Department of Chemistry
Explore this course:
You are viewing this course for 2022-23 entry.
Our three-year Chemistry BSc programme is designed to give you an outstanding foundation to build your career from. In the first two years, we focus on the fundamental concepts and skills you need to unlock a wide range of optional modules in third year and explore the latest discoveries in chemistry.
The course is accredited by the Royal Society of Chemistry, which means that you can acquire a range of skills and knowledge that employers look for as you work independently, in teams and on a range of projects.
We cover a wide range of topics based on the latest concepts and findings in chemistry, and the skills and expertise that chemistry graduates can offer industry and society. These include:
- environmental and sustainable chemistry
- biological and medicinal chemistry
- advanced materials and nanotechnology
- computational chemistry
In your first two years, you will have regular tutorials to delve deeper into the complex topics covered in lectures. These small group teaching sessions are led by your personal tutor in first year, and specialist experts in later years. In addition, your personal tutor will also help you work out which skills you need to develop and support you as you build up your experience in time for graduation.
If you want to study chemistry, but don’t meet the entry requirements to go straight into the first year of this course, you may be able to apply for our Chemistry with a Foundation Year course. Finish the year-long foundation programme with an average mark of 60 or above, and you’re guaranteed entry onto the first year of your chosen chemistry degree at the University of Sheffield.
Accredited by the Royal Society of Chemistry for partially meeting the academic criteria for Chartered Chemist (CChem).
A selection of modules are available each year - some examples are below. There may be changes before you start your course. From May of the year of entry, formal programme regulations will be available in our Programme Regulations Finder.
Choose a year to see modules for a level of study:
UCAS code: F100
Years: 2022, 2023
In first year, you'll spend a day a week in the lab, learning essential skills and techniques. You will study topics including the structure of atoms and molecules, how and why chemical reactions happen, and how to identify and analyse different compounds. You'll also look at biological processes that are underpinned by chemistry, and the critical role that chemistry plays in ensuring a sustainable future.
- Fundamentals of Chemistry
This is the first module that all of our undergraduate students take, and takes up most of the first year. It covers the fundamental concepts behind the four main branches of chemistry (organic, inorganic, physical and analytical), and teaches practical skills that every chemist needs, and professional skills that every university graduate needs. Themes include the structure of atoms and molecules, how chemical reactions happen, and how to identify and analyse different chemicals and elements. Topics are covered in lectures, workshops, small group tutorials and in the laboratory.80 credits
- Chemistry in a Sustainable Future
Chemistry has a crucial role to play in creating a sustainable world. This module looks at the contributions chemists can make to society, with a particular focus on sustainability and green chemistry. Students will learn where everyday essentials including food and energy come from, and how chemistry can help combat global warming by, for example, making the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources and feedstocks possible. To make the biggest impact on society, students will learn how to explain scientific concepts to a range of audiences by working in groups to produce articles, infographics and other content.10 credits
- Mathematics for Chemists
This module introduces mathematics as the language of science, so that students can apply a range of mathematical tools to the scientific problems they’ll tackle during their chemistry degree. It is designed for students who haven’t done A Level mathematics, or an equivalent post-16 qualification. At the start, the focus is on revising key mathematics skills, such as rearranging and solving equations. Students build up to the more complex mathematical concepts that chemists use, both to explain fundamental theories and to complete practical work in the lab. Mathematics is taught in a chemistry context throughout, exploring topics that range from thermodynamics and kinetics to quantum chemistry.20 credits
- Chemistry in the Biological World Around Us
Chemistry is the backbone of fundamental biological processes, from healthcare and medicine to countless other features of modern life. This module brings together the four main branches of chemistry (organic, inorganic, physical and analytical) to explain the principles behind the biology we experience in our day-to-day lives. Examples of the kinds of topic that will be described are medicine, nutrition, the molecules that have defined modern biology, and studies of molecules that have shaped and changed the biological world.10 credits
- Chemistry in the Physical World Around Us
Many of the technologies, products and structures we take for granted in our everyday lives rely on chemistry. This module brings together the four main branches of chemistry (organic, inorganic, physical and analytical) to explain the chemical principles of the world around us. Examples of the kinds of topic that will be described are the chemistry of explosives, molecules that glow, toiletries, cosmetics, laundry and foodstuffs.10 credits
- Essential Mathematics for Chemists
Lots of scientific knowledge is built on a strong mathematical foundation. This module is designed to develop students’ mathematical understanding, skills and intuition. Advanced mathematical concepts such as differentiation and integration of complex functions, partial differentiation and integration by parts will be taught in terms of their applications in chemistry. Other topics, such as series, complex numbers, matrices, determinants and differential equations are are also covered in physical and theoretical chemistry contexts. The aim is to give students a strong set of practical tools for tackling a range of chemistry problems through a series of staff-led workshops and self-study problem sets.10 credits
- Physical Principles in Chemistry
This module is designed for students studying Chemistry, but who do not have an A-level Physics qualification. The goal is to ensure that you have a strong grasp of the fundamental physical principles that will be used in your Chemistry degree. The course covers three major areas of physics: mechanics, electrostatics, and optics. Students will learn about topics including forces, energy conservation, wave motion, force fields and oscillators10 credits
In second year, you'll spend two days a week in the lab, as you learn to run more complex experiments. You'll move on to study more advanced topics in organic chemistry (reactions of functional groups, synthesis, biopolymers), inorganic chemistry (main group compounds, transition metal coordination complexes, inorganic solids) and physical chemistry (quantum mechanics, thermodynamics, polymers and colloids).
- Inorganic Chemistry: Structure, Bonding & Reactivity
This module is designed to deepen students' understanding of inorganic chemistry, including main group compounds, transition metal coordination complexes and inorganic solids. Students will learn how symmetry principles can be used to explain molecular structure and bonding using molecular orbital theory as well as to analyse the structures of highly ordered crystals. Spectroscopy techniques are taught so that students can learn how to characterise inorganic compounds, while studying the different reactions and properties that these chemicals display. In the lab, students develop their practical skills by synthesising and characterising inorganic compounds, safely and efficiently.30 credits
- Physical Chemistry and Polymer Science
Chemical structures are based on a number of important physical principles. This module builds up students understanding of the theory behind physical and chemical phenomena. Students will use quantum mechanics to examine the structure and properties of atoms and molecules, and the laws of thermodynamics are used to explain the properties of mixtures and equilibria. Polymers are also introduced and students learn how to prepare and characterise these compounds, which are behind many familiar products and technologies. The theory behind common spectroscopic techniques that are used to investigate molecular structures are also covered. In the lab, students get more experience of the techniques chemists use to gather and analyse data from chemical processes and determine the properties of different materials.30 credits
- Synthetic, Mechanistic and Biological Aspects of Organic Chemistry
This module builds on students' knowledge of the common functional groups within organic molecules that are responsible for many chemical reactions including aromatic rings, alkenes and carbonyls. Several classes of chemical reactions are studied in detail, with a focus on understanding the mechanisms behind them. Students also learn how to design synthetic routes to prepare molecules. Students will look at biological systems from a chemical perspective, including the structures and functions of biopolymers such as proteins and DNA. In the lab, students further develop the practical skills needed to carry out synthetic organic chemistry, in a safe and efficient manner.30 credits
- Environmental, Analytical & Sustainable Chemistry
Chemistry - in terms of both natural processes and artificial phenomena - has a clear impact on the environment. This module will look at some of ways chemicals interact with the environment, and explore how we can measure the sustainability of a chemical process and potentially improve its green credentials. In this context, students will expand their analytical chemistry skills and their ability to determine structures of compounds. This includes looking at how mixtures of compounds can be separated and how the proportions of their components can be determined. In the lab, students design and conduct their own experiments to investigate a real chemical problem from the world around us.20 credits
- Enterprise and Employability
This module focuses on the ways that chemistry can be applied in business, and for the benefit of society as a whole. Students will analyse and discuss examples of successful and unsuccessful commercial endeavours to learn, for example, how new drugs have been discovered while others have failed. They will then be introduced to the process of developing a business and, working in small groups, students, will develop and present their own idea for a business based on an area of chemistry that they have chosen. As part of this module, students also attend our annual Careers Day, where chemistry students can explore career options and meet with employers who hire chemistry graduates.10 credits
In third year, you'll work on a research project: you'll gather and evaluate data, run your own experiments and present your findings. You'll also have a wide range of optional modules to choose from too, with topics ranging from energy storage to chemistry in space.
- Chemistry Employability Skills and Projects
This module is designed to give students more of the practical and transferable skills they need for a career in chemistry, and many graduate jobs. Students systematically gather data from scientific literature and other sources, to practice evaluating and presenting complex information. Work is done independently and in groups, with lots of opportunities for students to reflect on their work and get feedback from their teams. In the lab, students develop their practical skills through an independent chemistry research project.30 credits
- Mechanisms, Pericyclic Reactions and Synthesis
This module expands students’ understanding of organic chemistry. It covers how applications of frontier orbital theory inform on reactivity and how reaction mechanisms are investigated. Synthetic organic chemistry is developed further, with a focus on aromatic and heterocyclic systems and the application of transition metal-mediated cross coupling reactions. Students will learn about key scientific studies in organic chemistry, and put new concepts into practice in our advanced teaching laboratory.20 credits
- Organometallic, Solid State and Coordination Chemistry
This module will continue to develop students’ knowledge and skills in inorganic chemistry, dealing with the properties of compounds in both solution and the solid state. It will cover the synthesis, structures and reactivity of organometallic compounds and their important role in catalysis, along with structural, photophysical and magnetic properties of coordination compounds. The principles of crystallographic structure determination are introduced, with a focus on single crystal X-ray diffraction. Practical work in the lab focuses on developing experimental skills in the study of inorganic compounds, using contemporary synthetic and analytical methods.20 credits
- Statistical Thermodynamics, Spectroscopy, Surfaces, Colloids
This module introduces more advanced concepts in physical chemistry. Students will learn to apply a statistical approach to thermodynamics, explore electronic excited states, and discover the fundamental principles of chemistry at surfaces . Bulk thermodynamic properties will be understood in terms of the properties of individual molecules, allowing equilibrium constants and gas-phase reactions to be calculated from first principles. Electronic levels in polyatomic molecules are studied, to show how spectroscopy provides information on changes in molecular structures, and on the lifetimes of excited states. Students are introduced to the chemistry of colloids and surfaces, including experimental methods for studying adsorption and thermodynamics at gas-solid and liquid-solid interfaces, the role of surface chemistry in heterogeneous catalysis, and the fundamental principles that control the stability and properties of colloidal systems.20 credits
- Chemistry in Space
The Universe was long considered to be a vast, mostly empty, expanse. Astronomers now know that the Universe is anything but. In certain regions there is extremely interesting chemistry to explore, initiated by starlight and fast-moving particles known as cosmic rays. Approximately 180 different molecules have already been detected in space, ranging from dihydrogen to simple sugars. This module will discuss the methods used to detect these molecules and the models that explain their existence. It will cover astrochemistry, and provide an introduction to extra-terrestrial chemistry and the field of astrobiology - including its potential implications for the development of life on Earth and on other planets.10 credits
- Medicinal Chemistry and Drug Synthesis
In the last century, medicinal chemistry has revolutionised healthcare, disease outcomes and life expectancy around the globe. This module will explain how medicinal chemistry emerged as a multidisciplinary field, how the biological mechanisms behind disease are identified, and how chemistry is used to target these mechanisms and develop treatments. Students will learn about drug profiles, the rules of drug discovery drug-target interaction surveys, the development of common anticancer drugs such as cisplatin, and some of the synthetic approaches commonly used by medicinal chemists, such as heterocyclic chemistry.10 credits
- Properties of Inorganic Materials
Many of the materials we encounter are solids, ranging from minerals and metals, to semiconductors and molecular crystals. These materials have diverse properties - mechanical strength, electrical conductivity, light absorption - that mean they can be used in lots of different ways, such as electronics or energy generation and storage. This module will look at the electronic, thermal, optical and mechanical properties of inorganic materials and cover microscopic, spectroscopic and diffraction techniques used to characterise solids. It will also illustrate how inorganic materials are used in, for example, semiconductor technology and energy conversion.10 credits
- Structure and Mechanism of Biomolecule Function
Understanding the many functions of proteins is a fundamental problem for chemists to help solve, and can lead to new drugs and treatments. This course covers protein function, from ligand binding to enzyme catalysed reactions. Students look at the structure of protein-ligand interactions and the main biophysical techniques used to quantify energy flows in protein-drug interactions. They also learn about kinetic methods of analysis that shed light on enzyme mechanisms, and how these experimental approaches are used to design effective enzyme inhibitors, leading to new drugs. There is also training in core data analysis techniques.10 credits
- Supramolecular Chemistry
Supramolecular chemistry is the study of chemistry “beyond the molecule”. Rather than using covalent chemistry to build ever more complex molecules, supramolecular chemists make use of the weaker interactions between ions and molecules to build sophisticated assemblies of molecules. Students will learn how complementary interactions can be used for molecular recognition and to drive the self-assembly of well defined molecular structures such as grids, helicates and cages in solution. They will also learn how these assemblies can act as sensors, catalysts, molecular machines and as responsive and self-healing materials.10 credits
- Sustainable Chemistry, Energy Generation and Storage
The environmental impact of rising levels of greenhouse gas emissions is prompting society to explore new methods to generate, use and store energy. This module will build on the sustainability students have already learned, to cover a number of modern approaches to energy generation and storage. There will be a particular focus on how biomass can be used to produce renewable chemicals and fuels, photovoltaics and alternative energy sources, fuel cells, nuclear energy, actinide availability and devices for energy storage. Examples are drawn from cutting-edge academic research and the latest applications in industry.10 credits
- Synthetic Approaches in Chemical Biology
The ability to synthesise biomolecules has led to many of the most significant developments in molecular and chemical biology. This module looks at how biomolecules are created, from both biological and chemical perspectives. Student’s knowledge will build up from understanding the central dogma and basic chemistry of life, to exploring important chemical biology techniques such as DNA sequencing, polymerase chain reaction, protein overproduction and site directed mutagenesis. Topics also include the production of novel biomolecules for bioconjugation, rational design, directed evolution, antibody production, and the new discoveries that synthetic biology might open the door to.10 credits
- Molecular Modelling
Theoretical modelling has been firmly established in the modern chemistry research toolbox, thanks to its ability to probe molecular structures at a level of detail that is inaccessible to experiments. Modelling also allows us to explain experimentally observed properties of molecules and materials and to predict properties of new molecules. This course will build on existing knowledge of quantum chemistry and then follow on to introduce classical molecular modelling – a powerful method for computer modelling of the structures and dynamics of large (bio) molecules. Hands-on workshops will give students an opportunity to use computers to investigate chemical systems.10 credits
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.
Learning and assessment
You'll learn through lectures, small group tutorials and workshops, practical sessions in the lab and research projects.
You will be assessed through laboratory work, coursework, online quizzes, examinations, essays and other written work.
This tells you the aims and learning outcomes of this course and how these will be achieved and assessed.
With Access Sheffield, you could qualify for additional consideration or an alternative offer - find out if you're eligible
The A Level entry requirements for this course are:
The A Level entry requirements for this course are:
A Levels + additional qualifications | ABB, including Chemistry + B in the EPQ; ABB, including Chemistry + A in AS or B in A Level Further Maths ABB, including Chemistry + B in the EPQ; ABB, including Chemistry + A in AS or B in A Level Further Maths
International Baccalaureate | 34, with 5 in Higher Level Chemistry 33, with 5 in Higher Level Chemistry
BTEC | DDD in science including specific Chemistry units DDD in science including specific Chemistry units
Scottish Highers + 1 Advanced Higher | AAABB + B in Chemistry AABBB + B in Chemistry
Welsh Baccalaureate + 2 A Levels | B + AA including Chemistry B + AB including Chemistry
Access to HE Diploma | 60 credits overall in a relevant subject, with 45 credits at Level 3 covering sufficient Chemistry units, including 36 credits at Distinction and 9 credits at Merit. Applicants are considered individually and must provide a course syllabus for their diploma 60 credits overall in a relevant subject, with 45 credits at Level 3 covering sufficient Chemistry units, including 30 credits at Distinction and 15 credits at Merit. Applicants are considered individually and must provide a course syllabus for their diploma
Mature students - explore other routes for mature students
You must demonstrate that your English is good enough for you to successfully complete your course. For this course we require: GCSE English Language at grade 4/C; IELTS grade of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each component; or an alternative acceptable English language qualification
BTEC required units include Applications of Inorganic Chemistry, Applications of Organic Chemistry, Industrial Chemical Reactions, Practical Chemical Analysis
GCSE Maths grade 6/B
If you have any questions about entry requirements, please contact the department.
Department of Chemistry
The Department of Chemistry was one of the University's first departments when it was founded in 1905. Since then, four Nobel Prize winners have either worked or studied in the department. Our researchers work on a broad range of contemporary scientific challenges, ranging from antimicrobial resistance and environmental sustainability to cancer treatments and new technological solutions for industry.
The Department of Chemistry is mainly located in the Dainton and the Richard Roberts Buildings, which feature lecture theatres, teaching labs and world-class research facilities. We're just across the road from the award-winning library facilities at the Information Commons and the Diamond, and the UK's number one students' union, all within a short walk of the city centre.
We have three large teaching labs where you'll spend a lot of time during your degree: one for organic chemistry, one for inorganic chemistry and one for physical chemistry. Each lab has specialist analytical equipment, including nuclear magnetic resonance, infrared and ultraviolet spectroscopy, and gas-, liquid- and size-exclusion chromatography. Our advanced lab is used for the group research project you'll complete in your third year, with large fume cupboards and workbenches to make collaboration easy.
We are also home to a number of multi-million pound research laboratories. These include the Lord Porter Ultrafast Laser Spectroscopy Laboratory, which is 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 the width of a human hair.
Why choose Sheffield?
The University of Sheffield
A top 100 university 2022
QS World University Rankings
Top 10% of all UK universities
Research Excellence Framework 2014
No 1 Students' Union in the UK
Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017
Department of Chemistry
Graduate Outcomes 2020
Graduate Outcomes 2020
Department of Chemistry
Our courses have been created with your future in mind. All of our modules have been designed to give you skills that will help you find and succeed in your chosen career - problem solving, team working, fact finding, data analysis, critical thinking, communication, project management.
As part of your course, you'll develop your own idea for a chemistry business and pitch it as part of a team. On our Skills For Success training programme you can get experience of public speaking, presenting a poster, hosting a debate or producing a video. At our annual careers day you can explore career options, meet with employers who hire chemistry graduates and get tips from former students to help you take your next steps after graduation.
Some of the biggest employers of our students are pharmaceutical companies (such as GlaxoSmithKline), where chemists develop new medicines, and consumer goods companies (such as Unilever and Reckitt Benckiser), which make many of the products you see on supermarket shelves. Graduates can also go behind the scenes, creating the chemicals and materials that make industrial manufacturing possible.
The science industry doesn’t only employ scientists though - big companies like Unilever and AstraZeneca need graduates who understand science to work in communications, market research and business development roles.
What if I want to work outside science?
A chemistry degree from the University of Sheffield can take you far, whatever you want to do. We have graduates using their scientific minds in everything from finance to computer programming.
Each year undergraduate students can apply to join the Sheffield Undergraduate Research Experience scheme. This gives you the chance to spend around six weeks working in one of our research groups over the summer. It's a unique opportunity to pursue research in an area that you are excited about, and can help inform your future career aspirations.
We can guarantee you a summer research placement if you meet the requirements of our Undergraduate Research Scholarship scheme. Please find more information under Fees and funding.
If you want to do a full year of work experience as part of your degree, we have a Chemistry with a Year in Industry degree at both BSc and MChem levels. Students who take this option spend a year working at a leading organisation in the chemical industry. You'll pay reduced fees for the year you're on placement, which is between year 2 and your final year of study. Students earn salaries during their placements too. Organisations where our students have done their placements include:
- Dow Chemical Company, UK (chemical industry)
- GSK, UK (pharmaceutical industry, formerly GlaxoSmithKline)
- Merck KGaA in Darmstadt, Germany (science and technology)
- RB, UK (consumer goods, formerly Reckitt Benckiser)
Fees and funding
The annual fee for your course includes a number of items in addition to your tuition. If an item or activity is classed as a compulsory element for your course, it will normally be included in your tuition fee. There are also other costs which you may need to consider.
Funding your study
Depending on your circumstances, you may qualify for a bursary, scholarship or loan to help fund your study and enhance your learning experience.
Use our Student Funding Calculator to work out what you’re eligible for.
Department scholarships are available for this course, for further details see our funding and scholarships page.
The University of Sheffield’s Experience Sheffield Scholarships includes a number of scholarships that are guaranteed to go to students in the Department of Chemistry.
You can also be awarded an Undergraduate Research Scholarship to fund a summer research placement if you get AAA or above at A Level, or equivalent, and maintain an average grade of 70 per cent or higher.
University open days
There are four open days every year, usually in June, July, September and October. You can talk to staff and students, tour the campus and see inside the accommodation.
At various times in the year we run online taster sessions to help Year 12 students experience what it is like to study at the University of Sheffield.
If you've received an offer to study with us, we'll invite you to one of our applicant days, which take place between November and April. These applicant days have a strong department focus and give you the chance to really explore student life here, even if you've visited us before.
Campus tours run regularly throughout the year, at 1pm every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Apply for this course
Make sure you've done everything you need to do before you apply.
The awarding body for this course is the University of Sheffield.
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.