Materials students in a lectureUCAS code: J5N2
ECTS: 180 credits
Start date: October 2017
Duration: 3 years full-time

LocationSouth Kensington

This interdisciplinary course focuses on understanding the relationship between the fundamental structure and properties (mechanical, electrical, optical and magnetic) of matter.

Through challenging experiments and excellent opportunities to use advanced equipment, you will investigate how to manipulate existing materials, as well as develop new and improved ones.

You will spend time completing modules with the Business School for the management aspect of the course, ensuring stength in applying your subject knowledge in your career.

About the course


Materials Science and Engineering is a modern discipline, which brings together all of the sciences and engineering, and our Department of Materials is at the forefront of research in this areaThis degree deals with the fundamentals of matter, both its structure and its properties.

You’ll learn how to manipulate existing materials and how to develop new and improved ones. All Materials Science and Engineering students follow the same pathway of core modules in the first two years, after which your studies will vary depending on the course you have chosen.

Your third year is the time to specialise in your personal and professional interests, whether in management, biomaterials and tissue engineering, or nuclear engineering.

Our Materials Science and Engineering degrees prepare you for a wide range of careers, in areas such as manufacturing, processing, research, production and management.

Which degree is right for you?

There are five degree courses available within the department, and if you are unsure whether a BEng or MEng is the right degree for you, the opportunity to switch between courses is available.

All four-year MEng courses build on the three-year BEng degrees by including a four-month placement between years three and four in an industry or research establishment.

Materials Science and Engineering, available as both a BEng and MEng, is the broadest degree, giving you the chance to choose modules from a selection of the subject streams in materials processing, structural materials or electrical materials, as well as from the specialist degrees.

Materials with Management includes management and economics modules delivered by Imperial College Business School.

Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering includes specialist modules in topics such as biocompatibility, tissue engineering and biomaterials for hard tissue restoration.

Materials with Nuclear Engineering combines modules in metals, glasses and ceramics with a focused introduction to nuclear engineering taught by specialists from across Imperial. There is also a nuclear-focused research project.


Modules shown are for the current academic year, and are subject to change depending on your year of entry.

To progress to the next academic year, you must achieve a mark of at least 40% in each element of the previous academic year.

Year 1

In your first year you will take six core modules:

  • Materials Chemistry and Biology
  • Materials Engineering
  • Materials Physics
  • Mathematics and Computing
  • Mechanical Behaviour
  • Microstructure and Properties of Materials

Year 2

In your second year you will continue to follow a pathway of six core modules.

As the course advances you perform more individual and group project work. These involve literature searches, exploration of new ideas and concepts and writing technical reports. 

  • Electronic Properties of Materials
  • Materials Chemistry and Polymer Sciences
  • Materials Engineering 2
  • Mathematics and Computing
  • Mechanical Behaviour
  • Microstructure

Year 3

You will choose three optional modules on top of the four core modules.

The third year focuses on the management aspect of the course, with Entrepreneurship and Managing Innovation modules delivered by Imperial College Business School.

Core modules
  • Entrepreneurship Business Plan Competition
  • Integrated Materials Engineering
  • Managing Innovation
  • Materials Characterisation
Optional modules
  • Biomaterials
  • Ceramics and Glass
  • Electronic Structures & Opto Electronic Properties
  • Engineering Alloys
  • Imperial Horizons
  • Materials Modelling
  • Metal Processing
  • Nanomaterials I
  • Polymers and Composites

Teaching and assessment


Teaching focuses on applied science, with a grounding in theory and a great emphasis on practical work. You’ll be expected to take part in challenging experiments with advanced equipment. 

You can expect a balance of theoretical and practical work, through lectures and laboratory work. There is also the opportunity to complete a research project, which will rely on substantial individual study. In addition to those more traditional teaching methods, you can expect industrial visits and tutorials.


Over the course of your studies you will experience different assessment methods in each module you complete. You will be assessed by written examinations, class tests and coursework.


In order to progress from the first year to the second year you must:

  • Achieve an average mark of at least 40% in each module
  • Achieve an average mark of at least 40% in the combined coursework assessments

 In order to progress from the second year to the third year you must:

  • Achieve an average mark of at least 40% in each module
  • Achieve a mark of at least 40% in each individual examination
  • Achieve an average mark of at least 40% in the combined coursework assessments

In order to pass the third year and complete your studies, you must:

  • Achieve an average mark of at least 40% in each module

Key Information Set (KIS)

Additional details about how this course is taught and assessed are provided in the KIS (Key Information Set).

The KIS is a set of statistics which all universities use to describe how their courses are taught and assessed. This allows students to compare similar courses at different institutions.

The KIS describes the percentage of time which students typically spend in timetabled activity and in independent study for each year of their course as well the percentage of assessment which is exams, coursework or practical. An overview of the KIS is shown in the widget at the bottom of the page and further detail (including a year-by-year breakdown) is available via Unistats.

Entry requirements

We welcome students from all over the world and consider all applicants on an individual basis. If your qualifications are not listed here, please see our academic requirements by country page, which gives the minimum entry requirements for a range of international qualifications.


The minimum requirement is A*AA overall, to include:

  • A*/A in Physics
  • A*/A in Chemistry
  • A in Mathematics
Practical endorsement (practical science assessment)

If you are made an offer you will be required to achieve a pass in the practical endorsement in all science subjects that form part of the offer.

International Baccalaureate

An overall score of 38 points, to include:

  • 6 in Mathematics at higher level
  • 6 in Physics at higher level
  • 6 in Chemistry at higher level

European Baccalaureate

An overall score of 80% with 8.5 in Maths and Physics.

Scottish Advanced Highers

AAA to include Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry.

English language requirements (all applicants)

All applicants must demonstrate a minimum level of English language proficiency for admission to the College.

For admission to this course, you must achieve the standard College requirement in the appropriate English language qualification. For details of the minimum grades required to achieve this requirement, please see the English language requirements for undergraduate applicants

Selection process

On the basis of the information given on the UCAS application we normally invite applicants to attend an interview conducted by a member of our academic staff. The aim of this interview is to give the Department the opportunity to discuss your interest in materials and also to give you an opportunity to raise questions about both the course and the College.

During your visit you will be taken on a tour of the Department and the College by current students and you will have an opportunity to meet staff and students at an informal lunch.

Tuition fees and funding

Home and EU students

2017 entry:

£9,250 per year

The UK government has confirmed that universities that have achieved a ‘meet expectations’ award – which includes Imperial – will, under the first year of the new Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), be able to raise their fees in 2017. The rise is an inflationary amount of 2.8% to a maximum of £9,250. The measure of inflation used is RPI-X (the retail price index, excluding mortgage interest payments). You should expect the fee to increase beyond 2017 for each year that your course lasts, subject to UK government regulations on fee increases.

The UK government has also confirmed that EU students starting or continuing their studies in the 2017–18 academic year will continue to pay the Home rate of tuition fees for the duration of their course. EU students will also remain eligible for the same government funding support as they are now, including the Tuition Fee Loan. This access to government funding will continue throughout your course, even if the UK exits the EU during this time. 

Islands and overseas students

2017 entry:

£27,750 per year

Please note that the tuition fee amount you will pay may increase each year.

Government funding

The level of tuition fees you pay is based on your fee status, which we assess based on UK government legislation. Find out more about fee status assessments.

Home and EU students (with the exception of Graduate Medicine students) can apply for a Tuition Fee Loan from the Government to cover the full cost of their fees each year.

Home students may also be eligible for a Maintenance Loan to help with their living costs.

Bursaries and scholarships

Imperial Bursary

The Imperial Bursary is available to any Imperial Home undergraduate student (except Graduate Medicine students) whose household income falls below £60,000 per year.

It is designed to ease the cost of London living by providing support on a sliding scale, from £2,000 up to £5,000 per year.

As long as your household income remains below £60,000 you will automatically qualify for a bursary for every year of undergraduate study.

The bursary is paid on top of any government loans to which you are entitled and does not need to be paid back. Find out more about the Imperial Bursary.


Our President’s Undergraduate scholarships are available to all undergraduate applicants studying an undergraduate degree for the first time who have applied to the College by 15 October.

They’re worth £1,000 for each undergraduate year of study. There are up to 112 awards available for students starting their studies in 2017–18.

There are scholarships specifically for students in the Department of Materials, and you can find these by using our scholarships search tool. A wide range of other scholarships is also available.

To find out more about the range of financial support available please see our Fees and Funding website.

How to apply


To apply to study at Imperial you must use the online application system managed by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).

The UCAS code for Imperial College London is I50.


All applications which include choices for medicine at Imperial must be submitted to UCAS by 18.00 (UK time) on 15 October 2016 for entry in October 2017. 

The deadline for other courses at Imperial starting in 2017 is 18.00 (UK time) on 15 January 2017.


All UK schools and colleges and a small number of EU and international institutions are registered with UCAS.

To make it clear which school or college you are applying from you will need to ask one of your teachers or advisers for the UCAS buzzword. You will need to enter this in UCAS’s Apply system when you register.

See our How to apply section for further guidance.


If you’re applying independently or from a school/college not registered with UCAS you will still need to use UCAS’s Apply system. You will not need a UCAS buzzword.

See our How to apply section for further guidance.


An ATAS certificate is not required for overseas students applying for this course.

For more information about the Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS), please see the International Student Support website.


Once you’ve completed your application and it’s been submitted through UCAS’s Apply system, you can use UCAS’ Track system to follow its progress and manage your choices.

Professional accreditation and associateship


This degree is professionally accredited by the IOM3 (The Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining).


It also leads to the award of the Associateship of the Royal School of Mines (ARSM).

What our graduates do

A degree in Materials Science and Engineering can open the door to careers in a wide variety of sectors, from chemicals manufacturing and pharmaceuticals to technical management and scientific research and development (R&D).

There are lots of emerging sectors to think about too, such as nanotechnology, biomedical materials, high performance textiles, and composites.

Recent graduates of the Department have become:

  • Graduate Engineer, Jaguar Land Rover
  • Building Information Modeller, Forida Ltd
  • R&D Engineer, Sensornet
  • Research Scientist, A*STAR, Singapore
  • Materials Scientist,  Morgan Advanced Materials