Corpus Christi College Oxford

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Materials Science



Hi! My name is Florence, and I’m in my first year studying Materials Science at Corpus.

I’m now getting towards the end of my first year, and it has been great so far! Materials Science is a really interesting, interdisciplinary subject which incorporates Physics, Chemistry, Maths and Engineering, making it ideal for someone like me that enjoyed all aspects of science at school.

Materials allows you to gain a greater understanding of how materials behave in real life, exploring how different processes go on inside materials at a small scale to allow you to explain why things happen the way they do on a much larger scale. It really is a subject to look at if you are interested in problem solving and a broader range of sciences. 

Materials at Oxford is taught via lectures, practicals and tutorials where you get the chance to discuss your work with top researchers in the field. 

Tutorials take place in a small group setting, and consist of discussions about a problem sheet set after concepts are covered in lectures, to ensure that you fully understand the topic. They sound quite scary but they really aren’t - all the tutors are lovely. You also get to know your tutorial partner/s really well, and often we work together on difficult problem sheets, or go over what we did in lectures together, which is really useful!

In first year, tutorials usually occur two to three times a week, with 2 or 3 lectures every morning. Practical labs happen once every two weeks (6 hours over 2 days) and a lab report has to be submitted the week after you have completed your time in the lab.

Something lovely about Materials at Oxford is the size of the course (roughly 35 a year). Within the first few weeks we all knew each other, and consequently we can all ask for help from anyone from any college, or alternatively just sit and chat together in the Materials cafe!

Aside from academic work, there are so many opportunities here at Oxford to do extracurricular things that you enjoy! This year I have started rowing, as well as playing Netball for the college, but also tried some other things such as Quiz society (I wasn’t very good but we did have fun), and going to talks at the Union. Within college, as well as sport, there are opportunities to enjoy music, welfare events such as JCR tea as well as bops (college parties) about 3 times a term (always fancy dress and good fun!).

Corpus has a reputation for being small and friendly, which I’ve found to be incredibly accurate. It is such a lovely environment to live and work, and the year group gets to know each other really well. A highlight for me this year was at Christmas, where we did a whole year group secret santa, and all had a Christmas party together in the JCR! Everyone is so supportive, and there is always a friendly face around college.

As you would expect, Oxford degrees, particularly science degrees, come with a heavy workload but you soon get used to the volume of work and have time to socialise and enjoy everything the university and college have to offer. 

On another note, I attended a northern state school, and was very nervous about coming to Oxford because of what I perceived to be a completely different environment, as well as being so far away from home! However, I had nothing to worry about! I’ve settled in so well, and whilst some of the Oxford traditions and terminology do seem bizarre, you get used to them so quickly and find yourself talking about tutes (tutorials) and vacs (holidays) in no time at all! I’m so glad I applied here, and I would really encourage you to apply as well.

If you have any questions about Materials, Corpus Christi or Oxford life in general please feel free to email me! 



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