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Study Materials Technology, why & how to study

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

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CONTENTS

  1. What’s Materials Technology?

  2. What Materials Technology degrees can you study?

  3. What do you need to get onto a Materials Technology degree?

  4. What topics does a Materials Technology degree cover?

  5. How will you be assessed?

  6. Why study Materials Technology?

  7. What do Materials Technology graduates earn?

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

  9. What are the postgraduate opportunities?

  10. Similar subjects to Materials Technology

  11. Have any questions?

What’s Materials Technology?

Materials Technology or materials science examines the structure and properties of a material, how it’s made, and how it can be used.

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

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.

What Materials Technology degrees can you study?

Undergraduate degrees in Materials Technology include:

  • Automotive Materials BEng/MEng
  • Materials Chemistry BSc
  • Materials Science and Engineering BEng/MEng
  • Materials Science MEng
  • Mechanical Engineering/Materials MEng

Options may include an integrated foundation year or master’s, industrial placement or study abroad.

What do you need to get onto a Materials Technology degree?

Typically, entry to an undergraduate Materials Technology degree requires between 112–165 UCAS points. Some courses may have lower or higher requirements, and not all unis base their offer on UCAS points. Qualifications may include:

  • A Levels: A*AA–BBB
  • BTECs: D*D*D*–DDM
  • Scottish Highers: AAAAA–AAAAB (Advanced Highers: AAB–AB)
  • International Baccalaureate: 40–32
  • Universities will usually ask that you have studied: two science A Levels (or equivalent) from maths, chemistry and physics

Other good subjects to have studied include:

  • Further maths, or design and technology
  • General studies A Level may be excluded

Experience that would look good on your application:

  • Work experience or shadowing in a related area, like a university science lab or materials manufacturer
  • Online courses, MOOCs or taster courses
  • Independent reading into the subject, such as journals like the New Scientist
  • STEM summer schools, if available – check out the Sutton Trust or UNIQ

Other requirements for this subject include:

  • Pass in the practical element of science taken at A Level
  • Interview and admissions tests may be required by some universities

What topics does a Materials Technology degree cover?

Typical modules for courses in this subject include:

  • Failure of materials and components
  • Fluid mechanics
  • Lifecycle, processing and engineering of materials
  • Manufacturing and supply chain management    
  • Mathematics for engineering and the environment
  • Nano materials
  • Physical foundations of materials
  • Structure and mechanical properties of materials

How will you be assessed?

Courses are assessed in a variety of ways, depending on the module:

  • Coursework
  • Exams
  • Group projects
  • Lab reports
  • Presentations (oral or poster)
  • Research project

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.

Career-specific skills:

  • Scientific processes such as lab skills and how to perform complex chemical processes
  • Knowledge of engineering or manufacturing production methods

Transferable skills:

  • Analytical and logical thinking
  • Collaboration
  • Communication
  • Numeracy and computing skills
  • Planning and organisation
  • Presentation
  • Problem solving
  • Research
  • Time management

Professional accreditation:

  • Degrees may be accredited by the Institute of Materials, Minerals & Mining (IOM3), providing a path towards registration as an Incorporated Engineer (IEng) or partial registration as a Chartered Engineer (CEng)

What do Materials Technology graduates earn?

Entry-level pay for a Materials Technology graduate is from £17,100–£26,000.

As your career progresses, your salary will depend on the sector you’ve entered. Experienced materials engineers have an average salary of £45,000. Those with chartered status may earn more. Move into the business side of operations, and as a supply chain manager an average income could be £48,000 – while directors could earn upwards of £79,000.

What jobs can you get as a Materials Technology graduate?

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. Roles could include:

  • Academic researcher
  • Lecturer
  • Materials engineer
  • Metallurgist
  • Patents analyst
  • Product or process development scientist
  • Supply chain manager
  • Technology sales rep

What are the postgraduate opportunities?

Examples of taught master’s and research degrees at postgraduate level include:

  • Materials DPhil/PhD
  • Materials Science and Metallurgy MPhil/PhD
  • Polymer Science and Engineering MSc
  • Soft Electronic Materials MRes

Similar subjects to Materials Technology

If you’re interested in the investigative application of science, you could also consider:

Have any questions?

If you’ve got any questions about studying Materials Technology, you can email our experts at ask@thecompleteuniversityguide.co.uk. We’ll be happy to hear from you!

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