Materials Science

Explore the world of metals, polymers, ceramics, composites and semiconductors. From levitating trains to electronic paper, there are some exciting developments underway in the world of Materials Science that you could be a part of!

Materials Science

Materials Science focuses on understanding the intrinsic structure of a material and the control of its structure through processing. It studies the relationship of the engineering properties of the three main classes of materials (metals, polymers and ceramics) as well as composites and semiconductors.

Materials Scientists are in high demand internationally – particularly within the thriving polymer/plastics, metals, ceramics and composites industries. Your detailed understanding of material properties will help you to make important decisions on how to develop new materials and which materials should be used for specific products or applications.

The wider Waikato region contains the highest density of materials-based companies in New Zealand, so as a University of Waikato Materials Science graduate you could also have a number of local employment opportunities available to you.  You'll also gain the skills and knowledge to contribute to creating an engineering-based knowledge economy in New Zealand.

As a Materials Science student at the University of Waikato, you will benefit from teaching that is research-led, provided by experts from across the materials spectrum who are internationally renowned for their research in light metals and composites.


The University of Waikato is home to a suite of well-equipped laboratories. You will have access to some of the latest scanning electron microscopy and advanced characterisation equipment – used to analyse and assess the structure of materials.

 Career opportunities

  • Materials Scientist
  • Materials Consultant
  • Materials Selection Consultant
  • Materials Production Scientist/Consultant
  • Materials Failure Analyst
  • Life Cycle Analysis Scientist/Consultant
  • Sustainable Development Scientist/Consultant
  • Corrosion Consultant
  • Failure Analysis Consultant
  • Metallurgical Manufacturing Scientist/Consultant
  • Ceramic Manufacturing Scientist/Consultant
  • Composites Manufacturing Scientist/Consultant
  • Wood Manufacturing Scientist/Consultant
  • Sustainable Materials Scientist/Consultant
  • Research Scientist


Study Materials Science in any of these qualifications

Minor subject:

100 level

Code Paper Title Occurrence / Location
CHEMY101Structure and Spectroscopy18A (Hamilton), 18A (Secondary School - Unistart) & 18C (Hamilton)
A theoretical and practical course covering aspects of analytical and inorganic chemistry. This course is required for the chemistry major.
ENGEN112Materials Science and Engineering18B (Hamilton)
Introduction to engineering materials (metals, ceramics, polymers, composites, semiconductors and biomaterials) and their atomic structure and mechanical properties. Includes; elastic and plastic deformation, fracture mechanisms, failure in service, iron-carbon phase diagram, redox reactions in corrosion, production of polymers, ce...
ENGEN180Foundations of Engineering18A (Hamilton)
Introduction to the engineering design process and computer aided design, fundamental principles of engineering analysis, open ended problem solving, engineering economics and the skills of a successful engineer. Includes a design-build-test experience.

200 level

Code Paper Title Occurrence / Location
CHEMY201Organic Chemistry18B (Hamilton)
This paper covers aspects of organic chemistry including reaction mechanisms with carbanion and radical intermediates; mechanisms of reactions of carbonyl groups and multiple electrophilic substitutions of aromatic rings; an introduction to carbohydrate chemistry.
CHEMY203Inorganic Chemistry18A (Hamilton)
This paper covers aspects of inorganic chemistry including structure and reactivity of the main-group elements; point-group symmetry; molecular orbital, crystal field theories; transition metal coordination complexes.
CHEMY204Analytical Chemistry18A (Hamilton)
This paper covers aspects of analytical chemistry including characterisation using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and mass-spectrometry (MS); qualitative and quantitative analysis of mixtures using gas chromatography (GC) and high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC)
ENGME280Design and Manufacturing 118B (Hamilton)
This paper covers the fundamentals of engineering design and manufacture.
ENGMP211Materials 118A (Hamilton)
This paper will provide a foundation for understanding the relationship between material structure, processing and behaviour to support engineering of materials and engineering with materials.

Brian Perry Charitable Trust Undergraduate Scholarship in Science & Engineering

For students who are enrolled in the second year of full-time study towards an undergraduate degree, in the Faculty of Science and Engineering at the University of Waikato. The scholarship will have a value of up to $2,000.

Closing Date: 2017-05-31 23:59:00


Faculty of Science & Engineering

Phone: +64 7 838 4625 / 0800 438 254