The chemical industry is incredibly important to the UK economy. A recent study from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council revealed that chemistry and the chemical industry contributes £258billion to the economy each year (21% of GDP), supports 6 million jobs, and is responsible for 15% of the UK’s exports.
Can you see yourself working in the chemical industry after finishing your studies? Do you want to improve your employment prospects whilst studying? If so, our Chemistry with Industrial Experience MSci degree programme, which has a 98% student satisfaction rating, may be for you.
In this four-year, accredited, MSci course, you will spend the third year in paid employment. By working and studying in an industrial setting you will not only be significantly enhancing your CV and career prospects but this ‘year out’ will also provide you with valuable research experience that will stand you in great stead for the research project that you will carry out when you return to Birmingham for your final year.
Birmingham Chemistry has strong research links with many chemical companies including AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline, Reckitt Benkiser and Procter and Gamble, and we will use our industrial contacts to help you in your search for a suitable employer. Graduates from this programme have excellent employment opportunities, although many choose to enhance these further by studying for a PhD before pursuing a career in industry.
120 credits of taught material are delivered each year, in modules that are typically worth 10 or 20 credits. In the first two years, you will take 60 credits of core chemistry courses, covering the fundamental aspects of the subject. These courses include a significant practical component, which not only allows you to develop your practical skills and techniques, but also to consolidate the associated theory from your lectures. The remaining 60 credits comprise modules designed to support these core courses and include optional chemistry modules, mathematics courses, laboratory modules, and courses which focus on communications skills and employability.
At the end of Year 2 and having found a suitable placement, you will begin a 12-month work placement with a chemical company. In this third year, you will also be subject to reduced tuition fees (the figure for 2012 entrants was £1350).
Returning to Birmingham for your fourth and final year, you will find significant flexibility, as you choose 60 credits of taught modules from a range of courses pitched at the cutting edge of the discipline. A major research project makes up the remaining 60 credits.
In Year 1, you will take core modules in the traditional sub-disciplines of inorganic, organic, analytical and physical chemistry, all of which include an extensive laboratory work programme. Those of you who have A-level maths at grade B or higher will choose from a range of non-chemistry option courses. Particularly popular options include ‘The Cosmic Connection,’ delivered by the School of Physics and Astronomy, and ‘Good brain – Bad brain,’ delivered by the Department of Pharmacology.
Those of you who do not have A-level maths – don’t worry! We provide an introductory maths course in Semester 1, which you take in place of the option course. This course will bring you up to speed with the common mathematical techniques needed for chemistry. In Semester 2, everyone comes together to take Numerical Methods. In this more advanced course, you will begin to apply your mathematical skills to chemical problems. Both maths courses are delivered by staff from Chemistry, which ensures you are equipped with those skills you need to tackle the more physical and theoretical aspects
Second year (contributes 20% to overall degree mark)
In Year 2, you will build on material from your first year as we employ a combination of lectures and practicals to further your understanding of the fundamental aspects of chemistry. In addition to core courses in organic, inorganic and physical chemistry, you will also take chemical electives, choosing from a range of courses, which include analytical chemistry, computational chemistry and biological chemistry.
You will also work closely with the Course Director and College of Engineering and Physical Sciences Careers Team, who will provide advice on putting together your CV, making applications, and good interview technique, all of which will maximise your chances of securing the industrial placement you want.
Third year (contributes 40% to overall degree mark)
Before you leave Birmingham for your industrial placement, you will undertake a three-week intensive lab course, which will provide you with a valuable opportunity to hone your lab skills and useful preparation for when you are out in industry and undertaking research on a daily basis.
Whilst you are out on your industrial placement, you will maintain frequent contact with Birmingham Chemistry via your academic tutor, who will visit you on site to monitor your progress and check on your welfare. You will write a report on your work and present your results to your peers and other members of the School in a research symposium.
In order that you can return to Birmingham with the necessary skills and knowledge to successfully rejoin your MSci cohort for the fourth year, you will also undertake distance-learning exercises covering core Year 3 material.
Fourth year (contributes 40% to overall degree mark)
Significant flexibility in this, your final, year, means you can specialise in a particular sub-discipline should you wish. You will choose from a range of courses that reflect the state-of-the-art of the discipline, which not only allows us to showcase the cutting-edge research interests of the School but also ensures that you are aware of the latest challenges in this rapidly advancing subject.
In addition to 60 credits of taught modules, you will join one of the School’s research groups, and become a member of the Research School as you undertake a major research project (worth the remaining 60 credits). You will work closely with your project supervisor to tailor your project to your particular interests and ensure you develop those research skills that you feel will be most beneficial to you after completing your degree. Finding the industrial research from their year out and final-year research project so enjoyable, many students choose to go on to study for a PhD after graduation before pursuing careers in the chemical industry.
Generic skills-training, focusing on transferable skills and employability, is embedded throughout the course from the outset and will ensure that you are equipped with the ICT, presentation, team-working and problem-solving skills, which are seen as crucial by employers.
Progression requirements: In recognition of the challenging nature of the final two years of this course, we require you to achieve minimum overall year marks in Years 1 and 2 of 60% to remain on this programme.