Explore this course:
Department of Chemistry,
Faculty of Science
On our MSc you'll have the freedom to choose from 20 different optional lecture topics across organic, inorganic and physical chemistry. Current topics range from metals in medicine and enzyme catalysis, to graph theory and quantum chemistry, to polymer architectures and nanochemistry.
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.
We have state-of-the-art research laboratories and we're home to several multimillion pound research facilities. These facilities include the Lord Porter Laser Laboratory, which has three laser stations that can be used in studies ranging from energy transport in molecules and materials to artificial photosynthesis, and our Soft Matter Analytical Laboratory, where scientists can study samples that are 100 times smaller than a human hair.
- Research, Presentation and Professional Skills
This module aims to prepare students to become professional scientific researchers ready to conduct a research project. Students will be taught how to retrieve and critically assess the existing literature on a particular research topic and to communicate this as a scientific review. They will learn about the attributes of an ethical researcher, scientific method and how to undertake research safely and responsibly and how to manage data. In addition, students will acquire professional skills relevant to their future employability and learn how to present scientific information. Students will undertake a training needs analysis supported by an experienced researcher so that they can take charge of their own development. This will allow them to tailor their subsequent training to the project they are about to undertake and to their wider individual professional and researcher development. On completion of the module students will have produced a portfolio of work that will form the foundations of their training as a professional researcher.30 credits
- Chemistry Projects
This module is composed of open ended project work. The two projects build on experimental skills gained at undergraduate level, and is part of the final development of laboratory work in preparation for the research project. The teaching takes the form of longer project style practical sessions where students work as part of a group, and will design, execute, analyse and present work on a topic guided by an experimental manager.25 credits
- Chemistry Research Project
This module is the major research project associated with the Masters programmes in Chemistry. Students are trained in research methodology, and undertake a project in the research laboratory of a member of academic staff. Projects use state-of-the-art research facilities. Students undertake a throrough literature search, give a research talk, receive a viva, and present a thesis.60 credits
Optional modules – four from:
- Chemistry of Nanomaterials
Nanomaterials display unique properties that are determined by their dimensions. These properties have attracted an explosion of interest for their potential impact in fields ranging from electronic engineering to medicine. This module provides an overview of the state of the art in this exciting and fast-moving field, exploring the synthesis, characterisation and properties of nanomaterials and the chemistry that underpins their production and use.15 credits
The synthesis and properties of a wide range of materials will be explored, including carbon-based nanomaterials, supramolecular structures, nanocrystals and biomimetic nanomaterials.
We will examine the challenges in miniaturisation that have been driven by the semiconductor device industry, in its relentless progress along the path charted by Moore's law. We will discover that the electronic and optical properties of materials change in surprising ways as their dimensions become very small.
Advances in electron, optical and local probe microscopy will be described, enabling us to investigate and to manipulate the structures of materials at the nanometre scale.
We will discover that nature provides an abundant source of inspiration and routes for the design and synthesis of nanostructured materials, and we will explore the design principles for biomimetic nanomaterials and their applications in medicine.
- Current Topics in Advanced Materials Chemistry
Module required as part of a Significant Amendment to a programme15 credits
- Current Topics in Biophysical Chemistry and Biophysics
The physical properties of biological molecules can be studied by applying and combining the basic theories and techniques of physical and biological chemistry. The structures, functions and interactions of biomolecules in solution can be explained and determined by thermodynamics concepts and advanced spectroscopic measurements. As well as learning about methods for analysing the properties of ensembles of many biomolecules, students will learn how to perform and interpret measurements on single biomolecules. The lecture course will include examples of biophysical approaches to studying protein and nucleic acid structures and mechanisms of DNA damage recognition. In addition, the development of molecules for diagnostics, therapeutics and theranostics will be examined.15 credits
- Current Topics in Catalysis and Asymmetric Synthesis
Chemists' ability to synthesise organic molecules with defined stereochemistry is the backbone of many useful applications, from medicines to new materials. Modern methods of organic synthesis rely on sophisticated and efficient chemical reactions that create exquisite levels of functional group selectivity and stereochemical control. This module will explain the cutting edge processes that achieve these objectives, in the context of catalysis and stereoselective synthesis. There is a focus on transformations that are promoted by a sub-stoichiometric amount of catalyst. Concepts behind controlling stereochemistry in important synthetic chemical reactions will also be explained.15 credits
From the generation of new medicines to the creation of new materials, chemists' ability to synthesise molecules with defined stereochemistry is of critical importance. Stereochemical control, exquisite functional group selectivity, high yield and efficiency are the touchstones of modern organic chemistry. This module will review the cutting edge methods that are used to achieve stereochemical control and catalysis in organic reactions. Students will study transformations that are promoted by a sub-stoichiometric amount of catalyst. Emphasis will be placed on explaining the concepts behind controlling stereochemistry in important chemical reactions for modern organic chemistry.
- Current Topics in Chemistry of Light
Understanding processes caused by light is key in chemistry, physics, biology and engineering, and has recently led to many major scientific breakthroughs. This course explains how light and matter interact in molecules, nanostructures and materials. It will explain photoinduced electron and energy transfer - essential processes in nature and everyday life - using examples of natural and artificial photosynthesis. Modern techniques for studying light-induced processes, on time-scales from seconds to femtoseconds, are also covered. More specifically, each spectroscopic technique covered will be described in terms of the physical concepts on which it is based, the information it helps acquire, and the practical concerns associated with it such as resolution, availability, costs, etc. The goal is to bring the students to appreciate the main advantages and constraints of each technique so that they can start developing their own research plan to answer any given research questions.15 credits
The theory grounding light-matter interactions is taught in the context that will be relevant to modern applications in photocatalysis, photonics and optoelectronics, solar energy conversion, phototherapy, imaging, and other light-induced processes in medicine.
- Current Topics in Industrial Catalysis
Catalysis either in its homogeneous or heterogeneous forms is a pillar for the chemical industry, where catalysis is used to produce bulk chemicals at large scales and fine chemicals at smaller ones. This module explains the principles as well as the applications of heterogeneous and homogeneous catalysis by analysing some of the most economically important catalytic reactions. It covers the chemical basis of these processes, and the advantages and disadvantages of heterogeneous and homogeneous systems including sustainability considerations. Reaction mechanisms and the role of the metal centre, and fundamental physical processes such as adsorption and reaction kinetics, will be discussed in detail, together with the applications of these concepts for scale up purposes. Concepts are illustrated by analysing, in detail, catalytic reactions including hydrogenation, oxidation, carbonylation and polymerisation.15 credits
- Methods and Models in Theoretical Chemistry
The principles of theoretical chemistry can explain and predict chemical phenomena across all the main branches of chemistry (organic, inorganic, physical, analytical), and can shed light on molecular aspects of physics and biology. A wide range of methods and models are covered, including density functional theory, coupled cluster, time-dependent quantum mechanics, and more. Students are taught to assess these methods and models' suitability for different tasks, and put the theory into practice by using them to interpret chemical phenomena in hands-on projects.15 credits
This module aims to …
A1. Instil in students an enthusiasm for theoretical chemistry and an appreciation of its application across the full scope of chemistry.
A2. Extend students’ comprehension of key theoretical chemistry concepts and provide an in-depth understanding of a wide range of theoretical chemistry across the breadth of this specialist topic.
A3. Develop students’ ability to make informed decisions about the quality and suitability of theoretical methods and models based on the chemical problem at hand, critical knowledge of the underlying theory and practical experience of theoretical chemistry.
- Pharmacology, Medicinal Chemistry and Drug Design
The discovery and development of new drugs requires a multidisciplinary approach, bringing together anatomy, physiology, pharmacology and toxicology. In this module, students learn about these areas as they build on their organic and medicinal chemistry knowledge from earlier in their degrees. It covers concepts including pharmacodynamics, pharmacokinetics and basic toxicology, and looks in detail at strategies for optimising the pharmacodynamic, pharmacokinetic properties of drugs. There is also a focus on computing technologies, including computer-aided drug design tools and quantitative structure:activity relationship models. Students learn about the fundamental chemistry behind the synthesis of specific drugs throughout the module.15 credits
- Technologies for Sustainability
Our current manufacturing technologies for15 credits
chemicals, plastics and construction materials, are carbon intensive
technologies and in order to maintain our living standards we need to
decarbonise those technologies. In order
to achieve this overarching aim, we need to make better use of fossil-based and
renewable resources, and move towards a circular economy. Topics include the
current status of the industry, life-cycle analysis, non-fossil fuel and feedstocks, and reuse reforming and recycling.
This will be focused to the following main areas:
Fine chemicals and commodities.
This module will discuss the current state-of-the-art of fine chemicals and commodities manufacturing and how to minimize their impact to the environment.
Plastic and polymers.
Plastic waste is a growing problem and this course will discuss the challenges associated with current plastics, what the alternatives are and whether they will be feasible.
Glass, Cement, Steel and other metals.
This module will describe the manufacturing processes at the centre of the construction sector, and how to mitigate their footprint.
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 are no longer offering unrestricted module choice. If your course included unrestricted modules, your department will provide a list of modules from their own and other subject areas that you can choose from.
An open day gives you the best opportunity to hear first-hand from our current students and staff about our courses. You'll find out what makes us special.
1 year full-time
- Laboratory practicals
- Individual research projects
- Laboratory reports
- Dissertation (15,000 words) and viva
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 many 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.
This course is also great preparation for a PhD in chemistry.
I chose to study at Sheffield because of its modern laboratories and state-of-the-art experimental facilities
Masters student, Chemistry MSc
BSc (Hons) 2:1 or equivalent in chemistry or a chemistry-related subject.
Overall IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each component, or equivalent.
If you have any questions about entry requirements, please contact the department.
Fees and funding
You can apply for postgraduate study using our Postgraduate Online Application Form. It's a quick and easy process.
+44 114 222 9500
Any supervisors and research areas listed are indicative and may change before the start of the course.
Recognition of professional qualifications: from 1 January 2021, in order to have any UK professional qualifications recognised for work in an EU country across a number of regulated and other professions you need to apply to the host country for recognition. Read information from the UK government and the EU Regulated Professions Database.