MSc programme structure

All units are compulsory but students choose their Training and Research Projects from a wide range of proposals.

Functional Nanomaterials lecture course (40 credits)
This unit provides the basic knowledge which underpins the practical and research elements of the MSc programme, and equips with the necessary interdisciplinary vocabulary for the course. Lectures include topics such as Electrochemistry at the Nanoscale, Nano-optics, Nanoscale Forces, Nanobiomaterials and the social and economic implications of Nanoscience. The lecture course will be a springboard for private study and discussion, and will be assessed by examination and coursework.

Advanced Tools for Nanoscience and Nanomaterials (20 credits)
This unit supports the practical research and lecture aspects of the training, and involves working through a suite of online modules on topics including: Electron Microscopy, Scanning Probe Microscopy, Optical Trapping, Focussed Ion Beams, Chemical Vapour Deposition, Nanoparticles, Mesoporous Materials, and Electrochemistry. It is delivered using the BCFN Portal, a novel online learning environment, which allows students to work at their own pace and check their progress.

Communication and Management Skills for Science (20 credits)
This unit provides training in research management skills including interdisciplinary team working, time management and evaluating and using scientific literature. It also gives practical training and experience in the communication in scientific results by presentation, poster and written work, with special attention paid to writing for specific audiences. With a view on future employment, it will cover the techniques necessary in financial and project management. All of this will be delivered in a series of half-day and whole-day training sessions.

Thematic Exploratory Training Assignments (THETA) (2 x 20 credits)
The aim of the THETA Project unit is to provide thorough practical training in a manner that will stimulate innovative approaches to problem-solving and emphasise the skills and training required for interdisciplinary scientific research. Working in teams of 2 or 3, MSc students will carry out THETA Projects, one from October to December and one from January to March. All of the projects offered are intrinsically interdisciplinary, cover an extremely wide range of Nanoscience topics from Biology to Engineering, and involve academics from more than one departments as well as working alongside other BCFN students. These laboratory-based projects will provide broad training in a range of the necessary skills and techniques needed for practical Nanoscience. The THETA projects will complement the taught material in the Lecture Course unit, and the technique-oriented material in the Advanced Tools for Nanoscience unit.

Nanoscience Research Project (60 credits)
This independent research project is carried out from April to September and builds on the taught and practical training gained in the first six months of the MSc programme. All projects are interdisciplinary and have supervisors from several different departments helping develop the research skills required of a full-time practitioner in Nanoscience, including laboratory techniques, designing experiments, analysing data and proposing theories for experimental observations, time management skills, project management skills, and the ability to write up work for reporting. It will be original research and if it goes well, our expectation is that it should lead to a published piece of work.

The MSc Nanoscience and Functional Nanomaterials was a great chance for me to develop my theoretical knowledge and practice the experimental skills as well.

Jin Hu, BCFN MSc Alumni
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