The School of Materials Science and Engineering offers both engineering and science degrees within the Faculty of Science.
Everything we use is made of materials, yet only a handful of these materials occur naturally. All the rest have been microscopically engineered originally by nature, but increasingly by materials engineers/scientists.
Materials science and engineering is focused on the development of new and better materials for the next generation of engineering applications. The degree covers the fundamentals of biomaterials, nanomaterials, ceramics, metals, polymers, electronic materials and composites, emphasising the relationships between atomic structure and microstructure as well as the properties, processing and performance of these materials.
Materials scientists and engineers are involved in every aspect of technology - from the design of materials for use in integrated circuits, transport vehicles, battery devices and medical implants, through to sustainable materials processing and developing new materials for green energy generation. In this new century, sustainability and environmental impact lie at the core of materials development and application.
At the undergraduate level, you can study our specialised bachelor's degree in materials science and engineering, which can also be combined with commerce, chemical engineering or biomedical engineering. Materials science is also offered as a major in several of our undergraduate science degrees. At the postgraduate level, we offer a range of coursework and research options including our Master of Materials Technology.
Materials science and engineering combines chemistry, physics and mathematics with the principles of mechanical, chemical and electrical engineering. As a result, materials engineers are highly marketable. Along with a solid technical foundation, you'll be equipped with communication, project management, time management, organisational and computing skills.
UNSW is ranked 39th in the world for materials science.* Our graduates are highly regarded by employers, both in Australia and internationally. Materials science and engineering touches almost every aspect of our lives from the concrete and steel in the structures around us, the components in our electronic devices and even biomedical implants used to better our health. The field is diverse, offering a wide range of career opportunities. 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 continually evolving for societal and environmental benefit.
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 degree or 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|
|Structured degree||Coursework is flexible|
|Compulsory work experience 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 in industry as an 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. Here, each student receives individual supervision from a select group of academic staff with expertise in the student's research field. Within the School, there are several focused research groups across the broad materials discipline, including the Centre for Sustainable Materials Research and Technology, UNSW Materials and Manufacturing Futures Institute and ARC Centre of Excellence for Future Low-Energy Electronics Technologies.
*QS World University Rankings by Subject 2021
^The Bachelor of Advanced Science (Honours) and Bachelor of Science (International) are both four-year degrees.