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The majority of Part II Materials Science students go on to take the Part III course, which leads to the MSci degree. 

The aims and objectives of the course differ from Part II, since it is largely focussed on highlighting the latest developments in the subject. Many of the lecture courses concern cutting-edge topics and provide a natural springboard for future research, which could be undertaken in industry, research institutes or academia. While the course is certainly not exclusively for those planning a research career, it provides a valuable insight into advanced study of the subject. Lecture courses cover a wide range of advanced topics from among different themes of Materials Science. The courses have a modular structure, enabling study paths to be tailored to the particular interests of individuals. A major component of the course is the individual research project, undertaken within one of the research groups in the Department in the Michaelmas and Lent terms. Among extra-curricular activities organised by the Department are programmes of industrial visits, visiting speakers and an opportunity to spend the summer after the course pursuing a research project in a university or research institute in continental Europe. (Some of these are also available in earlier years of the Tripos.) 

The MSci degree course has been accredited as meeting the academic requirements for CEng, for intake years up to 2023, by the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3).

  • Informal prospective study enquiries may be made to the Director of Undergraduate Teaching (
  • Information for current students is found on the relevant Moodle course.

This page is for external visitors and gives general information on the lectures and course activities which are available during the 2021-2022 academic year. Please be aware that the lectures and activities offered can change from one year to the next, as may the lecturers who deliver them. 

Michaelmas Term - 12 lecture courses

  • M3: Extraction and Recycling

    Prof R V Kumar

    In this course, thermodynamic and kinetic principles governing metal production and recycling will be presented. Iron and steel making will be covered in greater depth followed by copper, aluminium and titanium production and refining. The importance...Read more

  • M7: Electronic Ceramics

    Prof N D Mathur

    Ceramics are inorganic materials that are typically polycrystalline and non-metallic. They continue to be exploited in pottery, as they have been for several millenia, but nowadays they are also exploited in hi-tech products for their electrical,...Read more

  • M9: Superalloys

     Prof C M F Rae

    The term 'superalloy' applies to metal alloys which perform well at high temperatures in structural applications. In this course we use a rather more specific definition meaning alloys with a major component of nickel, and containing sufficient...Read more

  • M11: Biomaterials

    Dr J H Gwynne

    In this course, we will begin by investigating the relationships between structure and properties in soft natural materials, including proteins, polysaccharides, and composites of proteins and polysaccharides (particularly soft tissues in animals)....Read more

  • M13: Superconducting Materials and Devices

    Dr J P F Feighan

    Superconductivity was discovered a little over a century ago and, although it can only be observed at cryogenic temperatures, it enables both the sensitive measurement of very small magnetic fields and the generation of very high fields, with...Read more

  • M15: Materials Informatics

    Prof C J Pickard

    In this course, we will learn about the impact of computation on materials science and the emerging field of Materials Informatics. Computer models of materials are widely used, but there is an increasing trend towards data driven approaches. This...Read more

  • M19: Energy Harvesting

    Prof S Kar-Narayan

    This course covers the basic principles and recent advances in energy harvesting technologies for small-power applications, including self-powered or autonomous systems, with a focus on the role of materials and nanotechnology in the development of...Read more

Lent Term - 12 lecture courses

  • M1: Materials for Optoelectronic Devices

    Dr L C Hirst and Prof R A Oliver

    The first half of the lecture course will introduce a range of optoelectronic devices including light emitting diodes,and laser diodes.  It will initially address the underlying physics of the quantum structures used in such systems, using the...Read more

  • M4: Tribology and Surface Engineering

    Dr K M Knowles

    This course is in two distinct parts. In the first part of this course, attention will be focused on the fundamental science relevant to surfaces. Topics addressed will include bonding at the atomic scale, contact between surfaces at different...Read more

  • M8: Electron Microscopy

    Dr E Ringe

    Transmission electron microscopes (TEMs) are among the most powerful analytical tools available for materials scientists. The ability to determine atomic structure through imaging and diffraction makes the technique a mainstay for materials...Read more

  • M14: Functional Materials: Thermal Properties and Characterisation

    Dr X Moya

    This course covers the thermal properties of solids. Starting from a thermodynamic foundation, the course will consider a wide range of functional properties that arise in materials where the thermal properties are strongly coupled to the structural,...Read more

  • M17: Nuclear Materials

    Dr M A Stopher and Prof I Farnan

    The aim of the first part of the course (lectures 1-8) is to teach the principles behind the choice of materials for critical parts of current and future generations of nuclear reactors from a materials science perspective. Central to this will be the...Read more

  • M18: Materials Aspects of Microdevices

    Dr G Di Martino and Prof J J W A Robinson

    In the first half of this course, we will explore the materials developments which have enabled the global microelectronics industry to achieve unprecedented device size scaling over many decades. The materials which have formed the basis of this...Read more

  • M20: Materials Kinetics

    Prof A L Greer

    This course covers time-scales from sub-ns in computer memory to giga-years in meteorites.  Thermodynamics determines what cannot happen; kinetics determines what does happen.  Today, study of kinetics is revolutionised by:

    (i) nanotechnology,...Read more

Short lecture courses

  • S1: Soft Matter

    Prof R C Evans

    Soft materials such as polymers, gels, foams, colloids, emulsions and liquid crystals touch every aspect of our daily lives. These materials cannot be simply described as pure states of matter, such as gases, liquids or solids, but instead exhibit...Read more

  • S3: 2D Materials

    Prof M Chhowalla

    Two dimensional (2D) materials are atomically thin with relatively large lateral dimensions. The absence of a third dimension has a dramatic impact on the electronic structure of 2D materials, allowing both fundamental discoveries as well...Read more

  • S5: Powder Processing

    Prof C M F Rae

    Handling and processing of powders is central to many areas of science and technology. Most ceramic materials can only be formed via powder processing, but powder metallurgy is also an important branch of materials science and polymers are frequently...Read more

  • S6: Advanced Polymers

    Dr M Nair

    Polymers are arguably one of the most versatile classes of materials, possessing a broad range of properties that has facilitated its widespread use in our society. Advanced Polymers aims to explore novel polymer-based technologies...Read more

  • S7: Polymer Processing

    Prof R E Cameron

    This course covers polymer processing, which concerns the efficient control of polymer manufacturing, harnessing and controlling the intrinsic properties of macromolecules to achieve desired end products. Its ongoing importance stems from the need to...Read more

  • S8: Nanoporous Framework Materials

    Dr T D Bennett

    Nanoporous materials span a fascinating array of different chemistries, ranging from classical inorganic zeolites to molecular organic and hybrid metal-organic framework (MOF) solids. Their microporous and mesoporous architectures find widespread...Read more