Work on the development of new and better materials for the next generation of engineering
Everything in the world is made of materials. However, only a small number of these materials occur naturally, with the rest having been microscopically engineered by nature or, increasingly, by materials scientists and engineers. The field of materials science and engineering plays a vital role in our lives, offering innovative new materials and processes for improving society in the 21st century.
Examples include the novel materials needed for future long-life rechargeable batteries, the creation of entirely new products from seemingly waste materials, and the development of medical implants and artificial organs that enhance and extend our lives.
In our undergraduate and postgraduate degree programs, you will study the underlying science and engineering needed for the development of high-performance metallic, ceramic, polymeric, composite, nano-structured, and bio- & nature-inspired materials, as well as the design of sustainable processes and products. You will learn about the incredible positive impact these materials and processes have on our environment, health, standard of living, productivity of vital resources, national security, and economic prosperity.
At the undergraduate level, we offer a specialised bachelor's degree in materials science and engineering, which can be combined with commerce, chemical engineering or biomedical engineering. Alternatively, materials science is also offered as a major in our Bachelor of Science degree programs. At the postgraduate level, we offer a range of coursework and research options, including our Master of Materials Technology program.
Materials science and engineering is a multidisciplinary field that combines principles from physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics, data analytics, and engineering. It is a dynamic and rapidly evolving field that underpins technological advancements by providing the foundation for the development of new materials and technologies with improved performance, functionality, and sustainability. As a result, materials scientists and engineers are highly employable. Along with a solid scientific and technical foundation, you'll be equipped with skills in professional communication, time management, data analytics, computing, and project management.
UNSW is ranked 38th in the world for materials science*. Our graduates are highly sought after by employers, both in Australia and internationally, and they enjoy fulfilling careers in diverse fields. For example, as a materials scientist or engineer, you may be involved in:
These areas of interest are only the tip of the iceberg, as the field of materials science and engineering is constantly evolving to meet a wide range of societal and environmental demands.
At the undergraduate level, you can study our specialised Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) (Materials Science & Engineering) degree, or you can study materials science as a major within a broader science degree. If you're interested in studying materials science and engineering, but you aren't sure whether the engineering degree or science major is your best option, we've highlighted the key differences between the two below.
|Degree (Bachelor of Engineering)
|Major (Bachelor of Science)
|Four-year degree (if taken as a single degree)
|Usually completed as part of a three-year program^
|Professionally accredited engineering degree
|Smaller in terms of core courses
|Coursework is flexible
|Compulsory 12 weeks Industry Training component
|Optional Work Integrated Learning (WIL)
Honours is a core part of the program that is done concurrently with coursework study
Honours is taken full-time over the course of one year
Ideal for students who want to work as a professional materials engineer or pursue a research career - this degree is fully accredited by Engineers Australia
Ideal for students who want to work in industry as a scientist or technologist or, following the completion of an honours year, pursue a research career
We offer a specialised Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) (Materials Science & Engineering), which is fully accredited by Engineers Australia. This accreditation enables our graduates to work as professional engineers and scientists in every major country around the world as our degrees are internationally recognised through the Washington Accord. After a certain level of professional experience, graduates can become a member of Engineers Australia (MIEAust) and, in certain circumstances, a Chartered Professional Engineer (CPEng).
You can study the Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) (Materials Science & Engineering) as a standalone degree or as part of a double degree. This program can be combined with commerce, chemical engineering or biomedical engineeering.
You can also study materials science as a major in the following undergraduate degrees, or choose from a range of double degree combinations:
Gain research experience and enhance your career prospects with an honours degree. These programs are designed to connect your undergraduate study with supervised independent research. An honours degree also provides a pathway into further study, such as a Masters by Research or PhD. You can take honours as a standalone degree or as part of an embedded honours program.
Embedded honours programs
Standalone honours program
Please note that the Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) (Materials Science & Engineering) degree is required for accreditation with Engineers Australia (EA). While the science and advanced science honours programs are not EA accredited, after a certain level of professional experience graduates can become a Certified Materials Professional (CMatP).
You can study materials science and engineering in the following postgraduate coursework program:
The Master of Materials Technology will provide you with a comprehensive yet flexible study of the full range of materials including ceramics, composites, metals and polymers. It also offers graduate education for professionals to broaden their knowledge in these areas. This degree covers a broad spectrum of materials science and engineering, emphasising the application of the basic sciences to the understanding of the structure, properties and processing of materials.
You can study materials science and engineering in the following postgraduate research degrees:
The School of Materials Science and Engineering is a research-intensive school that attracts a large number of research students from all corners of the globe. As such, you will receive individual supervision from a select group of academic staff with expertise in your chosen research field.
Our staff are also major contributors to the following centres, hubs and institutes: The Centre for Sustainable Materials Research & Technology (SMaRT @ UNSW), UNSW Future Materials & Manufacturing Institute, Baosteel-Australia Joint Research Centre, The Australian Centre for NanoMedicine, ARC Research Hub for Transforming Waste in Cost Effective Green Manufacturing, ARC Research Hub for Connected Sensors for Health, ARC Research Hub for Fire Resilience Infrastructure, Assets and Safety Advancements in Urban, Resources, Energy and Renewables Sectors, ARC Training Centre for Innovative Composites for the Future of Sustainable Mining Equipment, and ARC Centre for Excellence in Future Low-Energy Electronics Technologies.
^The Bachelor of Advanced Science (Honours) is a four-year degree.