Materials Science and Engineering (Research)

MEng Materials Science and Engineering (Research)

This unique degree prepares you for a career in research. You can begin your studies on the core Materials Science and Engineering degree, switching to this more specialised course before the end of Year 2 or, alternatively, you can apply direct and start the course right from Year 1.

The course is accredited by the Institute of Mining, Minerals and Materials (IOM3), and provides wider research experience and faster progression to Chartered Engineer (CEng) status.

UCAS Code: J505
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.

Our campus and how we use it:
We timetable teaching across the whole of our campus, the details of which can be found on our campus map. Teaching may take place in a student’s home department, but may also be timetabled to take place within other departments or central teaching space.

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

Course overview

Course structure

Our course begins with fundamental study of the main areas of importance to materials in Year 1, moving on to consider more advanced subjects, applications of materials and processing in subsequent years.

As you progress you will have the option to tailor your course to suit your interests through module choices.

The modules provided are from the last academic year. 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 Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn.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. For the very latest module information, contact us directly.

Typical modules studied

First year Second year Third year Fourth year
Core Modules Core Modules Core Modules Core Modules
  • Introduction to Materials Chemistry
  • Introduction to Mechanical Properties and Structural Materials
  • Mathematics (Materials)
  • Biomaterials I
  • Digital Skills for Materials
  • Introduction to Materials Properties
  • Kinetics, Thermodynamics and Phase Diagrams
  • Global Engineering Challenge Week
  • Industrial Materials Processing
  • Microstructure and Thermodynamics of Materials
  • Deformation and Failure of Materials
  • Functional Materials
  • Heat Transfer and Diffusion
  • Materials Selection and Fracture Mechanics
  • Mathematics II (Materials)
  • Structure of Solid Materials
  • Engineering - You're Hired
  • Mini Guided Project
  • Finance and Law for Engineers
  • Scientific Writing
  • Extended Research Project
  • Materials Outreach
Optional Modules Optional Modules Optional Modules Optional Modules
  • Biology and Chemistry of Living Systems
  • Cradle to ?: Materials and the Environment
  • Introduction to Nanoscience and Nanomaterials
  • Tissue Structure and Function
  • Biology and Chemistry of Living Systems II
  • Biomaterials II
  • Materials and Energy
  • Perspectives in Materials Research
  • The Physiology of the Musculoskeletal System
  • Advanced Ceramics
  • Advanced Functional Materials
  • Advanced Materials Manufacturing: Part I
  • Composite Materials and Micromechanics
  • Introduction to Finite Element Modelling
  • Materials for Biological Applications
  • Metals
  • Nuclear Science, Engineering and Technology
  • Surface Degradation and Protection
  • Advanced Nuclear Systems
  • Design and Manufacture of Composites
  • Glasses and Cements
  • Atomistic and Mesoscale Modelling of Materials
  • Metallurgical Processing
  • Nanostructures and Nano-structuring
  • Polymer Processing

Module details

How you'll learn

Student using microscope Teaching and assessment

You will have between 18 and 24 hours of staff contact time per week in various forms. Working alongside students and staff from across the globe, you’ll tackle real-world projects, and attend lectures, seminars and laboratory classes delivered by academic and industry experts.

You’ll be assessed by formal examinations, coursework assignments and practical assessments.

The typical proportion of your time spent in different teaching and assessment methods is given here.

There is a mix of lecture courses, practical work, tutorials and experience of projects, both in an academic and industrial setting. The latter years are particularly designed to prepare students for a career in research, either progressing to PhD or in an industrial setting.

Laboratory experience

In Year 3 you’ll complete a series of mini-projects, each six weeks long and based in one of our research laboratories, giving you exposure to a diverse range of research and equipment.

Three projects will be group based, whilst the final project will be completed independently, chosen from a list of submissions from potential supervisors – very much like the process of selecting a PhD.

Example projects include:

  • Looking at glasses for immobilising radioactive waste found in soils with Dr Claire Corkhill
  • Atomistic simulations of electro-ceramic materials with Dr Colin Freeman
  • High entropy alloys (i.e. novel metal alloys) with Dr Russell Goodall

Students will also attend weekly group meetings with an academic mentor. These sessions will focus on developing your verbal and written communication skills as well as awareness of the research process generally. You’ll also be required to develop an online activity such as a blog or wiki page, utilising your science communication skills to showcase your research interests.

For an example of a current student's work, take a look at Bethany's blog.

Summer project

At the end of Year 3, students on the MEng Research degree will have the opportunity to complete an eight-week long project in the Summer, for which a small bursary is provided. You’ll be based in one of the Department’s research laboratories, developing further experience in a different area of research.

All students have the option to apply for a Summer placement via the University Careers Service.

Summer placements

Public engagement

In Year 4 you'll develop invaluable science communication skills through our Outreach module, where you will work in groups to develop a public outreach project, that engages with the public and showcases the field of Materials Science.

For insight into the Outreach module take a look at our department blog post Back to Basics: Science Communication

Research project

In Year 4 all students will complete a final year project which builds upon the skills developed in Year 3, where you’ll have the opportunity to be an author on a published paper.

Past projects covered include such topics as:

  • Silk properties
  • Composite materials
  • Nuclear waste immobilisation
  • High entropy alloys
  • Modelling of capacitor materials

Find out about how you'll learn

Academic support

In Year 3 you'll be assigned an academic mentor and group project supervisor (see below).

Whilst in Year 4 you'll complete a research project, of your choosing, with a dedicated supervisor from across the entire Department staff cohort.

Professor Dan Allwood

allwood.jpgCourse Director and Year 3 Mentor

Professor in Materials Physics and member of the Sheffield Centre for Advanced Magnetic Materials and Devices reseach group.

Staff profile

Dr Rebecca Boston

Dr Rebecca BostonYear 3 Mentor

Lloyds Register Foundation / Royal Academy of Engineering Research Fellow and member of the Functional Materials and Devices research group.

Staff profile

Dr Adrian Leyland

Dr Adrian LeylandYear 3 Mentor

Senior Lecturer in Surface Technology and member of the Research Centre for Surface Engineering.

Staff profile

Dr Claire Corkhill

Dr Claire CorkhillYear 3 Group Project Supervisor

Senior Lecturer and EPSRC Early Career Research Fellow in the nuclear waste materials-focused Immobilisation Science Laboratory (NucleUS).

Staff profile

Dr Colin Freeman

Dr Colin FreemanYear 3 Group Project Supervisor

Lecturer in Materials Simulation and member of the Functional Materials and Devices research group.

Staff profile

Dr Russell Goodall

Dr GoodallYear 3 Group Project Supervisor

Reader in Metallurgy and Outreach module supervisor

Staff profile

What our students say

Lorna Sinclair, MRes studentThe course offers a lot of freedom with regards to project choices and the direction in which projects can go. The 4th year extended project did seem daunting at first but has been very enjoyable as I had the chance to plan and manage what I wanted to work on. It is a fairly large time commitment on a single project, unlike almost any other work at university, but is rewarding in the sense that you can accomplish a lot and possibly even publish papers of your work. The course has definitely made me feel prepared to apply for PhDs or jobs in Research and Development, it’s been an excellent opportunity to really get into research and see what it’s like working with academics in the Department.


Hear more from our current students

Meet our alumni

Richard Dawidek, alumnus

My final year project investigated a novel technique for characterising functional ceramics and by the end of the year I had successfully developed the technique and produced results that showed the viability of it for future work. I loved diving into the research side of the course so much that I decided to stay on to undertake a PhD, continuing the development of this technique not only for functional ceramics but also to investigate nanomagnetic structures. The research skills gained in completing my project have allowed me to hit the ground running in my first year and the transition from under- to postgraduate was made significantly easier.


Take a look at where alumni are working

*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 the Department.