The Department of Materials is ranked 3rd in the UK by the Complete University Guide 2022 and Imperial College London is ranked the 3rd best university in Europe according to the Times Higher Education World University Rankings. A degree from Imperial College London is highly valued by employers across the globe.

Reasons to study Materials Science at Imperial College London

Unique reasons

The following four reasons are unique to Imperial Materials.


1. Engineering Practice I & II – Our students complete very hands-on practical modules, working in teams from day 1 of their degree course. Students in year 1 have to problem solve, design, manufacture, assemble and automate a solution to an engineering challenge. In year 2, they dismantle a given common product, characterise the materials and determine the production processes used and justify the economics behind the materials selection.

2. UROP – Our Undergraduate Research Opportunity Programme is a flagship of Imperial. 

An image of students working in the labStudents from any year group can take part in research projects based at Imperial, with many sponsored by our industrial partners. Visit our Undergraduate Placement Opportunities page to learn more about our student projects.

3. Breadth of Materials – Our Materials courses cover a broad breadth of different classes of materials for various applications – with expert teaching from within the faculty. Our different research themes showcase this – Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering, Ceramics and Composites, Engineering Alloys, Functional Materials, Nano Technology and Nanoscale Characterisation and Theory and Simulation of Materials.

4. Centres of Excellence –Academic staff from the Materials Department are actively involved in many of the multidisciplinary Centres of Excellence. Examples are Energy Futures Lab, Grantham Institute – Climate change and the Environment, London Centre for Nanotechnology, Thomas Young Centre – The London Centre for Theory and Simulation of Materials, The Centre for Nuclear Engineering and The Composites Centre among many others. Shell-Imperial Advanced Interfacial Materials Science (AIMS) Centre, The Rolls-Royce Nuclear University Technology Centre, BP International Centre for Advanced Materials and the Imperial Centre for Quantum Engineering, Science and Technology are examples of strong industrial partnerships.

"‘The placement completely surpassed my expectations. It allowed me to link concepts taught in the lectures across different modules and gave me a completely new perspective." - Disha Bandyopadhyay



Additional reasons

  • Reputation, Ranking and Accreditation

IOM3 logoThe Materials Department consistently ranks highly in the world. All our courses are accredited by the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3) on behalf of the Engineering Council to fully meet the educational requirement for registration as an Incorporated Engineer and partially meet the academic requirement for registration as a Chartered Engineer.

  • Teaching and Learning

The Teaching Excellence Framework is intended to ‘recognise and reward excellent learning and teaching’ in British universities. Imperial College London has been awarded the Gold award by the new Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF). Imperial is the only Russell Group university in London to have received a Gold rating and the only non-specialist institution.

TEF Gold - Gold rated university

Imperial’s TEF Gold ranking was rationalised for four main reasons:

  1. Creation of an ‘exceptionally stimulating and stretching’ education that challenges students to fulfil their potential
  2. Development of a ‘range of ways in which students are exposed to and deeply engaged with research'
  3. Maintenance of an ‘outstanding learning environment that supports learning.’
  4. Embedding a ‘culture of student engagement and active philosophy of students as partners’.
  • Industry Partnership and Graduate Employability

The Department of Materials has a strong track record of collaborating with industry and external partners in various sectors. For example, Shell-Imperial Advanced Interfacial Materials Science (AIMS) Centre,  the Rolls-Royce Nuclear University Technology Centre and BP International Centre for Advanced Materials.

Imperial is ranked top in the UK for Graduate Employability by the Guardian University Guide for 2022 and ranked 6th globally by the QS World University Ranking 2023.

  • Research

The College ranks top in the UK overall – with a greater proportion of 4* “world-leading” research than any other UK university. Imperial ranks first in the UK for research outputs, first in the UK for research environment, and first for research impact among Russell Group universities.

The Department is at the forefront of materials research and innovation. Our staff are involved in various inter-disciplinary initiatives and Research Centres and we have a history of commercialising our innovative ideas. Undergraduate students can also develop personally and professionally by completing an Undergraduate Research Opportunity Programme

  • Location 

An image of a person rollerskating in Hyde ParkBased in South Kensington, in central London, we are at the heart of one of the most exciting cities in the world – you are surrounded by parks and museums, shopping, bars, restaurants and clubs. There are also festivals, street-food markets and historical landmarks which make London a unique city to explore. You can apply to live in one of our accommodation halls in the centre of London. 

  • Tailor make your degree

In the third year, you will be able to select electives that map to the Department’s research themes and allow you to study a particular class of material or an underpinning principle in more detail. You will also broaden your educational experience by taking an I-explore module. If you are following the BEng Materials with Management programme, you will take additional core modules offered by Imperial College Business School.

In your 4th year, you will undertake an individual research project with one of the Department’s research groups. This may involve working at an external facility such as Diamond in Oxfordshire or spending time in a laboratory overseas, e.g. at MIT in the US. Project students work alongside researchers, including world-leading academics and PhD students, in areas from bone regeneration to aircraft landing gear and solar cells to cement-bonded refractories.

Imperial also offers a wide range of courses to stimulate your personal, professional and intellectual growth via Imperial Horizons, Imperial’s flagship Centre for Languages, Culture & Communication.

For more information, please visit the Why Imperial? webpage.