You can study a Chemistry research programme at MSc level and/or continue to PhD level.

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

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 attracts research students and research visitors from all over the world. 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.

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Key Programme Information

At a Glance

Degree Qualification
MSc or PhD

Our Research

Biomolecular Chemistry

Materials Chemistry

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

An important additional feature of Chemistry research here is the involvement with other disciplines within the University of Aberdeen and with other Departments around the world.

This Multidisciplinary means that staff in Chemistry collaborate with colleagues in, for example, Engineering, Biological Sciences, Plant and Soil Science, and Medical Sciences within the University. Collaborations out-with Aberdeen include with our partner institutions in Scotland within the ScotChem alliance, and with many of the top ranked English Chemistry Departments.

We have international research links with many European countries, some sponsored by EU Framework grants, and Universities in the USA and Asia.

Underpinning this research is a unique collection of facilities and expertise.

The Trace Element Speciation Laboratory (TESLA) contains a unique collection of instruments for the analysis and speciation of elements involved in environmental and biological processes.

The Biodiscovery Centre is equipped with state of the art NMR (600MHz) and high resolution mass spectrometric facilities for analysis of natural products.

Research in Biomaterials draws heavily upon Raman microprobe, solid state NMR, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, thermal analysis and X-ray powder and single crystal diffraction facilities. These facilities are also crucial to the success of expanding research programmes in catalysis and energy-related materials.

Major industrial sponsorship is funding research in drug discovery, catalysis, biomaterials, construction materials, and environmental analysis related to the oil and gas industry.

Our research programme is supported by postdoctoral research fellows and postgraduate research students from more than 15 different countries.

Fees and Funding

View the tuition fee rates

Our Funding Database

View all funding options in our Funding Database.


There are many opportunities at the University of Aberdeen to develop your knowledge, gain experience and build a competitive set of skills to enhance your employability. This is essential for your future career success. The Careers Service can help you to plan your career and support your choices throughout your time with us, from first to final year – and beyond.

Get in Touch

Contact Details

Postgraduate Research School
University of Aberdeen
Crombie Hall
AB24 3TS