Materials Engineering

For over 40 years materials science and engineering has been a core strength at Loughborough University and we have a longstanding international reputation for our materials teaching and research.

2nd for Materials and Mineral Engineering The Guardian University Guide 2022
6th in the UK for Materials Technology The Complete University Guide 2022
4th in the UK for Materials Technology The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022

Materials at Loughborough

Materials is a discipline which underpins global industry, with this area of engineering opening worldwide opportunities to a well-paid and rewarding career. From materials developed to work in harmony with the human body to increase the effectiveness of implants and replacement joints, to advances in surface engineering allowing for more fuel-efficient vehicle design. The list is endless and means that materials is an incredibly important and rewarding sector of engineering.

The development of new and improved materials is at the very heart of a range of technologies and our postgraduate offering will give you the opportunity to explore and deepen your understanding of the scientific, engineering and design aspects of materials, their structure, properties, processing, in-service behaviour and environmental impact at a more advanced level.

For over 40 years materials science and engineering has been a core strength at Loughborough, during which we have developed an international reputation. By joining our department, you’ll be joining one of the highest-ranking universities for materials engineering in the UK, and will benefit from high quality research-led teaching. You will be able to immerse yourself in a supportive learning environment, where you will be supported by our academics to help you reach your full potential. With a team of 21 academics, 85 master’s students, 70 PhD students and 20 Research Associates, we’re a vibrant and diverse department which focuses on contributing to the advancement and application of knowledge.

Research degrees

In addition to our exciting range of taught programmes, there are also a variety of funded and unfunded opportunities to join the Department of Materials as a doctoral researcher. You can develop your own unique research proposal or browse our current list of PhD opportunities – either way, we’d love to hear from you.

Browse our PhD opportunities

Research and teaching

Our programmes have a long track record of delivering high-quality, research-led education. Many of our academics are leaders in their fields of research and are in demand for research collaborations, so you can be assured that our taught content reflects our world today and is at the cutting-edge of current research practices. 

Our philosophy is based on an understanding of the relationships between materials’ composition, processing, microstructure and properties, and upon completing our programmes you will be able to apply your knowledge to all products and engineering applications. We provide you with knowledge of materials selection, in terms of design considerations, as well as the implications certain materials may have on business and the environment.

Study a postgraduate degree with us and you’ll become part of a welcoming community, benefitting from the experience and expertise of leading academics. Our postgraduate taught programmes and research provision are designed to help you develop your critical awareness, nurture innovative ideas and truly understand the role of materials in the world around you. Collaborations with other departments across the University enrich our materials science and engineering research provision as we focus on tackling today’s global challenges, including sustainability, nanomaterials, composites and processing.

Links with industry

Staff within the Department of Materials engage with industry on both short- and long-term research projects.  The short-term projects might, for example, determine the cause of a component failure in-service, whilst the long-term projects will deliver new materials and processes to our industry partners, covering Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs) 1 to 9.

Staff in the department work in a broad range of industrial sectors, including aerospace, defence, energy, healthcare, and automotive and for companies ranging from small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). Examples of industry links include long-term projects with: Rolls Royce; BAE Systems; Trelleborg; GE Aviation, and Bombardier Aerospace.

Facilities

Our range of first-class facilities are designed to help you throughout your studies and fully-equip you for your future endeavours.

We have excellent facilities which include a newly refurbished and extended materials processing and pilot area, and the Loughborough Materials Characterisation Centre (LMCC) which, with its state of-the-art equipment, is one of the best suites of its kind in Europe. The centre supports our research and teaching activities developing understanding of the interactions of structure and properties with processing and product performance.

Accreditation

Our Polymer Science and Engineering programme is accredited by the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3). Accreditation by the IOM3 facilitates progression towards professional chartered status (CEng) after a period of relevant graduate-level employment.

In line with the accrediting body’s review processes, our remaining programmes are undergoing reaccreditation to ensure they continue to offer professional registration opportunities.

Career opportunities

Skills in materials are in demand across many industry sectors and job functions, and therefore offer some of the widest range of job choices for graduates. Industry relevance is always a priority and much of our research work and master’s degree projects are industry sponsored, with scientists and engineers from industry contributing to our modules.

Materials science and engineering graduates are employed in a range of sectors, including: aerospace, automotive, defence, manufacturing, nuclear, oil and gas, pharmaceuticals, sports, transport and utilities. Graduates are also highly sought after thanks to developments in nanotechnology, composites and sustainable materials.

Undertaking a PhD in Materials Engineering is challenging, yet rewarding and whilst strengthening your research ability, it will also allow you to develop a much wider range of transferable skills that can be applied to a range of industries.  

Graduates from our department leave with a breadth of technical skills and expertise, far beyond their particular degree specialism. Our graduates progress onto a wide variety of careers within engineering, which put the skills and knowledge acquired during this programme into practice. A higher degree, such as a PhD, can accelerate your career and facilitate progression into positions with higher responsibility. Upon completion of your PhD, you may also wish to stay within academic research, either securing a post-doctoral research position or lecturing role, within UK and international institutes. 

Materials in action

Our department worked alongside Trelleborg Applied Technologies to address the problem of wind turbine radar interference. Developing a technology that will allow wind farms to be built closer to airports, military bases and weather stations that rely on radar, Loughborough research has supported the progress of the sustainable energy generation.

The accelerated development has providing Trelleborg with a strong opportunity to expand its capabilities and consolidate its place in the stealth technology market which has an estimated value of more than £500 million globally.