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Materials Science

Subject Summary: Part III Materials Science

This course is intended for students who wish to follow careers as professional scientists in industry or academic research. 

The aims and objectives of the course differ from Part II, since it is largely focussed on highlighting the latest developments in the subject. Many of the lecture courses concern cutting-edge topics and provide a natural springboard for future research, which could be undertaken in industry, research institutes or academia. While the course is certainly not exclusively for those planning a research career, it provides a valuable insight into advanced study of the subject. There is a choice of module courses, covering a wide range of advanced topics. A major component of the course is the individual research project, undertaken within one of the research groups in the Department during the Michaelmas and  Lent terms. The course leads to the MSci degree. Being awarded this degree counts (uniquely within the Natural Sciences Tripos) as an accredited qualification towards Chartered Engineer (CEng) status.

Programme Specification: Part III Materials Science

This course is taught by the Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy


  1. to build on the knowledge and ideas gained in prior Materials Science courses;
  2. to develop a more specialised and in-depth understanding of Materials Science in selected areas;
  3. to further develop analytical and presentational skills, both orally and in writing.
  4. to provide training in investigating research problems, including gaining an understanding of relevant research techniques and also of the design and interpretation of experiments.

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course students should be able to :

  1. be able to apply the ideas and concepts introduced in the course to solve problems, do calculations, make predictions and critically evaluate information and ideas;
  2. be able to demonstrate an understanding of the courses attended, and of their individual research projects;
  3. be able to demonstrate practical, organisational and presentational skills that will enable them to continue successfully with research or in other professional careers;
  4. be able to demonstrate the necessary skills and understanding required for a career in Materials Science.

Teaching and Learning Methods

These include lectures supervisions, individual research projects, and presentations.


Assessment for this course is through:

  • three unseen written examinations;
  • appropriate submitted work and/or examinations;
  • reports based on an individual research project undertaken by the student over 2 terms, plus an oral presentation, a poster and a viva;
  • a report based on a research project undertaken by the student over a preceding long vacation period followed by an oral presentation.

Courses of Preparation

Highly Desirable: NST Part II Materials Science. 
Participation by other students is considered on a case-by-case basis.

The detailed entry requirements can be found at The Fourth Year - Part III.

Additional Information

Further information is available on the Course Websites pages.