We run five undergraduate courses so that you can choose the degree programme that best matches your interests. The BSc Chemistry course is our standard three-year course, whereas MChem Chemistry comes with an extra year of research training, and a bigger project where you can produce new findings on a topic you're interested in.
You can also spend your third year studying at a top university in the USA, Canada, Australia or New Zealand, or working in the chemical industry. Our MChem Chemistry with Biological and Medicinal Chemistry course comes with specialist modules built in, so you can learn skills that chemists use in, for example, the pharmaceutical industry.
It's possible to transfer between any of our courses up to end of your second year, and you can transfer between MChem Chemistry and BSc Chemistry possible well into your third year.
All of our courses are accredited by the Royal Society of Chemistry, which means we cover all the topics and training you need to graduate into a professional chemistry career. Follow the links to our module lists to see exactly what you'll study when, or choose a topic below to learn more about some of the areas of chemistry you'll cover.
Our curriculum was created in consultation with our students. Every module has been designed to give you skills and experience that you can put on your CV.
All of our undergraduate students take the same modules in their first two years, so that you have more flexibility and freedom to specialise later in your degree. You'll cover all of the organic, inorganic, physical and analytical chemistry that a professional chemist needs to know.
There are lots of topics for you to explore alongside the essentials. Some, like sustainability, are themes that run through our degree, while others are specialism you can focus on later. They're all based on the latest advances in science, and the expertise that chemistry graduates can offer industry and society. Choose a topic below to learn more.
|Fundamentals of chemistry: organic, inorganic, physical||
In first year, you'll study topics including the structure of atoms and molecules, how chemical reactions happen, and how to identify and analyse different chemicals and elements. It's all covered in our Fundamentals of Chemistry module, which takes up two-thirds of your first year, and lays the foundations for all of the organic, inorganic, physical and analytical chemistry you'll use in the rest of your degree. You'll spend a day a week in the lab, learning essential skills and techniques.
In optional first year modules, you can look at the biological processes that chemistry drives, and the technologies and products that chemistry has made possible – from cosmetics to explosives. Staff in the Department of Chemistry also run maths classes, and a physics module for students who don't have an A Level in physics, to make sure you have all the background knowledge and skills you need.
You'll move on to more advanced topics in second and third year, across organic chemistry (functional groups, synthesis, biopolymers), inorganic chemistry (main group compounds, transition metal coordination complexes, inorganic solids) and physical chemistry (quantum mechanics, thermodynamics, polymers and colloids). You'll start spending two days a week in the lab, as you learn to run more complex experiments.
|Environmental and sustainable chemistry||
Chemistry has a crucial part to play in creating a sustainable world. Throughout our courses, we look at the contributions chemists can make to society, with a particular focus on sustainability and green chemistry.
We start by looking at food and energy production processes, and renewable alternatives, and in second year you'll learn how chemical processes can be made more sustainable. After that, there are modules on how chemistry can be used to develop renewable energy technologies and help solve the plastic waste problem.
|Medicinal and biological chemistry||
The role of chemistry in creating new medicines, and important biomolecules like DNA, are covered from the start of our courses. In later years there are more specialist modules where you can learn how chemists study the biological mechanisms behind disease and use these insights to develop treatments.
You can also learn about key pharmaceutical concepts, such as pharmacodynamics, pharmacokinetics and toxicology, and the computer-based technologies used in drug design.
Many of these topics are built into our MChem Chemistry with Biological and Medicinal Chemistry course, if you already know this is what you want to focus on in your degree.
For her final year project, Nairah worked with Dr Sarah Staniland on the cell-free production of several proteins that are involved in magnetosome formation.
|Advanced materials and nanotechnology||
Nanotechnology promises to revolutionise the modern world: from 2D materials that are one atom thick and extremely strong, to tissue engineering techniques that can be used in medical treatments.
Meanwhile, our experts in polymer science are working on everything from solutions to the plastic waste problem to new carbon capture and storage technologies. Polymer chemists also work on a range of innovative products for industry – oils, paints and coatings; food, cleaning agents and cosmetics; medical, agricultural and aerospace technologies.
By studying supramolecular chemistry in third year, you can learn about alternative approaches to designing complex molecules. This provides some of the foundations for studying nanomaterials in fourth year – how they are created and analysed, and their uses in computing, data storage and medicine. You can also learn how polymer chemists can help solve major environmental challenges.
|Computational and theoretical chemistry||
Theories and models can explain many aspects of chemistry outside of a traditional experimental setting. And as technology has developed, chemists use a growing number of computational tools to simulate experiments, analyse data and make new discoveries.
You can study the computer modelling techniques that chemists use to better understand the structure and behaviour of molecules, and the statistical methods that link molecular properties to thermodynamics, for example. In fourth year, you can go even deeper into theoretical chemistry, by studying topics such as graph theory and quantum mechanics, which can provide explanations and predictions across all branches of chemistry.
Nicholas developed an interest in programming when he worked on a computational chemistry research project in his final, and moved into software development after graduation by landing a role at a digital agency.
|Chemistry of light||
Light-based analytical equipment is a key part of the chemistry toolkit, and understanding processes caused by light has led to many major scientific breakthroughs.
You'll learn about light-based spectroscopy experiments from the start of your degree. After that, you can move on to study the state-of-the-art techniques used by researchers, and learn how interactions between light and matter are leading to new medicines, solar energy technologies and next-generation electronic devices.
Lord Porter Ultrafast Laser Laboratory
Outer space isn't an empty expanse: around 180 different molecules have been detected in space, ranging from dihydrogen to simple sugars. Our astrochemistry expert Professor Anthony Meijer leads a module that explains how they've been detected, and the models we use to explain their existence.
Chemistry in Space also covers extra-terrestrial chemistry and the field of astrobiology – including its potential implications for the development of life on Earth and on other planets.
Tristan did a summer research placement with Professor Anthony Meijer and Emily Slate, studying a sugar molecule thought to form on asteroids in space.
|Supporting your career||
All of our modules are designed to give you skills and experience that you can include on your CV – for example, our Modern Industrial Catalysis module teaches you about some of the most important processes in the chemical industry. But some modules have an even bigger focus on supporting your career.
In second year, you'll learn what makes a successful business by examining why certain chemistry ventures have failed and others have succeeded. You'll come up with your own idea for a business and pitch it as part of a group.
Our Skills For Success training programme in third year gives you the chance to complete a project that might involve giving a talk, presenting a poster, hosting a debate, producing a video, or another activity that you've chosen. It's a chance to showcase your ability to research a topic and communicate your findings, which many employers value.
You'll get to practice applying for jobs, and get feedback on your applications. We also run an annual Chemistry Careers Day, where you can explore career options and meet with employers who hire chemistry graduates.
On the MChem Chemistry with a Year in Industry course, you'll spend your third year working at a leading organisation in the chemical industry. You'll pay reduced fees for the year you're on placement, most students earn salaries during their placements, and many are offered a graduate level job at the end.