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MSc(Res) Chemistry

Securing a place to complete a chemistry PhD at a top institution, or joining a research and development lab in industry, is a competitive process. This masters course is designed to help you stand out, by giving you a significant amount of independent research experience at postgraduate level, with access to state-of-the-art facilities in a Russell Group university.

You'll spend two-thirds of your time working on your own research project as part of a team of professional scientists. Industrial researchers and PhD supervisors really value the experience students get from an extended masters project. There are also more than 20 different optional lecture topics for you to choose from across organic, inorganic and physical chemistry. This means you can tailor your degree programme to your own research interests, and gain lots of additional expertise and practical experience for the next stage of your research career – particularly if you're applying for a PhD.

If you're looking for a masters course with more lectures to prepare you for a career outside research, visit our taught masters webpage: MSc Chemistry


To apply for this course, complete the University of Sheffield's postgraduate online application form.

Postgraduate online application form

You can find more information about the application process on the University's postgraduate webpages.

How to apply: applying essentials


If you would like to know anything else about this course, contact our postgraduate admissions office:

Telephone: +44 (0)114 222 9500

You can also visit us throughout the year:

Postgraduate open days, visit afternoons and online chats

About the course

For most of this one-year course, you will be working full-time as a chemistry researcher. You will get to choose a topic that you're interested in, be assigned an academic supervisor who specialises in your area and work in their laboratory as part of a team of scientists.

Example project titles include:

  • Design and synthesis of macrocyclic artificial enzymes for use in phosphorylation reactions
  • Preparation of a thermally activated delayed fluoresence polymer-based carbazole
  • The synthesis and characterisation of a energetic zinc complex and its precursors

To help complete your project, you will be taught advanced lab techniques and be trained to use state-of-the-art chemistry equipment. You will be an active, contributing member of your supervisor's research group, which makes this course great preparation for a PhD. Some students' projects even lead to publications in academic journals.

There are also two short lecture modules to help you continue to develop your chemistry expertise. Each one allows you to pick the topics that most interest you from a range of organic, inorganic and physical chemistry subjects. Current examples range from metals in medicine and enzyme catalysis, to graph theory and quantum chemistry, to polymer architectures and nanochemistry.

Industrial projects

We're offering students who are applying for our MSc(Res) Chemistry course the chance to complete their masters project with our partners the chemical industry. Find out how you can work with Redbrick Molecular.

Learn more

After your degree

This course is designed to prepare you for a career in research, whether you plan to do a PhD or join a research and development laboratory in industry. Employers really value the experience students get from completing an extended project on an MSc(Res) degree.

Students often intend to remain working in the area they focussed on during their masters degree. That's why many of them decide to stay in our department to do their PhD, so that they can continue the research they started on their masters course with the same team of scientists.

Find out more about PhD opportunities and funding in Chemistry at the University of Sheffield: PhD opportunities

Below are some examples of the kinds of roles and organisations our students end up in.

Example roles:

  • Associate scientist
  • Chemical researcher
  • PhD student
  • Process chemist
  • Research and development chemist

Example employers:

  • Croda (chemical industry)
  • Infineum (petrochemical industry)
  • Pall Corporation (biotechnology industry)
  • Standard and Industrial Research Institute of Malaysia
  • Stephenson Institute for Renewable Energy (research institute)

The University of Sheffield's Careers Service runs workshops on CV and application writing, job hunting and preparing for interviews. They offer events where you can meet employers, and opportunities to get work experience while you study. The Careers Service will even continue to support you for three years after you graduate.

Entry requirements

For this course, we usually ask for an upper second class (2:1) BSc honours degree, or equivalent, in chemistry or a related subject. We can also accept qualifications from other countries. You can find out which qualifications we accept from your country on the University's webpages for international students.

Prospective international students: Your country

International pathway programmes

If you are an international student who does not meet our entry requirements, the University of Sheffield International College offers a Pre-Masters in Science and Engineering programme. This programme is designed to develop your academic level in your chosen subject, introduce you to the study skills that will be vital to success and help with language if you need it.

Upon successful completion, you can progress to this degree at the University of Sheffield.

Pre-Masters in Science and Engineering

English Language Requirements

If you have not already studied in a country where English is the majority language, it is likely that you will need to have an English language qualification. We usually ask for:

  • International English Language Testing Service (IELTS): Overall grade of 6.5 with 6.0 in each component

You can find out whether you need to have an english language qualification, and which other English language qualifications we accept, on the University's webpages for international students.

English language requirements

The English Language Teaching Centre offers English language courses for students who are preparing to study at the University of Sheffield.

English Language Teaching Centre

Funding and scholarships

Funding is available, depending on your fee status, where you live and the course you plan to study. You could also qualify for a repayable postgraduate masters loan to help fund your studies.

Funding your postgraduate course

UK/EU scholarships

100+ scholarships image

We're offering 100+ scholarships worth £10,000 each for home students starting a taught postgraduate course in 2019 that can be used towards fees or living expenses.

Find out more

International scholarships

International scholarships image

We're offering 100 International Postgraduate Taught Merit Scholarships, each worth 25% of the original tuition fee for a postgraduate taught programme starting in September 2019.

Find out more

Alumni rewards

Alumni rewards

If you’ve previously graduated from the University and intend to pursue further studies with us then you may be eligible to receive a 10% discount on your tuition fees.

Find out more

Up-to-date fees can be found on the University of Sheffield's webpages for postgraduate students:

Tuition fees

Song Hee Yeo

The MSc(Res) course helped me to realise I definitely wanted to do a PhD in organic chemistry. The masters course gave me the experience of how it would be as a PhD student, as I worked in the lab along with other PhD students and postdoctoral researchers for one year.

Song Hee Yeo, MSc(Res) Chemistry – READ MORE

Liam Smith

I worked on ultrafast excited state dynamics in a series of transition-metal based complexes, for use in artificial photosynthesis and solar energy conversion. I have now been given the chance to move to the University of Manchester where I will be taking up a post as a PhD student.

Liam Smith, MSc(Res) Chemistry – Read more

Current modules

The modules listed below are examples from the current academic year. There may be some changes before you start your course.

Compulsory modules – students take all three:

Advanced Topics in Chemistry 1 (30 credits)

This lecture module is designed to give you a choice between a wide variety of topics within chemistry. These lecture segments will push your understanding from fundamental to advanced level, bringing you up to date with the latest developments in the field. The following are examples of the topics offered, and you choose two from each semester to be assessed on by coursework. The coursework elements are designed to deepen your understanding of a given topic beyond the material provided in the lectures, and to improve a range of transferable skills such as finding information, communication of science and critical thinking.

Semester one

Supramolecular Chemistry 1:
Professor Lee Brammer

Metals in Medicine:
Professor Jim Thomas

Stereoselective Synthesis: 
Professor Joe Harrity

Mechanism and Reactivity in Organic Chemistry:
Professor Nick Williams

Quantum Chemistry:
Dr Grant Hill

Advanced Spectroscopy and Theory:
Dr Michael Hippler

Semester two

Homogeneous Catalysis:
Dr Anthony Haynes

New Materials:
Dr Ahmed Iraqi

Chemistry of Radical Polymerisation:
Dr Seb Spain

Polymer Architectures:
Dr Lance Twyman

Graph Theory for Chemists:
Professor Patrick Fowler FRS

Physical Chemistry of Heterogeneous Catalysis:
Dr Marco Conte

Advanced Topics in Chemistry 2 (30 credits)

This lecture module also aims to offer you a wide choice of topics from across the breadth of chemistry, developing your understanding of chemistry beyond BSc level. The following are examples of the topics offered, and you choose two from each semester to be assessed on by coursework. The coursework elements are designed to deepen your understanding of a given topic beyond the material provided in the lectures, and to improve a range of transferable skills such as finding information, communication of science and critical thinking.

Semester one

Supramolecular Chemistry 2:
Professor Jim Thomas

Heterogeneous Catalysis:
Dr Mike Morris

Medicinal Chemistry:
Professor Beining Chen

Metals in Organic Synthesis:
Professor Richard Jackson

Chemistry in Space:
Professor Anthony Meijer

Photochemistry and Molecular Photonics:
Professor Julia Weinstein

Semester two

Biomimetic Nanoparticle Synthesis:
Dr Sarah Staniland

Chemistry of High-Energy Materials:
Dr Peter Portius

Enzyme Catalysis:
Dr Jim Reid

Organic Chemistry of the Main Group Elements:
Professor Iain Coldham

Biophysical Chemistry:
Dr Barbara Ciani

Professor Graham Leggett

MSc(Res) Chemistry Research Project (120 credits)

Module leader: Dr Colin Crook

The 12-month extended research project will give you the opportunity to fully develop the skills needed to succeed in chemistry research. You will develop skills and knowledge in your preferred area of chemistry under the guidance of an academic member of staff. You will join one of our research groups within the department to produce real cutting edge progress in the field. You will produce a thesis, a literature review of your research area, and will present oral and poster presentations based on your findings to the department. Most of the academic staff in the department are able to host projects. For information about individual research areas please look at our research pages.

Research in Chemistry at Sheffield

The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research; funding changes; professional accreditation requirements; student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews; and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption.

We timetable teaching across the whole of our campus, the details of which can be found on our campus map. Teaching may take place in a student’s home department, but may also be timetabled to take place within other departments or central teaching space.