Electives and Majors

In first and second year, a broad foundation in materials properties and practical evaluations is laid. Students then specialise, through the election of a major, in their third and fourth year.

Electives include material processing and fabrication methods as well as detailed investigation of electrical, thermal, chemical and physical properties, and the application and failure of materials.

Electives vary with each study plan:  physical metallurgy, process metallurgy, ceramics or materials engineering.

Detailed information about what electives are available can be found in our Program Guides.


At the end of stage 2, students studying a Bachelor of Materials Science and Engineering are required to select a major from the following four options: 
Materials Engineering
Materials Engineering is a broad ranging discipline, which applies the principles of science and engineering to the design, development, production, and recycling of metallic, ceramic and polymeric materials and products.  It is founded on the relationship between processing, structure, and properties, and enables materials to be engineered to specific end-use requirements. The Materials Engineering stream provides a versatile and comprehensive training applicable to careers in areas such as polymers and composites industry, building materials, manufacturing industry, civil engineering, transport, electrical/electronic industries, biomaterials/biodevices, Australian defence, and University and national research laboratories. Due emphasis is placed on collaborating with other appropriate engineering fields and science disciplines.
Ceramic Engineering
Ceramic Engineering teaches the science and technology involved in the production of ceramic materials ranging from traditional products such as bricks, tiles, plates, pottery, glass, refractories, and cement, through to new generation high-tech ceramics such as solid-state electronics, piezoelectrics, magnetic materials, aerospace materials, electromagnetic devices, engine parts, energy generation and storage devices, wear parts and abrasives, cutting tools and superconductors. Ceramic Engineering is concerned with the entire lifecycle of ceramic products from raw materials to the finished product.  Graduates are employed in a diverse range of areas including production, research and technical development, quality assurance, technical marketing, consulting and management.
Note: MATS4002 Design and Advanced Ceramics (6 UOC) and MATS4004 Fracture Mechanics & Failure (6 UOC) are compulsory professional electives for this stream.
Physical Metallurgy
Physical Metallurgy relates the chemical compositions and microstructures of metals to their physical and mechanical properties for application in the shaping, alloying, heat treatment, joining, corrosion protection, and design and testing of metals. This stream is designed to produce graduates with training appropriate to both the metal and product manufacturing industries for employment in a broad range of careers in areas including metal manufacturing, product manufacturing (e.g. white goods, automotive, aircraft), infrastructure and utility operation and maintenance, automotive and aerospace development and design, and consulting and research. Graduates may be employed in production, technical control and development, quality assurance, consulting, technical marketing and management.
Note: MATS4001 Secondary Processing of Metals (6 UOC) and MATS3005 Phase Transformations (6 UOC) are compulsory professional electives for this stream.
Process Metallurgy
Process Metallurgy is concerned with extracting metals from their ores to make refined alloys and the development, production and use of metallic materials.  The stream is designed to produce graduates with training appropriate to the primary metallurgy industry. The profession is very broad and affords opportunities for involvement in many specialist activities in production, technical control and development, in metal and mineral producing industries.
Note:  MATS3003 Eng in Process Metallurgy (6 UOC) and MATS4003 Process Metallurgy Advanced (6 UOC) are compulsory professional electives for this stream.
Functional Materials
This stream is intended to offer a strong undergraduate training in the field of functional materials. Functional materials are those which possess highly specific native properties and functions, such as ferroelectricity, piezoelectricity, magnetism and energy storage. They are found in all classes of materials: metals, ceramics, polymers, and organic molecules.  Functional materials show great promise for many strategic technological advances that will change the way in which materials are used. Typical applications include devices for electromagnetic applications, energy generation, electro- and magneto- caloric materials for energy storage, solar harvesting functions, and semiconductor logic and memory technology.
Note MATS3005 Phase Transformations (6 UOC) and MATS4005 Composites and Functional Mats (6 UOC) are compulsory electives for this stream.

Declaration of Major (Academic Plan)

Students must declare their Academic Plan before commencing Stage 3 of their program and may change their specialisation up until the end of Term 1 of Year 3.  We recommend advising your academic plan in Term 3 of Year 2 of your program.
To declare your Academic Plan, log into myUNSW and select Stream Declaration.