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Personal statements are always difficult, but it is especially so when you’ve never formally studied before, like Materials Science. As you won’t have the experience of having studied Materials Science in-depth at A-Level, you will have to strike a balance on your personal statement. You must show the admissions tutors your skills and interests in the sciences you have studied, and also that you have investigated Materials Science as a stand-alone subject. 

How can I expand my knowledge of Materials Science?

Reading around materials science through any of the books mentioned in the previous section is a good way to explore the discipline. We’ve got a fantastic list of further reading for Materials Science, but we’ve also got suggestions for some other resources. They’ll have lots of interesting information about materials science, that you could possibly mention on your personal statement.

  • The BBC, who cover stories such as ‘Could plant-based plastics help tackle waste pollution?’ or ‘How plastic became a victim of its own success.’ This will give you an insight into the contemporary issues faced by materials scientists.
  • New Scientist magazine, which gives a great overview of science in the news.
  • Materials Today, the articles on here can get a bit technical, but they give you a strong idea of highly relevant research areas

On top of those, you can also follow up on topics you particularly enjoyed reading about through podcasts or recorded lectures. It’s always important to show that not only have you read or listened to something, but that you’ve really engaged with it, learnt something, and followed up on your interest.

How can I show extra-curricular engagement with my A-Level subjects?

As well as showing your interest and enthusiasm for materials science, you want to show your skills in Maths and Science A-Levels. This can be done through: 

  • Participation in competitions, such as the UKMT Maths Challenge and the Chemistry Olympiad
  • Engaging in extra problem solving, through websites such as Isaac Physics, Isaac Chemistry and n-rich Maths 
  • Reading around the A-Level topics that particularly interest you, and linking them to Materials Science 
  • Doing extra projects, online courses, attending lectures, and listening to podcasts: you want to show your desire to learn and understand as much of the subject as you can. 


The crucial thing is to always remember that admissions tutors want to see your passion, and proof of your genuine engagement with the subject. If you can show those, you’ll be off to a flying start. Of course, it’s hard to genuinely engage with a subject if you’re still not quite sure what it is – so if you’re still unsure what Materials Science involves, take a look at our guide to the Oxford Materials Science degree.

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