The skills you gain on a materials science and engineering degree open doors to careers in many sectors and put you at the forefront of many new technological developments
Jobs directly related to your degree include:
- Materials engineer
- Product/process development scientist
- Research scientist (physical sciences)
- Technical sales engineer
Jobs where your degree would be useful include:
- Biomedical engineer
- Higher education lecturer
- Manufacturing systems engineer
- Patent examiner
- Project manager
- Quality manager
- Secondary school teacher
Remember that many employers accept applications from graduates with any degree subject, so don't restrict your thinking to the jobs listed here. If you haven't already done so, take a few minutes to answer the Job Match questions to find out what careers would suit you.
Some courses offer an industrial placement component; if you have the option of completing one of these you should definitely take up the opportunity. Independently-arranged vacation placements are equally valuable.
Through practical work experience you can demonstrate motivation and commitment, a genuine interest in your discipline and knowledge of how to apply your academic learning.
Voluntary work (fundraising, organising events, community outreach) or getting involved in university life (clubs, societies, students' union) will help to develop key skills such as managing projects, working in multidisciplinary teams and interacting with people from different backgrounds.
Joining the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3) gives you access to information, training and networking opportunities, as well as competitions and awards. A discounted rate is applied for students.
Search for placements and find out more about work experience and internships.
Materials science and engineering graduates are employed in a range of sectors, including:
- armed forces and defence
- nuclear industry
- oil and gas
There are also opportunities in teaching and research, finance (e.g. accountancy, banking, stockbroking and consultancy), media and internet, advertising, the Civil Service and general administration.
Developments in the field of nanotechnology and in the use of biomedical materials, high-performance textiles, composites and sustainable materials, are also creating more job opportunities.
Skills for your CV
You will gain a good understanding of scientific structures and will be able to choose modules that relate to your areas of interest.
Studying for a materials science and engineering degree also provides you with a strong set of transferable skills valued by employers. These include:
- analytical and problem-solving skills
- a high standard of numeracy
- IT competency and computer-modelling experience
- research and report-writing skills
- creative and independent thinking
- time management, planning and organisational skills
- commercial awareness and business skills
- strong oral communication skills developed through delivering presentations and engaging in group projects - particularly useful for many materials-based roles, which involve consulting, advising clients or colleagues.
Studying at postgraduate level (MSc, MRes or PhD) enables you to acquire specialist knowledge in a particular sector or material. For example, in offshore operations, the aerospace industry or working with composites or glass.
Relevant courses of study are available across the UK and you can find information about accredited university courses from the IOM3.
You could also undertake additional training in appropriate software, such as Finite Element Analysis modelling. If you wish to move outside the materials field you could study for a professional qualification in law, finance or teaching.
What do materials science and engineering graduates do?
Approximately two-thirds of materials science graduates are in employment six months after graduating.
The skills developed during a materials science degree mean graduates go into a range of employment including working as engineering professionals and in arts and marketing roles.
|Working and studying||2.7|
|Type of work||Percentage|
|Engineering and building||17.9|
|Arts, design and media||15.0|
|Marketing, PR and sales||11.6|
|Retail, catering and bar work||12.8|
Find out what other graduates are doing six months after finishing their degrees in What Do Graduates Do?
Graduate destinations data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency.