students.

Prospective international students: Your country

International pathway programmes

If you are an international student who does not meet our entry requirements, the University of Sheffield International College offers a Pre-Masters in Science and Engineering programme. This programme is designed to develop your academic level in your chosen subject, introduce you to the study skills that will be vital to success and help with language if you need it.

Upon successful completion, you can progress to this degree at the University of Sheffield.

Pre-Masters in Science and Engineering

English Language Requirements

If you have not already studied in a country where English is the majority language, it is likely that you will need to have an English language qualification. We usually ask for:

  • International English Language Testing Service (IELTS): Overall grade of 6.5 with 5.5 in each component

You can find out whether you need to have an english language qualification, and which other English language qualifications we accept, on the University's webpages for international students.

English language requirements

The English Language Teaching Centre offers English language courses for students who are preparing to study at the University of Sheffield.

English Language Teaching Centre

Fees and funding

Up-to-date fees and funding opportunities can be found on the University of Sheffield's webpages for postgraduate students. These may include scholarships for home and international students and a 10% discount for University of Sheffield graduates.

Tuition fees

Funding your postgraduate course

Meet our students

Current modules

The modules listed below are examples from the current academic year. There may be some changes before you start your course.

The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research, funding changes, professional accreditation requirements, student or employer feedback, outcomes of reviews, and variations in staff or student numbers.

Core modules:

CHM6106: Fundamental Polymer Chemistry (15 credits)

Professor Steve Armes and Dr Sebastian Spain

This module introduces you the essential fundamentals of polymer structure, polymer synthesis and the chemical behaviours of polymers, both natural and synthetic. Topics covered include polymer microstructure, chain-reaction and step-reaction routes to polymers, living polymerizations, copolymerization, molecular weight distributions, chemical reactions on polymers, and polymer degradation and stability.

CHM6108: Biopolymers and Biomaterials (15 credits)

Dr Tim Craggs and Dr Jim Reid

The aim of this module is to provide you with a basic knowledge and understanding of the occurrence, structure and function of important types of biopolymers such as proteins and nucleic acids, their organisation into biomaterials, and their functions in living systems. The unit also illustrates how some biopolymers are increasingly being exploited in non-natural systems and considers basic aspects of biocompatibility.

CHM6201: Polymer Characterization and Analysis (15 credits)

Dr Colin CrookProfessor Graham Leggett and Dr Oleksandr Mykhaylyk

This module covers the major instrumental methods for identifying polymers and determining polymer molecular weight, molecular weight distribution, stereochemistry, sequence distribution in copolymers, transition temperatures, surface features, etc. The unit includes examples of the use of chemical analysis, colligative properties, chromatographic techniques, nuclear magnetic resonance, vibrational and electronic spectroscopy, microscopy, thermal and dynamic mechanical methods, scattering techniques and surface analysis.

CHM6401: Polymer Laboratory (15 credits)

Dr Colin Crook

Polymer chemistry is a practical subject, and this module covers the fundamentals of experimental polymer synthesis and analysis. Topics covered include polymer synthesis via a number of methods (including chain- and step-reaction routes). A range of analytical techniques will also be introduced. These will include size-exclusion chromatography, viscosity analysis, and spectroscopy (IR and NMR). Experiments involving the modification and application of polymers will also be studied.

CHM6402: Research and Presentation Skills (15 credits)

Dr Lance Twyman

This module aims to introduce you to a range of transferable skills important for successful communication in science, research and in other professional areas. You will develop a wider understanding of the context in which research takes place through critical reading and evaluation of a wide range of literature. You will be required to read and assimilate, and will produce a critical report of the literature in a specific research area. In addition, the course will develop your oral and poster presentation skills.

MAT6102: The Physics of Polymers (15 credits)

Dr Xiangbing Zeng

This module covers the fundamentals of polymer physics and physical chemistry, including the properties of individual polymer chains, of assemblies of such chains, and of materials based upon them. Topics covered include conformations of polymer chains, polymer glasses and the glass transition, rubber elasticity, viscoelasticity, time-temperature superposition, yield mechanisms, crystallinity in polymers, organisation of polymers at surfaces and interfaces, and the consequences of the above for various physical and mechanical properties.

CHM6301: Polymer Research Project (60 credits)

The following members of staff usually supervise projects: 

All the skills and knowledge you have developed in the programme will be brought into use when you undertake this extended research project in your preferred area of polymer science under the guidance of a member of academic staff. You will join one of our polymer-focussed research groups at the University of Sheffield to produce real cutting edge progress in the field. You will produce a dissertation and an oral presentation based on your findings towards the end of the summer over which the project is undertaken.

Optional modules:

CHM6202: Design and Synthesis of Polymers of Controlled Structure (15 credits)

Dr Lance Twyman and Dr Sebastian Spain

This research-led module gives students insights into the latest developments in synthesising polymers with highly specific structures, both in terms of their architechture (shapes) and their repeat unit distributions. Modern controlled/living polymerisations methods will be introduced, as well as the effect of polymer structure on behaviour, and the design of polymers for advanced applications

CHM6204: Smart Polymers and Polymeric Materials (15 credits)

Dr Colin Crook and Dr Ahmed Iraqi

This module focuses on the syntheses, structures, behaviours of polymers and polymeric materials that are responsive to external stimuli such as heat, light, electric potential, pH and ionic strength. The unit will examine polymers with applications, potential and real, in such areas as sensors, auxetics, viscous couplings, vibration damping, optical amplifiers, and nano-machines. The module also gives an overview of the design, preparation and uses of organic conjugated polymers and oligomers in the electronics industry with a focus on the factors governing their physical properties and their structure-property relationships in electronic device applications.

MAT6104: Design and Manufacture of Composites (15 credits)

Dr Joel Foreman

This module is designed to provide students with an understanding of both the design and manufacture of composite materials and is presented in two sections. In the design of composites section, classical laminate theory is introduced followed by both hand and computer based calculations to design effective composite materials. In the manufacturing of composites section, the materials and manufacturing techniques are described, along with important practical issues such as repair, defects, testing and SMART materials.