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Course Activities

The programme of activities for the Focus on Materials course has been carefully planned so that you get a good overview of what materials science really is. You will see how diverse materials science can be, from studying the properties of steels through to synthetic biomaterials for bone grafts, and find out how important it is for people from different scientific backgrounds to work together to solve materials science related problems. There are a number of key activities you will participate in during the course. They are listed below.


You will attend several lectures given by university lecturers, covering topics related to your A-level studies and will be similar to those given to undergraduates. They will also provide perspective on the laboratory work that follows.

Practical Sessions

You will undertake a selection of first year undergraduate experiments each morning, to illustrate some of the points covered in the above lectures. These will be held in laboratories within the Department of Materials Science.

Team Project

You will participate throughout the whole week in a team project. This will give an insight into how to you might approach typical group activities that form part of the Physical Sciences degree course at Cambridge.

Year in Industry (subject to speaker availability)

Year in Industry offers you the opportunity to find out about spending a 'year in industry' if you are considering a gap year. A representative from Year in Industry will tell you about the scheme and answer your questions. This should be an interesting talk even if you are not considering a gap year as it will allow you to appreciate some of the things your fellow students may have done prior to embarking on a degree course.

Grapevine (subject to speaker availability)

Grapevine will provide you with the opportunity to hear from recent graduates working within some of the companies which sponsor the Headstart programme. They will give perspective on what it is really like to work in different science and engineering industries. You will be encouraged to ask lots of questions and will be able to informally chat with the graduates during the course dinner