Materials science and engineering
A degree in materials science and engineering provides you with the technical, IT and interpersonal skills needed for careers in a range of sectors
Jobs directly related to your degree include:
- CAD technician
- Design engineer
- Materials engineer
- Product/process development scientist
- Research scientist (physical sciences)
- Technical sales engineer
Jobs where your degree would be useful include:
- Analytical chemist
- Biomedical engineer
- Geotechnical engineer
- Higher education lecturer
- Management consultant
- Manufacturing systems engineer
- Patent examiner
- Project manager
- Quality manager
Remember that many employers accept applications from graduates with any degree subject, so don't restrict your thinking to the jobs listed here.
Industrial placements provide valuable practical experience, and you should take up the option of completing one on your course if it's offered. If it's not, then it's definitely worth arranging one independently.
Gaining relevant experience enables you to apply your academic learning in the workplace, show your interest in the discipline and prove that you're committed to a career in this field.
Voluntary work (fundraising, organising events, community outreach) or getting involved in university life (clubs, societies, your students' union) will help you to develop key skills, such as project management and team working.
Student membership of The Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3) gives you 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.
Materials science and engineering graduates are employed in a range of sectors, including:
- armed forces and defence
- nuclear industry
- oil and gas
- scientific research and development
- sports equipment
More job opportunities are being created thanks to developments in the field of nanotechnology and in the use of biomedical materials, high-performance textiles, composites and sustainable materials.
You can also find opportunities in finance (e.g. accountancy, banking, stockbroking and consultancy), media and internet, advertising, marketing, management consultancy, patent law, the Civil Service and general administration.
Find information on employers in engineering and manufacturing, energy and utilities, science and pharmaceuticals and other job sectors.
Skills for your CV
Studying materials science and engineering gives you a thorough understanding of the scientific structures, processes, properties and performance of materials. You'll be able to choose modules that relate to your areas of interest.
You also develop a strong set of transferable skills which are highly valued by employers. These include:
- analytical skills and the ability to solve problems in a creative way
- 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.
Further study at Masters or PhD level is a popular option for materials science and engineering graduates, and it enables you to acquire specialist knowledge in a particular sector or material. For example, offshore operations, the aerospace industry or working with composites or glass.
Relevant courses are available across the UK, and you can find information about accredited university courses from IOM3.
You could also undertake additional training in appropriate software, such as Finite Element Analysis modelling. Or, if you wish to move outside the materials field, you could study for a professional qualification in areas such as law, finance or teaching.
For more information on further study and to find a course that interests you, see Masters degrees and search postgraduate courses in materials science and engineering.
What do materials science and engineering graduates do?
The skills developed during a materials science degree mean graduates go into a range of employment, including working as engineering professionals and in design and business and related associate professional roles. The top jobs reported include engineering professionals (26%), business, research and administrative professionals, science, engineering and production technicians, IT professionals, natural and social science professionals, sales, marketing and related associate professionals, finance professionals and business associate professionals.
|Working and studying||6.3|
|Type of work||Percentage|
|Business, HR and finance||23.3|
Find out what other graduates are doing after finishing their degrees in What do graduates do?
Graduate destinations data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency.