MSc(Eng) Polymers and Polymer Composite Science and Engineering?

Extruded polymersPolymers and polymer composites are increasingly important in our everyday life and can be found everywhere around us. They range from commonplace such as polypropylene (left) or fibreglass to high performance such as PEEK or carbon fibre.

Recent advances include biodegradable plastics, 3D printing, plastic electronics, myriad aerospace applications and many more. Polymer nanocomposites (such as those based on graphene) are being developed for use in areas such as drug delivery and tissue engineering.

Course breakdown

  • Duration: 1 year full time
  • Fees: It's important to find out how much the fees are for your course and get advice on funding your studies. We recommend using the University's fee lookup tool
  • Entry requirements: a good honours degree in chemistry, physics or related engineering subject from an approved institution
  • English language requirements: overall. IELTS grade of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each component, or equivalent
  • Fully accredited by the IoM3upon graduating, you will have the underpinning knowledge for later professional registration as a Chartered Engineer (CEng)

Course structure

Bringing together expertise from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and the Department of Chemistry, and further supported by the Polymer Centre, the UK’s largest single-university academic network in the field of polymers, this course will provide you with a thorough understanding of advanced topics on polymer and composite science and engineering; synthesis, characterisation, processing, materials selection, product design and testing.

Modules Student in the laboratory

Students will complete modules in areas such as:

  • Polymer chemistry
  • Polymer physics
  • Characterisation and analysis
  • Polymer composites

Topics covered will include biopolymers, smart polymers, nanocomposites.

Research project

A significant part of the course is devoted to a personalised research project with a supervisor of your choice. Recent projects include:

  • Preparation, structure and properties of polymer-graphene nanocomposites
  • Tough polymer nanocomposite hydrogels
  • Synthesis and characterisation of injectable hydrogels for soft tissue reconstruction
  • Functionalisation of carbon surfaces by plasma treatment
  • Surface conductivity of polymers by plasma treatment
  • Sustainable, biodegradable polymers: the future of plastics
  • Tailoring the natural toughness in epoxy resins
  • Developing new particulate reinforced composites
  • Cure monitoring of carbon-fibre composites using their electrical resistance
  • Artificial shell structures using clay platelets and an organic binder
  • Electric cure of composite structures
  • Multi-colour tilings by self-assembly of x-shaped molecules
  • Spontaneous formation of chirality from achiral liquid crystalline and polymeric compounds

Polymer materials

How you'll learn

With our research-led teaching, you will learn through lectures, tutorials, laboratory classes and project work.

You'll have access to our state-of-the-art facilities and equipment including:

  • Polymer and polymer composite processing laboratory
  • Twin screw extruder for making thermoplastic polymer blends and particulate composites
  • Injection moulder and hot press for sample manufacture
  • Wet resin processing facility for processing thermosets from monomers into test samples
  • Autoclave for high pressure curing of composites, electric cure of composites and an impact and self-sensing facility
  • Purpose-designed laboratories for synthesis and characterisation of polymers, nanoparticles and polymer nanocomposites
What our students say

Polymers student Li Liu cutting materialI chose Sheffield because it is a world-renowned, beautiful, university. I find polymers and materials science really interesting and the course provides me with a lot of professional knowledge and experience for research.

Li LIU / China

Polymers student in the laboratoryThis course has given me the chance to gain new experiences, meet new friends, get to know a new culture, improve my English and experience a new environment, all which has helped me to grow professionally.

Smithcha Kanjanawattana / thailand

Academic support

Our network of world leading academics, at the cutting edge of their research, inform our courses providing a stimulating, dynamic environment in which to study.  You'll receive support throughout your course, plus a dedicated Supervisor for your research project.

Dr Xiangbing Zeng

Course Director and Senior Lecturer in Polymers and Liquid Crystals

Contact Dr Xiangbing Zeng

Dr Biqiong Chen

Dr Biqiong ChenSenior Lecturer in Functional Polymers

Staff profile
Composite Systems Innovation Centre
Polymer Centre

Contact Dr Biqiong Chen

Dr Joel Foreman

Dr Joel ForemanLecturer in Polymers and Polymer Composites

- Staff profile
Composite Systems Innovation Centre

Contact Dr Joel Foreman

Dr Simon Hayes

Dr Simon HayesLecturer in Aerospace Engineering

- Staff profile
Composite Systems Innovation Centre

Contact Dr Simon Hayes


You will receive training in professional research methods and acquire skills of direct use to a range of employers in industry as well as for PhD research opportunities across the Polymer Centre.

Our graduates are working in such roles as:

  • Senior Engineer at 3M Group
  • Global Category Manager at Akzo Nobel
  • PhD research student at Swinburne University
  • Chemical Regulatory Specialist at Chemical and Regulatory Service
  • Senior Researcher at Unilever

Jasmin WongTake a look at where our alumni are now working.

Meet our alumni

Once you've made your decision and are ready to apply, follow our step by step guide. Apply now

*The content of individual lecture courses and modules is continually reviewed and updated. For more detail on the specific syllabus, course structure and specific content of modules, please contact Dr Joel Foreman, Postgraduate Taught Admissions Tutor,