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MSc Chemistry

The University of Sheffield's MSc Chemistry course is designed to take you to the next stage of your scientific career. From your undergraduate degree, you will know which areas of chemistry interest you most, and you might already know what kind of job you'd like to do. That's why we've made this masters course flexible – so that you can focus on the topics you enjoy and develop the practical skills you need for your chosen career.

To help you develop your specialist knowledge, there are more than 20 different optional lecture topics for you to choose from across organic, inorganic and physical chemistry. In the lab, our researchers will teach you advanced research skills, and you'll spend around one-third of your time working on your own research project. You'll choose the topic and you'll be based in one of our world-class research groups, developing skills and expertise that can help you stand out in the graduate job market.

If you're looking for a masters course with a bigger project to prepare you for a research career, visit our masters by research webpage: MSc(Res) Chemistry

Industrial projects


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

Learn more


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

This one-year course gives you the freedom to choose what you'd like to study from a wide variety of organic, inorganic and physical chemistry subjects. There are two main lecture modules, and each one allows you to pick the topics that most interest you. Current topics range from metals in medicine and enzyme catalysis, to graph theory and quantum chemistry, to polymer architectures and nanochemistry.

You will take part in a research training programme that teaches you how to interpret and evaluate scientific literature, and communicate scientific topics in presentations and posters. Students also complete two practical projects – one on computational chemistry and one on synthetic chemistry.

All of this training gets put into practice when you start your main research project, which will take up around a third of your course. You will choose your own topic, be assigned an academic supervisor who specialises in your area and work in their laboratory as part of a team of scientists. There, you will be taught advanced lab techniques and be trained to use state-of-the-art chemistry equipment.

Example project titles include:

  • Development of cellular models for screening chemical libraries against Alzheimer's disease
  • Monitoring morphological changes of plants in response to injury
  • Waste resources for carbon dioxide utilisation

Dayang Fazirah Abg Ahmad

Throughout my research project, I was able to try and develop as many laboratory skills as possible. I controlled important parameters needed for reactions, and mastered how to assign and elucidate results. This will help me a lot in terms of preparation for future work.

Dayang Fazirah Abg Ahmad, MSc Chemistry – READ MORE

Tom Bailey

My practical and organisational skills have improved throughout the course and the project, and have been tested along the way. I am going to be starting a PhD at the University of Leeds after this course has ended, which wouldn't be possible without the research project I did here.

Tom Bailey, MSc Chemistry – Read more

After your degree

Graduates from this course go on to work in the chemical industry or in other scientific roles. Some of the biggest employers of our students are pharmaceutical companies, where chemists develop new medicines, and consumer goods companies, where they make lots of the products you see on supermarket shelves. You can also go behind the scenes, creating the chemicals and materials that make industrial-scale manufacturing possible.

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

Example roles:

  • Alloy detection engineer
  • Analytical scientist
  • Chemical engineer
  • Industrial chemist
  • Project management associate

Example employers:

  • Croda (chemical industry)
  • Novartis (biopharmaceutical industry)
  • Michem Technology Ltd. (laboratory services)
  • Ashland Specialty Ingredients (chemical industry)
  • Accenture (consultancy)

The MSc Chemistry course is also great preparation for a PhD in chemistry: PhD opportunities

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.

I work for the Society of Chemical Industry as a graduate intern assisting in the acquisition of corporate partnerships in the chemistry-using industry. My role involves engagement with corporate partners and their involvement in SCI activities, such as our events and early career opportunities.

Bryony Parker, MSc Chemistry – READ MORE

Bryony Parker

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

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 five:

Topics in Advanced Chemistry 1 (40 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 three 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

Metals in Organic Synthesis:
Professor Richard Jackson

Mechanism and Reactivity in Organic Chemistry:
Professor Nick Williams

Professor Graham Leggett

Advanced Spectroscopy and Theory:
Dr Michael Hippler

Semester two

Homogeneous Catalysis:
Dr Anthony Haynes

New Materials:
Dr Ahmed Iraqi

Advanced Polymer Chemistry:
Dr Seb Spain

Polymer Architectures:
Dr Lance Twyman

Quantum Chemistry:
Dr Grant Hill

Physical Chemistry of Heterogeneous Catalysis:
Dr Marco Conte

Topics in Advanced Chemistry 2 (40 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 three 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

Stereoselective Synthesis: 
Professor Joe Harrity

Biophysical Chemistry:
Dr Barbara Ciani

Chemistry in Space:
Professor Anthony Meijer

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

Photochemistry and Molecular Photonics:
Professor Julia Weinstein

Graph Theory for Chemists:
Professor Patrick Fowler FRS

Research and Presentation Skills (15 credits)

Module leader: Dr Lance Twyman

This module aims to introduce you to a range of transferable skills important for successful communication in science, research and in other professional areas. You will develop a wider understanding of the context in which research takes place through critical reading and evaluation of a wide range of literature. You will be required to read and assimilate, and will produce a critical report of the literature in a specific research area. In addition, the course will develop your oral and poster presentation skills.

Chemistry Projects (25 credits)

Computational Chemistry: Professor Anthony Meijer
Synthetic Chemistry: Dr Colin Crook

To prepare your practical skill for doing your own research project, you will take part in two mini-projects, undertaken in small groups. To ensure you have a wide skill set, one of these will be in the field of computational chemistry, and the other in synthetic chemistry. The projects also give you the opportunity to improve your scientific writing skills.

Chemistry Research Project (60 credits)

Module leader: Dr Colin Crook

All the skills and knowledge you have developed in the programme will be brought into use when you undertake this extended research project in your preferred area of chemistry under the guidance of a member of academic 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 dissertation and an oral presentation based on your findings towards the end of the summer over which the project is undertaken. 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.