Undergraduate Admissions

The Department of Materials at Oxford

The objectives of the Department of Materials at Oxford University are to produce world class graduate materials scientists and engineers, and to conduct world class research into the manufacture, structure, properties and applications of materials, for the benefit of the UK and world community.

The Department of Materials at Oxford is regularly graded one of the best materials departments in the UK, rated top in The Guardian league tables 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022 (published in 2013 - 2021). 

In the UK Government's most recent assessment of research excellence in UK universities, the 2021 REF, research from Oxford's Department of Materials and its Department of Engineering Science was jointly submitted to REF Unit of Assessment (UOA) 12 - Engineering^. For this submission 71% of the research activity of the two departments was judged to be in the highest, Grade 4* ('World-leading'), category of excellence and a further 26% as Grade 3* ('Internationally Excellent'). 90% of research impact was judged to be 'World-leading'.     [^There is not a specific REF UOA for Materials.]


OM Brochure 4

Oxford's M.Eng undergraduate degree in Materials Science

Read about Oxford's undergraduate degree in Materials Science, a four-year 'Integrated Masters' M.Eng programme, in our Course Brochure 'Studying Materials Science at Oxford University'  (please note: a new edition of this brochure is in preparation) and in the Materials Science entry within the on-line University of Oxford Undergraduate Prospectus .

Printed copies of the brochure 'Studying Materials Science at Oxford University' can be obtained from undergraduate.admissions@materials.ox.ac.uk


What is Materials Science?

Materials Science is an interdisciplinary subject, spanning the physics and chemistry of matter, engineering applications and industrial manufacturing processes. Modern society is heavily dependent on advanced materials, for example, lightweight composites for more efficient vehicles, optical fibres for telecommunications and silicon microchips for the continuing revolution in digital technology. Materials scientists study the relationships between the structure and properties of a material and how it is made. They also develop new materials and devise advanced processes for manufacturing them. Materials Science is vital for developments in nanotechnology, quantum computing, energy storage and nuclear energy, as well as medical technologies such as bone replacement materials and drug delivery.

To find out more about Materials Science please explore further our Schools Outreach webpages and visit the rest of the Department of Materials website.

If you want to know more about Materials Science at Oxford why not join one of our Open Days  and/or have a look at the videos and other content available via our Virtual Outreach webpage.


Here are photographs of our new intakes of Materials undergraduates at Induction in 2019 and in 2022:

materials induction 2019 ug freshers jayne shaw
2022 ug induction


Finally have a look at the reports on recent Oxford Materials Annual Industrial Tours to exciting destinations worldwide.


Astrophoria Foundation Year

Materials Science is a participating subject in the Astrophoria Foundation Year.

The University of Oxford’s Astrophoria Foundation Year is a one-year programme for UK state school students with significant academic potential who have experienced severe personal disadvantage or disrupted education which has resulted in them being unable to meet the academic entry requirements for an Oxford undergraduate degree programme.

The programme is fully funded. Tuition and accommodation fees are covered by the University and students receive a non-repayable bursary for their living costs.

Motivated students will be able to reach their academic potential through this supportive and challenging academic course aimed at developing their skills, self-belief and academic confidence. Students who pass their foundation year course at the required level can progress onto undergraduate study at Oxford without the need to reapply.

You can find out more on the Astrophoria Foundation Year website .

For details about the Materials Science with a Foundation Year Programme please visit our Foundation Year course pages .


An Outline of the Programme Content, Assessment and Key Progression Criteria for the M.Eng in Materials Science

(This outline is for illustrative purposes and details may change from time to time.)


1st year (‘Prelims’)


Directly examined

  • Physical Foundations of Materials
  • Structure and Mechanical Properties of Materials
  • Transforming Materials
  • Mathematics for Materials Science

Continual assessment

  • Practical Course
  • Crystallography Classes
  • Computing for Materials Science (MATLAB)

Additional elements

  • Engineering Drawing and CAD Classes
  • IT Skills
  • Industrial Visits (optional)
  • Career Planning
  • Foreign Language (optional)
  • Introduction to Errors in Measurement
  • Crystal Model Building


First University examination (‘Prelims’): Four written papers; continual assessment components equivalent to a fifth paper. Resit for written papers available in September.


Normally, students are required to achieve an overall mark of at least 40% in the first year examination in order to progress to Year 2.

(The ‘prelims’ mark does not contribute to the final degree classification upon graduation.)

2nd year & 3rd Year (‘Part I Final Honours School’)

2nd year


Directly examined

  • Lifecycle, Processing and Engineering of Materials
  • Electronic Properties of Materials
  • Mechanical Properties of Materials
  • Structure and Thermodynamics of Materials
  • Foreign Language (optional)
  • Supplementary Subject (optional)

Continual assessment

  • Practical Course
  • Industrial Visits & Talks
  • Entrepreneurship Course

Additional elements

  • Mathematics
  • Communication Skills

3rd year


Directly examined

Continual assessment

  • Team Design Project, assessed by written report and oral presentation
  • Introduction to Materials Modelling module, assessed by written report
  • Characterisation of Materials or Atomistic Modelling module, assessed by written report
  • Industrial Visits

(At the start of Year 3 it is possible to transfer to a 3-year BA degree in Materials Science, graduating at the end of Year 3. A student opting to do this takes a smaller set of materials option lecture courses and carries out a literature-based research module. This option is intended for the occasional student who may change their mind about their career path while following our M.Eng programme. The BA degree is not accredited by the IOM3 / UK Engineering Council.)


Final University examination, Part I: Six written papers; continual assessment components equivalent to a further two papers. Resit available one year later.


Normally, students are required to achieve an overall mark of at least 50% in the Part I assessment in order to progress to Part II. In addition, normally a minimum of 40% overall is required for each element of the FHS Part I assessment.

4th year (extended terms) (‘Part II Final Honours School’)


Research project (full-time).  See examples of previous projects.

Additional elements

  • Presentation Skills
  • Project Management Skills
  • Engineering Context
  • Ethics and Sustainability
  • Industrial Visits
  • Careers Events
  • Information Skills & Reference Management
  • Writing Skills and IPR
  • Foreign Language option
  • Workshop Skills
  • MATLAB and LabVIEW


Final University examination, Part II (equivalent to 4 papers): Part II dissertation submitted and assessed; Oral examination of project dissertation. No Resit.