The discovery, development and application of advanced materials is at the heart of engineering innovation. Informed by our close research collaborations with industry we are developing the next generation of talented materials scientists and engineers. With a fundamental interest in materials science, the MSc in Advanced Materials: Engineering and Industrial Applications course will develop your understanding of materials’ properties, selection, processing and advanced design procedures.


  • Start dateFull-time: October. Part-time: October (other start dates can be discussed with the course director)
  • DurationMSc: full-time one year, part-time up to three years; PgDip: full-time up to one year, part-time two years; PgCert: full-time up to one year, part-time two years
  • DeliveryTaught modules 40%, group project 20%, individual project 40%
  • QualificationMSc, PgDip, PgCert
  • Study typeFull-time / Part-time
  • CampusCranfield campus

Who is it for?

This course is suitable for graduates with science, applied science, maths, engineering or related degrees keen to pursue careers in the development or exploitation of materials; graduates currently working in industry keen to extend their qualifications; individuals wishing to start/progress their career; or individuals with other qualifications who possess considerable relevant experience.

Why this course?

Cranfield University has an enviable track record in the development and application of advanced materials and their associated processing and manufacturing technologies. This spans from our surface engineering coatings used to increase the operating temperature of gas turbine engines to the development of composite material structures for application in some of the world’s most exotic super cars. Our research and commercial work with industry shape our taught programmes (lectures and projects), where our academic teams are leading in their fields.

This course equips students with the knowledge and skills to solve a wide range of engineering challenges. The progressive subject of additive manufacturing is introduced and investigated in the Additive and Subtractive Manufacturing Technologies module. The quest for stronger, lighter, more durable materials is discussed in the Composite Manufacturing, Materials Selection and the Failure of Materials modules. Our ability to modify materials to function in aggressive environments is presented in the Surface Science and Engineering module and the Introduction to Materials Engineering module.

Our research centres in Composites and Advanced Materials, Surface Engineering and Precision and Welding and Additive Manufacturing are integrated into the delivery of the course through our research and teaching teams, who are passionate in sharing their knowledge and experience in materials. 

The group and individual projects are often sponsored by industry giving you highly relevant context to your studies and practical work. With access to many of our unique laboratories and facilities,  working alongside our leading research teams Cranfield is the perfect environment to launch your career.

I really enjoy the labs and seeing what current research is going on. I also enjoy when we have several different lecturers delivering a module as they all have their individual expertise. We get an in-depth look at these areas from someone passionate about their work and research. I feel confident in my knowledge and understanding. I have become very interested in research and development and this MSc puts me on track for that area of industry.

The Advanced Materials course opened up a lot of opportunities for me and as a direct result of my thesis project, my visibility across the automotive industries increased. I also had the chance to publish papers and present as a speaker at Automotive related conferences.

We were very lucky to be able to work so closely with Airbus as our industrial supervisor on our group project. We had regular communications with them, face-to face and via email and they gave a lot of feedback too so we were very fortunate for that.

The module I enjoyed the most was probably the Failure of Materials and Structures. It was a very technical module involving maths, mechanical behaviours but also materials knowledge and environmental effects. It also includes different methods of analysis as lab experiments (strain-stress tests) and computations on failure simulations. Being very technical and involving a wide variety of different phenomena, this module was for me one of the most interesting ones.

Informed by industry

Our courses are designed to meet the training needs of industry and have a strong input from experts in their sector. Our advisory panel has members from well-known companies such as Bentley, NCC, Micro Materials and Rolls-Royce. Students who have excelled have their performances recognised through course awards. The awards are provided by high-profile organisations and individuals, and are often sponsored by our industrial partners. Awards are presented on Graduation Day.

Course details

The course comprises eight assessed modules, a group project and an individual research project.

The modules include lectures, tutorials and lab demonstrations, and are assessed through practical work, written examinations, case studies, essays, presentations and tests. These provide the 'tools' required for the group and individual projects.

Course delivery

Taught modules 40%, group project 20%, individual project 40%

Group project

The group project experience is highly valued by both students and prospective employers where teams of students develop both technical and team working skills to solve an industrial problem. Part-time students may be able to prepare a dissertation on an agreed topic if a group project activity is not suitable for their study circumstances. 

Industrially orientated, our team projects have support from external organisations. As a result of external engagement, Cranfield students enjoy a high degree of success when it comes to securing employment.

Examples of group projects include:

  1. Self-lubricating coatings for novel power dense rotary engine: sponsored by Enigma England, the project looked to provide an innovative materials solution to allow a dry lubrication system for their rotary engine. Self-lubricating coatings were investigated, and characterisation tests completed to determine tribological properties alongside the simulation of the mechanical environment in the engine. Microscopy and SEM imaging were also used by the students to observe the material surfaces. The project concluded with a recommendation for the rotor (hard anodised aluminium 2024 coated with PTFE ) and the chamber (AMC4632) of the engine.
  2. Solar desalination – off-grid water treatment technology: this innovative British Council sponsored project looks to help provide an innovative solution to a lack of clean water supplies in the hottest regions on Earth. The student team developed a low-cost desalination system that’s easy to maintain and can be disassembled for transportation. The materials innovation incorporated Fresnel lenses into the desalination system.

“My group project was on adding graphene to polymers to enhance their properties. This project was mainly lab work. We worked on extruding polymers that contain a certain percentage of graphene. We optimised the graphene percentage inside the polymers using mechanical testing. We also made our own samples using polymer injection moulding.” -  Advanced Materials MSc graduate, Noor Ghadarah.

Individual project

Students select the individual project in consultation with the Course Director. The individual project provides students with the opportunity to demonstrate their ability to carry out independent research, think and work in an original way, contribute to knowledge and overcome genuine problems.

Examples of individual projects include:

  • Material selection of a polymer for high-temperature automotive connectors;
  • Investigation of plasma cleaning process for wire+arc additive manufacturing.


Keeping our courses up-to-date and current requires constant innovation and change. The modules we offer reflect the needs of business and industry and the research interests of our staff and, as a result, may change or be withdrawn due to research developments, legislation changes or for a variety of other reasons. Changes may also be designed to improve the student learning experience or to respond to feedback from students, external examiners, accreditation bodies and industrial advisory panels.

To give you a taster, we have listed the compulsory and elective (where applicable) modules which are currently affiliated with this course. All modules are indicative only, and may be subject to change for your year of entry.

Course modules

Compulsory modules
All the modules in the following list need to be taken as part of this course.

Advanced Materials Processing Technologies

    To investigate the established and emerging processes applied to advanced materials when manufacturing engineering components and systems.
    • Overview of manufacturing processes with links to specific materials.
    • Material – Process – Microstructure – Performance relationship.
    • Developments in Casting, Extrusion and Injection Moulding.
    • Additive Manufacture / 3D Printing (fused deposition, selective laser sintering, stereo lithography, WAAM).
    • Photolithography and Advanced Lithography-based Methods.
    • Green body shaping, solid state sintering and hot-pressing.
    • Sol-gel processing and thin-film growth (ceramics).
    • Processing materials for electronic and optical applications.
    • Secondary Processing (post -processing treatments).
    • Microstructure and Materials Characterisation.
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module you should be able to:
1. Appraise recent developments fabrication processes for the production of engineering components and identify their main areas of application and limitations. 

2. Examine the relationships between material properties, processing conditions, metrology and performance. 

3. Design appropriate manufacturing routes and post manufacturing treatments for producing products with required properties [stiffness, hardness, toughness, strength, corrosion resistance etc]. 

4. Compare and contrast the processes used in additive manufacturing for a range of materials and applications. 

5. Evaluate strategies towards sustainable manufacturing (management of resources).

Composites Design, Manufacturing and Applications

    To provide a detailed awareness of composite material types, their current and emerging manufacturing techniques and an understanding of materials selection and the design process for effective parts manufacturing.
    • Design requirements for components and structures – where composite materials can provide benefits over isotropic materials (include case studies/examples).
    • Fibres and fabrics – their applications.
    • Matrix types - their applications.
    • The design process – including materials and process selection.
    • Joint design and assembly technology.
    • Manufacturing processes and technologies.
    • Manufacturing with nano modified resins.
    • Mould tooling and moulding process simulation – fabric draping and resin impregnation.
    • Thermoplastic composite materials and structures manufacturing.
    • Automation developments & emerging processes for high-rate manufacturing.
    • Aircraft composites structures manufacturing - non-destructive evaluation.
    • Sustainable composites & recycling techniques.
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module you should be able to:
1. Compare the types of composite materials available and their properties and benefits / challenges.

2. Justify appropriate manufacturing techniques for a wide range of industrial, automotive and aircraft composite structures.

3. Assess current areas of technology development for composites processing.

4. Examine how materials selection, structural load and strain estimation, laminate design and manufacturing and assembly process definition influence the design process.

5. Evaluate performance-cost balance implications of materials and process choice.

Engineering with Nano and Functional Materials

    To introduce the latest developments across the range of materials dimensionality (from 0D to 3D nanomaterials), and provide basic principles governing characteristics and use in advanced functional and multi-functional structures.
    • Basic training in multi-disciplinary nanoscience.
    • Metal and metal oxide nanomaterials, carbon based materials, such as single-walled or multi-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs or MWCNTs), graphene and graphene oxide, carbon dots, polymeric nanomaterials, nano biomaterials. 
    • The rapid development of multi functional nanomaterials giving the possibility of designing better and unique structures and devices with outstanding properties. 
    • Embodied energy in materials.
    • Selection and engineering with nanomaterials.
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module you should be able to:
1. Examine developments in nanoscience and applications.

2. Compare and contrast across the range of available nanomaterials (0D, 1D, 2D and 3D).

3. Investigate opportunities and challenges to use of nanomaterials.

4. Appraise multi-functional nanomaterials.

Industrial Applications Of Advanced Materials

    To provide you with an overview of the mechanical and physical behaviours exhibited by advanced materials, and to relate these to the use of these materials in industry and on future industrial applications.

    • Mechanics of materials – strength, stiffness, hardness, corrosion, fatigue.

    o Focus on metals (superalloys, shape memory alloys, amorphous metals), glasses, polymers (stronger focus on thermoplastic polymers), ceramics (bulk materials and coatings), metamaterials. o Manufacture, forming and shaping of these classes of materials.

    • Functional properties of materials including thermal (incl. thermomechanical, thermoelectric), electric (incl. piezoelectric), magnetic, optical, biocompatibility.

    o Focus on metals (superalloys, shape memory alloys, amorphous metals), glasses, polymers (stronger focus on thermoplastic polymers), ceramics (bulk materials and coatings), metamaterials.

    • Requirements and applications for emerging materials in ICT, energy and mobility, life sciences, healthcare, cosmetics, food, consumer goods, and manufacturing.

    • Industrial cases studies demonstrating how and where these materials have been applied in real life applications.

    o Materials include uses of superalloys, amorphous metals, high entropy alloys, thermal conductors/insulators, electrical conductors/insulators, materials for optical applications, etc.

    • Sustainability implications of materials selection regarding effects on processing, usage and end-of-life in the context of energy, environmental hazards, labour, recycling, etc with a link to UNSDGs.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module you should be able to:

  1. Discuss the mechanical and physical behaviour of advanced materials that allow the exhibiting of unique properties.
  2. Analyse the suitability of various classes of advanced materials, including metals, glasses, polymers, and ceramics, for industrial applications. 
  3. Examine industrial case studies to demonstrate how advanced materials improve performance. 
  4. Evaluate the implications of using these materials and their manufacturing for components on current and future applications across various sectors.

Materials for a Net Zero Future

    To identify strategies for reducing impact on the environment from materials, manufacturing, and application activities (from cradle to grave), including impact of use of alternative materials, alternative manufacturing routes and implementation of renewable energy sources.
    • Current landscape relating to the impact from current use of materials and legislation/initiatives to reduce environmental impact. 
    • Sustainable Polymers, Composites and Metals and Ceramics/Glasses – current and future opportunities to implement alternative materials to reduce CO2 emissions. 
    • Introduction to Life Cycle Assessments/ Life Cycle Thinking (Case study on Polymers, Composites, Metals and Ceramics, Aero, Automotive), and how sustainability issues can influence Materials selection at the design stage. 
    • Materials supply chain challenges and reliance on critical materials for innovative technologies to reduce CO2 emissions. 
    • Materials for Energy conversion (Structural batteries; Hydrogen; Thermal and Solar).
    • Materials for Energy Storage (supercapacitors, hydrogen storage, battery technologies).
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module you should be able to:
1. Examine opportunities and strategies to reduce the CO2 footprint for materials and manufacturing processes/applications which are recognised as environmentally harmful.

2. Appraise the current technologies targeting reducing CO2 emissions, identifying challenges and benefits.

3. Compare and contrast the impact of using alternative materials and alternative energy sources to meet a net zero CO2 emission target.

4. Apply and examine fundamental understanding of life cycle assessments to identify the activities which produce significant CO2 emissions [materials extraction, manufacture, transport, storage, use, end of life].

Materials Selection and Design

    To provide you with the knowledge and skills required to enable you to carry out the selection of appropriate materials for a wide range of engineering and other applications in a sustainable way.
    • Introduction to the Ansys Granta Edupack materials selection software.
    • Review of specific materials classes: 
      • Metallic alloys (Fe, Al, Cu, Ni, Zn, Mg, Ti-based).
      • Polymers: polyolefins, polyesters, nylons, aramids, resins, elastomers.
      • Ceramics: cement, glass, nitrides, carbides.
      • Composites: GFRP, CFRP, cermet's.
      • Natural materials: wood, rock, leather, bamboo.
    • Review of important "material properties": Toughness, Fatigue, Corrosion, etc.
    • Review manufacturing/processing routes.
    • The Materials Selection Process.
      • Constraints and Objectives.
      • Multi-criteria and conflicting criteria.
      • Material performance indices.
      • Ashby plots o Selection and Ranking.
    • Sustainability and use of the eco-audit tool.
    • Guided student activities (formative assessment) 
      • Simple ranking exercise.
      • Group work – materials selection exercise and presentation.
      • Individual work – materials selection exercise and presentation.
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module you should be able to:
1. Recognise and examine a wide range of materials and their properties to undertake materials selection effectively, using appropriate reference sources (books, data sheets, computer databases).

2. Evaluate materials with respect to material properties, manufacturing processes and sustainability issues for a given design specification or application.

3. Apply and appraise a systematic process for the selection of material(s) to meet the requirements of a component design brief.

4. Compare candidate materials with respect to sustainability and availability.

5. Prepare and present effective oral or written presentations to justify materials selection.

Modelling for Materials

    To introduce numerical modelling methods and apply them to materials processing and performance settings.
    • Modelling of materials processing and relevant heat transfer, fluid flow and chemical diffusion simulation.
    • Non-linear material behaviour and coupling of physics. 
    • Formulations of the finite element (FE), finite differences (FD) and finite volume methods (FV). 
    • Formulation of particle-based modelling methods. 
    • Multiscale modelling and modelling across different scales. 
    • Application of FE, FD, FV and particle based methods. 
    • Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning based modelling and its application to materials. 
    • Use of modelling for process and component design and optimisation. 
    • Stochastic simulation of material processing and performance. 
    • Inverse problems in materials processing and material property estimation.
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module you should be able to:
1. Examine developments in nanoscience and applications.

2. Compare and contrast across the range of available nanomaterials (0D, 1D, 2D and 3D).

3. Investigate opportunities and challenges to use of nanomaterials.

4. Appraise multi-functional nanomaterials.

Teaching team

You will be taught by industry-active research academics from Cranfield with an established track record, supported by visiting lecturers from industry. To ensure the programme is aligned to industry needs, the course is directed by an Industrial Advisory Committee. The Course Director for this programme is Dr David Ayre, the Admissions Tutor for this programme is Dr Sameer Rahatekar. This course is supported by Professor Krzysztof Koziol, Head of Enhanced Composites and Structures Centre.


The Advanced Materials: Engineering and Industrial Applications MSc is accredited by Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE), the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS)The Welding Institute(TWI), Institute of Materials, Minerals & Mining (IOM3),Institution of Engineering & Technology (IET) on behalf of the Engineering Council as meeting the requirements for further learning for registration as a Chartered Engineer (CEng). Candidates must hold a CEng accredited BEng/BSc (Hons) undergraduate first degree to show that they have satisfied the educational base for CEng registration. Please note accreditation applies to the MSc award, PgDip and PgCert (if offered) do not meet in full the further learning requirements for registration as a Chartered Engineer.

In 2019, Cranfield Manufacturing and Materials was honoured to receive a commemorative award from the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3) recognising continued accreditation for over 15 years.

Your career

On completion of this MSc, graduates have a broader network of global contacts, increased opportunities for individual specialism and a wide range of careers options involving materials with responsibilities in research, development, design, engineering, consultancy and management.

Our graduates find careers with global industries alongside innovative start-ups and SMEs which have included:

  • Airbus,
  • Cytec Industries,
  • Marshalls Aerospace,
  • National Composites Centre,
  • Nippon Sheet Glass Co. Ltd,
  • Rolls-Royce,
  • Solvay.

Some graduates prefer to stay in academia and enter into research at universities across Europe. Most continue in a career associated with engineering and materials, seeking solutions to industries' challenges across the whole spectrum of civil, electrical, energy, industrial, manufacturing and transportation activities.

Cranfield’s Career Service is dedicated to helping you meet your career aspirations. You will have access to career coaching and advice, CV development, interview practice, access to hundreds of available jobs via our Symplicity platform and opportunities to meet recruiting employers at our careers fairs. Our strong reputation and links with potential employers provide you with outstanding opportunities to secure interesting jobs and develop successful careers. Support continues after graduation and as a Cranfield alumnus, you have free life-long access to a range of career resources to help you continue your education and enhance your career.

How to apply

Click on the ‘Apply now’ button below to start your online application.

See our Application guide for information on our application process and entry requirements.