Can you see yourself working abroad or using a foreign language at some point in your career? As the world becomes smaller and boundaries dissolve, such opportunities will be increasingly available for the next generation of scientists. If you enjoy languages, but your main interest lies with chemistry, then our Chemistry with a Modern Language programme, which has a 98% student satisfaction rating, might be for you.
You can currently choose to study one of five languages at Birmingham: French, German, Japanese, Mandarin or Spanish. Three different three-year streams are available for students entering either as beginners, at GCSE standard, or at A-level standard.
Each year contains 120 credits of taught material, which is delivered in modules that are typically worth 10 or 20 credits.
You will take 60 credits of core chemistry courses each year, which cover the fundamental aspects of the subject. These courses include a significant practical component, which not only allows us to develop your practical skills and techniques in a range of experiments, but also to consolidate the theory you will have covered in associated lectures.
You will also take 20 credits of language modules each year, which develop both communication skills and cultural awareness. These courses are delivered by staff based in the University’s Centre for Modern Languages.
The remaining 40 credits in each year comprise modules designed to support these core courses and include optional chemistry modules, mathematics courses, project work and laboratory modules, as well as courses which focus on communications skills and employability.
This degree programme does not require you to spend time abroad. However should you wish to spend some time at a foreign university, for example to carry out a Summer research project, we can make enquiries on your behalf using the contacts, we have set up through our Chemistry with Study Abroad programme (F106).
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, as well as 20 credits of your chosen modern language.
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 have been designed and are delivered by staff from Chemistry, which ensures you are equipped with those skills you need to tackle the more physical and theoretical aspects of our courses.
Second year (contributes 25% 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 continue to develop your language skills.
Third year (contributes 75% to overall degree mark)
Alongside lecture courses in the three core chemistry sub-disciplines, you will also take advanced classes in your chosen modern language. You will also carry out a 40-credit research project, which can be practical-based research, computer-based research or a literature dissertation. If you are interested in entering the teaching profession, you may instead opt for a project in the area of chemical education. You will choose the topic of your project from a pool of titles and work with your project supervisor to tailor the project to your particular research interests.
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.
MSci or BSc? The first two years of this BSc course are interchangeable with, and identical to, our corresponding MSci programme (F1RY), which means you can delay your final choice of degree (MSci or BSc) until the end of Year 2. MSci study is dependent upon performance: you will need a 60% mark in Year 2 in order to transfer on to the MSci programme.
Chemists at Birmingham adopt a broad, multi-disciplinary outlook to their subject, which is vital if we are to solve the problems of the 21st Century in healthcare, medicine, sustainability and the environment. The School has a leading research rating and is committed to excellence in teaching: your lecturers are not only experts in their fields but also passionate about chemistry and committed to inspiring you!
The unique feature of this particular three year, single-honours Chemistry BSc course is the opportunity to improve your modern language skills at the same time as studying chemistry. It is relatively unusual for university graduates to have expertise in a science and also be fluent in a modern language. Graduating with a Chemistry with a Modern Language degree will therefore help you to stand out from the crowds when it comes to applying for a job; indeed, global corporations who have a presence outside of the UK will likely view a bilingual applicant in a very favourable light.
Read more about why you should study Chemistry at Birmingham.
Each year contains 120 credits of taught material, delivered in modules that are typically worth 10 or 20 credits.
Core courses (60 credits each year) are taken by all students enrolled on both single honours and major/minor degree programmes and cover those fundamentals of the subject that we deem essential. 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.
You will also take 20 credits of language modules each year, with the remaining 40 credits in each year comprising modules designed to support the core chemistry courses and include optional chemistry modules, mathematics courses, project work, laboratory modules, as well as courses which focus on communications skills and employability.
Detailed module descriptions are located on the course breakdown page on the School of Chemistry website.
Number of A levels required: 3
Typical offer: ABB
Required subjects and grades: Chemistry; one (or more) from Biology, Physics, Mathematics and Further Mathematics is highly desirable but not essential. If you are not taking a modern language at A-level, you must also have a minimum grade A at GCSE level (or equivalent) in a modern language.
General Studies: and Critical Thinking: not accepted. However, a good performance may be taken into account if you fail to meet the conditions of the offer
International Baccalaureate Diploma: Typical offer 34–35 points including Chemistry at HL. One or more additional science subjects at HL is advantageous. A minimum of 5 in SL English and 4 in SL Maths is required for those students who do not have a minimum of grade C in English at GCSE and of grade B in Maths at GCSE.
Learn more about international entry requirements.
Depending on your chosen course of study, you may also be interested in the Birmingham Foundation Academy, a specially structured programme for international students whose qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to UK universities. Further details can be found on the foundation academy web pages.
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