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Monash University

Monash University Handbook 2010 Undergraduate - Area of Study

All areas of study information should be read in conjunction with the relevant course entry in the Handbook. The units listed for this area of study relate only to the 'Requirements' outlined in the Faculty of Science component of any bachelors double degrees.

Managing facultyFaculty of Science
Offered byDepartment of Materials Engineering
Course coordinatorAssociate Professor Kiyonori Suzuki (Department of Materials Engineering)


Materials science looks at different types of materials (metals, polymers, ceramics, glasses and composites) and the fundamental structural reasons for the astounding range of properties displayed. The discipline is intended for students of physical science who seek an understanding of the structure and properties of solid materials and the relationships between them. Studies in materials science are offered by the School of Physics in the Faculty of Science and the Department of Materials Engineering in the Faculty of Engineering. Throughout a major in materials science, structure property relationships are studied among all classes of materials (metals, ceramics, polymers, glasses and composites), and the contents of individual units focus on experimental measurement of microstructure and properties, materials synthesis and their technological significance.


On completion of the sequence in materials science students will:

  • have a clear understanding of how materials science knowledge is constructed, and appreciate the importance of certain materials in everyday life and in manufacturing technology
  • have an understanding of fundamental aspects involved in the microstructure of all classes of materials (metals, ceramics and polymers) at all scales from the macro to the nano
  • be able to apply this knowledge of material properties to their functionality in devices
  • have an understanding of techniques used in the characterisation of materials and an appreciation of the limitations of such techniques at the experimental level
  • have acquired computational and IT skills, an ability to plan experiments, and experimental skills
  • have some exposure to the 'real world' of materials science through visits to materials industry and/or laboratories
  • have an ability to source the materials science literature utilising the resources of a modern library
  • be able to read and interpret professional materials science literature
  • be able to communicate materials science and scientific ideas and experiments in written and oral form with use of diagrams, relevant theory, and scientific terminology
  • have acquired teamwork skills in carrying out a range of experimental and other tasks
  • know the key principles underlying Occupational Health and Safety in laboratory practice
  • have a foundation for further learning in materials science and related disciplines, for employment requiring analytical, quantitative and experimental skills.


Level one

  • MSC1010 Structural and functional materials

Level two

Level three

  • MSC3111 Materials durability
  • MSC3121 Microstructural design in structural materials
  • MSC3132 Functional materials and devices
  • MSC3142 Materials characterisation and modelling

Sequence requirements

Minor sequence in materials science (24 points)

Major sequence in materials science (48 points)

Details of the CHM and PHS units, and some related sequences, are described in the chemistry and physics entries in this section of the Handbook.


A major in materials science can be combined with a wide range of other majors, including physics, chemistry and mathematics. Students with an interest in biomaterials may choose to combine materials science with a physiology major. A materials science major commences at level two.

Level two

The level-two units have no formal prerequisite requirements from level one but students must have successfully completed at least 12 points of science units at level one before they may enrol in any science unit at level two. It is recommended that at least six points of mathematics units are undertaken at level two.

Level three

Four 6-point units are offered at level three, and these generally comprise 32 hours of lectures and tutorials and a weekly practical session in the School of Physics or the Department of Materials Engineering laboratories.


Full details regarding entrance requirements and course structure for honours is described in the course entry in this Handbook for the course 0051 Honours degree of Bachelor of Science.

Honours in materials science includes a major research project of the student's choice carried out under the guidance of an academic member of staff. This project comprises half the year's work and is conducted over two semesters. Usually the project will be related to the research interests of the staff member and the work will be done in a research team environment alongside other postdoctoral researchers and higher-degree students. This will often be work at the cutting edge of new materials technology. In addition, coursework at an advanced level is undertaken, where the topics are chosen (with advice from the student's project supervisor) from a wide range of elective topics offered within the School of Physics or the Department of Materials Engineering, or from other departments or schools. The coursework comprises the other half of the honours year. Mid-year entry to the honours program is available.