DEPARTMENT OF MATERIALS UNDERGRADUATE BROCHURE
Some Course Highlights
The first year at university is a major step for most people, with complete individual freedom and responsibility for your studies and a great deal of freedom in how you plan your time.
A close working relationship with your tutor and others on your course makes reading for a degree a very different experience from school. The first year syllabus is common to both MS and MEM degree programmes.
Second year students develop stronger insights into their subject, and are assisted and encouraged to study in greater depth. Hard work has its rewards, especially when you start to feel that you can have a good, in-depth conversation with leading academics. MEM students start to study some economics and management topics at this stage.
In the third year, the “Team Design Project” gives you a taste of research and development combined with marketing (as though you were trying to convince financial backers that your idea for a novel device/process etc. is worthy of their investment). Whether you are a MEM or MS student, innovation and funding is always relevant in science for the 21st century. In the third year you also have some freedom to select your preferred lecture courses from sets of options.
The most significant split between MEM and MS comes in the fourth year. MEM students continue their lecture courses and complete a six-month industrial placement. MS students have already completed their last written examination and have all three terms to concentrate on their own research project, including writing up an assessed report and undergoing an oral examination on the project. There is no shortage of research topics in this leading research department and you are guaranteed to be working on a significant project as a member of a world-class team.
It is also possible to carry out the MS research project in an industrial laboratory or at an overseas university. Recent destinations include Sydney, Princeton and MIT.
Our students are encouraged to undertake a voluntary summer industrial placement in order to gain experience of the application of materials science and also to hone their transferrable skills. Some recent placements have been with Rolls Royce, Corus, BMW, Morgan Advanced Ceramics, Siemens, Johnson Matthey, Proctor & Gamble, Gurit UK and Sharp Laboratories of Europe.
At the time of writing we also have several opportunities each year for students to undertake a summer research placement, either in our own laboratories or overseas through our exchange schemes with Tsinghua University in Beijing and the University of California at Santa Barbara.
Each year our students normally organise a voluntary Industrial Tour to an overseas destination. This takes place during the first 5-10 days of the Easter Vacation; recent tours were to Tokyo, Toulouse, Beijing, Munich, Hong Kong and Helsinki. Often we are able to attract substantial sponsorship for these tours which makes them very good value; the cost per student for the 10- day Tokyo tour in 2007 was just £460 and many students received a grant from their colleges to cover about half of this cost. For more information on some of these tours please see http://www.materials.ox.ac.uk/teaching/tour.html