Hiya, I’m Imogen and I’m a first-year materials scientist here at Corpus Christi.
There are only seven colleges that offer Materials Science, so I decided to visit all of them during an open day, when I fell in love with the 'small and friendly' atmosphere that Corpus is known for. Coming from a small sixth form, this felt like the right size for me and it means you really do get to know people from all years and subjects, especially as in your first year you’ll live just across the road with the other first-years.
As well as its atmosphere, Corpus is also known for its more informal gardens, which are a nice place to relax when the sun’s out, and you get some lovely views across Christ Church meadow from the roof terrace too. If you’re a bit too busy to relax, then the college library is a great place to focus, with 24/7 access and a wide range of books, as well as other resources such as DVDs and molecular modelling kits.
As a Materials Science student, there are usually about three lectures a day at the department, which is just a 10 to 15-minute walk from college (or even less time if you cycle!). As well as lectures, there are also compulsory practicals (labs) every other week. Each lab takes place over two afternoon sessions, with each session lasting three hours. Most labs don’t require a write-up afterwards, but for a few you have to write an academic paper style report over the next three weeks after the lab, which is great practice for scientific writing.
The Materials Department is a great place to do your work as well, with a library that contains all the books in your reading lists and more, in addition to having loads of other useful resources such as journals. If you prefer to have a snack while you work, then there is also a café, which serves food and drink and is a great place to go between lectures and to catch up with friends.
Despite Corpus’ small size, there are eight materials scientists in my year, so you know that if there is a question or topic you are stuck on, there are plenty of students you can turn to for help. As well as other students, lecturers are always happy to answer any questions you have, as well as your tutors, who are all very friendly and approachable. Most tutorials (academic discussion sessions usually with one or two other students) happen with the Corpus tutors in either their college office, or their departmental office, but maths tutorials are held separately and often in a different college.
Materials is quite a contact heavy subject, with lectures, labs, additional classes for topics such as crystallography and computing, and two to three tutorials a week. However, with some time management skills, it is still very possible to enjoy everything else Corpus and the University has to offer, for example I am currently learning to be a cox for the college boat club, as well as regularly attending events put on by the OU LGBTQ+ society. Societies are a great way to meet like-minded people from outside of your own college and subject, and many hold open introductory sessions at the start of the year, usually with free food and drink on offer! I’m also a member of the Materials Society (MatSoc), which hosts events throughout the year as well as organising extra industrial visits, which are useful for your second and third year.
Feel free to email to ask me anything about Materials Science, Corpus Christi, Oxford in general, or anything else!