Postgraduate study
This course provides a broad and deep understanding of the processing, nature and properties of engineering materials.
MSc Advanced Materials
1 year full-time
Entry requirements
A high 2:2 or equivalent
6.5 (no less than 6.0 in any element) If these grades are not met, English preparatory courses are available

If these grades are not met, English preparatory courses may be available
Start date
UK/EU fees
£7,785 - Terms apply
International fees
£22,815 - Terms apply
University Park Campus



This 12 month programme  provides a broad and deep understanding of the processing, nature and properties of a range of engineering materials. Only by understanding these can materials be truly designed for purpose. The course integrates materials behaviour and materials processing relevant to a wide range of industrial sectors.

This course will introduce you to the core principles of the design, nature and processing of advanced materials over two semesters, alongside core modules in materials categorisation and the mechanisms of failure of materials. This will provide you with a depth of core knowledge and skills allowing you to make informed choices concerning applications, selection and design of advanced materials.

Key facts

  • The programme can provide you with specific skills suitable for a wide range of careers within UK and international organisations involved in materials and product development, and provides a firm foundation for a research path in Materials Engineering.
  • The Faculty of Engineering is ranked 3rd in the UK for research power under REF 2014, the British Government’s Research Excellence Framework. More than 98% of engineering research ranked of international quality, with 85% graded as world leading or internationally excellent.


Mechanical, Materials, and Manufacturing Engineering taught courses


Full course details

msc advanced materials (2)
2018 MSc Advanced Materials students visit Cosmo for a buffet lunch in Nottingham City Centre

Course content

The MSc Advanced Materials offers a good degree of flexibility by combining core compulsory modules with a range of elective modules – this means you can create a programme of study that reflects your interests.

The course consists of 120 credits of core and optional taught modules along with a 60 credit major individual research-based project undertaken during the summer term. Please be aware modules are subject to change.

Through a mixture of core and optional modules, you will develop the following: 

  • Knowledge and understanding of the basic principles of materials and the necessary background science.
  • Knowledge and understanding of advanced manufacturing technology relevant to industry.
  • Understanding of the relationships between the mechanical properties of materials, their microstructure and their processing history.
  • The ability to communicate ideas effectively in written reports, verbally and by means of presentations to groups.
  • Ability to exercise original thought.
  • Ability to plan and undertake an individual project.
  • Ability to understand and apply the theory, method and practice of materials manufacture in a wide range of industries.
  • Interpersonal, communication and professional skills.

Course structure

The MSc programme is a full-time degree course studied over a period of one calendar year beginning in late September. However the programme may be taken part-time over up to three years.

This can be done by taking the taught modules flexibly in each semester to accumulate 120 credits in total. (The basic structure of each taught semester is 11 weeks of teaching followed by a period for revision and examinations). The individual project worth 60 credits can be started any time after at least 80 credits of taught modules are passed.

The taught subject programme consists of modules totalling 120 credits, which comprise six compulsory modules and six optional modules (each worth 10 credits). The individual project module has 60 credits. A 10-credit module represents approximately 100 hours of student learning, teaching and assessment. To gain an MSc the number and level of credits must abide by the University Qualifications Framework.

Of the 180 credits for the MSc, at least 150 credits must be at level 4. Of the 120 credits for the Postgraduate Diploma, at least 90 credits must be at level 4.

The contribution of each core module to the learning outcomes can be seen in the associated curriculum map where each module has been analysed in detail regarding its contribution to the learning outcomes.

Academic English preparation and support

If you need additional support to take your language skills to the required level, you may be able to attend a presessional course at the Centre for English Language Education, which is accredited by the British Council for the teaching of English in the UK.

Students who successfully complete the presessional course to the required level can progress to postgraduate study without retaking IELTS or equivalent.

A specialist engineering course is available and you could be eligible for a joint offer, which means you will only need to apply for your visa once.




Compulsory modules


Advanced Materials Characterisation: 10 credits

A broad approach is adopted covering the principles underpinning a wide range of materials characterisation techniques, for imaging, structural characterisation and chemical analysis. Emphasis is given to the process, structure, property interrelationship, backed up by appropriate case studies taken from the areas of structural materials, functional materials, biomaterials & nanomaterials. Detailed content underpinning the module includes particle / material interactions & wave / material interactions; the experimental process; crystallography; defects; reciprocal space & diffraction. Consideration is given to instrumentation, vacuum systems, electron sources and detectors etc and described with reference to the techniques of SEM, TEM, XRD, XRF and XPS. An overview of related surface analysis techniques and ion beam techniques is provided. Aspects of sample preparation, including FIB milling are also covered.

Making Metal Perform: 10 credits

Environmental Failure of Materials: 10 credits

This module covers the ways in which environmental interactions and factors can lead to the failure of materials. Examples include metallic, ceramic, glass, composite and polymeric materials. Techniques used to inhibit environmentally induced failure of materials will be explained, these will include examples of materials selection, materials engineering, engineering design and materials monitoring and inspection strategies. 

  • Corrosion: oxidation; galvanic corrosion; hot corrosion; sulphidation; atmospheric corrosion; microbial corrosion; corrosion of concrete.
  • Chemical and UV induced degradation of polymers and polymer composites.
  • Degradation of glass.


Advanced Materials: 10 credits

MM4ADM is a module which requires personal engagement in the classes and there is no examination. In this way MM4ADM is like the Individual Project. MM4ADM has FOUR CYCLES each comprising students individually preparing a talk, and report, on a topic within a theme and with a title that has been negotiated with the MM4ADM Teachers (Prof AB Seddon, Dr E Barney and Dr I Ahmed) straight after the Teachers have delivered an introductory lecture on that theme. The point of the module is to improve oral presentation and engineering report-writing skills using advanced materials as a vehicle. The classes are seminars where good practice is openly discussed and materials advantages and disadvantages are openly debated. Not to attend classes is not an option or failure of the module at the end is very likely to ensue. This module is designed to deal with a wide range of materials (including advanced metallic, ceramic, glass, composite and polymeric-based materials) for a wide range of applications. Also it considers materials themes such as: aerospace materials, medical materials, coatings, carbon-based materials and so on. The module deals with: the underlying principles behind the suitability of material properties for the targeted applications; the processing of these materials; the effects of processing on their subsequent structure and properties and ultimate performance.

Materials Design against Failure: 10 credits

This module focuses on understanding and manipulating of materials microstructure to avoid failure. It addresses the main areas of mechanical failure using specific material system examples to illustrate how materials design is used to develop better materials for particular applications. The four areas are:

  1. Design for strength – metallic alloys, ceramics.
  2. Design for toughness – metallic alloys (including discussion of strength/toughness balance for Al alloys).
  3. Design for creep resistance - metallic alloys.
  4. Design for fatigue resistance. 
Advanced Engineering Research Project Organisation and Design: 10 credits

A project-oriented module involving a review of publications and views on a topic allied to the chosen specialist subject. The module will also involve organisation and design of the main project. Skills will be acquired through workshops and seminars that will include:

  • Further programming in MATLAB and /or MSExcel Macros
  • Project planning and use of Microsoft
  • ProjectMeasurement and error analysis
  • Development of laboratory skills including safety & risk assessment

Students will select a further set of specialist seminars from, e.g.:

  • Meshing for computational engineering applications
  • Modelling using CAE packages
  • Use of CES Selector software
  • Specific laboratory familiarisation
  • Use of MSVisio software for process flow
  • Use of HYSYS process modelling software
  • Use of PSpice to simulate analogue and digital circuits

The specialist seminars will be organised within the individual MSc courses.


Individual Postgraduate Project: 60 credits

This project involves students undertaking an original, independent, research study into an engineering or industrial topic appropriate to their specific MSc programme. The project should be carried out in a professional manner and may be undertaken on any topic which is relevant to the MSc programme, as agreed by the relevant Course Director and module convenor.

The project has several aims, beyond reinforcing information and methodology presented in the taught modules; the student is expected to develop skills in research, investigation, planning, evaluation and oral and written communication. Final reporting will take the form of a written account including a literature review and an account of the students contribution. A presentation will be made to academic staff towards the end of the project.

Previous research projects have included:

  • Design of Micro Injection Moulded Components for Precision Assembly
  • Cold Gas Dynamic Spraying of Conductive Tracks onto Polymer Composites
  • Developing Improved Dyes for Manufacture of Pharmaceutical Products

Specialist Materials modules

You must take a minimum of 20 and a maximum of 30 credits from the following group:


High Performance Ceramics and Glasses: 10 credits

Properties of glass, ceramic and glass-ceramic materials; Importance of viscosity, characteristic temperatures, TEC, annealing & disannealing on properties and production of glasses; Nucleation and crystal growth and its importance to properties and production of glasses; Fabrication procedures for glasses, ceramics, glass-ceramics and optical fibres; Overview of optical fibres, signal attenuation and amplification

Polymer Engineering: 10 credits

A broad-based module covering the chemistry, material properties and manufacturing methods relevant to polymers. Topics include:

  1. Polymer chemistry and structure
  2. Routes to synthesis, polymerisation techniques, practical aspects of industrial production
  3. Viscoelasticity, time-temperature equivalence
  4. Rheology of polymer melts, heat transfer in melts, entanglements
  5. Properties of solid polymers, yield and fracture, crazing
  6. Manufacturing with polymers, extrusion, injection-moulding
  7. Design/ processing interactions for plastic products


Fibre Reinforced Composites Engineering: 10 credits

An introductory module on the design, manufacture and performance of fibre-reinforced composite materials. Constituent materials including fibres, resins and additives are described. Processing techniques and the relationships between process and design are highlighted. Design methodologies and computer-aided engineering techniques are demonstrated for component design. Case studies from a variety of industries including automotive and aerospace are presented.

Other Optional Modules

A further 30 or 40 credits are needed. A total of 60 credits should be taken in each semester. Some possibilities are shown below:


Advanced Engineering Research Preparation (recommended): 10 credits

A project-oriented module involving identification of methodologies and skills required for the main specialist summer MSC project. The module requires the student to examine, collect, collate, analyse data about the subject, draw conclusions and communicate this to peers and other interested parties. The module covers topics essential to research and communication in engineering projects at level 4. These include:

  • Library searches, literature surveys and citing references
  • IT: introduction to MATLAB, optimal use of Microsoft Office involving the more advanced features, effective transfer of data between applications
  • Communication skills: writing reports; verbal presentations, poster presentations.

Surface Engineering technology: 10 credits

Advanced Engineering Research Preparation: 10 credits

Conservation and Recycling of Materials: 10 credits

Surface Engineering Technology: 10 credits

This module highlights the benefits of surface engineering before introducing the main surface engineering processes. These processes are classified into two categories, namely surface modification, and film/coating technologies. The most common processing methods are presented, along with some state-of-the-art development. These include surface treatment (e.g. induction hardening, laser surface hardening, and ion implantation, etc.), surface thermochemical processes (e.g. carburising, and nitriding, etc.), as well as surface coating processes: electrodeposition and electroless plating, thermal spraying, diffusion coatings, and vapour phase deposition (e.g. CVD and PVD). The selection criteria and applicability of each processing method are discussed. The lectures give an in-depth explanation of the process principle for each processing method. Case studies of surface engineering technology in different industrial applications are conducted.


Additive Manufacturing & 3D Printing: 10 credits

This module will cover design, processing and material aspects of Additive Manufacturing and 3D Printing technologies, as well as the current and potential applications of the technology in a wide variety of sectors. Topics addressed will include commercial and experimental systems, material requirements, design for Additive Manufacturing, software and systems, as well as case studies of AM in industry and society 

Joining Technology: 10 credits

This module examines, in depth, the processes used for joining metallic (e.g. steel, aluminium and titanium alloys) and non-metallic (e.g. polymers and fibre reinforced composites) materials. Topics covered include: mechanical joining; adhesive bonding; soldering and brazing; solid state joining (friction welding and diffusion bonding); fusion welding (arc welding and the many classes thereof, resistance, electron beam and laser welding).
The fundamental characteristics of the various processes are examined along with procedures for practical applications. The origins of defects within joints and methods needed to control or eliminate them are also considered. The mechanical behaviour of joints is analysed, as is the effect of joining on the microstructural characteristics and mechanical properties of the base materials. Other features such as residual stress and distortion are addressed. Attention is also given to appropriate design for manufacture in a modern manufacturing context.

Electron-Optical and X-ray Techniques: 10 credits

Advanced Technology Review: 10 credits

Joining Technology: 10 credits

Additive Manufacturing and 3D printing: 10 credits


The above is a sample of the typical modules that we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Due to the passage of time between commencement of the course and subsequent years of the course, modules may change due to developments in the curriculum and information is provided for indicative purposes only.


Fees and funding

See information on how to fund your masters, including our step-by-step guide.

Please visit the faculty website for information on any scholarships currently available through the faculty.

Faculty of Engineering Scholarships

UK/EU Students

Funding information can be found on the Graduate School website.

Please visit the faculty website for information on any scholarships currently available through the faculty.

Government loans for masters courses

The Government offers postgraduate student loans for students studying a taught or research masters course. Applicants must ordinarily live in England or the EU. Student loans are also available for students from Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

International and EU students

Masters scholarships are available for international students from a wide variety of countries and areas of study. You must already have an offer to study at Nottingham to apply. Please note closing dates to ensure your course application is submitted in good time.

Information and advice on funding your degree, living costs and working while you study is available on our website, as well as country-specific resources.


Careers and professional development

This course produces graduates who are able to think and function in an integrated manner across the areas of materials science and engineering.

It will provide you with specific skills suitable for a wide range of careers in UK and international organisations involved in materials and product development.

Students in the department have gone on to a variety of different careers, including civil engineers, engineering technicians, quality assurance and regulation officers and engineering professionals.

As well as offering you the chance to pursue a fulfilling career within industry and related areas, the MSc programmes offered by the department provide an excellent foundation for further research and a significant number of our students continue their studies to PhD level and beyond.

Average starting salary and career progression

In 2017, 92.3% of postgraduates in the department who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £28,000 with the highest being £32,000.

* Known destinations of full-time home higher degree postgraduates, 2016/17. Salaries are calculated based on the median of those in full-time paid employment within the UK.

Career prospects and employability

The University of Nottingham is consistently named as one of the most targeted universities by Britain’s leading graduate employers* and can offer you a head-start when it comes to your career.

Our Careers and Employability Service offers a range of services including advice sessions, employer events, recruitment fairs and skills workshops – and once you have graduated, you will have access to the service for life.

* The Graduate Market 2013-2017, High Fliers Research


This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.

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