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Are you a student studying a Materials-based degree or course?

Would you like to win £250?

Want a chance to win a Toshiba laptop?

Would you like the opportunity to express your views on:

‘What advice would you give to students starting your course?’

Well now's your chance!

The Higher Education Academy – UK Centre for Materials Education, is offering you the chance to express your opinions and experiences in a 1000 word essay. This opportunity is open to anyone studying Materials as part of their HE course.

Although we welcome a well-written account, don't be put off if you feel your English writing skills are not perfect. We are more interested in your ability to capture and express your views and relate them to your current course and student expectations.

The winning Materials essay will be put on the UKCME website; will be featured in our newsletter and will give you the opportunity of going to the HE Academy Conference, all expenses paid. Once there, you will have a chance to become the overall winner attracting a top prize of a Toshiba laptop.

So, get writing - and share your thoughts in the field of Materials!

NB: We reserve editorial rights for any essays we choose to publish.

Deadline for submission: 16th March 2007

Submit your essay

Please email your essay to Please ensure you include your:

  • Name
  • University
  • Department
  • Course Title
  • Year of Study
  • Term/home address (please state which one you use as main)
  • Contact telephone number
  • Contact email address


Submitted essays will be assessed against the following criteria and should:

  • Answer the question by describing any expectations and what the course is like for you.
  • Give the reader an overview of the factors that probably led to your expectations.
  • Reflect on your experience to date, and whether there is anything you wish you knew when you started.
  • Include examples of good and/or innovative teaching, learning and assessment methods you ’re experiencing in your course.
  • Be sensitive to cultural, contextual and institutional differences (i.e. it should not expose particular individuals or openly criticise an individual department. Ideally you should anonomise the essay or, if used, we will.)
  • Provide an individual and honest account.
  • As far as you can, see things from others’ viewpoints and provide potentially perceptive observations and helpful ideas for Materials teaching staff.
  • Be entertaining and interesting to read.
  • Be reasonably written in terms of structure, grammar and spelling.
  • Not to exceed 1000 word limit by more than 10% either way.
  • Be submitted in electronic format.

NB A glowing report may be pleasant to read but we anticipate that a thorough, fair exposition of what you found, if critical, fully argued and explained is the most likely to win high marks from the judges.

For examples of what makes an award-winning essay - have a look at the last year's winning essay; it may help you get started.