Material Science

Materials Science at Oxford is a mixture of tutorials, lectures, classes and practicals. The first year is split into four papers with three materials science papers and one maths paper. A lot of the maths paper is covered in further maths A-level but many people had not studied further maths but they were still able to do well in the maths paper. Much of the materials science syllabus is building on topics from A-level chemistry and physics such as thermodynamics, quantum mechanics, kinetics, electrical and magnetic properties with some new topics such as crystallography and microstructures. Before my interviews I re-read the book that I had mentioned in my personal statement (The New Science of Strong Materials or Why you don’t fall through the floor by J.E. Gordon) and read over a few recent news articles about materials science. I also made sure to go over the recent A-level topics I had been studying so I would be better prepared to answer questions relating to this. A few of the questions I was asked in interview required me to apply knowledge I had been taught for A-levels and apply it to a situation I had not come across before. The part of the course I particularly enjoy is the tutorial system - being able to go over specific problems you have found difficult in more detail than if you were studying with a bigger group. The area of the course I find most difficult is the lab reports that have to be completed for each practical you do. (Fortnightly) These can be very time consuming. But overall it is an extremely interesting and rewarding course.