DEPARTMENT OF MATERIALS UNDERGRADUATE BROCHURE
A Warm Welcome to Oxford Materials
The purpose of this brochure is to give you some idea about Materials Science at Oxford University and to help you to decide if this is the degree subject you want to study. It should also help to get you started with your application.
The information given here should be supplemented by the undergraduate prospectus, the Oxford University Undergraduate Admissions web-site and information that is updated from time to time on this and other University web-sites.
A summary of useful web-site addresses is given towards the end of this booklet: the Materials Department web-site is at http://www.materials.ox.ac.uk. Contact details are on the rear cover.
Materials research is increasingly important world-wide as an engine for economic prosperity, and the development and application of new or improved materials are key factors enabling the UK to remain internationally competitive. Industry depends critically on employing graduates with the right skills and on innovations developed in collaboration with universities. As well as carrying out world class fundamental & ‘blue skies’ research, Oxford Materials has developed strategic industrial alliances to meet industry's R&D, employment and continuing education needs.
The knowledge gained from these activities informs our teaching, helping to make graduates from this Department highly employable. The skills developed during our degree courses produce Materials graduates sought after by a wide range of employers, including the business and financial sectors as well as science & engineering.
The following selection of a few of the ‘hot topics' in current materials research, together with the images on pages 1 & 2, will give you a flavour of how wide and varied the subject is. Materials scientists are:
- developing components to operate at 1,500°C in the next generation of jet engines and at even higher temperatures in fusion reactors
- improving the biocompatibility of prosthetic implants by growing artificial bone and developing sophisticated surface coatings for these implants
- creating new semiconducting materials with individual particles one ten-millionth of a centimetre across that turn out to have some very unexpected properties
- at the forefront of the development of practical quantum computers
- designing the next generation of high performance packaging materials for everything from integrated circuits to food
Materials Science is such a wide-ranging and cross-disciplinary subject that this booklet could not possibly give you a comprehensive overview. Instead it is suggested that you research the subject in more depth for yourself by browsing materials web sites, reading scientific magazines and books, attending Open Days and asking questions of teachers, industrialists and academics. Useful introductory books include: Ivan Amato, ‘Stuff’ (Basic Books, 1997); Ken Easterling, ‘Tomorrow’s Materials’, 2nd edn. (Institute of Materials, 1990).
The professional institute for materials scientists, the Institute of Materials, Minerals & Mining, has some useful links via its web-site, which at the time of printing is http://www.iom3.org – look under ‘careers’ and select ‘careers in materials’ from the drop-down menu.
There are several other relevant sources of information, and you are urged to explore these too. Sources include the Oxford Undergraduate Prospectus, the Oxford University Undergraduate Admissions Office web-site (http://www.admissions.ox.ac.uk) and the web-sites of the individual Colleges, which are listed in a later section of this brochure.
Perhaps one of the best ways to discover more is to attend one of our open days and speak directly with lecturers and students about the degree courses and career opportunities.
At Easter, we host four open days solely for Materials courses: these are the principal events for Materials Science in the year. In addition, there are two days in the summer that provide opportunities to visit more than one science department, including Materials, together with some colleges, all on the same day. Please note that booking is required to attend at Easter, but not in the summer. Booking information is available from the Materials Department web-site.
We hope that you find the brochure to be helpful. Your feedback, preferably by e-mail to our Schools Liaison Officer, would be most welcome and will help us to keep future brochures relevant and up-to-date.