Chemistry with Study Abroad MChem
Department of Chemistry
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You are viewing this course for 2022-23 entry.
On the MChem Chemistry with Study Abroad course, you will spend your third year studying chemistry at a top university in the USA, Canada, Australia or New Zealand. As well as expanding your chemistry knowledge, the Study Abroad course offers an outstanding opportunity to explore the social life and culture of another English-speaking country.
When you return to Sheffield in your fourth year, you will further develop your research skills through advanced lecture topics, and in a research project where you will join a team that is working to make new 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
Your lectures in first and second year are supported by small group tutorials, where you can delve deeper into complex topics. 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 fully 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: F110
In your 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 your 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
During your year abroad, you'll study similar topics to the ones you would have covered in Sheffield but there may be additional opportunities such as carrying out a research project. Orientation sessions in your second year will prepare you for the year away, and help you choose which universities you'd like to apply to. Your place at another university isn't guaranteed – it's your responsibility to secure one, although there is lots of support available to ensure that you are successful.
- Chemistry Study Abroad
Studying chemistry in a different educational environment is a broadening and stimulating experience. Students are placed in prestigious, research active Chemistry Departments abroad and take undergraduate programmes in these establishments.120 credits
After your year abroad, you’ll join one of our research groups to work on a project that addresses an unanswered question in chemistry. You’ll expand your knowledge and experience with lecture modules on specialist topics ranging from advanced organic synthesis to nanochemistry and sustainability in polymer science.
- Research Skills in Chemistry
For this module, students complete an extended research project on a topic at the cutting edge of chemistry. Students work alongside professional scientists as a member of one of the Department of Chemistry's research groups. They receive specialist training to help them develop the advanced practical skills they need for their project, and have access to state-of-the-art equipment and facilities. They also put their previous research training and existing careers skills into practice through literature searches, communicating their work and presenting their findings.75 credits
- Advanced Materials Chemistry
This module explains how structural, electronic, thermal, chemical and other properties of materials can be harnessed by chemists to help solve technological and environmental challenges. Functional materials covered include supramolecular 2D and 3D assemblies, crystals and polymers. Students learn about design strategies, molecular properties, and material function, using concepts from coordination chemistry, organic chemistry, solid-state chemistry and crystallography. The role of different materials properties in sensing, separation, gas adsorption, catalysis, drug delivery, rechargeable batteries, light absorption and emission, solar cells, conductivity, propulsion and gas generation will be discussed in the context of their impact on energy, health care, transport and the environment.15 credits
- Biophysical Chemistry
This module covers the concepts and techniques that students need to study the physical properties of biological macromolecules at a structural level. It explains how thermodynamic concepts and advanced spectroscopic measurements allow biomolecule structures, function and interactions to be investigated. Students learn about methods for analysing ensembles of many molecules as well as measurements on single biomolecules. Biophysical approaches to studying proteins and nucleic acids structures, and the mechanism of DNA damage recognition are taught as is the development of molecules for diagnostics, therapeutics and theranostics.15 credits
- 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 explains 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
- 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. The theory is taught in the context of applications in photocatalysis, photonics and optoelectronics, solar energy conversion, and light-induced processes in medicine.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 graph theory and the Hückel model, 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 group projects.15 credits
- Modern Industrial Catalysis
Reactions catalysed by metals are hugely important in the chemical industry, where they are used to produce bulk chemicals at large scales and fine chemicals at smaller ones. This module explains the heterogeneous and homogeneous catalytic processes behind some of the most economically important chemical reactions. It covers the chemical basis of these process, and their advantages and disadvantages of heterogeneous and homogeneous systems. There is a focus on reaction mechanisms and the role of the metal centre, and fundamental physical processes such as adsorption and reaction kinetics. Concepts are illustrated by analysing, in detail, catalytic reactions including hydrogenation, oxidation, carbonylation and polymerisation.15 credits
Thanks to their small size, nanomaterials have many unique properties that lead to lots of interesting applications in technology and medicine. Chemists have have the skills to design and synthesise nanoscale materials using top-down and bottom-up nanofabrication methods, plus the tools to visualise, characterise and process them. This module covers the synthesis and properties of nanoparticles, and how they can be used in technologies such as computing, data storage and medicine.15 credits
- 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
- Sustainability in Polymer Science
Plastics have revolutionised modern life. However, plastic waste is a growing problem, with estimates that the oceans will contain more plastic than fish by 2050. We need to make better use of both fossil-based and renewable resources, and move towards a zero-waste, circular economy. Should we do this by recycling durable petrochemical-based materials that are made to be reused, or legitimise the single-use of products made from degradable polymers? This course will discuss the problems with current plastics, what the alternatives are and whether they¿ll work. Topics include the current status of the plastics industry, life-cycle analysis, degradable polymers, non-fossil fuel feedstocks, and reuse, reforming and recycling.15 credits
- Synthetic Methods in Organic Chemistry
Chemists' ability to synthesise organic molecules and to prepare new compounds has led to countless products and discoveries: pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals, fine chemicals, flavours, fragrances, materials and more. This module on the chemical reactions of organic compounds takes students' organic chemistry knowledge to an advanced level. The focus is on useful transformations that involve main group elements or transition metals. Examples are drawn from recent developments that have led to important and useful new methods and approaches within advanced synthetic organic chemistry.15 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:
including A in Chemistry
The A Level entry requirements for this course are:
including A in Chemistry
A Levels + additional qualifications | ABB, including A in Chemistry + B in the EPQ; ABB, including A in Chemistry + A in AS or B in A Level Further Maths ABB, including A in Chemistry + B in the EPQ; ABB, including A in Chemistry + A in AS or B in A Level Further Maths
International Baccalaureate | 34, with 6 in Higher Level Chemistry 33, 6 in Higher Level Chemistry
Scottish Highers + 1 Advanced Higher | AAABB + A in Chemistry AABBB + A 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.