Advanced Materials Characterisation

Why was this course developed?
The Certificate in Advanced Materials Characterisation was developed based on an analysis of the importance of the pharmaceutical and related industries in Ireland and within the South-East region and also using information generated from the Wales Ireland Network for Scientific Skills (WINSS) Scientific Survey from a large number of pharmaceutical/biotechnology, medical device and food companies. One of the outputs from this survey indicated that over 30% and 40% of companies require training in microscopy techniques, e.g. Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), while 40% of companies require training in thermal analysis techniques, e.g. Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC) and Thermal Gravimetric Analysis (TGA). Companies also required training in surface measurement and particle sizing techniques, as well as other material characterisation techniques, e.g. rheometry and dynamic vapour sorption (DVS). Recognising this demand, the Certificate in Advanced Materials Characterisation was devised to provide advanced level training and address this skills deficit in these and other characterisation techniques.

This programme will provide the student with an overview of the current technologies used for the characterisation of materials. The principles and instrumentation used in surface analysis, polymorphism, trace analysis and polymer characterisations will be studied. A wide range of surface analysis techniques such as microscopy and micrometric techniques will be covered, specifically their use, sample requirements, principals and limitations. Examples of industrial applications of these techniques will be given, from raw materials and product characterisation to trace analysis and impurity determinations.

What are the learning outcomes?
On successful completion of this module, a student will be able to:
1.Explain the principles of operation behind a range of optical, scanning probe and scanning electron microscopic techniques.
2.Explain the principles of operation and applications of a variety of micrometric and thermal analytical techniques for materials characterisation.
3.Explain the principles of a variety of moisture, polymorphism, and particle size and rheology determinations in materials.
4.Critically evaluate the potential of all the above in the characterisation of materials in the pharmaceutical industrial environment.
5.Competently operate and calibrate associated laboratory instrumentation for pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical sample analyses.

How is this course delivered?
•The Certificate in Advanced Materials Characterisation programme is taught using a block approach on a part-time basis to facilitate students in full-time employment.
•Since this course is also offered as one module of the two year MSc in Analytical Science with Quality Management programme, the Certificate in Advanced Materials Characterisation is only offered once every two years. The course will next run in January 2020, subject to sufficient student numbers.
•Over the duration of the programme, students will be required to attend WIT for approximately 7 – 8 days from January to May.
•This programme will be delivered through a blend of lectures, tutorial sessions and laboratory practicals, as well as independent study. Students will be required to attend WIT for four days of lectures, in addition to three to four days of laboratory practicals.
•Continuous assessment will be carried out throughout the course of the programme

Entry requirements

The Certificate in Advanced Materials Characterisation programme is aimed at those already working in the pharmaceutical, biopharmaceutical and food industries. This programme is also suitable for students intending to/already undertaking postgraduate research study.

Advanced Materials Characterisation Entry Requirements
•Applicants for entry to this Certificate course should hold a bachelor's degree at honours level minimum 2.2 (Level 8) in an appropriate subject area or equivalent qualification.

•In addition, in order to fully appreciate the industrial impact of the content of this programme, it has been deemed necessary to have a minimum of two years relevant industrial experience.

•Applicants whose first language is not English must submit evidence of competency in English, please see WIT's English Language Requirements for details.


4 months part-time.

The programme is delivered through a blend of lectures, laboratory-based work and projects. For this single module 10 credit certificate, students will be required to attend WIT for two separate blocked two-day sessions in addition to a one-week laboratory session.

Number of credits


Careers or further progression

This course places a strong emphasis on the professional development of the graduate and is aimed at students already working in an industrial environment. Such a qualification will enable and facilitate career progression for graduates in the region.

Further study opportunities
This programme can be taken as a stand-alone Certificate worth 10 credits at level 9, or if the student wishes, they can use these credits towards the 60 credit Postgraduate Diploma in Analytical Science with Quality Management (WD 519) or the 90 credit MSc in Analytical Science with Quality Management (WD 520).

Further enquiries

Course Leader
Dr. Kathleen Grennan
BSc PhD - Lecturer
Phone: +353 51 302047


Campus: Cork Road

Course fee


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