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Postgraduate Study

About the Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy

The Department of Materials Science & Metallurgy moved to a new building on the West Cambridge Science and Technology campus in late 2013.  For the first time in its history, the Department is now housed in a single building designed for purpose.  The Department has over 30 academic staff including research fellows,  more than 50 administrative, technical and support staff, and roughly 80 postdoctoral researchers, 130 research students and 30 visiting scientists at any time.

We are very well equipped with state-of-the-art research facilities in both materials science and materials engineering.  Our research is sponsored by about 130 different industries and government organisations in the UK and overseas.  The Department has a diverse and energetic research school and offers Master's and Doctoral level training programmes, some in collaboration with industry or in structured Centres for Doctoral Training. Over the past 25 years over 60 nationalities have been welcomed into the research school and and we encourage students to take advantage of the many professional and personal development training opportunities available to them.

4 courses offered in the Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy

Awaiting Approval

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The Materials Science Department in Cambridge leads a wide spectrum of cutting-edge materials research with state-of-the-art facilities. The Department has a thriving postgraduate school with more than 130 research students studying for postgraduate research degrees in areas that address key problems in materials science (see details via the Materials Challenges page on the Department website).

A small number of students (usually five or fewer) are admitted to the one-year MPhil by thesis in Materials Science each academic year. Prospective applicants are welcome to make contact with academic staff to discuss the research opportunities available. MPhil students are encouraged to participate in many of the training opportunities and other activities available to students in the University, and become fully integrated members of the Department’s Research School.

Students carry out a one-year research programme under the supervision of a member of the academic staff of the Department of Materials Science.

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The Materials Science Department in Cambridge leads a wide spectrum of cutting-edge materials research with state-of-the-art facilities. The Department has a thriving postgraduate school with more than 130 research students studying for the PhD degree in areas that address key problems in materials science (see details via the Materials Challenges page on the Department website.)

Up to 40 students are admitted to full-time PhD studies in materials science each academic year. The majority start in October, but a small number are admitted in January and April. Students are fully integrated into the research culture in the Department and join a research group and are supervised by one or two members of our academic staff.

Students wishing to apply for a PhD in Materials Science should investigate opportunities on the Department website. We encourage students to make contact with potential supervisors prior to applying.

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The MPhil in Micro and Nanotechnology Enterprise is an exciting opportunity in which world-leading scientists and successful entrepreneurs are brought together to deliver a one-year master’s degree combining an in-depth multidisciplinary scientific programme with a global perspective on the commercial opportunities and business practice necessary for the successful exploitation in the rapidly developing fields of nanotechnology and nanomanufacturing.

The programme is intended for those with a good first degree in the physical sciences and relevant areas of engineering, who wish to develop research skills and commercial awareness of the cutting-edge disciplines of micro- and nanotechnology. The course will provide an unparalleled educational experience for entrepreneurs in these fields.

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5 courses also advertised in the Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy

From the Faculty of Clinical Medicine

We provide high-quality research training to clinical health professionals with an aptitude for research to enable them to become future leaders in medical and healthcare science. We offer training in an outstanding environment, spanning basic science, translational medicine, interdisciplinary, behavioural and applied health research.

We take great pride in our track record of successfully training health professionals to undertake the highest quality research across Cambridge and Norwich. We offer one of the most rewarding environments in which you could pursue your research training with world-leading researchers in The  Schools of Clinical Medicine and Biological Sciences at the Universities of Cambridge, Wellcome Sanger Institute and other MRC, Wellcome & Cancer Research UK funded Institutes, Centres & Units in the wider Cambridge area, as well as the School of Health Sciences and Norwich Medical School at the University of East Anglia with other partners on the Norwich Research Park.  The most important criteria we are looking for are the pursuit of research excellence, hard work and the will to make a difference to health.

The programme faculty provides mentoring and guidance on opportunities to undertake pre-doctoral research placements, enabling successful candidates to make an informed choice of PhD project and supervisor.  Bespoke training and support for career development for fellows, together with support to supervisors, ensures a successful research experience.  Post-doctorally, we will guide fellows based on their individual progress, to make the transition into higher research fellowships and clinical pathways, enabling ongoing training with continuance of research momentum.

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From the Department of Physics

The development of new materials lies at the heart of many of the technological challenges we currently face, for example creating advanced materials for energy generation. Computational modelling plays an increasingly important role in the understanding, development and optimisation of new materials.

This four-year doctoral training programme on computational methods for material modelling aims to train scientists not only in the use of existing modelling methods but also in the underlying computational and mathematical techniques. This will allow students to develop and enhance existing methods, for instance by introducing new capabilities and functionalities, and also to create innovative new software tools for materials modelling in industrial and academic research.

The first year of the doctoral training programme is provided by the existing MPhil course in Scientific Computing, which has research and taught elements, as well as additional training elements. The final three years consist of a PhD research project, with a student-led choice of projects offered by researchers closely associated with the CDT. (

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From the Department of Physics

The vision of this PhD programme is to deliver bespoke cohort-based interdisciplinary training which promotes holistic problem-focused thinking for nanoscientists, and drives new scientific directions as well as impactful, and responsible translation of research to technologies. A particular emphasis will be exposure to a broad range of world-class research environments, to allow students to discover their individual research and technology interests and develop strong ownership of their PhD topic.

The first six months of the programme will provide advanced-level training, specifically designed for students, through an integrated lectures + practicals module on Applied Nanoscience, a module on System Integration for Experimentalists and one short and one longer experimental project, prior to final selection of an interdisciplinary PhD research project between two research groups in the Departments of Physics, Chemistry, Engineering, Materials Science or another relevant department within the University. An additional module on Innovation for Scientists will help students develop a wider perspective, including training on innovation, sustainability and responsible research.

Throughout the programme there will be an environment supporting creativity, resilience, peer-to-peer learning, networking and connectivity. The programme will offer professional skills training to support students for different career paths in industry, academia and beyond, and will help students discover and nurture their leadership approach in varied contexts. Cross-cohort events will include student-led conferences, research seminars, onsite and offsite research and career development workshops led by internal and external experts and other activities.

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From the Department of Earth Sciences

Awaiting Approval

From the Department of Physics

The MPhil programme in Scientific Computing provides world-class education on high performance computing and advanced algorithms for numerical simulation at continuum and atomic-scale levels. The course trains early-career scientists in the use of existing computational software and in the underlying components of the simulation pipeline, from mathematical models of physical systems and advanced numerical algorithms for their discretisation, to object-oriented programming and methods for high-performance computing for deployment in contemporary massively parallel computers.  As a result, course graduates have rigorous research skills and are formidably well-equipped to proceed to doctoral research or directly into employment. The highly transferable skills in algorithm development and high-performance computing make our graduates extremely employable in all sectors of industry, commerce and finance.

The MPhil in Scientific Computing is suitable for graduates from any discipline of natural sciences, technology or engineering, who have good mathematical and computational skills.  

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Department Members

Prof Ruth Cameron, Prof James Elliott and Prof Jason Robinson
Head of Department

  • 35 Academic Staff
  • 50 Postdoctoral Researchers
  • 130 Graduate Students
  • 270 Undergraduates

Research Areas