Materials Science and Engineering with a Year in Industry BEng
Department of Materials Science and Engineering
You are viewing this course for 2021-22 entry.
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 how to tailor the structure, composition and processing of materials to meet design requirements.
You can keep your study broad for the whole course, or focus on a particular material after the second year. If you're already interested in a certain area, you can follow a specialism from the beginning, for instance metals, aerospace materials and mechanical design, or materials engineering.
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.
Your third year will be spent on placement in industry. This experience will put your learning into context and give you a head start in the careers market. You pay a reduced fee to the University for that year and you get paid a salary.
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.
All our undergraduate courses are fully accredited by the IOM3, meaning they count towards later professional registration as an Incorporated Engineer (IEng) or Chartered Engineer (CEng).
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 directly.
Choose a year to see modules for a level of study:
UCAS code: J591
- 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.20 credits
- 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.20 credits
- 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.20 credits
- 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 module discusses lessons that can be learnt from biomaterials by materials engineers in general (biomimetics).10 credits
- 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.10 credits
- 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.10 credits
- 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.10 credits
- 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.10 credits
- Kinetics, Thermodynamics and Phase Diagrams
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.10 credits
- 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. http://www.ewb-uk.org/ewbchallenge
- 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.20 credits
- 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.20 credits
- 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.10 credits
- 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.10 credits
- 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.10 credits
- 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.10 credits
- 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.10 credits
- 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.10 credits
- 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.
- 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.10 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
- 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.10 credits
- 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.10 credits
- Year in Industry
The course enables students to spend, typically, their third year of a BEng or fourth year of an MEng working in a `course relevant¿ role in industry. This provides them with wide ranging experiences and opportunities that put their academic studies into context and improve their skills and employability. Students will also benefit from experiencing the culture in industry, making contacts, and the placement will support them in their preparation for subsequent employment.120 credits
- Literature Survey and Project
The projects all take the same form but are specific to the particular degree for which the candidate is registered. The project is chosen from a list drawn up so that students are able to pursue their own interests related to course choices. It is an original research investigation carried out individually under the supervision of one or more members of the academic staff. Students carry out a Literature Survey involving the reading of original papers and review articles in Learned Society Journals and Conference Proceedings. Most projects involve extensive laboratory work although some may be based primarily on a survey of the published literature or computational studies. The assessment of the projects include a verbal presentation on the work carried out before staff and other students and a written dissertation on which an oral examination is held.30 credits
- 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.10 credits
- Introduction to Finite Element 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.10 credits
- Surface Degradation and Protection
Review of electrochemical nature of corrosion of metals, standard electrode potentials and kinetics. Definition of polarisation and investigationof corrosion properties. Forms of corrosion and the different methods of corrosion control. Consideration of 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.10 credits
- Advanced Ceramics
This unit covers six topics in inorganic and functional materials building on an 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.10 credits
- Advanced Functional Materials
This unit is concerned with three groups of inorganic and organic materials, all three are important for their functional applications ¿ electroceramics, liquid crystals and magnetic materials.. The functional materials topics build on courses delivered at first and second year level and provide a more in-depth presentation of specific materials properties and their industrial applications. .10 credits
- 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 and advanced machining approaches. In addition, non-destructive evaluation techniques to ensure high levels of manufacturing integrity will be described.10 credits
- Composite Materials and Micromechanics
Review of laws of mixtures: strength of fibre composites. Statistical aspects of strength. Transverse cracking and longitudinal splitting of crossply laminates. Brief introduction to environmental aspects. Introduction to laminate theory. Reinforcement theories of Cox, Kelly and Tyson. Fibre length requirements. Technological aspects of real mouldings. Fibre orientation and technologies for its control. Particulate reinforcements. The concept of the interphase (acicular, carbon black). Modulus of a polymer. Requirements for a high modulus. Strong polyethene fibres, textile fibre. Spinning techniques. Polyacrylonitriee fibres. Carbon fibres. Aramid fibres. Other organic high modulus fibres (eg PBT, PBO). Silicon carbide and related fibres.10 credits
The materials science and technology of glasses. 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.10 credits
- Materials for Biological Applications
This module will explore contemporary biomaterials science and will focus on state of the art production methods for biomaterials manufacture. We will look at: rapid prototyping techniques for biomaterials manufacture, e.g. stereolithography, plasma coating techniques, electrospinning and fibres, foams for scaffolds, metal foams, metal coatings, ceramics processing/analysis, bioactive glasses and bioprinting. For all these, examples of recent literature will be used. The module will examine how the properties of the materials determine it's function and which processing techniques are optimum for specific applications, with a focus on implant materials and tissue engineering scaffolds.10 credits
This course builds on the fundamental physical metallurgy of alloy steels, stainless steels, aluminium and titanium alloys to demonstrate the purpose and effect of alloying and its implications for the processing, microstructure and performance of structural aerospace components. The aim is to provide insight into the design and manufacture of steels for structural aerospace applications. Topics covered will include physical metallurgy, secondary processing, heat treatment, machining, fabrication and finishing of the main classes of alloy employed, as well as relationships between processing, microstructure and performance, and their implication for alloy design.The fundamental characteristics of aluminium, magnesium and titanium to demonstrate the purpose and effects of alloying and its implications for processing, properties and applications will also be discussed. It aims to provide an overview of the basic characteristics, processing, structure, properties and applications of engineering light metals and alloys. Applications and case studies are biased towards the automotive and aerospace indus10 credits
- Nuclear Science, Engineering and Technology
The aims of this module are to develop:- An understanding of the structure of the atomic nucleus and radioactive decay processes- An holistic understanding of the nuclear fuel cycle- An understanding of the nuclear reactor systems and power generation- An understanding of materials design and performance parameters for nuclear applicationsThis unit is designed to introduce key principles of nuclear science, engineering and technology, in the context of applications, including:-Energy from nuclear reactions-Diagnostics and therapy in medicine-Radioactive waste treatment and disposal-Nuclear defence and non-proliferation-Radiation protectionThese topics will be studied in relation to their socio-economic and environmental impact.The module will be taught primarily through lectures and inquiry based case studies, with contribution from external experts.10 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. We are no longer offering unrestricted module choice. If your course included unrestricted modules, your department will provide a list of modules from their own and other subject areas that you can choose from.
Learning and assessment
You'll learn through lectures, labs, tutorials and problem classes. We take a 'learn by doing' approach to our courses, so that you develop transferable, industry-relevant skills and use equipment found in the workplace.
You will be assessed by a combination of exams and tests, coursework and practical work. The proportions for each will vary depending on the modules you choose.
This tells you the aims and learning outcomes of this course and how these will be achieved and assessed.
With Access Sheffield, you could qualify for additional consideration or an alternative offer - find out if you're eligible
The A Level entry requirements for this course are:
including two of Maths, Physics or Chemistry
The A Level entry requirements for this course are:
including two of Maths, Physics or Chemistry
A Levels + additional qualifications | ABB, including two of Maths, Physics or Chemistry + A in a relevant EPQ ABB, including two of Maths, Physics or Chemistry + A in a relevant EPQ
International Baccalaureate | 34, 6,5 in two of Higher Level Maths, Physics or Chemistry 34 including 5 in two of Higher Level Maths, Physics or Chemistry
BTEC | DDD in Engineering or Applied Science + grade A in A Level Maths DDD in Engineering or Applied Science + B in A Level Maths
Scottish Highers + 2 Advanced Highers | AAABB + AB in two of Maths, Physics or Chemistry AABBB + AB in two of Maths, Physics or Chemistry
Welsh Baccalaureate + 2 A Levels | B + AA from two of Maths, Physics or Chemistry B + AB, including two of Maths, Physics or Chemistry
Access to HE Diploma | 60 credits overall in a relevant subject with 45 at Level 3 including 36 credits at Distinctions 9 at and Merit Level 3 units in two of Mathematics, Physics or Chemistry required. Applicants are considered individually. 60 credits overall in a relevant subject with 45 at Level 3 including 30 credits at Distinctions 15 at and Merit Level 3 units in two of Mathematics, Physics or Chemistry required. Applicants are considered individually.
Mature students - explore other routes for mature students
You must demonstrate that your English is good enough for you to successfully complete your course. For this course we require: GCSE English Language at grade 4/C; IELTS grade of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each component; or an alternative acceptable English language qualification
GCSE grade 4 or grade C or equivalent in the other listed subject, GCSE grade 6 or grade B or equivalent in Maths
If you have any questions about entry requirements, please contact the department.
Department of Materials Science and Engineering
Take a look around you. Materials are everywhere. Used for different applications, for different reasons. Without materials scientists and engineers, aeroplanes wouldn't fly, buildings wouldn't stand up, mobile phones wouldn't work, healthcare wouldn't be the same.
Materials science and engineering is a subject that is integral to all other engineering disciplines. It brings together physics, chemistry, engineering, maths, and in some cases, biology, and puts these subjects into real-life situations.
Sheffield has long been a centre of materials innovation, and with a history of research excellence that can be traced back more than 135 years, this department was one of the foundation stones of the University.
Our academics are leading experts in their fields with international reputations, and their research shapes and inspires what you are taught.
We strive to give you a valuable and unforgettable university experience. By accessing state-of-the-art multidisciplinary engineering laboratories, direct contact with industrial partners, and excellent learning resources, you will be given the opportunity and support to develop the skills you need to succeed at university and flourish in your career once you graduate.
Department of Materials Science and Engineering are mainly based in The Diamond, the University's dedicated engineering teaching facility. Here, you'll find lecture theatres, seminar rooms, open plan learning spaces, library services and a number of specialist engineering laboratories. You'll also have lectures and use laboratories in the Sir Robert Hadfield Building.
Not only do you get to use the materials lab, packed full of research grade equipment, but because materials science and engineering is integrated into all other types of engineering, our students get to experience working in multiple laboratories in the Diamond, such as the electronics lab and the clean room. There are also social spaces and a cafe where you can take a well earned break from studying.
Why choose Sheffield?
The University of Sheffield
A Top 100 university 2021
QS World University Rankings
Top 10% of all UK universities
Research Excellence Framework 2014
No 1 Students' Union in the UK
Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2019, 2018, 2017
Department of Materials Science and Engineering
The Times Good University Guide 2020
National Student Survey 2020
Department of Materials Science and Engineering
Employers are increasingly looking for evidence of practical work experience as it demonstrates a genuine interest and means you will have the practical skills to work in a real industrial environment.
Studying for a degree in materials science gives you a strong set of transferable skills valued by employers across a wide range of industries, including:
- analytical and problem-solving skills
- time management, planning and organisation
- research and report writing
- team working
- numerical skills
Our courses are designed to include a significant portion of practical work, allowing students to get hands-on experience of important processes and the latest investigative equipment. There are frequent occasions when we will ask you to work in the same way as professional engineers, with opportunities to work in industry or on projects of direct industrial interest.
Over the past four years, more than 95% of Sheffield materials graduates had secured employment or were in further study, six months after graduation.
We'll challenge you to think about engineering issues from a global perspective. So wherever your future lies, you'll be in demand.
Fees and funding
The annual fee for your course includes a number of items in addition to your tuition. If an item or activity is classed as a compulsory element for your course, it will normally be included in your tuition fee. There are also other costs which you may need to consider.
Funding your study
Depending on your circumstances, you may qualify for a bursary, scholarship or loan to help fund your study and enhance your learning experience.
Use our Student Funding Calculator to work out what you’re eligible for.
University open days
There are four open days every year, usually in June, July, September and October. You can talk to staff and students, tour the campus and see inside the accommodation.
At various times in the year we run online taster sessions to help Year 12 students experience what it is like to study at the University of Sheffield.
If you've made an application to study with us, we'll invite you to one of our applicant days, which take place between November and April. These applicant days have a strong department focus and give you the chance to really explore student life here, even if you've visited us before.
Campus tours run regularly throughout the year, at 1pm every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
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