Chemistry (3 years) [BSc]

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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.  

BSc Chemistry offers you a three-year degree programme. The first two years follow a core structure, which allows greater flexibility in the third and final year. If you are on a BSc course and have performed to the standard required for MChem, you have the opportunity to transfer from BSc to MChem at the end of Year 1 and the end of Year 2.

Special features

  • We take good care of our students and have multiple 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, and a Personal Tutor.
  • BSc Chemistry is a flexible degree involving courses from the School of Chemistry and a range of outside Schools. For full details of all the courses see below.
  • 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

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 3 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. If you are on a BSc course and have performed to the standard required for MChem, you have the opportunity to transfer from BSc to MChem at the end of Year 1 and the end of Year 2.

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.

Course content for year 3

In your final year you can choose from a wide range of course units made up of core and advanced chemistry units and also some units from outside chemistry. These include advanced course units in computational chemistry, organic and inorganic synthetic methods, surface chemistry and catalysis, molecular structure determination and photochemistry, as well as topics that cut across the traditional subject areas (e.g. nuclear, environmental and biological chemistry). You'll also take your practical chemistry and independent learning to a higher level with extended, advanced experimental and theoretical research projects.

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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