Friction processing on a metallic component

MEng Metallurgy

UCAS Code: J200
Duration: 4 years
Entry Requirements
A Levels: AAA including two of Maths, Physics or Chemistry. Other entry requirements.
Tuition Fees: £9,250 per year (UK/EU). Other Fees.
Study locations: Sheffield campus. As part of our MEng course you will undertake a 5 month industrial placement. This may be in the UK or abroad. You may opt to study abroad for a year.

Drawing on the great history of metallurgy in Sheffield, this course focuses on the nature, properties and processing of metals as well as completing an industrial placement in the metals industry.

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 Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn.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.


Course description

We'll give you a solid grounding in the science of materials and show you how to apply your knowledge to problems in the real world. You'll learn about the processing and properties of metals.

In the first year, you'll take the Global Engineering Challenge. Working with students from other engineering courses, you'll have to find creative solutions to problems. The project looks at challenges faced by communities throughout the world. It's designed to develop you as a professional engineer and get you thinking about sustainable solutions.

In the third year, you'll complete a five-month industry placement in the engineering sector. This is followed by a group industrial project in your final year.

In the third and fourth year of the MEng degrees, you'll take part in four Industrial Training Programmes, focusing on the areas of nuclear, glass, aerospace and advanced manufacturing. For each, there are small group seminars with industry experts and engineers, academic lectures and visits to industry sites and technology centres. You'll apply your materials science and engineering knowledge to analyse and solve a real current industrial problem.

Modules: what you study and when


Accredited by the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3) on behalf of the Engineering Council for the purposes of fully meeting the academic requirement for registration as a Chartered Engineer.

Financial help from the University - bursaries

If you're a UK student, you could be entitled to a University bursary. A bursary is the same as a grant - you don't have to pay it back.

How our bursary scheme works

Entry requirements

Qualification Grades
A Levels AAA including two of Maths, Physics or Chemistry
A Levels + Extended Project Qualification AAB including AA in Maths, Physics or Chemistry + A. The Extended Project should be in a relevant subject
International Baccalaureate 36, 6 in two of Higher Level Maths, Physics or Chemistry
BTEC D*DD in Engineering + grade A in A Level Maths, Physics or Chemistry. Distinction in Further Maths also required if A Level Maths not offered
Cambridge Pre-U D3 D3 D3 including two of Maths, Physics or Chemistry
Scottish Highers + 2 Advanced Highers AAAAB + AA in two of Maths, Physics or Chemistry
Welsh Baccalaureate + 2 A Levels A+AA including two of Maths, Physics or Chemistry
Access to HE Entry requirements for mature students
Other qualifications Other UK qualifications
Other EU/international qualifications
Other requirements
  • GCSE grade 4 or grade C or equivalent in the other listed subject, GCSE grade 6 or grade B or equivalent in Maths
  • International students need overall IELTS grade of 6.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in each component, or an equivalent English language qualification
  • Equivalent English language qualifications
If you have any questions about entry requirements, please contact the Department.


Modules - what you study and when

The modules listed below are examples from the last academic year. There may be some changes before you start your course. For the very latest module information, check with the department direct.

First year

Core modules:

Introduction to Materials Chemistry

This module begins with the electronic structure of atoms and uses this to introduce the chemistry of the periodic table. Crystal chemistry and crystal structures are then considered, starting with simple metals and then moving to ionic bonding and structures before considering glasses. The second half of the module introduces organic and polymer chemistry. Functional group chemistry and molecular shape are discussed using simple models of bonding. We emphasise the importance of macromolecules, together with the larger-scale shape of polymers. We discuss polymer synthesis and its relation to polymer properties some selected cases. This includes discussion of natural and biopolymers.

Introduction to Mechanical Properties and Structural Materials

The basic concepts of stress, strain and moduli are introduced. The links between atomic bonding and the mechanical properties of all the main classes of materials (ceramics, metals, polymers, natural materials and composites) are then explored. Modes of failure ¿ stress concentrations, dislocations, ductility and creep are also covered. The linkages between materials properties and microstructures of materials are investigated with a particular emphasis on metallic crystal structures, defects and dislocations, grain boundaries.

Mathematics (Materials) This module aims to reinforce students' previous knowledge and to develop new basic mathematical techniques needed to support the engineering subjects taken at levels 1 and 2. It also provides a foundation for the level 2 mathematics courses in the appropriate engineering department.
Biomaterials I

This module introduces the human body from an engineering perspective; looking at it as a structure, a mechanism and a sensor. It then introduces both natural and replacement biomaterials discussing properties in relation to function using Ashby charts. Finally, the course discusses lessons that can be learnt from biomaterials by materials engineers in general (biomimetics).

Digital Skills for Materials

The course is designed to teach students to interpret, analyse and present data using modern computational tools (though packages such as Excel, PowerPoint, Word, CES and MATLAB). The students will learn how to use such packages for data analysis and then work through different data sets to determine how the software can be used to perform the necessary mathematical functions on the this data and to clearly show trends and conclusions that can be drawn from the data.

Introduction to Materials Properties

This unit considers materials properties as the link between what is done to a material and how the material responds and hence discusses linking properties to devices and structures. In particular: i) Magnetic Materials: Basics of magnetism; effect of magnetic fields on materials. Classification of magnetic materials (dia-, para-, ferro-, antiferro- and ferri-magnetic). ii) Electrical Materials: Conductors, insulators, field gradient, resistivity. Insulators, semi-conductors, metals, mixed conductors and solid electrolytes. iii) Optical Materials: Optical absorption & emission. Bulbs, fluorescent lamps & phosphors. Optical fibres for light, UV, IR. Transparent & translucent materials.

Kinetics, Thermodynamics and Phase Diagrams

This module introduces basic ideas of thermodynamics and kinetics and their respective roles in determining the behaviour of liquids and gases. The behaviour of gases are first introduced through the empirical gas laws leading to the concept of the ideal gas and the ideal gas equation of state and progressing to more realistic gas equations of state. Basic thermodynamic concepts are covered such as work, heat, internal energy, specific heat, enthalpy, entropy and free energy. Rate laws and rate constants are defined. The principles of zeroth, first and second order reactions, and the effects of temperature on reaction rates are discussed.

Global Engineering Challenge Week

The Faculty-wide Global Engineering Challenge Week is a compulsory part of the first-year programme, and the project has been designed to develop student academic, transferable and employability skills as well as widen their horizons as global citizens. Working in multi-disciplinary groups of six, for a full week, all students in the Faculty choose from a number of projects arranged under a range of themes including Water, ICT, Waste Management and Energy with scenarios set in a developing country. Some projects are based on the Engineers Without Borders Challenge* and other projects have been suggested by an academic at the University of Makerere in Uganda (who is involved in developing solutions using IT systems for health, agriculture and resource problems in developing countries). Students are assessed on a number of aspects of being a professional engineer both by Faculty alumni and a number of local industrial engineers. *The EWB Challenge is a design program coordinated internationally by Engineers Without Borders Australia and delivered in Australian, New Zealand, British and Irish universities. It provides students with the opportunity to learn about design, teamwork and communication through real, inspiring, sustainable and cross-cultural development projects. By participating in the EWB Challenge students are presented with a fantastic opportunity to design creative solutions to problems identified by real EWB projects. Each year, the EWB Challenge design brief is based on a set of sustainable development projects identified by EWB with its community-based partner organisations.

Optional modules:

Biology and Chemistry of Living Systems

MAT1520 provides in-depth knowledge of the biological systems that are core to the Cell and Human Biology element of the courses Materials Science and Engineering (Biomaterials) and Bioengineering . The following are included: protein structure and bonding; enzyme action; the biological defences available at the cellular and systems level to injury, infection and disease; hypersensitivity reactions to biomaterials including dermatitis and oral lesions; blood and disorders of the haematopoietic system; hard and soft tissue response to injury and materials; (some) conditions that may lead to need of tissue replacement. A practical class covers light microscopy, and hands-on cell staining techniques.

Cradle to ?: Materials and the Environment

The production of all manufactured goods involves the use of materials and will have some environmental impact. For example energy is used at all stages from extraction of the raw materials through to final manufacture of the product and possibly during use of the product. Through specific materials based examples this course will introduce students to the energy requirements of different processing routes and products along with some of the complex issues involved in the recycling and re-processing of materials and life-cycle analysis.

Introduction to Nanoscience and Nanomaterials

This module will begin by considering scaling relations in the macro and nano worlds. Examples of nanomaterials, including nanoparticles, nanotubes and nanocomposite bulk materials will be discussed. The use of nanomaterials in novel systems and devices arising from the development of nanomaterials and technology will be considered. Ethical, societal and environmental issues will be discussed.

Tissue Structure and Function

This course introduces students to the tissues of the human body. The principal tissues that make up the body will be described including the cells, proteins and other extracellular components that make up the tissue. The structure of the tissue will be discussed in detail, in particular how it relates to its specific function in a healthy human body. Basic anatomy - how tissues combine to create organs and where each organ can be found in the human body will be studied. Practical classes on human anatomy and histology will be used to demonstrate tissue structure. Finally, how tissue damage causes loss of function will be considered. This course should enable students to understand enough about human tissues so that they can progress to understanding how engineering techniques are used to support, monitor and repair damaged human tissues.

Second Year

Core modules:

Industrial Materials Processing

This course provides a broad overview of the main industrial processing and manufacturing routes for metallic, glass, ceramic and polymeric materials and components. Important engineering principles such as viscosity, heat transfer and fluid flow will be introduced where relevant and a number of case studies will be used in order to highlight the equipment, technology and philosophy behind the choice of process and manufacturing route for these materials.

Microstructure and Thermodynamics of Materials

This course will consider the thermodynamics of materials, emphasising the free energies of mixtures and solutions and their relation to phase diagrams, particularly eutectics. It will then consider how the microstructure of a range of materials (including metals and metallic alloys, ceramics and selected polymers) and thus their mechanical, physical and chemical properties are influenced by composition and phase constitution and by mechanical processing and/or heat treatment. Characterisation methods such as SEM, TEM and optical microscopy will be introduced, including discussions of specimen preparation and interpretation of images.

Deformation and Failure of Materials

This course describes the plastic deformation of metals, polymers and glasses indicating the fundamental mechanisms that give rise to sample strain in response to applied stress or arising from thermally induced effects. The deformation mechanisms are related to microstructure and processing and the implications for design considered.

Functional Materials

This course is concerned with the physical properties of materials, other than mechanical, and their functions. The application of wave mechanics, the effects of structural anisotropy, and the response of systems to AC electric fields are all used in the analysis of thermal, electrical, electronic, magnetic and optical properties of materials. Particular materials applications based on these properties are discussed including electronic materials and pn junctions, magnetic materials and data storage media, dielectric materials including capacitors, piezo- and pyro-electrics, and optical materials for imaging.

Heat Transfer and Diffusion

This module introduces students to diffusion and heat transfer. In the diffusion part topics covered in atomic motion, the diffusion constant, Fick's laws and the mechanisms of atomic transport in the bulk and at the surface of materials. There is also discussion of the role of diffusion in the evolution of materials, their growth and crystallisation. The heat transfer part of the course is intended to develop an understanding of the basic physics of conductive, convective and radiative heat transfer and its relevance to materials processing. To this end, the course concentrates on `simple¿ analytic approaches to heat transfer problems.

Materials Selection and Fracture Mechanics

The first half of the course aims to build a comprehensive understanding of the interrelationship between materials selection, materials processing, product design and product performance in order to develop a holistic approach to optimum selection of materials for engineering and industrial applications. Topics examined include methods of materials and process selection through an applied open-ended project. This module also introduces students to fracture mechanics. In the fracture mechanics topics covered in some detail include linear elastic fracture mechanics, cyclic fatigue, stress corrosion and failure prediction. A brief introduction to elastic-plastic fracture mechanics is also included.

Mathematics II (Materials)

This module is part of a series of second-level modules designed for the particular group of engineers shown in brackets in the module title. Each module consolidates previous mathematical knowledge and develops new mathematical techniques relevant to the particular engineering discipline.

Structure of Solid Materials

This module introduces the crystallography of solids: Particular emphasis is on advanced symmetry elements, point groups and space groups. Crystallographical classifications and their relations to physical properties are discussed. This is then related to principles, the practice and application of X-ray crystallography, particularly powder diffraction techniques. A brief introduction to crystallography of 2D materials and interfaces between materials is also provided.

Engineering - You're Hired

The Faculty-wide Engineering - You're Hired Week is a compulsory part of the second year programme, and the week has been designed to develop student academic, transferable and employability skills. Working in multi-disciplinary groups of about six, students will work in interdisciplinary teams on a real world problem over an intensive week-long project. The projects are based on problems provided by industrial partners, and students will come up with ideas to solve them and proposals for a project to develop these ideas further.

Optional modules:

Making Ideas Happen

Enterprise involves putting ideas into practice. 'Making Ideas Happen' introduces students to the areas of enterprise, entrepreneurship and innovation, equipping them with the skills to generate and develop a financially-sustainable, socially-driven idea, and work with others with a range of disciplinary backgrounds and expertise. Course content is divided into 10 topics, delivered electronically via MOLE, the University's VLE, which are supplemented by interactive workshops, advice from a range of professional specialists, external visits and support from the module leader and tutors. The module centres around work with external community partners to develop a social enterprise idea to business plan stage. PLEASE NOTE: USE will only accept Add/Drop applications for the Autumn and Spring semester up until the Friday of Week 1 of the Add/Drop period for each semester. After this date no further requests to add the module will be accepted. Please note that August resits are not available for this module IF YOU STUDY USE201, YOU WILL NOT BE ELIGIBLE TO CHOOSE USE301 AT LEVEL 3.

Biology and Chemistry of Living Systems II

This course builds on the knowledge gained in MAT1520 and expands the range of biological systems covered that are core to the Cell and Human Biology element of the Materials Science and Engineering (Biomaterials) and Bioengineering courses. The following are included: the extracellular matrix; cell adhesion and spreading; cell communication and signalling; cytokines and HIV: complement activation and development of new biomaterials to improve biocompatibility; toxicity and toxicology including information on mutagenic effects, teratomas, carcinogens and neurotoxicity; classification of tumours, spread of tumours and clinical relevance. Two practical classes cover hands-on in vitro cell culture and toxicity testing of biomaterials. This unit aims to: Further investigate (following on from MAT1510) the extracellular matrix and its many functions; Investigate cell adhesion and spreading and how they are influenced by the physico-chemical characteristics of the underlying substrata; Provide an introduction to cell communication and cell-signalling, including information on hormones, local mediators, contact-dependent signalling molecules, and neurotransmitters; Further explore (following on from MAT1520) the biological defences available at the cellular and systems level to injury, infection and materials; Provide a detailed knowledge of toxicity and toxicology, including information on mutagenic effects, teratomas, carcinogens and neurotoxicity.

Biomaterials II

This course will explore the range of materials, both synthetic and natural, that can be used as implants in the human body, from a materials science perspective. This course will highlight the materials properties of implant materials, and will give an overview of possible host responses to the implant materials. Additionally, both physical and chemical routes to reduce the host response will be discussed. Case studies of hard and soft tissue implants will be discussed. Finally, the course will highlight the use of artificial organs.

Materials and Energy

This unit introduces students to aspects of the generation and utilisation of energy and its environmental consequences with particular emphasis on materials-related topics. An overview of electricity generation and utilisation is given covering both conventional technologies (fossil fuel), nuclear and renewable (wind, water, solar, biomass, geothermal). Battery systems and fuel cells are covered, together with the use of coatings in various energy generation, conservation and storage systems and the environmental considerations concerning CO2 emissions and methods for its sequestration.

Perspectives in Materials Research

This module aims to provide students with access to the real and current research taking place in the materials community from an academic/industrial viewpoint. Content will focus on demonstrating how particular core material feeds into research areas and how this drives future technological solutions. The students will also learn about the concepts of selling research ideas and the skills of explaining concepts succinctly in order to engage others to buy into their research field.

The Physiology of the Musculoskeletal System

This course builds on the introductions to anatomy, physiology and cell and molecular biology at Level 1, and uses the principles learnt at that level to study the functioning of the musculoskeletal system in detail. The interactions between the various components (muscle, bone, tendon, joints and skin) of the musculoskeletal system are emphasised, with particular stress on the fact that biological systems do not exist in isolation. Engineering aspects of the musculoskeletal system are described, how cells respond to mechanical forces, how this is measured in the laboratory and how it can be exploited for tissue repair. The course uses published literature throughout, during seminars and tutorials and as part of the on-line assessment.

Third year

Core modules

Industrial Placement: Part 1

The four year MEng course is for those who wish to pursue careers in the materials producing and using industries as process technologists, managers or researchers. A distinctive and important feature of the course is an industrial placement undertaken towards the end of year 3. The work placement will provide an insight into the work of a professional materials engineer in industry and will enable the student to put into context the material taught within the University-based part of the course.

Advanced Materials Manufacturing: Part I

This unit covers a range of advanced materials manufacturing techniques that are either widely used or emerging in industry. Techniques include Additive Layer Manufacturing, Electron Beam Welding, Superplastic Forming, lithium battery manufacturing and advanced machining approaches. In addition, non-destructive evaluation techniques to ensure high levels of manufacturing integrity will be described.

Engineering Alloys

This unit covers engineering metallic alloys ranging from alloy steels, stainless steels, light alloys (i.e. aluminium alloys and titanium alloys) and high temperature metallic systems (intermetallics and nickel superalloys). The course centres on the physical metallurgy of such engineering alloys to demonstrate the effect of alloying and its implications for the processing, microstructure and performance of structural components in a range of industrial sectors, but predominantly the automotive and aerospace sectors.

Industrial Training Programme (ITP), Project 1: Nuclear Materials

This unit will provide an insight into the design, manufacture and in-service performance of industrial nuclear materials and components. This will be in collaboration with NNL (Sellafield), including their Chief Engineer and Nuclear AMRC. NNL will set a real technical challenge and small group sizes will undertake experimental work and present a report that will require an in-depth literature review. To supplement the main technical challenge there will be focused technical seminars on relevant topics. These topics will be provided by both academics and engineers. In addition, NNL will provide seminars on employability skills, data handling, quality and safety in nuclear materials sector.

Industrial Training Programme (ITP), Project 2: Amorphous Materials

This unit will provide an insight into the design, manufacturing technology and failure analysis of glass in the biomedical, food, architecture, photonics sectors, etc. This will be in collaboration with Glass Technology Services (Sheffield). GTS will set a real technical challenge and small group sizes will undertake experimental work and present a report that will require an in-depth literature review. To supplement the main technical challenge there will be focused technical seminars on relevant topics. These topics will be provided by both academics and engineers. In addition, GTS will provide seminars on employability and communication skills. There will be at least two industrial visits to glass manufacturers.

Advanced Ceramics

This unit covers six topics in inorganic and functional materials building on earlier course. Topics are thin/thick film and bulk electroceramic materials, devices and applications. Coverage will focus on materials processing, industrial application requirements and state of the art assessment of materials development strategies.

Finance and Law for Engineers

The module is designed to introduce engineering students to some of the key financial and legal issues that engineers are likely to encounter in their working environment. The module will draw directly on practical issues of budgeting, raising finance, assessing financial risks and making financial decisions in the context of engineering projects and/or product development. At the same time the module will develop students¿ understanding of the legal aspects of entering into contracts for the development and delivery of engineering projects and products and an awareness of environmental regulation, data protection and intellectual property rights. Through a series of parallel running lectures in the two disciplines, the module will provide a working knowledge of the two areas and how they impinge on engineering practice. There will be a heavy emphasis on group working, report writing and presentation as part of the assessment supplemented by online exercises and an individual portfolio.

Introduction to Materials Modelling

Industrial demands on advanced materials design and product optimization has been increasing over the last years. Modelling is a powerful tool used by companies is materials and device modelling providing a cheap and effective route to new and improved processes and devices. This course will introduce students to the basic concepts of materials modelling and its different fields of application using state of the art software used by companies and research groups.

Surface Degradation and Protection

This course considers the mechanical and chemical properties that can be influenced and controlled by surface engineering techniques, their respective capabilities and the properties of the coated or treated surface that they can be used to produce. It also focuses on the wear, frictional response and corrosion, protection and degradation of metallic materials. The electrochemical nature of the corrosion of metals, standard electrode potentials and kinetics will be reviewed. Polarisation will be defined and corrosion properties investigated. Concepts such as passivation and Pourbaix diagrams will be introduced or expanded upon, leading to an understanding of mechanisms such as pitting corrosion. Wear and Corrosion prevention and control will be discussed along with the application of design to minimising/mitigating corrosion.

Fourth year

Core modules:

Research Project & Literature Review

Project work is carried out on an individual basis over two Semesters by level 4 MEng students. The project will be in the specific subject of the specialist degree. Project work is carried out with the supervision of a member or members of the academic staff and comprises an original research investigation. The project should be regarded as research training, and is chosen from a list drawn up so that students are able to pursue their own interests relating to course choices. The final year report will incorporate an introduction, relevant literature review, results and discussion and conclusions.

Industrial Training Programme (ITP), Project 4: Metals Processing

This unit will provide an insight into industrial metals processing and the accompanying environmental aspects of the manufacturing sector for critical applications. This will be a collaboration with UK industries such as Tata Steel, Sheffield Forgemasters, GKN and/or Siemens VAI. Industry will set a real technical challenge and small group sizes will undertake experimental work and present a report that will require an in-depth literature review. To supplement the main technical challenge there will be focussed technical seminars on relevant topics. These topics will be provided by both academics and engineers. In addition, the metals processing industry will provide seminars on environmental aspects, works services and quality issues.

Metallurgical Processing

This module examines three areas of materials engineering where significant improvement in performance in-service can be obtained via their use. First, the module provides an introduction to the processes and technologies involved in the production of steel, aluminium, and titanium Secondly, methodologies of how microstructure can be significantly improved via thermomechanical processing are investigated and aims to build insight into the operation and capabilities of thermomechanical processing techniques. Finally, this module will describe in detail the underlying engineering principles of plastic forming and focus on some of the main metallic production techniques such as extrusion, rolling and wire drawing.

Industrial Placement: Part 2

The four year M.Eng course is for those who wish to pursue careers in the materials producing and using industries as process technologists, managers or researchers. A distinctive and important feature of the course is an industrial placement undertaken towards the end of year 3. The work placement will provide an insight into the work of a professional materials engineer in industry and will enable the student to put into context the material taught within the University-based part of the course.

Optional modules:

Advanced Materials Manufacturing: Part II

This unit follows on from the material covered in Advanced Materials Manufacturing - Part I. It aims to give students the tools necessary to understand advanced manufacturing and its control at the industrial scale. The unit consists of three sections: i) Industrial seminars covering a range of materials manufacturing techniques ii) Lectures on product and process quality and control, e.g. 6 sigma, Taguchi and FMEA iii) A group project utilising commercial software to determine optimum manufacturing process routes.

Advanced Nuclear Systems

The aims of this module are to develop an understanding of the role of materials science and engineering in nuclear systems. The module will explore advanced nuclear concepts, including: 1. Materials for nuclear energy systems: metallic systems for the reactor core, nuclear graphite, phase diagram of UO2 / PuO2 system, microstructure and chemistry of irradiated UO2 fuel. 2. Advanced nuclear systems: materials for Generation IV systems, future fuels, fusion systems, advanced fuel cycle concepts. 3. Nuclear materials performance: swelling, voiding; stress corrosion cracking, creep, and hydride formation. 4. Radiation damage: fundamental physics of radiation damage processes, models for damage accumulation, impact on mechanical properties. 5. The impact on materials design from nuclear accidents, such as Chernobyl and Fukushima The module will be taught primarily through lectures, with contribution from external experts.

Design and Manufacture of Composites

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.

Glasses and Cements

The materials science and technology of 1) glasses and 2) cement and concrete. The nature of amorphous glass structures for silicates, borates and phosphates is examined in some detail, along with the processes required to produce them. The mechanical properties of glasses and ways to improve them are detailed. Types of cement, their manufacture, and their reaction processes in setting/hardening and in service are discussed, and the importance of understanding glass chemistry in optimising modern cements is highlighted.

Materials Modelling

This unit discusses materials modelling and its application to the understanding and prediction of the structure and properties of materials. Computational workshops and a group project introduce students to the practical use of standard modelling methods. The overarching aim is to foster an appreciation for the relevant length and timescales of the available modelling tools, and knowledge of how to combine several of them to solve a multiscale problem in materials engineering. All the modelling tools are based on particle methods ¿ either atomistic simulation or continuum simulation. The latter technique is different in formulation from the usual Finite Element or Computational Fluid Dynamics tools, but more versatile and powerful. This module will teach students some of the fundamental theory that underpins the methods, give them a sound understanding of the algorithms and structure used in the code, while providing ample examples of where they can be applied in the field of Materials Engineering.

Materials for Energy Applications

This module aims to develop students' understanding of materials (ferrous & non-ferrous alloys, ceramics, composites) used for energy generation.

Nanostructures and Nano-structuring

This module introduces nanostructures (free-standing nanoobjects or assemblies of these, or nanopores in porous materials), and methods of nanopatterning and nanocharacterisation (nanometrology). There is particular emphasis on carbon and non-carbon-based nanotubes, composite nanotubes, nanowires and belts, and nanosticks and tips. Also considered are 3-D framework nanostructures, including nanoporous materials, opal and inverse opal structures, and composite nanomaterials generated from these porous materials. The nanopatterning methods introduced concentrate on focused ion beam, focused electron beam technology and mechanical imprint methods.

Nuclear Waste Immobilisation and Disposal

This unit considers management and methods of immobilization for nuclear waste. Wastes from the complete fuel cycle will be considered with methods and regulation for each main type of waste covered. Specific topics covered include: natural sources of radioactivity, definitions and classifications of waste mining, extraction and enrichment tailings, high-level, intermediate-level, and low-level classifications pre-treatment methods, vitrification technology, ceramic immobilization, and cementitous immobilisation, geological disposal, regulatory concerns and management, effects of transmutation and radiation damage on wasteform development.

Polymer Fibre Composite Materials

This course starts with an introduction to the different types of composite that exist in nature (e.g., bone, wood and shells) or are made (e.g., fibre or particulate reinforced composites; metal-matrix, ceramic-matrix orpolymer-matrix composites). The course then moves on to discuss the reinforcing theories and examines the strengths and weaknesses of composite materials. Its aim is to acquaint students with the constituents of composite materials, and to their modes of failure. Matrix materials including thermoplastic and thermosetting polymers will be discussed in terms of their chemistry and physical properties. Reinforcement types including fibres (e.g., carbon, glass and polymers) and particulate/nanoscale reinforcements (e.g., clays and graphene) will also be discussed in detail. Finally, the failure modes of composites under impact and fatigue loading will be examined from a micromechanical view point and then globally as final component failure occurs.

Polymer Processing

This module provides the students with a detailed description of advanced polymer processing as applied to modern industrial applications. The fundamental concepts behind polymer melt dynamics and solidification will be explored and will provide the theoretical basis for the forming processes. The manufacturing processes themselves will be described giving the students the ability to choose between them allowing informed decisions regarding commercial applications. The use of real world case studies and reverse engineering examples in dedicated problem classes will provide the students with practical experience otherwise difficult to impart.

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.

In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption.

Learning and assessment

Learning and assessment

These figures give an indication of how you'll learn and be assessed. They're a combined average of all the years of the course. The learning and assessment percentages could vary depending on the modules you choose.

Scheduled teaching 24%
Independent study 70%
Placement 6%

Exams/tests 56%
Coursework 40%
Practical 4%

Department of Materials Science and Engineering

The Diamond building

Materials is an extremely important area of technology as any physical thing that is made has to be created from materials. Frequently the properties those materials can achieve are what controls the performance. Materials Scientists understand why materials have certain properties and research new materials with better performance to help produce and use these materials in real products, large and small.

We strive to make your university experience unforgettable. From access to our cutting edge, multidisciplinary engineering laboratories to direct contact with our industrial partners, we provide a wealth of opportunities to support your skill development which will help with whatever you choose to do after graduating.

You'll learn from case studies and carry out design projects, a research project, group industrial projects and laboratory work. These projects help to develop your creativity and confidence.

Taught in our brand new engineering building, The Diamond (pictured), you'll have access to our dedicated state-of-the-art materials laboratories, as well other cutting-edge multidisciplinary engineering laboratories including a clean room and biomaterials and light structure laboratories.

Department of Materials Science and Engineering website


What our graduates do

A career in materials science and engineering can take many forms, and can take you into the technical or business area you want, in the part of the world where you want to work.

Our graduates are in demand and well paid. They work for international companies in a variety of industrial sectors including aerospace, automotive, healthcare, construction, sports and energy. They work in areas ranging from research and development to process engineering. Employers include Rolls-Royce, Airbus, Pilkington, Sheffield Forgemasters, Morgan Ceramics and Jaguar Land Rover.

Student profile

Student profile

"Within the Industrial Training Programme 12-week challenge, we all work together for a common goal. At the end of the project, it's not just about the grade. You can use the experience in interviews to help you get a job."

Ross McGregor
Department of Materials Science and Engineering

Further information

All our courses are fully accredited by the IOM3, meaning they count towards later professional registration as an Incorporated Engineer (IEng) or Chartered Engineer (CEng).

BEng or MEng
It is possible to switch between many of our courses and between the BEng and MEng (based on performance on the exams in the course) up to the end of the second year.