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Guide to studying Materials Technology

Materials Technology is a wide-reaching subject that entails the production and processing of pretty much any material you can think of.

Students watching 3D printing machine in process

CONTENTS

  1. What's Materials Technology?

  2. Why study Materials Technology?

  3. What jobs can you get as a Materials Technology graduate?

  4. What do graduates do and earn?
  5. What qualifications do you need?

  6. What degrees can you study?

  7. How will you be assessed?

  8. What are the postgraduate opportunities?

What's Materials Technology?

Materials Technology begins with the production of goods from raw materials used from engineering, to the processing of those materials into ways that can be used for specific functions.

Materials is the umbrella term for useful products like metals, plastics and ceramics, which typically have completely different properties. Knowing how to make and use them requires a range of skills.

Similar courses for Materials Technology include: 

  • Ceramics & Glass
  • Materials Science
  • Metallurgy
  • Minerals Technology
  • Polymers & Textiles
  • Materials Technology (not otherwise specified)

Why study Materials Technology?

Revolutionary new materials are being discovered all the time. Advancing the process of engineering materials is crucial in moving forward in the industry, and it's up to you to make those discoveries.

This subject is very much interdisciplinary. As well as the scientific fundamentals for materials, there's also teaching of the real-world application of design and processing.

There's a healthy job market out there for graduates in this area. Materials Technology students find work in aerospace, automotive, construction, electronic and telecommunication industries, among others.

In an era when the planet is facing some of its greatest ever environmental challenges, and civilisation is developing like never before, material technologists play a huge role in sustaining our way of life.

Think, for example, of the consequences of developing a new material to help build aircraft which needs to be lighter and more fuel efficient. The human race has countless problems, and this subject area helps to solve many of them.

A degree in Materials Technology will give you a wide range of transferable skills that will impress almost any potential employer. Among the many desirable qualities you'll be able to list on your CV are problem-solving skills, commercial awareness, mathematical skills and a high level of competence with IT.

Worker controlling metal melting in furnaces

What jobs can you get as a Materials Technology graduate?

Materials Technology degrees teach transferable skills, such as presentation, research and communication, as well as scientific curiosity and how to perform complex chemical processes.

Particular job areas include materials engineer, metallurgist, product development, scientific research, technology sales, teaching and lecturing, patents and quality control.
Numerous companies offer graduate schemes in this subject, such as Java.

What do graduates do and earn?

In the infographic below, the first table shows what graduates of Materials Technology have gone on to do in the months after their graduation.

The second table shows the average salaries of undergraduate Materials Technology students entering employment. The three skill levels – high, medium and low – reflect the UK's Standard Occupational Classification's major groups 1–3, 4–6 and 7–9 respectively. 

Source: HESA Graduate Outcomes Survey 2017/18

What qualifications do you need? 

For Materials Technology courses, A Levels (or equivalent) in Maths and Physics are usually required.

However, grade requirements depend on the university. Always confirm the specific entry requirements for the particular university/course you're interested in.

What degrees can you study?

  • MEng Aerospace Materials
  • MEng Materials Science and Engineering
  • MEng Materials Technology with Management
  • MChem Chemistry with Materials Technology

How will you be assessed?

Teaching time usually ranges between 25–30 hours a week plus external reading. The subject is taught in almost all cases via lectures, workshops, tutorials, both individual and group projects, as well as design activities that put classroom taught theory into practice. Grades get different weightings per subject module.

What are the postgraduate opportunities?

Examples of taught MAs and research degrees at postgraduate level include a straight MEng in Materials Technology, as well as master's courses in Composite Design, Composites and Polymers, Concrete Technology, Engineering Materials and Applied Nanotechnology.

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