Research Degrees

1-year research programme (full-time)

3, 3.5 or 4-year research programme, depending on the nature of the project


Chemistry in Aberdeen has been recognised as a subject in its own right since 1793, making this one of the oldest Chemistry Departments in the country.

The Department has a wide range of modern equipment, notably a state-of-the-art thermal analysis laboratory, two electron microscopes, an electron probe microanalyser, powder and single crystal x-ray diffractometers (including a Bruker SMART 1000 CCD area detector single crystal instrument and D8 Advance diffractometer with high temperature and texture analysis facilities), three liquids n.m.r. spectrometers (250, 400 and 600 MHz and 400MHz solids), three ICP systems (including the only ICP-TOFMS instrument in the UK and a laser ablation attachment), mass spectrometers, Laser Raman with microscope, an i.r. scanning microscope, optical microscopes, e.s.r., i.r., u.v. and visible spectrometers, GC-MS, plus equipment for a.c. impedance spectroscopy and non-standard materials synthesis.

Most postgraduate degrees are by research, but include compulsory PG lecture courses, seminar programmes and research group meetings which involve students in Departmental life. In addition to the research postgraduate degrees, the department offers two MSc taught programmes in Environmental Analytical Chemistry and Oil and Gas Chemistry. 

The research school has a strongly international flavour, with research students and a steady stream of research visitors from all over the world. Many of these international links grow into collaborations lasting for many years. There are existing links with European Universities which are expanding through the Framework 7 EU funding initiatives. In addition, we currently have many industrially funded PhD students in all areas of our research.

The Graduate School offers an induction programme and skills training opportunities for all research students to support their studies and to help with career planning.

MSc by Research

Students undertake a research project under the guidance of an academic supervisor and, unlike a postgraduate taught degree by coursework and dissertation, there are no formal lectures or seminars and work is not formally examined until after the final thesis is submitted. The thesis is required to display evidence of originality or present a satisfactory, orderly and critical exposition of existing knowledge within the field concerned.


A PhD is a Doctorate of Philosophy, a prestigious qualification that demonstrates talent, academic excellence and a thirst for knowledge. It usually culminates in a thesis based on research carried out over the course of 3-4 years. The research must “make a distinct contribution to knowledge and afford evidence of originality as shown by the exercise of independent critical powers”. There are no formal lectures or seminars but your work will be periodically qualitatively monitored by the Graduate School.

Head of Research Area

Head of Department: Professor Jorg Feldman

For Further Information Contact

Graduate School Admissions Unit
College of Physical Sciences
University of Aberdeen
AB24 3UE

Related Taught Programmes

Our Research

Chemistry at the University of Aberdeen is dynamic, young, and research led with a unique interdisciplinary and international approach to research in the Chemical Sciences.

Research is organised into two broad themes:  

Biomolecular Chemistry

Materials Chemistry

These two themes are not exclusive; staff work in both themes, and both are supported by activities in Computational Chemistry.

For a full list of current PhD vacancies please click here.

Example PhD opportunities

Development of a novel carbon dioxide sequestering insulation material and products.

Genome mining of novel natural products from new actionomycete strains

The nature of our research creates good industrial contacts with many job opportunities; many of our PhD graduates move on to industrial posts in the UK and abroad. 

Some of the areas where chemists are to be found include:

  • All areas of industry, from the oil, chemical and pharmaceutical companies to a host of smaller enterprises producing new and specialist products
  • Public health and environmental protection
  • Research in universities, government institutes, industry and private agencies
  • Teaching at all levels
  • Patent agencies, scientific journalism
  • Forensic science
  • Numerous other occupations which make direct use of their scientific knowledge

However, in following a chemistry degree, students also acquire many other valuable general skills, for example numeracy, data handling, computing and IT, in evaluating written material and in presenting both written and verbal reports of their work.


Tuition fee rates for the academic year can be downloaded below:


Related Information

General Information

Student Recruitment & Admissions Service
University of Aberdeen
The Hub
King's College

Tel: +44 (0)1224 272090 / +44 (0)1224 272091
Fax: +44 (0)1224 272576