Analytical Chemistry, MSc

Analytical Chemistry, MSc


This programme is designed to enhance the skills of Chemistry graduates, focusing on environmental and life sciences.

  • Ranked 7th in the UK for Chemistry, Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022.
  • Ranked 1st in Scotland for Overall Student Satisfaction, National Student Survey 2021.

Study Information

At a Glance

Learning Mode
On Campus Learning
Degree Qualification
12 months or 24 months
Study Mode
Full Time or Part Time
Start Month
Location of Study

The MSc programme in Analytical Chemistry will build on your undergraduate Chemistry experience and develop specialist skills applicable to analytical, bioanalytical and environmental topics.

This programme focuses on specialisation in advanced modern analytical methodology. The range of industries or institutes where these skills are asked for includes the pharmaceutical industry, environmental institutions, research institutes and also the oil & gas industry.

NMR and elemental and molecular mass spectrometry allows the identification and quantification of small biomolecules in complex mixtures at trace level. Trace analysis of toxic elements such as arsenic or mercury is not only needed for the determination of environmental contamination, but also applies to food security, as our impact study on Arsenic in rice impressively shows.

The University has a historic and central presence within Aberdeen, the town where modern chromatography was invented (Synge, Nobel prize 1952), and where Frederick Soddy published the discovery of a new element, protactinium (Nobel Prize 1921).

What You'll Study

Stage 1

Compulsory Courses

Advanced Analytical Methodologies A (CM5039)

15 Credit Points

The discovery of novel compounds e.g. for cancer or antibacterial research and treatment is a major task in the life sciences. The key to successful characterisation of novel compounds is structure elucidation, which can be achieved by modern, advanced analytical techniques. In this course, you will learn about the background theory of analytical techniques with a focus on structural identification to gain in-depth knowledge with methods like elemental & molecular mass spectrometry and Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) for qualitative and quantitative determinations. The course will contain lectures, tutorials and invited lectures by experts in the field.

Advanced Analytical Methodologies B (CM5040)

15 Credit Points

Metals are ubiquitous in the environment and in living things. They can be essential or toxic, and can occur in traces in biota and environmental samples. For the determination of trace levels of elements, advanced analytical methods can be used, based on atomic spectrometry. This course will provide in-depth knowledge of atomic emission, absorption and fluorescence spectroscopies, and mass spectrometry, featuring qualitative and quantitative aspects. Chromatography, combined with atomic spectrometry, is featured for trace element speciation, which allows distinguishing different metal compounds with varying toxicity. The course will contain lectures, tutorials and invited lectures by experts in the field.

Practical Exercise and Professional Skills in Analytical Chemistry (CM5041)

30 Credit Points

In this course, you will learn how to perform instrumental analysis on modern analytical equipment. The course comprises a variety of experiments with modern instrumentation including atomic absorption/emission spectrometry, mass spectrometric methods, nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometry, gas and liquid chromatography and atomic fluorescence spectrometry in practical lab sessions. It provides experience in data collection and data handling from modern instrumentation through practical experience in environmental and life science applications. Students learn about research dissemination, funding mechanisms, quality assurance and ethical issues.

Getting Started at the University of Aberdeen (PD5006)

This course, which is prescribed for all taught postgraduate students, is studied entirely online, takes approximately 5-6 hours to complete and can be taken in one sitting, or spread across a number of weeks.

Topics include orientation overview, equality and diversity, health, safety and cyber security and how to make the most of your time at university in relation to careers and employability.

Successful completion of this course will be recorded on your Enhanced Transcript as ‘Achieved’.

Stage 2

Compulsory Courses

Research Techniques & Prof Skills & Prob Solving in Theory & Practice (CM5539)

30 Credit Points

This course is tailored to provide you with research skills with a focus on problem solving and team working experience. A PPME project (Project Planning and Management Exercise) is performed, which asks for planning, managing and results delivery for teams of 2-3 students. Project topics revolve around environmental and analytical work. Workshop style assignments are held; information prioritising, (short notice briefing on an analytical problem) and writing a grant proposal for a long term investigation. The course contains laboratory classes and workshops. Oral presentations and scientific writing are part of the course assessment.

Research Project in Analytical Chemistry A (CM5522)

30 Credit Points

An individual research mini-project is performed in the second term within the Environmental Analytical Chemistry program. This mini-project is performed within one of the research groups in the chemistry department involved in environmental and analytical research. This can comprise a range of topics, from method development e.g. for mercury analysis, to determination of new compounds in plants. You will build on the knowledge you have acquired in the first term. The work will be mainly carried out in research groups e.g. the Marine Biodiscovery Center, MBC.

Stage 3

Compulsory Courses

Research Project in Analytical Chemistry B (CM5905)

60 Credit Points

An extended research project is the last part of the Environmental Analytical Chemistry course. An individual research project topic is given to each student within the field of Analytical and Environmental Chemistry. This can comprise a range of scenarios, e.g. the life sciences, archaeology etc. You will build on the topics taught in the first parts of the degree. We aim to provide project placements in related research groups at the University of Aberdeen, or in research institutes (e.g. the Hutton Institute, Marine Lab) locally in and around Aberdeen. Projects are supervised by both a University supervisor and placement supervisor.

We will endeavour to make all course options available; however, these may be subject to timetabling and other constraints. Please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

Fee Information

Fee information
Fee category Cost
EU / International students £25,100
Tuition Fees for 2022/23 Academic Year
Home / RUK £11,500
Tuition Fees for 2022/23 Academic Year

Additional Fee Information

  • In exceptional circumstances there may be additional fees associated with specialist courses, for example field trips. Any additional fees for a course can be found in our Catalogue of Courses.
  • For more information about tuition fees for this programme, including payment plans and our refund policy, please visit our InfoHub Tuition Fees page.


Eligible self-funded international Masters students will receive the Aberdeen Global Scholarship. Visit our Funding Database to find out more and see our full range of scholarships.

How You'll Study

Learning Methods

  • Field Work
  • Group Projects
  • Individual Projects
  • Lab Work
  • Lectures
  • Research
  • Tutorials

Assessment Methods

Assessment is by coursework, by written or oral examination or by a combination of these, as prescribed for each course. The degree of MSc shall not be awarded to a candidate who fails to achieve a CGS Grade of D3 in CM 5905 (Research Project in Analytical Chemistry B), irrespective of their performance in other courses.

Why Study Analytical Chemistry?

  • Ranked 7th in the UK for Chemistry, Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022.
  • Ranked 1st in Scotland for Overall Student Satisfaction, National Student Survey 2021.
  • The programme has been designed in collaboration with our industrial advisory board, ensuring that it is relevant and current.
  • We provide strong research-led teaching in all analytical subjects, with a focus on environmental,  bioanalytical and life sciences, relevant for industries and research or government institutes.
  • Entry on to the programme is competitive and student numbers are kept on a smaller scale in order to provide the opportunity for students to closely integrate with academic staff.
  • Our Alumni community feedback in to this course, for example through our mentoring system, where students are encouraged to contact mentors from industry.
  • Many of our staff in the natural products group (MBC) work closely with industry via research and consultancy. (KDME1)
  • Though focusing on analytical topics, this degree programme will also give you the relevant chemistry knowledge and skills to perform in a variety of industrial processes.
  • 95% of Chemistry research at Aberdeen was ranked as world-leading or internationally excellent by REF 2021.
  • Our main research revolves around the broad areas of Biomolecular Chemistry (Natural products, medicinal chemistry and environmental analytical chemistry with speciation) and materials (surface chemistry and catalysis), and are particularly well equipped for these areas.
  • Facilities for Biomolecular Chemistry research include 300, 400 and 600 MHz NMR, electrospray LC-MS (maXis II), and GC-MS, and a unique collection of instruments for environmental analysis and speciation (MIP-AES, atomic fluorescence and absorption spectrometry).
  • Facilities for Materials Chemistry Research include X-ray powder diffraction, electron microscopy, EPR, FTIR and Raman microprobes, impedance spectroscopy, gas sorption analysis and a comprehensive suite of thermal analysis instruments (including high pressure DSC).
  • Chemistry staff also make extensive use of Central Facilities such as synchrotrons and neutron sources both in the UK and Europe. We are a full member of ScotCHEM which includes the international graduate school within the network of Scottish Chemistry Institutions, and can access facilities in other Scottish Universities.

Entry Requirements


The information below is provided as a guide only and does not guarantee entry to the University of Aberdeen.

Our minimum entry requirement for this programme is a Chemistry, Applied Chemistry or Industrial Chemistry degree at 2:2 (lower second class) UK Honours level (or an Honours degree from a non-UK institution which is judged by the University to be of equivalent worth).

Students with a degree in Chemical Engineering, Environmental Chemistry, Microbiology, Biochemistry, Geology or B.Ed in Chemistry may also be considered if they have a 2:1 (upper second class) result or above.

Key subject you must have covered: at least 2 years of university Chemistry.

Please enter your country to view country-specific entry requirements.

English Language Requirements

To study for a Postgraduate Taught degree at the University of Aberdeen it is essential that you can speak, understand, read, and write English fluently. The minimum requirements for this degree are as follows:

IELTS Academic:

OVERALL - 6.5 with: Listening - 5.5; Reading - 5.5; Speaking - 5.5; Writing - 6.0


OVERALL - 90 with: Listening - 17; Reading - 18; Speaking - 20; Writing - 21

PTE Academic:

OVERALL - 62 with: Listening - 59; Reading - 59; Speaking - 59; Writing - 59

Cambridge English B2 First, C1 Advanced, C2 Proficiency:

OVERALL - 176 with: Listening - 162; Reading - 162; Speaking - 162; Writing - 169

Read more about specific English Language requirements here.

Document Requirements

You will be required to supply the following documentation with your application as proof you meet the entry requirements of this degree programme. If you have not yet completed your current programme of study, then you can still apply and you can provide your Degree Certificate at a later date.

an up-to-date CV/Resumé
Degree Certificate
a degree certificate showing your qualifications
Degree Transcript
a full transcript showing all the subjects you studied and the marks you have achieved in your degree(s) (original & official English translation)
Personal Statement
a detailed personal statement explaining your motivation for this particular programme


Many graduates will find careers working in a pharmaceutical company or will work for an environmental agency as, or with, Analytical Chemists. This course gives strong fundamentals of techniques which are widely used in life sciences and in environmental monitoring in industry and academia and gives an appreciation of emerging new analytical techniques which will be used in those fields in the future. This opens up careers in lab-based studies which are not centred around the traditional chemical science laboratories.

Industry Links

We have a variety of links to Research institutes (James Hutton Institute; Marine Laboratories; Rowett Institute for Health and Nutrition; Laboratory of the Government Chemist), local and further afield.

We have contact to suppliers of Analytical Instruments, and are able to provide seminars and information sessions; Industrial lectures and visits to industrial sites, e.g. Intertek in Aberdeen, are organised where possible, and direct contact to local and UK wide companies is facilitated.

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Science Teaching Hub

Our state-of-the-art Science Teaching Hub provides students with a digitally focussed environment including advanced analytical tools, research-grade equipment and flexible laboratory spaces.

Our Experts

Programme Directors

Information About Staff Changes

You will be taught by a range of experts including professors, lecturers, teaching fellows and postgraduate tutors. Staff changes will occur from time to time; please see our InfoHub pages for further information.


Facilities include 300, 400 and 600 MHz NMR, electrospray MS (Orbitrap MS), GC-MS and LC-MS, and a unique collection of instruments for environmental analysis and speciation.

X-ray single crystal and powder diffraction, electron microscopy, solid state NMR, XPS, EPR, FTIR and Raman microprobes, impedance spectroscopy, gas sorption analysis and a comprehensive suite of thermal analysis instruments (including high pressure DSC).

Get in Touch

Contact Details

Student Recruitment & Admissions
University of Aberdeen
University Office
Regent Walk
AB24 3FX