Chemistry is a partnership between practical work and theory. This degree programme, which has a 100% student satisfaction rating, offers a balanced curriculum that will enable you to develop skills at the bench by putting into practice what you learn in lectures. Our research facilities are among the best in the country and having access to state-of-the-art equipment and laboratories will be a vital part of your education
Each year contains 120 credits of taught material, delivered in modules that are typically worth 10 or 20 credits. In Years 1–3, 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.
There is significant flexibility in your fourth and final year, as you choose 40 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 80 credits. For many students, their final-year project is the most exciting and enjoyable part of their degree and often influences the career pathway they choose to follow after graduating.
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.
After completing my second year, I was given the opportunity of undertaking a Summer research project in Dr Anna Peacock’s peptide design group.”
Third year (contributes 40% to overall degree mark)
In Year 3, core chemistry modules in inorganic, organic and physical chemistry are accompanied by further choice in elective subjects, which focus on some of the most exciting aspects of current chemistry research, including atmospheric chemistry, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), metals in organic synthesis, and bioinorganic chemistry. An advanced laboratory course will also prepare you for the major research project that you will undertake in your fourth year
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 40 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 80 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. Many students enjoy their research project so much that they choose to go on to study for a PhD after graduation.
Largely due to the enjoyment I got out of my final-year research project, I decided that I wanted to pursue a career in research, and am now undertaking a PhD at Birmingham.”
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.
BSc or MSci?
BSc or MSci? The first two years of this MSci course are interchangeable with, and identical to, our Chemistry BSC F100 programme, which means you can delay your final choice of degree (BSc or MSci) until the end of Year 2. MSci study is dependent upon performance: you will need a 60% mark in Year 2 in order to remain on the MSci programme.
Each year contains 120 credits of taught material, delivered in modules that are typically worth 10 or 20 credits.
Core courses (60 credits in Years 1-3) 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.
The remaining 60 credits in Years 1-3 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.
In Year 4, you take 40 credits of taught material from a wide selection of courses pitched at the cutting edge of the subject. A major research project accounts for the remaining 80 credits.
Module details are located on the course breakdown page on the School of Chemistry website.
Number of A levels required: 3
Typical offer: AAB
Required subjects and grades: Chemistry; one (or more) from Biology, Physics, Mathematics, and Further Mathematics is highly desirable but not essential
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.
The decision to remain on (for MSci-registered students) or transfer to (an option for BSc-registered students) an MSci programme is made at the end of Year 2 and is based on your Year 2 mark.
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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