Study materials and microengineering

Not only were eras named after materials (Stone Age, Bronze Age,...), but they play a key role in almost all areas of modern technology. The knowledge of materials was and is the driving force for social developments (industrial revolution, modern aviation, semiconductor technology, climate technologies ...) and thus form the basis for a successful future technology. 

It is important to master the interrelationships between production, properties, processing and microscopic structure of materials. Many materials applications have become known, some in spectacular ways, such as the coated frying pan, the carbon fiber-reinforced tennis racket, or the fascinating shape memory alloys. Many important material applications, whether for the gas turbine or for biomedical engineering (e.g. implants), whether in automotive engineering or for aerospace, are not familiar to everyone, although competitive solutions can only be developed with modern materials. 
The requirements for materials are very complex and must be combined, which is a technologically important and challenging as well as engineeringly attractive field of activity. Materials act as a driving force for innovative industrial product and process developments. They shape the technological performance of our industrial society and increase the competitiveness of companies. They reduce environmental pollution and make a significant contribution to the medical care of patients.

Materials are the building blocks of classical mechanical engineering (mechanical and, plant engineering)). But they also play a key role in new growth sectors such as microsystems technology, nanotechnology and medical technology. Current tasks of modern materials development include, among others, the continuous improvement of the strength-to-weight ratio in aircraft and vehicle construction, the increase of the service life of highly stressed machinery and equipment (with regard to damage processes such as corrosion and wear) through materials optimization on the one hand and expert use of state-of-the-art inspection and monitoring methods on the other hand, etc.

North Rhine-Westphalia and in particular the Ruhr region play an important role in the production of materials. Just under a third of all employees in NRW are employed in materials production, making NRW an important materials center. Within the state, the Ruhr region has traditionally played an important national and international role also because of its special steel expertise in the development, production and application of materials.
European as well as federal and state research policies also take this into account by focusing on materials innovations to accelerate structural change. 

As a large university materials unit in NRW, the Institute of Materials represents one of the most important pillars of the research and teaching activity of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering at the RUB. Together with their external professors at partner institutions, the Bochum professors form a homogeneous institute that can access an excellent personnel and experimental infrastructure. This is the basis of modern teaching and high quality materials research dealing with fundamental and applied aspects of materials.  
The faculty takes the important role of materials into account by offering a specialization in "Materials and Microengineering" in both the bachelor's and master's degree programs.

The Institute of Materials at the RUB has been offering a successful materials specialization in the mechanical engineering program for many years. The specialization "Materials and Microengineering" is a discipline in which materials are predominantly researched, developed and applied from an engineering point of view. It also has a distinctly interdisciplinary character, having developed from the natural science subjects of physics, chemistry, and mathematics and established itself in engineering science. The research and development of new and customized high-tech materials is often associated with significant cost reductions and ever shorter development cycles. It is therefore becoming increasingly important not to rely on a purely empirical approach to materials development, but also to draw on theoretical findings and new simulation methods

Materials play a key role in all industrial products: from cars to artificial heart valves, from modern high-speed trains to ballpoint pens, from integrated circuits to sporting goods, from gas and steam power plants in energy generation to aerospace. With this background, graduates of the materials engineering concentration have knowledge of metals, polymers, ceramics, and composites.
The materials engineer is responsible for the optimal selection of materials, taking into account both economic and ecological constraints. A materials engineer knows the chemical and physical methods of analysis, the mechanical behavior and the microstructural structure of materials, can handle complex measuring instruments and systems and process information of various types and origins (density, melting point, porosity, fatigue behavior, price...). With this knowledge he/she contributes to the quality assurance of products. Materials engineers also take care of the cycle of materials, the "life cycle engineering". This knowledge is needed to produce successful, environmentally compatible products with a long service life.
An important part of materials training is learning about the various methods of materials production and processing. This area includes, among other things, the application of protective coatings, laser processing of materials, the production of composite materials, the various joining processes and recycling. The training enables materials engineers to develop materials solutions with an optimum price/performance ratio. It thus makes an important contribution to product design and value creation. 
During their studies, future materials engineers learn to work in a team while making an independent contribution; they test, characterize, develop and model the behavior of materials. This unique versatility prepares him/her for successful work in both research and industrial environments. In addition, research in the field of materials takes place on an international level, one gets to know colleagues from other countries during one's studies and can deepen one's language skills. This then allows later a confident and successful management of international and interdisciplinary projects.

The career prospects for materials engineers have been excellent for years. They can choose from a wide range of fields of work. These include materials and process development, production automation, quality assurance, materials consulting, but also management and sales. A wide range of career paths are open to you, both in the public sector and in industry. Concrete tasks for a materials engineer in industry include:


  • Materials development: How can new materials be developed on the basis of materials science and materials technology findings?
  • Materials optimization: How can a car body sheet be made even more corrosion resistant? How can a steel be treated to ensure maximum service life in the component?
  • Materials testing: Which methods (hardness measurement, tensile test, fatigue test, corrosion test, ...) are used to determine that a material has a required property profile?
  • Material production: How quickly should a material solidify after casting? How precisely should an aluminum foil be rolled?
  • Material selection: What should implant materials for medical technology be made of that must be both strong and biocompatible? 
  • Quality control: Are one supplier's parts better than another's? Why did a component fail and lead to damage?
  • Materials informatics: How do you organize materials data into quickly accessible databases? How to capture and prepare materials data digitally?
  • Materials modeling: How can cross-scale modeling be used to create material behavior and minimize costs for expensive experiments?

Study programs:

  1. Bachelor Mechanical Engineering with focus on Materials and Micro-Engineering
  2. Bachelor Materials Science
  3. Master Mechanical Engineering with focus on Materials and Micro-Engineering
  4. Master Materials Science and Simulations

Characteristic of the bachelor's and master's degree program in materials in mechanical engineering in Bochum is a strong focus on the application-oriented aspect of materials science, in particular on the interrelationships and interactions between design, materials and manufacturing that are so important for every application.

At the Institute of Materials we teach our students not only basic materials knowledge but also materials science and materials engineering with its fundamental (dislocation dynamics, kinetics of solid state reactions, experimental methods) and integrative, application-related side (materials production, materials selection, recycling) and the discovery of new materials in theory and practice. In teaching, we see our task in training materials engineers with expertise and creativity, flair and responsibility. To this end, we want to educate our students in a climate characterized by science. This results from active research and committed teaching, which is appreciated in the national and international scientific community of our subject. 

A central element of our education is the scientific work of our students. These semester, bachelor and master theses play a central role with regard to the educational goal at scientific universities. They are carried out in close connection with current research projects, often in cooperation with partners from other universities or from industry in Germany and abroad. 
Their preparation, execution and monitoring through guidance and discussion, their integration into ongoing projects, their classification between "chances of success" and "risk experience" are essential factors of future-oriented education. At the Institute of Materials, students can experience the interaction between experimental design, experimentation, data acquisition, evaluation, interpretation and modeling using concrete examples. 

It is still to a large extent the final "masterpiece" of the bachelor's and master's thesis that justifies the labeling of a course as a scientific university education. This also includes the fact that students can gain experience abroad and confidently present their results in German and English. The real goal of our education is to impart the ability to solve problems independently and to think creatively.

Detailed information on the materials lectures and their contents can be found

  • in the study plans for the Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering (PO13 & PO21) and the Master of Mechanical Engineering (PO13 & PO21)
  • in the module descriptions for the Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering (PO13 & PO21) and the Master of Mechanical Engineering (PO13 & PO21)
  • in the current course catalog for the Bachelor and the Master.

Teachers of the IW contribute to the specialization Materials and Micro-Engineering and work in the bachelor program "Materials Science" as well as in the master program Materials Science and Simulation.

In winter semester 2021/22, a new bachelor's degree program in "Materials Science" has been launched, offering lectures in materials science from the very first semester. You can find out more about this study program here. Also a summer sschool willl be offered again this year. More information you can find here: Infos summer school 2024 01Infos summer school 2024 02.

In summer semester 2022 the speciality lab takes place again.

Many students majoring in materials and microengineering at the Institute of Materials gain enjoyment from research and seek the opportunity to pursue a doctorate. 

During an engineering doctorate, there is the opportunity to deepen the knowledge of materials and one gains experience in managing own research project. Active participation in scientific seminars and in international conferences provides the opportunity to present the own findings to the professional world.

Doctoral students have the opportunity to help shape teaching, e.g. by supervising lectures, holding exercises and supervising project, bachelor's and master's theses. A doctorate is helpful if you are thinking of working in research and development or if you are aiming for a position in teaching (there are many possibilities here, from vocational school teachers to employees of further education agencies to a professorship at a university). A doctorate in the field of materials can also be well represented in industry, as numerous graduates with a doctorate show. Due to the research strength of the Bochum materials units and the above-mentioned external research institutes, high-performing graduates can be offered numerous doctoral positions in the various areas of materials research.

Hinweis: Beim Klick auf den Play-Button wird eine Verbindung mit einer RUB-externen Website hergestellt, die eventuell weniger strengen Daten­schutz­richt­linien unterliegt und gegebenenfalls personen­bezogene Daten erhebt. Weitere Informationen finden Sie in unserer Daten­schutz­erklärung.