Hiya, I’m Imogen and I’m a second year Materials Scientist here at Corpus Christi. I matriculated (started my degree) in 2019 but took a year off as a suspended student on health grounds. 

There are only 7 colleges that offer Materials Science, so I decided to visit all of them during an open day, when I just 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. The JCR is also a good place to hang out or casually study, with daily JCR teas run in turns by all the JCR officers, and weekly Welfare teas run by the welfare officers. 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 2-3 lectures a day at the department, which is just a 10-15 minute walk from college (or even less time if you cycle!). As well as lectures, there are also compulsory practicals (labs) every other week. 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 3 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 catch up with friends. 

Despite Corpus’ small size, there are 10 materials scientists in my year, with tutorials typically happening in groups of 2-3, so there’s always plenty of people to 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 happen with the Corpus tutors in either the college office, or their departmental offices, 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 2-3 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 the JCR’s Disabilities Rep, the Mental Health Officer for the Disabilities Campaign, as well as also attending some 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 2nd and 3rd year. 

Feel free to email to ask me anything about Materials Science, Corpus Christi, Oxford in general or anything else!


Resources categorised by subject and by Key Stage, as well as materials for applying to Oxford and finding out more about Corpus, can be found here.