Materials student on industrial placement

Materials Science and Engineering with an Industrial Placement Year BEng

Department of Materials Science and Engineering

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    You are viewing this course for 2023-24 entry. 2024-25 entry is also available.

    Key details

    Course description

    Students working on the Global Engineering Challenge

    In our core undergraduate degree, you'll discover the underlying principles of materials science, and how these are applied across materials engineering situations. You can keep your course general or tailor your degree in later years with optional materials modules.

    As well as lectures and tutorials, you'll learn through experiencing real-world engineering situations with extensive practical work in important manufacturing processes and using the latest investigative equipment. You will also have the opportunity to interact with industry and gain valuable experience of the workplace. 

    It is possible to switch between the BEng and MEng (based on performance on the exams in the course) at the end of the second year.

    Between your second and third years, you will undertake a year-long placement in industry, which will give you invaluable experience and skills to prepare you for your future career.

    This course is fully accredited by the IOM3, meaning it counts towards later professional registration as an Incorporated Engineer (IEng) or Chartered Engineer (CEng).


    A selection of modules are 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.

    Choose a year to see modules for a level of study:

    Title: Materials Science and Engineering with a Year in Industry BEng course structure 2023
    UCAS code: J591
    Years: 2023
    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 in 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 an emphasis on links between processing, microstructure and the mechanical properties of metals

    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. The module is delivered via online lectures, reinforced with weekly interactive problem classes.

    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 course discusses lessons that can be learnt from biomaterials by materials engineers in general (biomimetics). 

    10 credits
    Sustainability and the Materials Lifecycle

    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 you how to interpret, analyse and present data using modern computational tools (such as Excel and MATLAB). You will learn how to use these packages to write algorithms for data analysis allowing you to show trends and conclusions drawn from the data. 

    The course is taught through working on set examples that involve the analysing and processing of data in order to present the results with graphs and tables. This allows you to learn the software in a practical manner gaining familiarity and confidence to use in other areas of your undergraduate course (both lectures and practicals).

    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 and emission. Bulbs, fluorescent lamps and phosphors. Optical fibres for light, UV, IR. Transparent and 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 introduces basic ideas of thermodynamics and kinetics and their respective roles in determining the behaviour of gases, liquids and solids. Empirical gas laws are introduced 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, rate constants, reaction orders and the effects of temperature on reaction rates are discussed. Equilibrium binary phase diagrams of important metals are introduced.

    10 credits
    Global Engineering Challenge Week

    The Faculty-wide Global Engineering Challenge Week is a compulsory part of the first-year programme. 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 5-6, for a full week, all students in the Faculty choose from a number of projects arranged under a range of themes including Water, Waste Management, Energy and Digital with scenarios set in an overseas location facing economic challenge. Some projects are based on the Engineers Without Borders Engineering for people design challenge*.

    *The EWB challenge provides students with the opportunity to learn about design, teamwork and communication through real, inspiring, sustainable and cross-cultural development projects identified by EWB with its community-based partner organisations.

    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.

    We invest to create the right environment for you. That means outstanding facilities, study spaces and support, including 24/7 online access to our online library service.

    Study spaces and computers are available to offer you choice and flexibility for your study. Our five library sites give you access to over 1.3 million books and periodicals. You can access your library account and our rich digital collections from anywhere on or off campus. Other library services include study skills training to improve your grades, and tailored advice from experts in your subject.

    Learning support facilities and library opening hours

    Our world-class staff will help you to develop as a scientist and engineer. Our academics are leading experts in their fields with international reputations, and their research shapes and inspires what you are taught. Combining this knowledge with industrial understanding means that what we teach you is relevant today and into the future.


    You will be assessed by a combination of exams and tests, coursework and practical work throughout your degree. The proportions for each will vary depending on the modules you choose.

    Programme specification

    This tells you the aims and learning outcomes of this course and how these will be achieved and assessed.

    Find programme specification for this course

    Entry requirements

    With Access Sheffield, you could qualify for additional consideration or an alternative offer - find out if you're eligible.

    Standard offer

    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

    International Baccalaureate 34, with 6, 5 in two of Higher Level Maths, Physics or Chemistry

    BTEC Extended Diploma DDD in Engineering or Applied Science + A in A Level Maths

    BTEC Diploma DD in Engineering or Applied Science + A in A Level Maths

    Scottish Highers + 2 Advanced Highers AAABB + AB in two of Maths, Physics or Chemistry

    Welsh Baccalaureate + 2 A Levels B + AA in two of Maths, Physics or Chemistry

    Access to HE Diploma Award of Access to HE Diploma in a relevant subject (to include units in two of Maths, Physics or Chemistry), with 45 credits at Level 3, including 36 at Distinction and 9 at Merit

    Other requirements
    • Native Language A Levels are not accepted

    • GCSE Maths grade 6/B and 4/C in Physics and Chemistry (if not studied at A Level)

    Access Sheffield offer

    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

    International Baccalaureate 33, with 5 in two of Higher Level Maths, Physics or Chemistry

    BTEC Extended Diploma DDD in Engineering or Applied Science + B in A Level Maths

    BTEC Diploma DD in Engineering or Applied Science + B in A Level Maths

    Scottish Highers + 2 Advanced Highers AABBB + AB in two of Maths, Physics or Chemistry

    Welsh Baccalaureate + 2 A Levels B + AB in two of Maths, Physics or Chemistry

    Access to HE Diploma Award of Access to HE Diploma in a relevant subject (to include units in two of Maths, Physics or Chemistry), with 45 credits at Level 3, including 30 at Distinction and 15 at Merit

    Other requirements
    • Native Language A Levels are not accepted

    • GCSE Maths grade 6/B and 4/C in Physics and Chemistry (if not studied at A Level)

    English language requirements

    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

    Equivalent English language qualifications

    Visa and immigration requirements

    Other qualifications | UK and EU/international

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

    Department of Materials Science and Engineering

    Let our students tell you about what they like about studying Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Sheffield.

    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. 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.

    Department of Materials Science and Engineering

    Why choose Sheffield?

    The University of Sheffield

      A top 100 university
    QS World University Rankings 2023

      92 per cent of our research is rated as world-leading or internationally excellent
    Research Excellence Framework 2021

      Top 50 in the most international universities rankings
    Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2022

      No 1 Students' Union in the UK
    Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2022, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017

      A top 10 university targeted by employers
    The Graduate Market in 2022, High Fliers report

    Department of Materials Science and Engineering

    1st in the UK for student satisfaction in materials science

    National Student Survey 2022

    1st in the UK for graduate prospects

    Complete University Guide 2022

    Graduate careers

    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.

    Our graduates have the skills, experience and contacts they need to tackle society's most pressing  materials challenges. No matter where your future lies, as a Sheffied materials graduate you'll be in demand.

    James Bromley

    At Sheffield I made lifelong friends and received a great education that has prepared me well for the work I currently do.

    James Bromley MEng Materials Science and Engineering

    I left Uni without a job lined up having turned down a position at the company I did my industry placement with. It was at the start of August 2018 that I got a call for interview at UKAEA and I started there as a contractor two weeks later. In early 2020 my position was made permanent. Throughout this time, I have been managing projects with growing confidence and levels of responsibility as I gain experience within the role.

    Chris Morris - CDT student

    Proper science means you don’t know exactly what’s going to happen. At first that can be a bit scary, but your experience will guide you through.

    Chris Morris Currently a member of the Centre for Doctoral Training for Nuclear Energy Futures

    Chris studied Materials Science with Nuclear Engineering and has gone on to join the Centre for Doctoral Training in Nuclear Energy Futures.

    Industry contact

    Over many years, we have developed close relationships with businesses across a broad range of industry sectors. Therefore, you will have the opportunity to explore opportunities in pretty much any sector that interests you through visits, placements and project work.

    If you choose one of our MEng courses, in your third and fourth years you participate in our Industrial Training Programmes - three real-life projects defined by industry partners giving you an insight into how businesses approach engineering problem solving. Students selecting the research route undertake research projects instead of the Industrial Training programme.

    During your Year in Industry you will work in an industrial environment and get a taste of working life. You will be encouraged to find your own placement, but we have a dedicated employment team to help you find opportunities and to support you through the application process. You can choose to work close to Sheffield, or take on a placement further afield, even abroad.

    Fees and funding


    Additional costs

    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.

    Examples of what’s included and excluded

    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.

    Additional funding

    Visit us

    University open days

    We host five open days each year, usually in June, July, September, October and November. You can talk to staff and students, tour the campus and see inside the accommodation.

    Open days: book your place

    Subject tasters

    If you’re considering your post-16 options, our interactive subject tasters are for you. There are a wide range of subjects to choose from and you can attend sessions online or on campus.

    Upcoming taster sessions

    Offer holder days

    If you've If you've received an offer to study with us, we'll invite you to one of our offer holder days, which take place between February and April. These open 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

    Our weekly guided tours show you what Sheffield has to offer - both on campus and beyond. You can extend your visit with tours of our city, accommodation or sport facilities.

    Campus tour: book your place

    Apply for this course

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    How to apply When you're ready to apply, see the UCAS website:

    Not ready to apply yet? You can also register your interest in this course.

    The awarding body for this course is the University of Sheffield.

    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.

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

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