Chemistry with International Study (4 years) [MChem]

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Course description

MChem Chemistry with International Study offers you a four-year degree programme. During the first two years you cover all the major branches of chemistry and learn how they are interconnected.  Laboratory classes in both years form an essential integrated component of your training and you will conduct experiments in all branches of the subject. You will also study your chosen language (we currently offer French, German, Spanish and Italian) for those students who will take up a placement in mainland Europe.

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 F104 course and a Personal Tutor.
  • MChem Chemistry with International Study is a highly flexible degree involving courses from the School of Chemistry and a range of outside Schools. For full details of all our courses see below.
  • The third year is spent studying chemistry in either mainland Europe (under the ERASMUS programme) or at one of our worldwide partner universities, and currently offer a range of universities in France, Germany, Spain and Italy, North America and Singapore. The placement year will be fully assessed by the host university and will involve coursework, laboratory classes and examinations. You will also be able to access material taught in Manchester in year 3 via our student portal. This material will not be assessed by us, but you are required to be aware of its content before you return to Manchester for your fourth year. Both the Programme Director and the Study Abroad Unit will be in e-mail contact with you during your stay and will provide help and support when necessary. The Study Abroad Unit offers information about the financial aspects of your year abroad and links to partner universities' webpages.
  • We will charge less than the standard half fee for students taking up a year abroad and offer to waive or significantly discount this fee for students from less well-off backgrounds.
  • We are also proud of our innovative PASS (Peer Assisted Study Sessions) scheme.

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

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). 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.

Coursework and assessment

Assessment is by a mixture of traditional examinations, coursework, laboratory practicals and workshops. Examinations take place in January and May in Years 1, 2 and 4, with around one third of the marks from continuous assessment. Examinations may take place at different times in Year 3. 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: bonding in molecules; organic reaction mechanisms; natural product chemistry; s, p, and d block chemistry; thermodynamics; kinetics; and quantum mechanics.

There is time for you to study subsidiary courses from outside Schools - such as Life Sciences (Biochemistry), Earth Sciences (Geology), Geography, Mathematics, Physics and also Languages. In addition, you will attend courses covering a range of presentational, computer and IT skills.

Course unit details for year 1

Course content for year 2

The second year continues developing the core and extends topics from your first year, introducing new areas such as molecular spectroscopy, bonding and reactivity, surfaces and interfaces, chemistry of the heavier elements, molecular symmetry, metal-ligand bonding, polymer science, structure determination, stereochemistry and heterocyclic chemistry, plus additional course units involving polymer, materials and computational chemistry.

In addition students can choose to combine their chemistry studies with course units from the College for Interdisciplinary Learning ,

Students who are following the ERASMUS programme will be required to maintain fluency in their chosen language, which usually requires you to attend language classes as your subsidiary course in Years 1 and 2, in preparation for your placement in Year 3. Eligibility for continuation on this MChem programme is at our discretion, based on your general performance and your second year mark. If you are not eligible you will be transferred to the BSc programme.

Course unit details for year 2

Course content for year 3

Year 3 - the year abroad

During your year abroad you will effectively be a student of the host institution. You will follow a course that is broadly similar to that delivered to the third-year students who stay in Manchester, but you may be able to study options that may not currently be available at Manchester. The course you follow will be carefully chosen to ensure that your educational development is at the correct level. Your placement year will be fully assessed by the host university and will involve coursework, laboratory classes and examinations.

Both your course director and our Study Abroad Unit will be in email contact with you during your stay, providing help and support when necessary. The Study Abroad Unit offers information about the financial aspects of your year abroad and links to partner universities' web pages. A number of our students extend their visits in order to take up research internships at their host University, and this is an outcome which we encourage.

You have the choice of study at either a European university or on a worldwide placement.

In Europe:

During this year in Europe, you will study chemistry in lectures and laboratory classes, following the syllabus of the host university. Your tutor will maintain contact with you throughout your European placement and you may be visited where possible. You will be assessed by the marks that you gain from your host university and by report on your placement.

Our Study Aboard unit offers information about the financial aspects of your year aboard and links to partner universities' web pages. You can choose to attend one of the following universities during your time away (though this list is subject to change):

  • Valencia, Spain
  • Göttingen or Freiburg in Germany
  • ENSCM, Montpellier or Strasbourg in France
  • Florence, Italy


We choose our partner universities on the basis of their academic standing and their ability to provide an overall educational experience similar to that of Manchester. We regularly review our partner universities to ensure that your educational experience is not compromised during your year abroad. As such it is important to note that our list of host institutions may change as part of this auditing exercise.

The current list of worldwide placement institutions includes:

  • Arizona State University
  • University of California
  • University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign)
  • University of Missouri at Columbia
  • University of Tennessee at Knoxville
  • University of Massachusetts at Amherst
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Rutgers (New Jersey)
  • University of Vancouver (British Columbia)
  • Queens University (Ontario)
  • McGill University (Montreal)
  • Nanyang Technological University (Singapore)

Course unit details for year 3

Course content for year 4

In the fourth and final year, you carry out an extended project associated with one of the research groups in the School of Chemistry, take advanced Chemistry units and other specialist lectures chosen in consultation with your project supervisor.

Course unit details for year 4

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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