The Department of Chemistry offers three paths towards an undergraduate degree:

  • MChem
  • BSc Honours
  • BSc Designated

The MChem degree requires 5 years of full-time study, the BSc Honours degree requires 4 years of full-time study. Both of these degrees are accredited by the Royal Society of Chemistry. We also offer a BSc Designated degree in Chemistry after three years of study.

Level 1

  • Students normally study Chemistry for the Physical Sciences I and Elements of Chemistry 1 in the first half-session and Chemistry for the Physical Sciences II and Elements of Chemistry 2, in the second half-session.  
  • The remainder of the first year programme is made up of four courses, so that Chemistry accounts for one half of the total first year work load. The University recently undertook Curriculum Reform, to offer more flexibility, choice, and support to our students.
  • Students who think they may want to take one of the specialised degrees must also include the appropriate additional course(s) in their Level 1 curriculum. We suggest that intending Chemistry students should also include some study of Mathematics at an appropriate level.

Level 2

  • Students take four Chemistry courses, Chemical Kinetics and Thermodynamics, Inorganic Chemistry, Organic and Biological Chemistry, and Environmental Chemistry and Spectroscopy.
  • Each of these four courses consists of 22 one-hour lectures, 5 tutorials, and 12 three-hour lab sessions.
  • Chemistry normally takes up half of the second year curriculum.
  • Second-year students typically take one or two other subjects.
  • Intending Honours Chemists normally take all four courses, but some other students, such as Environmental Science students, may select any or all to form part of their degree programme.
  • The other subjects to be taken may be partially or fully specified for the specialised programmes.

Levels 3 and 4

  • Chemistry courses occupy the whole time, except for that students taking specialised degrees may spend up to 25% of their time in other departments.
  • In the fourth year of the BSc programmes, a personal research project is an important component of the course.

The first half of the Level 5 course consists of Chemistry course work; the rest of the session is spent on a full-time research project. The project work may be done in Industry, at an overseas university, or in the University.

Teaching Methods

Our teaching in the first two years aims to give a balanced treatment of all the main branches of the subject. In the third and fourth years we develop a selection of topics in more depth, and offer options which enable students to tailor their programmes to suit their own aptitudes and interests.  

Teaching involves a mix of methods: lectures in whole-class groups, informal small-group tutorials, problem classes and seminars, and practical classes. In addition to formal timetabled teaching, we make extensive use of computer-assisted learning materials, group activities, literature work and project work. The teaching of skills in report-writing, communication, information technology and computing is built into the curriculum at all levels.

Although science students often complain about the time they have to spend in practicals, and envy their Arts colleagues who do not have to do so, the laboratories are very often the focus of the social life of the class, where friendships are made, evening and weekend activities planned, and a group spirit developed which may last long after the class has graduated.