Chemistry with Industrial Experience (4 years) [MChem]

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Course description

Choosing to study Chemistry can open the door to an exciting range of career options. From practical scientist through research technologist to academic specialist, all can be reached, in part, through this contemporary, multi-disciplinary degree programme.  Our innovative skills-based curriculum will give you the tools to succeed in your degree and our award-winning careers service will assist you in making choices for your future.

Our courses will equip you with an armoury of skills to take into the world of work, including the ability to analyse problems, to work collaboratively as part of a team, and to develop laboratory, numeracy and communication skills. You will also gain an appreciation for a subject which links so many scientific disciplines through applications and examples as well as practical work and learning through research. In lectures, the topics and examples you discuss will be taken from the latest research, much of which is carried out right here by the School's academics. 

Undertaking a placement in industry will allow you to develop real-world expertise and earn a salary whilst completing the third year of your degree. The transferable skills that you gain will prove invaluable in helping to shape your future career.  In recent years companies our students have undertaken placements with include GlaxoSmithKline, Reckitt Benckiser, AstraZeneca, Roche, AzkoNobel, Lucozade Ribena Suntory and Cancer Research UK.

Special features

  • We take good care of our students and have several tutors to oversee the process. The Director of Undergraduate Studies is in overall charge and you will have Academic Tutors in all branches of the subject, a Programme Director for the F101 course, and a Personal Tutor.

  • MChem Chemistry with Industrial Chemistry is a highly flexible degree involving courses from the School of Chemistry and a range of outside Schools. For full details of all the courses see below.

  • The third year is spent gaining valuable paid experience in the chemical industry. An Academic Tutor will keep in contact throughout the year and visit you at your placement. You will undertake core chemistry modules by distance learning over the web, for which tutorial support is provided. Assessment will also involve reports marked by the Academic Tutor and the industrial supervisor.

  • We will charge less than the standard half fee for students taking up a year in industry and offer to waive or significantly discount this fee for students from less well-off backgrounds. Further information about the University's extensive programme of scholarships and bursaries can be found at

  • We are also proud of our innovative PASS (Peer Assisted Study Sessions) scheme. The PASS scheme provides additional support in the area of the current week's tutorial. It is entirely voluntary and third and fourth year students help first years to tackle problems defined by the content of the current tutorial. The emphasis is on showing students how to think about the problems, how to develop problem-solving skills and how to get the most from the educational resources available.

Teaching and learning

Teaching is delivered by a mixture of the following:

  • Traditional lectures
  • Small group tutorials
  • Laboratory classes
  • Group work
  • Individual research projects
  • Computer-based tuition
  • Workshops
  • Distance learning whilst on an industrial placement

A range of ancillary mathematics, data handling, presentation and IT skills, and computer based chemistry are taught on the dedicated computer cluster. There are also some group-based activities.

The School offers a high level of learning support. You will have weekly tutorials in small groups of no more than 6. Each student has three academic tutors, one each for Organic, Inorganic and Physical chemistry. You will have your own Personal Tutor to oversee your personal welfare - each member of staff has no more than six personal tutees per year.

Practical chemistry is important in all areas of the subject, and is a key part of all our programmes. In Years 1, 2, and 4 students carry out practical work in our modern well-equipped undergraduate laboratories, built to a high specification. Our practical courses are designed to provide experience of the wide range of chemical techniques for measurement and synthesis necessary for the study of modern chemistry. An important requirement for a chemist in the laboratory is the ability to work safely with a wide range of chemicals and equipment. As well as providing the opportunity to do interesting chemistry our practical courses train students to work safely and effectively in the laboratory.

Finally, we have the innovative PASS (Peer Assisted Study Sessions) which meet weekly in Years 1 and 2.

Coursework and assessment

Assessment is by a mixture of traditional examinations, coursework, laboratory practicals and workshops. Examinations take place in January and May each year, with around one third of the marks from continuous assessment. The first year is a simple pass/fail, but from then on a percentage of each year's assessment counts towards your final degree classification.

Course content for year 1

First-year topics include: molecular orbital approaches to chemical bonding, chemical reaction mechanisms, molecular spectroscopy; coordination chemistry, thermodynamics, kinetics and quantum mechanics.

You will also attend course units that cover a range of presentational, mathematical and analytical and IT skills. Finally, you have the opportunity to study subsidiary subjects from another school.

Course content for year 2

The second year continues developing the core and extends topics from your first year, introducing new areas such as bonding and reactivity, chromatography, organometallic chemistry, molecular symmetry, metal-ligand bonding, polymer chemistry, advanced spectroscopy, biological and heterocyclic chemistry.

In addition to the core units you will have the opportunity to study course units introducing some of the contemporary themes of modern chemistry, as well as green and environmental chemistry.  Alternatively you may choose to study a course from the University's College for Interdisciplinary Learning , including our innovative Leadership in Action course, which combines study with volunteering and personal development.

Students on the Industrial Experience programme are responsible for finding their own placement.  You will be supported in this by our careers service, the programme director and our employability intern, who will offer advice on CV preparation, the application process and interview/assessment centre preparation.  Our annual careers fair involves many placement providers and you will also have the opportunity to receive advice from students who have been successful in obtaining placements in previous years.

Course content for year 3

Your third year will be spent undertaking a year-long placement. Students who take this option will find themselves in the role of a real employee within a company with some chemistry-related activity, doing things like chemical synthesis, analytical chemistry, product formulation and quality control. During these placements, students are paid as a normal employee would be and are subject to the internal structures and normal pressures of the workplace.

Whilst on placement you will be supported by a visiting academic tutor, who will keep in contact with you and your placement supervisor, as well as visiting you twice during the year. There will be a small element of core chemistry material to keep you up to speed with organic and inorganic topics, taught by online distance learning units and supported remotely by specialist subject tutors. At the end of your placement, you will submit a written report and make an oral presentation which your academic tutor and industrial placement supervisor will mark.

Course content for year 4

In your final year you will undertake an extended individual project based within one of the research groups in our School.  This will give you the opportunity work on a current problem in your chosen area of chemistry under the supervision of one of our academic staff.

You will study enhanced core course material and also choose from our extensive list of specialist optional course units, which cover cutting-edge developments in chemistry and are taught by world-leading scientists. 

Scholarships and bursaries

For information about scholarships/bursaries/sponsorship please see our undergraduate fees pages and go to School and university scholarships

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email:

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