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Subject Summary: Part III Materials Science

The majority of Part II Materials Science students go on to take the Part III course. 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. Lecture courses cover a range of advanced topics from among different themes of Materials Science. The courses have a modular structure, enabling study paths to be tailored to the particular interests of individuals. A major component of the course is the individual research project, undertaken within one of the research groups in the Department in the Michaelmas and Lent terms.

The course leads to the MSci degree and is accredited by the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3). 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


Part III Materials Science focusses on recent developments at the cutting edge of Materials Science. There is great flexibility of choice from a range of lecture courses available, all of which are informed by the research activity in the department. A significant aspect of the course is an individual research project, whose aim is to provide training in research skills, and via a broad range of assessment methods develop transferable oral and written skills. Those graduating from this Master’s-level course will be highly trained scientists who will be well positioned to move into further academic research, scientific industry and other careers.

Learning outcomes

At the end of the Part III Materials Science course, students will be expected to have:

  1. the ability to solve problems, carry out calculations, make predictions and critically evaluate information and ideas, all at an advanced level;
  2. acquired specialised understanding and knowledge of a number of materials systems, and an awareness of the latest state of research and development in those areas;
  3. acquired practical, organisational and presentational skills that will enable them to continue successfully with research or in other professional careers;
  4. carried out an individual research project in an area of current relevance, communicating the results clearly via written reports, an oral presentation, a poster and a viva-voce examination;
  5. completed a professional placement activity and delivered oral and written presentations on the subject.


Teaching and Learning Methods

These include lectures, supervisions, examples classes, revision clinics, individual research projects, and presentations.


Assessment for this course is through:

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

Courses of Preparation

Highly Desirable: NST Part II Materials Science.

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

Additional Information

Further information is available on the Course Websites pages.