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Homepage / Course Director reflects on the first month of study for Advanced Materials MSc

Course Director reflects on the first month of study for Advanced Materials MSc


After one month of studying the Advanced Materials MSc student cohort have just finished attending their third of eight taught modules, Failure of Materials and Structures, and now have a moment to relax.

The Cranfield Students’ Association (CSA) has organised a firework display, but before this an early evening session of pizzas and games allows the manufacturing students to gather and share their experiences of their first month of study at Cranfield University.

The wet UK weather does not appear to have dampened spirits.  Reflections from some students demonstrate that there is a strong interaction across many courses – encouraged from the initial induction week, where all 140 manufacturing students took part in a day of  “team building”, with teams of 12 to 15 undertaking challenges (physical and mental).

Advanced Materials MSc in focus 

The first week at a new place can be a daunting experience. However, our student academic support (SAS) team  were available to advise students and point them in the right direction; from attending lectures to completing the various paperwork required for registration, study visa, registering with doctors and dentists etc.

The first taught module, Introduction to Materials Engineering, gently introduced Advanced Materials, Aerospace Materials and Welding Engineering MSc students to study methods at Cranfield University. Taught modules are delivered at high intensity, with each module taught over a single week. Laboratory demonstration classes allow students to experience how theory relates to practice across the taught modules.

Some modules are assessed by a written assignment (essay style) where students have time to reflect and construct an answer in their own time (or during a private study week), while others are assessed by exams set for December or January. The Introduction to Materials Engineering module is assessed by examination. In order to prepare students for the Cranfield examination process, the students were set a practice exam, where they gathered under exam conditions and sat the 2 hour exam with little time for preparation.

The aim of the practice exam is to show students the process and practice exam marks are used only for student feedback and not as part of the MSc assessment. All full-time students attempted the practice exam and a full face-to-face feedback session will be scheduled in the next 10 days.

Postgraduate study in rural Bedfordshire

Cranfield campus is set in a quiet location, making it ideal for study. For those looking for a livelier atmosphere, less than 10 miles away is the large town of Milton Keynes, with its bustling bars, theatre, and large shopping centre. . Milton Keynes also has good rail links to London, Birmingham and beyond for students wishing to travel further afield.

The Advanced Materials MSc 2019-20 cohort consists of a mix of students from UK and overseas, with different cultures and experiences which adds another dimension to academic studies. Throughout the year, the students support each other both within their own MSc and across the MSc courses where modules are shared.

Although our MSc course is comprised of only a small group of students, there are opportunities for all students to be part of the larger Cranfield student family.

David Ayre

Written By: Cranfield University

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