About the School of Chemistry

Recognition and investment

The standing of the research conducted in the School of Chemistry has been recognised in the 2008 HEFCE Research Assessment Exercise where 60% of our research activity was rated "internationally excellent" or "world leading". The School is one of the best-equipped in the United Kingdom and the University and Research Councils have made very significant investments in the research infrastructure. In fact over the last five years, the school has seen an investment of more than £2 million in Research and Teaching infrastructure and the creation of 15 new staff posts. Following these investments, the School is in position to play a leading role in research well into the future.

Photo of Professor Rachel O'Reilly in a laboratory laughing with colleagues
Professor Rachel O'Reilly, Head of School



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 around 90 new undergraduates each year. To find out more about these please browse this site. To find out more about our research opportunities, please download our new brochure, Research Opportunities at the School of Chemistry [PDF]. 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.