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Materials Science

Programme Specification: Part IB Materials Science

This course is taught by the Department of Materials Science & Metallurgy.


  1. to develop a broad but detailed appreciation of materials and their properties, building on knowledge obtained in Part IA Materials Science;
  2. to develop a preliminary understanding of the chemical, electrical and mechanical properties of materials, and relate that to their microstructure, in a wide range of different systems, including metals and alloys, polymers, engineering ceramics, and semiconductors;
  3. to generate knowledge and understanding of the basis of processing, production and selection of materials for industrial, commercial and engineering applications;
  4. to provide sufficient background to enable students to continue with more advanced topics in Part II Materials Science.

Learning Outcomes

At the end of the course the students should:

  1. have acquired knowledge of the major types of materials and how their properties can be calculated or determined experimentally;
  2. have developed a knowledge of production methods and be able to assess the reasons why particular materials and methods of production are chosen in order to achieve a desired set of properties;
  3. have developed transferable skills in the areas of quantitative analysis, scientific reasoning and communication;
  4. have developed practical skills in laboratory work and the necessary associated awareness of health and safety in the laboratory;
  5. have sufficient knowledge and understanding of materials in order to be able to continue into Part II Materials Science.

Teaching and Learning Methods

These include lectures, supervisions, practical classes and a guided (manufactured article) project. There are also elements of individual work on the analysis of microstructures and during the manufactured article project.


Assessment for this course is through:

  • two unseen written examinations, based on lecture material (for aims 1-4 and learning outcomes 1-3 and 5);
  • practical classes (for aims 1-4 and learning outcomes 1-5);
  • investigation of a manufactured article to identify materials and methods used in its production (for aims 1-4 and learning outcomes 1-5).

Courses of Preparation

Highly desirable: NST Part IA Materials Science; Transfers from other Triposes are considered on a case-by-case basis.

Additional Information

Further information on each subject is available in the Subject summary and on the Course Websites pages.