Apply to study Materials Science
"We hope the recent advances in Material Science and Engineering will lead to innovative solutions to some of the challenges we face in industries such as healthcare, energy, sustainable environment, transport, telecommunications and many more. We encourage applications from all those who want to be part of this community and learn to be pioneering, entrepreneurial and be a team player without losing their individuality" - Dr Priya Saravanapavan, Undergraduate Admissions Tutor
As an admission tutor, I am looking for applicants who are passionate about:
- studying the different aspects of materials to develop their knowledge and understanding of the discipline.
- becoming an integral part of our small ‘Imperial Materials’ community.
- willing to contribute to the social aspects of our wider college community.
Our entry requirements
- A in Mathematics
- A in either Physics or Chemistry
- A in third subject
Our undergraduate courses and how to apply
Materials Science and Engineering
Materials with Nuclear Engineering
|BEng - UCAS JF52 - ECTS: 180 - 3 yrs||MEng - UCAS J5H8 - ECTS: 240 - 4 yrs|
|MEng - UCAS JFM2 - ECTS: 240 - 4 yrs|
As our flagship degree programme, the core modules taught across the first three years underpin the foundations of the discipline: processing, structure, properties and performance. There are opportunities in the final years to tailor-make your own studies by choosing optional modules that map onto the Department's research themes.
Materials are central to the nuclear industry, both in designing reactor parts that are safe under irradiation, and in handling and processing waste. This degree combines modules in metals, glasses and ceramics with a focused introduction to nuclear engineering taught by specialists from across Imperial. You will be expected to conduct a research project that should be nuclear focused.
Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering
Materials with Management
In the third year of this degree and in addition to core Materials topics, you study cell biology, biocompatibility and biomaterials for hard tissue restoration. In the final year, there are specialist modules covering biomaterials for soft tissue restoration, tissue engineering and artificial organs, including many detailed case studies.
This course combines the common core of all our degrees, with a final year that combines a choice of Materials options with business and economics teaching provided by Imperial College Business School.
The first two years of all our degree programmes are identical: they complete the same equally weighted modules. In Year 3 and 4 you are able to complete optional modules with some core modules. Some of these optional modules are compulsory for certain degree programmes. Further details of optinal modules can be found on the study pages for each programme - please click the course links in the above table.
Maths and Computing I
Performance of Structural Materials
Engineering Practice I
Maths and Computing II
Performance of Functional Materials
Engineering Practice II
Theory & Simulation of Materials
Business for Materials Science and Engineering
Engineering Alloys from Theory to Application
Ceramics and Glasses
Surfaces and Interfaces
Maths and Quantum
Introduction to Nuclear Engineering
Nuclear Chemical Engineering
BS0820 Innovation Management
Individual Research Project
An Introduction to Density Functional Theory
Advanced Engineering Alloys
Advanced Structural Ceramics
Nuclear Thermal Hydraulics
If you are interested in applying to one of our programmes, please read the following guidelines to help with your application.
How do we teach
How do we teach?
- There are taught elements throughout the year and your workload is spread over the year.
- 11-week Autumn and Spring terms and an 8-week Summer term.
- Our core hours are 9:00 to 18:00 from Monday to Friday. Wednesdays are always a half-day with 12:00 finish.
- A mixture of lectures, workshops, tutorials, laboratory classes and engineering practices.
- Collaborative working through project and group work in laboratories.
- Modular courses - with exams and assessments are held in December, March and June.
A typical week in Years 1 and 2 has about 27 hours of contact time. This is similar to a U.K secondary school where you have 25 hours of study a week.
- 15 hours of lectures (3 hours per day)
- 4 hours Engineering Practice (which consists of teamwork in a company of 12)
- 4 hours laboratory classes (where students work in pairs)
- 3 hours of workshops (which involves problem-solving sessions with 20-25 students)
- 1 hour of personal or academic tutorial in groups of four.
How to apply
If you are interested in applying to one of our programmes, please read the following guidelines to help with your application.
How and when to apply
Our intake is in October each year. Applications are made through UCAS by 18:00 (U.K Time) on Wednesday 26 January 2022.
- All applications received at UCAS by the above date are given equal consideration.
- We do not accept "Late" or "Extra" applicants.
- We do not take applicants through UCAS Clearing.
- Your application will only be considered for one of our programmes – please do not apply to multiple Materials programmes. The first two years of all our programmes are common and the entry requirements are the same – you will be able to change the programme of study until the start of your third year of study.
The application process
After you have sent your application to UCAS, they complete basic checks and forward this to the College. After this, it can take up to two weeks for the application to be processed by our central admissions team and if it meets our threshold entry requirements, they pass it to the Department of Materials for further assessment.
We look at your academic record and predicted grades. We read your personal statement and the academic reference. Please see our personal statement and reference tab for more information.
If you look likely to meet our entry requirements, and your personal statement shows a clear motivation for Materials Science and Engineering, we will invite you to participate in an interview either here at Imperial College London, or by MS Teams. Please see our interview tab for more information.
Direct entrants or transfer students
We are unable to accept direct entrants or transfer students from other courses onto higher (second/third/fourth) years however are happy to consider transfers if you are willing to start in year 1. If you are a student at Imperial College London, please contact us directly. If you are from another institution, please apply via UCAS.
Making a Strong Application
The personal statement is very important as it helps us assess your interest in the subject. We want to hear why you are interested in the course and details of any skills, interests and attributes you have that demonstates aptitude, motivation and interest in the course.
1. Motivation to study
Motivation to study Materials Science and Engineering is very important. I know some of our applicants may also be applying to other subjects such as chemistry, physics, mechanical engineering etc. If you are that applicant, I would like to see you link that subject to Materials and why you have chosen it as one of your five.
2. Awareness of course
Some applicants apply because they like Maths, Chemistry and Physics. I would like to see this linked to Materials Science. For example – you might have completed a chemistry practical in class that really interested you, link it to materials, tell us why it interested you and any follow-up you may have done.
3. Super Curricular activities
This should NOT have to be expensive and competitive. This could include further reading you may have done (books, podcasts, TED talks, listening to some of the lectures available on our websites). There are also free EdX or Coursera courses that may be of interest to you.
4. Engineering Experience
I would like to know whether you are interested in the engineering aspects of the course – are you hands on? This could be as simple as repairing a household item or building something simple for a DT project at school. If you have managed to gain work experience that is great, but this is not essential.
5. Personal Interests
Are you a well-rounded person? Do you take part in activities outside of school? How have you contributed to the community you belong to? Materials community at Imperial is very small and as such we like to ensure our students are involved in our community as well as contribute to the wider college community.
If you have taken or you are preparing to take a gap year, please include details of what this will entail – work experience, volunteering, travel – link it to skills and how that might be useful to the course.
Please also watch our UCAS Personal Statement Advice video before starting your own statement.
A reference is an important part of the UCAS application. We look for the following:
1. Academic ability
How is the applicant doing in their chosen subjects? How good are they at problem-solving? How likely are they to achieve their predicted grades? Has the applicant had to overcome hardships – why are their grades impressive? Please also emphasise if the applicant is the first to go to university in their family or if they have any care responsibilities or if they are disadvantaged in other way. Please read more about contextual offers.
2. Be specific about courses
The majority of our students complete the three A-Levels (or equivalence) at the end of two years – so if an applicant is completing a modular course, please be specific and be clear if the applicant will be resitting any modules. We also receive applications from students who complete their A-Level Maths early, some go on to complete Further Mathematics (achieving 4 A-Levels). However, there will be a few who don’t – please provide an explanation for completing one subject earlier than the other two. This is important as we look at this to see whether the applicant will be successful at Imperial College London.
3. Contribution to the school community
This should compliment what the applicant has said in their personal statement. We are particularly looking for how the applicants are with working in a team, time management and leadership skills. This information will be used to determine whether an applicant will settle well within our small Materials community, how they might contribute outside of their studies and how they may manage their mental wellbeing.
Please provide a contextual background about the School/College as well as the applicant. This will help us determine whether a contextual offer should be made. For applicants who have a grade 5 in English (College minimum requirement is Grade 6) or lower predicted grades than our minimum academic requirements, please ensure to give context. Be clear about extenuating circumstances – this will avoid the distress caused by a rejection and then having to go through an appeal or a mitigation process.
The UCAS website also has helpful advice regarding reference writing.
The College provides some guidance on References.
If you would like to research more about Materials Science before joining us, we recommend the following books and talks.
- Handmade by Anna Ploszajski
- Stuff Matters by Mark Miodownik
- The Alchemy of Us: How Humans and Matter Transformed One Another by Ainissa Ramirez
- Made to Measure: New Materials for the 21st Century by Philip Ball
- The New Science of Strong Materials by JE Gordon
- Nova's 'Making Stuff' series by David Pogue. This series looks at scientific innovations that are ushering in a new generation of materials that are stronger, smaller, cleaner and smarter. David explains more in this interview for PBS News Hour. You can watch the whole series on PBS Learning Media.
- The Royal Institution Channel on Youtube features a series of interesting lectures covering topics like 'Materials for a greener future'.
- TED - This is a list of lectures on Materials Science that you may find interesting. Stuff Matters by Mark Miodownik
- Top 100 Science Papers in Materials
What to expect
Shortlisted applicants will be invited to an interview, either in-person here at the South Kensington campus in London or online via MS Teams. Regardless of the location of your interview (whether on campus or on MS Teams), the aims and format of the interview will be the same.
Our interviews are held on what we call Applicant Days. Interviews for the 2021 admissions cycle are likely to be online - or maybe in-person if this is possible, for those able to travel to the college.
Applicant days are held on Wednesdays between November and March. Please see Applicant day dates for more information. We have approximately eight applicant days a year. The applicant day runs from 11:00 to 15:00.
Throughout the Applicant Day, interviewers will be assessing your English language skills as well as your academic ability. You will be expected to have a good standard of spoken English to take part in the interviews. Please check our English language requirement for more detail.
What can I expect on an applicant day?
First, you will hear from our Director of Undergraduate Studies and then our Admission Tutor.
During the time with us, you will attend:
- A 30 minute one-to-one interview with one of our lecturers. We aim for the interview to be more of a conversation. The main purpose of the interview is for us to see whether you are suitable for the course, as much as for you to decide if Imperial is the place for you.
- A 30 minute group task. The task will be an engineering-based problem-solving challenge to see your team working skills, as we deem this to be an important part of life at Imperial.
- A 30 minute Q&A with current student ambassadors, where you will be able to ask them questions about the course and studying in London.
Please wear clothing which you feel comfortable in. You are not required to wear formal interview attire, such as a suit, however, please make sure you are dressed in a presentable outfit.
There is no ‘studying’ you can do to prepare for the interview. The interview can be approximately broken down into two main components - understanding an applicant's motivations and academic ambitions, critical thinking, problem-solving skills and coachability.
Questions about your motivation (examples)
Why do you want to study Materials Science?
Why do you want to study at Imperial College?
Tell me about an interesting experience (eg: internship, online course or book) from your personal statement.
Questions to test critical thinking
Typically a mathematics, physics or engineering question to assess what is your approach to solving the problem, how do you respond to the question, are you coachable and willing to learn, are you able to approach the problem from multiple perspectives?
Top Interview tips:
- Be ready to explain why you want to study Materials Science and Engineering.
- Think about why you want to study at Imperial College London and why you want to study this course.
- Be prepared to answer questions about your personal statement.
- Prepare examples of teamwork and managing time effectively.
- If you are taking an Extended Project, please be prepared to talk us through your project.
What is it?
The 45-minute Group Task on the Applicant day will be based on the preparation you have done. This could be in form of written notes, saved articles (from reputable sources) or information from a textbook. On the Monday before your interview, you will receive an email from the Admissions Team with details of the task, giving you approximately 48 hours to prepare. We expect you to have spent approximately 90 minutes on research/groundwork for this task.
What is being assessed?
We believe it's really important to communicate and work well within a team – this will be important once you graduate – whether you work in academia or industry. It will be these skills that will be assessed.
Applicant day dates
The dates for our 2022 Applicant Days are:
1. Wednesday 17 November 2021
2. Wednesday 24 November 2021
3. Wednesday 1 December 2021
4. Wednesday 8 December 2021
5. Wednesday 2 February 2022
6. Wednesday 9 February 2022
7. Wednesday 23 February 2022
8. Wednesday 2 March 2022
Receiving an offer
If you have been successful in your interviews, you will receive an offer from the Department! Depending on your qualification, performance during the applicant day and other factors, the offer will vary.
Typically, it will take us 3 weeks after the interview to inform you of the outcome.
The College’s offer holder information page may be useful in helping you understand what needs to be done before you start your journey with us.
For questions about the steps after receiving an offer, please contact the Engineering Faculty Admissions Team.
If you come from a disadvantaged or underrepresented background, we believe you should have the opportunity to demonstrate you have the academic potential to succeed in your studies.
If you are a student with Home fee status or an appropriate UK residential status, you may be considered for a contextualised offer if:
- You have been in care
- You are a young carer and have caring responsibilities for a close relative with a disability, long-term illness, mental health condition, or drug or alcohol problem.
- You live independently (estranged), meaning you no longer have the support of your family due to a breakdown in the relationship which has led to ceased contact.
- You are eligible for free school meals
- Your parents/guardians do not have a university degree.
- You live in a neighbourhood with low overall progression rates to higher education or high levels of deprivation (we use POLAR4 and IMD data to assess this).
We can also prioritise you as a candidate if:
- Your school has a high percentage of students receiving free school meals.
- You are studying at a non-selective state school that has below average attainment.