What is Materials Science and Engineering?

Everything is made of materials - Materials Science and Engineering is a cross-disciplinary subject focusing on how materials behave and how their structure controls their behaviour. Whether you are a prospective student or perhaps a teacher this page aims to answer any questions the subject.

Icon explaining what MSE is

Materials Science and Engineering combines engineering, physics and chemistry.

All engineering disciplines rely on materials research & developments. 

70% of technological innovations are due to advancements in materials

We work at the forefront of a broad range of disciplines and industrial sectors, including healthcare, energy, environmental sustainability, sports, automotive, and aerospace. 

New materials will provide solutions to problems facing humankind in the next century & beyond (e.g. quantum computers, net zero).

Why study at Sheffield?

All our courses are designed to equip you with the skills (academic, industrial & practical) needed to meet today’s engineering challenges.

Taught by world-leading researchers in world-class facilities, learning how processing-structure-property relationships & manufacturing can be used to make better materials & make materials better. 

MSE is a crucial part of any engineering teams & our graduates are in high demand. Sector-leading salaries for our graduates, £34,000 average in under 3 years from graduation.

World-class facilities : Sir Henry Royce Institute, Sorby Centre, Diamond

World-leading research cross-cutting science & engineering: £102+ million research income

Inbuilt flexibility in courses (specialisation options available)

Research highlights

Nuclear power plant

Materials for Extreme Environments

  • Solving Nuclear Waste Immobilisation 
  • Developing new Aerospace Materials and Manufacturing  methods
  • Novel Materials for Atomic Energy (fusion)
Eco Cement

Materials for Society

  • Creating next-generation materials to power batteries for electric vehicles
  • Discovering new magnetic states of matter for quantum computing
  • Determining more sustainable materials for the built environment including steels, plastics and cements
A spider web

Materials for Health

  • Biomaterials - use of adipose tissue in wound healing 
  • Bio-inspired materials such as slug mucus for lubrication, spider silk for lightweight structures
  • DNA nano-rulers

What kind of engagement with industry can students enjoy?

Alumni speed-dating

Giving current students the opportunity to talk to alumni helps them to formulate their plans for the future, when thinking about their careers and study options.

Placement opportunities (additional to ‘with a placement year’)

As part of our MEng UG programme students undertake a mandatory 3-5 month industrial placement. Learn more

Industrial training programmes, ITP (3rd and 4th year UG)

Semester-long interactions with major companies, including a consultancy-style project where main focus is on working as a real engineer. Previous ITPs have covered Nuclear materials, Glass, Aerospace materials, Metallic materials, Advanced manufacturing. More information here.

Final year projects and teaching

Many final year projects offer strong industrial links to real world relevant problems. Industrial links are also embedded into our course for example the industrial panel in our artefacts project.