About the School of Chemistry

Recognition and investment

The School of Chemistry at the University of Birmingham has undertaken world-leading research for over a century and remains at the fore-front of scientific discovery, as has been recognised in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, where all of our research outputs have been graded as internationally recognised, with over 95% being classed as internationally excellent or world-leading.

The School has ambitious plans to grow research activity; combined with investment from the University for the Collaborative Teaching Laboratory (opened in September 2018) and Molecular Sciences Research Building (opening in 2023/24), the School is entering an exciting period.


Professor Rachel O'Reilly in a laboratory laughing with students
Professor Rachel O'Reilly in the lab with students


For potential undergraduates, we offer a wide range of exciting and stimulating degree programmes which allow students to develop skills in a variety of areas key to the future needs of society. The school currently accepts over 100 new undergraduates each year. To find out more about our research please refer to our research pages. If you require more information please contact us. We would also be happy to meet you at one of our open days.

A brief history

The origins of the school can be traced to ca. 1875 when Chemistry at Birmingham was established as part of the Mason Science College, later it became one of the founding departments at the University of Birmingham.

Sir Norman Haworth

Our history contains many examples of our important contributions to the advancement of chemistry. The most notable being the award of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry to one of our staff, the highest accolade for any researcher in chemistry. Sir Norman Haworth was Head of School between 1925-1937 and became a Nobel Laureate in 1937 for his work on carbohydrates and vitamin C. The prestige of this award is evident as we are one of only seven UK universities to have had a Chemistry Nobel Laureate!

Present and future

Today, we remain one of the leading centres of research and teaching in chemistry in the UK. Supported by state-of-the-art facilities, with enthusiastic and dedicated staff and students, the school is looking forward to continuing our proud tradition of excellence long into the future.