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    Dental Materials Science

    School of Clinical Dentistry, Faculty of Health

    School of Chemical, Materials and Biological Engineering, Faculty of Engineering

    Examine the properties of materials used in the dental field. Understand how this knowledge is applied to impact clinical interventions and design new dental technology applications.
    MSc Dental Materials Science

    Course description

    This course explores the fundamental science behind a wide range of materials, and how this knowledge is applied in dentistry. You will examine the properties of different materials, why these features make them useful to dentists, and how this understanding is used in the production of dental technology.

    Topics range from the history of dental materials to the latest advances in digital dentistry and tissue engineering. You will learn about the scientific, legal and practical issues that need to be considered when choosing, evaluating and developing dental materials. You will also cover the production processes behind treatment options such as fixed restorations or removable prosthodontics and orthodontics.

    The course is led by experts from both the School of Clinical Dentistry, where staff develop new clinical interventions and work directly with patients, and the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, which studies the fundamental science of matter and its applications. As part of the degree, you will complete a scientific research training programme and work closely with researchers from one of these areas on your own research project.


    A selection of modules is available each year - some examples are below. There may be changes before you start your course. From May of the year of entry, formal programme regulations will be available in our Programme Regulations Finder.

    Core modules:

    Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Dentistry

    The replacement of missing or diseased tissues and the restoration of normal tissue function is arguably the greatest challenge encountered by surgeons and clinical dentists today. This module introduces postgraduate students to the rapidly developing field of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine as applied in clinical dentistry, craniofacial surgery and in commercial and laboratory research. Students on this module will be provided with knowledge and insights with respect to the broad field of tissue engineering and regenerative dentistry, but particular emphasis will be placed on engineered tissue construction for dental and craniofacial repair and reconstruction.

    15 credits
    Dental Materials Science

    This module introduces postgraduate students to a number of key themes and subjects at the heart of dental materials. The module illustrates the relationship between the science of dental materials, their properties, and the relationship between these and clinical performance. The latter includes consideration of the wider subjects of biomechanics and other host factors. Specific subjects covered therefore include the history of dental materials, and their physical, chemical, optical and mechanical properties. The full range of materials used in dentistry will be considered, including direct restorative materials, and materials for removable and fixed prosthodontics.

    15 credits
    Selecting Dental Materials for Clinical Applications

    The correct selection and proper use of materials in dentistry is informed by a wide variety very different scientific, technical, legal and practical considerations. This module will cover a broad range of subjects and issues that determine the safe and correct use of materials including biocompatibility, regulatory environment, and biomechanical considerations. It will also present new and emerging technologies that are having (or will have) an impact on dentistry. Students will be have the opportunity to engage in developing critical and reflective skills as they consider the wider issues that determine the safe and effective use of dental materials.

    15 credits
    Research Problems and Approaches

    The aim of this module is to introduce the candidate to critical appraisal of the scientific literature, health informatics and presentation skills. Health informatics seminars will familiarise the candidates with the tools available for searching and accessing scientific literature. Students will learn to critically appraise the literature including scientific papers, develop a coherent argument and present their findings both verbally and in a written format. Candidates will also be required to attend the Dental School lunchtime seminar series.

    15 credits
    Structural and Physical Properties of Dental and Bio-materials.

    The bulk and surface properties of biomaterials used for regenerative medicine and dental applications directly influence and control the dynamic interactions at the interfacial level. Therefore, it is not only important to understand Structural and Physical Properties of Biomaterials but also view it as a process between the implanted materials and the host environment. It is important to understand these specific properties of biomaterials prior to any medical or dental applications. This module will provide students with knowledge of Structural and Physical Properties in relation with Dental Materials and Biomaterials, enabling them to understand links between biomaterials, regenerative medicine, dentistry and engineering. In addition, it will help them in understanding the hard and soft materials, chemical properties, mechanical properties, thermal properties, including surface modification and their characterisation. The module will provide an understanding of how these elements play a vital role in the success of regenerative medicine and clinical dentistry.

    15 credits
    Dental Technology I

    In this module students will undertake a series of tutorials and lectures relating to the theory that underpins the practical aspects of dental technology. Students will also learn to identify good working practice and how to ensure quality in the production of dental appliances and restorations. Students will learn about a wide variety of production methods for a range of fixed restorations, removable prosthodontics and orthodontics. Students will have the opportunity to observe a range of production and design methods for each type of appliance or restoration.

    15 credits
    Introduction to Digital Dentistry and Dental Manufacturing

    Digital and advanced manufacturing technologies are now having a significant impact on clinical dentistry, so much so that the ongoing changes could now be considered revolutionary. There is therefore a need to educate dentists and dental technologists in subjects related to this rapidly evolving field, starting with the underpinning basic science and engineering concepts, and then examining their practical application in ways that include intra-oral scanning and advanced manufacturing techniques. This module will provide the student with both (i) insight into the existing 3D scanning and manufacturing technologies used in general healthcare applications, highlighting both traditional and innovative methodologies, and (ii) in-depth knowledge and understanding related to 3D scanning and manufacturing in dentistry.

    15 credits
    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. 

    10 credits
    Research Project

    This module is to enable students to develop an understanding of both the research process and research skills required to undertake a supervised research project. The student will undertake a project within a research laboratory either in the Dental School or in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. They will be required to identify relevant information on a topic and critically review the research of others. Original research will be carried out under the supervision of one or more members of the academic staff. The student will carry out a comprehensive Literature Survey (reading of original papers and review articles) and further background reading on the research topic. Project assessment will involve project plan presentation, literature review, dissertation and an oral defence of dissertation.

    60 credits

    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.

    Open days

    An open day gives you the best opportunity to hear first-hand from our current students and staff about our courses.

    You may also be able to pre-book a department visit as part of a campus tour.Open days and campus tours


    1 year full-time


    You will learn through lectures, seminars, tutorials and independent study.


    You will be assessed through assignments, coursework, exams and a dissertation.

    Your career

    Many University of Sheffield graduates work as researchers at top universities, research institutes and companies with a dentistry focus. This course can lead to a PhD and a career with a focus on dental materials science research in academia or in industry.

    Entry requirements

    A dental or medical degree or a minimum 2:1 undergraduate honours degree in a science or engineering subject.

    We also consider a wide range of international qualifications:

    Entry requirements for international students

    Overall IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each component, or equivalent.

    Shortlisted applicants will be invited to attend an online interview. 

    If you have any questions about entry requirements, please contact the department.

    Fees and funding

    Additional costs

    The cost of dissertation binding is not included in your course fees. 


    You can apply now using our Postgraduate Online Application Form. It's a quick and easy process.

    Apply now


    +44 114 215 9318 or +44 114 215 9319

    +44 114 222 5941

    Any supervisors and research areas listed are indicative and may change before the start of the course.

    Our student protection plan

    Recognition of professional qualifications: from 1 January 2021, in order to have any UK professional qualifications recognised for work in an EU country across a number of regulated and other professions you need to apply to the host country for recognition. Read information from the UK government and the EU Regulated Professions Database.