A materials science and engineering degree opens doors to jobs in a range of industries, and provides knowledge of manufacturing, processing and the fabrication of materials
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.
Employers are increasingly looking for evidence of practical work experience because it demonstrates motivation and commitment, a genuine interest in your discipline and knowledge of how to apply your academic learning. If your course offers an industrial placement component, you would be strongly advised to consider this option. Independently arranged vacation placements are equally valuable.
Voluntary work (fundraising, organising events, community outreach) or getting involved in university life (clubs, societies, students' union) may help to develop key skills such as managing projects, working in multidisciplinary teams and interacting with people from different backgrounds.
You may want to join the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3), which offers student membership rates. The IOM provides access to information, training and networking opportunities, as well as competitions and awards.
Search for placements and find out more about work experience and internships.
The manufacturing sector offers a range of employment opportunities, in areas such as materials science and engineering and materials (e.g. the production of paints and steel). Employers may be in:
- armed forces and defence;
- nuclear industry;
- oil and gas;
Opportunities are also available in teaching and research.
There are career openings for materials graduates in many of the emerging and growth areas as well, including nanotechnology, biomedical materials, high-performance textiles, composites and the development of sustainable materials.
Further opportunities exist in finance (e.g. accountancy, banking, stockbroking and consultancy), media and internet, advertising, the Civil Service and general administration.
Skills for your CV
Studying for a materials science/technology degree 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.
Presentations and group projects help to develop strong oral communication skills, including the ability to articulate your ideas clearly and concisely, persuade and negotiate with others and build interpersonal relationships. These are key skills for many materials-based roles, which often involve consulting, advising clients or colleagues and working in cross-functional teams.
Postgraduate study at MSc, MRes or PhD level enables materials graduates to acquire specialist knowledge in a particular sector (e.g. offshore, aerospace), material (e.g. composites, glass). Relevant courses of study are available across the UK and a list of industry-accredited universities is available from the IOM.
Materials graduates wishing to remain within their professional field may take additional training and qualifications in appropriate software, such as Finite Element Analysis modelling or industry-relevant standards.
Those wanting to move outside the materials field may opt to study for a professional qualification in law, finance or teaching.
What do materials science/technology 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.