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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 MASt (Materials Science) postgraduate degree course is integrated with the Part III course and can be taken by students who have already studied Materials Science to at least Bachelor level. 

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).

The MASt degree course has been accredited as meeting the academic requirements for Further Learning for CEng, for intake years 2019-2023, 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 2019-20 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

  • 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

    Prof J L Driscoll

    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

  • 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

  • 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

  • M18: Materials Aspects of Microdevices

    Dr J J W A Robinson and Dr R L Z Hoye

    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

  • M19: Energy Harvesting

    Dr 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

  • M21: Steels

    Prof Sir H K D Bhadeshia

    A course covering the most important solid-state phase transformations that occur in steels. This includes atomic mechanisms, thermodynamics, kinetics, microstructural development and the design of steels, supported by specific case studies. The...Read more

Lent Term - 12 lecture courses

  • M1: Materials for Optoelectronic Devices

    Prof R A Oliver and Dr L C Hirst

    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

  • M2: Thin Films

    Prof Z H Barber

    Within this course, thin films are defined as solid films formed from a vapour source, built up by controlled condensation of individual atomic, molecular, or ionic species. It generally concerns film thickness of a few microns or less....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

  • M6: Polymers

    Dr J H Gwynne and Prof R E Cameron

    This aim of the first part of this course is to build on and complement the polymer topics covered in IA, IB and part II. We will begin by covering models for single polymer chains (partly revision from previous years) and methods for experimentally...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

  • M8: Electron Microscopy

    Dr D N Johnstone and 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

  • 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

  • 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

Short lecture courses

  • S1: Soft Matter

    Dr 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

  • S2: Bio-surfaces and interfaces

    Dr D V Bax

    Biomolecule interactions with materials are critical for a wide range of applications including bio-fouling, food processing, industrial chemistry, medical implantation and research and development. As such, this course will cover the fundamental...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

  • S4: Advanced Metal Processing

    Dr E Galindo-Nava

    The high performance of modern alloys stems from the sophisticated microstructures tailored during component manufacturing. Understanding the process-property relationships via the microstructure is critically important to develop materials...Read more

  • S5: Powder Processing

    Prof T W Clyne

    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