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Chemistry with a Year in Industry BSc

Start date
4 years
UCAS code
Course Type
Undergraduate, Single Honours

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2024/25 are as follows:
£9,250 (UK)
£27,180 (International)
Further fee information

A dynamic, ever-evolving subject, chemistry offers a route into a range of careers. During our BSc Chemistry with a Year in Industry, your third year is spent in paid employment. This industry experience will prove invaluable when you return to complete your degree and in your selection of subsequent career direction.

This course provides you with opportunities to improve your employment prospects, gain valuable experience in industry, and also earn money whilst studying.

Our broad outlook on the subject offers you the chance to play your part in solving some of the century’s most complex problems in healthcare, medicine, sustainability and the environment, graduating with strong analytical abilities, the confidence to propose innovative solutions, and highly developed lab skills.

Working in an industrial setting in your third year will significantly enhance your CV and career prospects, and will also provide you with research experience and insight that is invaluable for your final year research project back in Birmingham as well as your future career.

You can experience the pioneering teaching and research offered here for more than 100 years, producing several Nobel Prize-winners along the way. Coupled with the use of some of the best facilities in the country we are regularly placed among the top chemistry departments in UK for student satisfaction.

This BSc pathway allows you to undertake an industrial placement free from studying university courses in that year, and you would come back to Birmingham to complete the final year of the BSc Chemistry degree programmes. We also offer an integrated Year in Industry programme that leads directly to an MSci qualification.

Learn about our innovative research-led teaching in outstanding facilities and our thriving and supportive chemistry community.

Why study Chemistry with a Year in Industry BSc at Birmingham?

  • A 4-year integrated programme with a placement yesr
    Your four years leading to an BSc qualification include a full year working in paid employment doing industrially-relevant research and developing technical and general project and interpersonal skills.
  • Wide and timely project experience
    By undertaking your year in industry you benefit from being able to apply those skills in the final year of your degree programme. Experiencing both industry and academia first-hand will help you make an informed choice in terms of your future career pathway, with a full year of paid employment in industry to support applications you make during your final year of study.
  • Supported to gain experience in leading industries
    Our students are recruited by leading international companies for placements both in and beyond the UK that span the broadest reach of chemistry, from pharmaceuticals, coatings, polymers and energy, to cosmetics, sustainability and defence. From year 1 you’ll be supported by the School of Chemistry’s team of placements tutors and the employment experts in the Careers Network, to first help you to secure the right position and then to support you whilst on placement.
  • Housed in leading facilities
    Chemistry students benefit from lab classes in the Collaborative Teaching Laboratory (CTL) which features state-of-the-art instruments and equipment dedicated to offering you a highly curated, practical approach to your learning. Here, you can conduct newly devised experiments with research groups within the School, as well as working with external collaborators, in a transformational approach to teaching and learning.
    You will also benefit from the new Molecular Sciences Building, home for the School of Chemistry, an £80 million investment that houses world-leading research laboratories alongside purpose-built working spaces for all of our students. It will be a showcase for research and innovation and a place to connect that research to education, promoting collaborative work.
  • Combine cutting edge with heritage
    We pride ourselves on our commitment to offering you the most modern methods in teaching and learning, supported by cutting-edge facilities and technology-enhanced learning. Our innovative skills-based curriculum include new experiments designed by our own research groups and external industry collaborators turning you into top-quality practical chemists. You can rely on our pedigree, at the forefront of chemistry teaching and research for over 100 years. Along the way we’ve produced several Nobel Prize winners, so set your sights high and the possibilities are endless…
  • Extra-curricular activities
    University life is about much more than simply learning. Our student society ChemSoc is run entirely by students, and you can join in a whole host of activities, events and socials, a great opportunity to mix with your fellow students away from your studies.

Meet our Student Bloggers

The best way to find out what life is really like as a student in the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences at the University of Birmingham is to hear from our students. Our students study a range of programmes from across our college – from Mathematics to Mechanical Engineering. Get some great tips and a real insight into what life is really like if you choose to study with us.

Read our blogs >> 

The School of Chemistry is constantly focussed on improving the learning experience for its students, which makes them very receptive to feedback and means that our time at university is shaped by us.

Katie Rosendale, MSci Chemistry


Course structure

Each year contains 120 credits of taught material, delivered in modules that are typically worth 10 or 20 credits.

Core modules (60 credits in Years 1-2) are taken by all students enrolled on both single honours and major/minor degree programmes and cover those fundamentals of inorganic, organic and physical chemistry that we deem essential.

The remaining 60 credits in Years 1-2 comprise maths and data analysis modules in Year 1 and optional material in later years, along with laboratory modules (with embedded communications and employability skills) designed to support these core courses, allowing you to develop your practical skills and techniques as well as consolidate the associated theory from your lectures.

In Year 3, your industrial work placement accounts for 120 credits and is assessed on a pass/fail basis  through a variety of methods including a report and presentation to help develop those skills In this third year spent in industry, you will be subject to reduced tuition fees. Fee information and further clarification is available on the University fees and funding page.

You return to Birmingham to complete the final year of the BSc programme.

In year 4 you will undertake 40 credits of project work, selecting from the diverse project options from lab-based to literature studies, and undertake 60 credits of core theory modules alongside 20 credits of options courses that you choose.

Year 1

In Year 1, you will take core modules in the traditional sub-disciplines of inorganic, organic, and physical chemistry, all of which are supported by two additional modules comprising an extensive laboratory work programme. Your remaining 20 credits will give you a solid grounding in the maths and data analysis techniques you will need during your degree.  

Those of you who do not have A-level maths or an equivalent – don’t worry! In the Fundamental Maths for Chemists module you can learn at your own pace, supported by lectures and workshops to bring you up to speed with the common mathematical techniques needed for chemistry.  All students take this module, whether they have A-level maths or not, since not all A-level maths syllabuses cover the same material.  

Additional mathematics is embedded in the physical chemistry module, as you begin to apply your mathematical skills to chemical problems.  All of the maths material is 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.

Year 2 

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 two chemistry options modules, choosing from a range of courses, which include analytical chemistry, medicinal chemistry, computational chemistry and biological chemistry.

You will also work closely with the School Placements Tutors and College of Engineering and Physical Sciences Careers Team, who will advise you and support you in identifying placement opportunities, putting together your CV, making applications, and preparing for interviews, all of which will maximise your chances of securing the industrial placement you want.

Progression to stage 3 of the Chemistry with Industrial Experience requires the student to have been offered and have accepted a placement position which has been approved by the School of Chemistry.

Year 3

Whilst you are out on your industrial placement, you will maintain frequent contact with Birmingham Chemistry via your academic supervisor, who has been assigned to support you during your placement and 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.

  • Industrial Project - 120 credits

Year 4

Returning to Birmingham for your fourth and final year, you will find significant flexibility, as you choose 60 credits of modules, made up of 40 credits of project work and 20 credits of options modules relating to research interests in the School and taught by leading researchers in those fields.

Core modules

Optional modules

Choose 40 credits of optional modules, examples listed below:

Please note: The modules listed on the website for this programme are regularly reviewed to ensure they are up-to-date and informed by the latest research and teaching methods. Unless indicated otherwise, the modules listed for this programme are for students starting in 2025. On rare occasions, we may need to make unexpected changes to core modules; in this event we will contact offer holders as soon as possible to inform or consult them as appropriate.


Annual tuition fees 2024/25

  • £9,250 - UK
  • £27,180 - International

Visit our  tuition fees page for more information.


At Birmingham we ensure that fears about finance do not constrain prospective students from considering university and that excellence is rewarded.


Tuition fees for placement years (where applicable)

There is a reduced tuition fee for the academic year spent in industry or whilst studying abroad (where available). Fee information and further clarification is available on the University fees and funding page.

How To Apply

Apply through the UCAS website using code F109

UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) is a UK organisation responsible for managing applications to university and college.

View advice on how to apply for undergraduate courses.

Standard offer

International Requirements

Number of A levels required:
3 , offer will depend on subject combination.
Typical offer:
Required subjects and grades:
A Level Chemistry. Minimum Mathematics requirement GCSE grade 6. We accept resits for both A Levels and GCSEs.

General Studies, Critical Thinking and Use of Maths are not accepted.
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

6,6,6-6,6,5 at Higher Level, including Chemistry at Higher Level, with a minimum of 32 points overall.  
One or more additional science subjects at Higher Level is advantageous. A minimum of 5 at Standard Level English and 4 at Standard Level Maths is required for those students who do not have a minimum of grade 4/C in English at GCSE and of grade 5/B in Maths at GCSE.


Only considered when combined with other qualifications.

Other qualifications are considered – learn more about entry requirements.

Foundation Year

Would you like to study for one of our degrees but lack the entry qualifications we require? Consider a Foundation Year programme which can lead to entry onto one of our courses.

Alternative offers through our Pathways to Birmingham programmes and our Contextual Offer scheme

Students who are eligible and successfully complete a Pathways to Birmingham programme will receive special consideration from admissions tutors and an alternative offer (typically two grades below the standard offer). In addition, our Contextual Offer Scheme recognises the potential of students whose personal circumstances may have restricted achievement in school or college. If you are eligible to benefit from the contextual offer scheme, you will receive an offer which is one grade lower than the standard offer.

International Students

We accept a range of international qualifications, please contact the admissions tutor for more information.


Standard English language requirements apply, learn more about international entry requirements.

Depending on your chosen course of study, you may also be interested in one of our foundation pathways, which offer specially structured programmes for international students whose qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to UK universities. Further details can be found on Birmingham International Academy web pages.

We have benefited from significant investment in our teaching and research laboratories and analytical facilities. The newly opened £40m Collaborative Teaching Laboratory (CTL) hosts all our lab teaching, while £2.5m has been spent on state-of-the-art equipment dedicated for chemistry teaching, making the CTL better equipped than most research environments, both in academia and industry.

There are many reasons to study chemistry at Birmingham: Our ground-breaking research has an international reputation for excellence, and this cutting-edge research informs our teaching and course content; we boast world-class facilities and state-of-the-art equipment; we put great emphasis on multidisciplinary working to meet the challenges of the 21st century, and we have strong collaborative links with industry. We’re also getting a new £80 million home for the School of Chemistry, which will house sector-leading research facilities to take us even further to the cutting edge and beyond.

How you will learn

Highly skilled, practical chemists are in great demand, so all your learning will be focused on shaping your abilities as an all-rounder, equally at home, in the lab or carrying out research. This means your studies will take place in a wide range of learning environments, such as workshops, small-group tutorials, lectures and peer-group sessions. Lab-based practical work is an integral part of your studies: in your final year you’ll complete a research-related project. 

Research-led teaching

Our School is home to many internationally leading researchers working in a wide range of areas including synthesis of therapeutic molecules, functional nanomaterials and hydrogen storage and fuel cells. Birmingham chemists are leading the development of new materials to provide for our ever-increasing energy needs in an environmentally sustainable manner, as well as working with environmental scientists to understand the likes of pollution and climate change. Crucially, their research influences the way they teach you: our academics draw upon their scientific findings to inform their teaching and provide you with cutting-edge content for your degree. 

Student support

  • Personal Tutors
    As soon as you join us, you’ll be assigned a personal tutor who will remain with you throughout your studies. They will meet with you at least once every semester to assess your academic progress and how to develop your transferrable skills.
  • Wellbeing Officers
    Alongside your personal tutor, you will also have access to dedicated wellbeing officers who provide professional support, advice and guidance to students across a range of issues. They can meet with you to discuss extensions, disabilities, reasonable adjustments, extenuating circumstances, or talk through any problems you might be experiencing, and help you access wider support on campus and beyond if you need it. 
  • Our Academic Skills Centre helps you to become a more effective and independent learner through a range of high-quality support services. The centre offers workshops on a range of topics, such as note-taking, reading, academic writing and presentation skills. 
  • The Academic Writing Advisory Service (AWAS) will provide guidance on writing essays and dissertations if you need it. You can receive individual support from an academic writing advisor and meet with postgraduate tutors who specialise in particular subjects too. 
  • Our Student Experience Team will help you get the most out of your academic experience. They offer research opportunities, study skills support, and help you prepare for your post-university career. They also organise social events, such as field trips, to help you meet fellow students from your course.

Away from the lab, you’ll be able to join our vibrant chemistry society, known as ‘ChemSoc’, which organises a range of social and charity events, guest lectures, industrial trips and an annual ball.

How you will be assessed

As you focus on developing all your skills as a chemist, your assessment is equally diverse and comprehensive. Each module is assessed independently, using the assessment methods most appropriate to testing the skills you have developed and the learning outcomes of that module. You will take exams, produce written assignments, give oral and poster presentations, take computer-based tests and write lab and project report

Contact Hours

Figures do vary due to module choice, but you can usually expect the following:

  • First and second year - On average 16-19 hours a week in lectures, tutorials, workshops and lab classes.
  • Third year - This year is spent in industry, working full time.
  • Fourth year - Around 23 hours a week in lectures, workshops and project work.

As a chemistry graduate from Birmingham, you’ll be highly sought after by a wide range of industries.

Whether you choose to continue on a purely scientific path as a professional scientist or use your transferable analytical skills in a more diverse career, you will be a talented and valuable addition to any workplace. The University of Birmingham is one of five universities targeted by the UK’s leading graduate employers according to the High Fliers Graduate Market 2023.

In addition to the technical knowledge and practical skills required for careers in industry and postgraduate study, our Chemistry courses help you develop the transferable skills prized by employers, such as communication, problem-solving, project management and data analysis.

Graduates who have studied our courses

Example employers

  • AstraZeneca
  • Johnson Matthey
  • AkzoNobel
  • GlaxoSmithKline
  • Marks & Spencer
  • Procter & Gamble
  • Ernst & Young
  • Reckitt Benckiser
  • Severn Trent Water
  • RBS
  • HSBC

Example careers

  • Analytical scientist
  • Chemist
  • Lawyer
  • Accountant
  • Business retailer
  • Marketing executive
  • Public service manager
  • Web designer
  • Computing and IT expert
  • Investment analyst
  • Publisher

I have very fond memories of my undergraduate days at Birmingham and the quality of teaching there was outstanding. I currently work at Nature Publishing Group in London and after spending a couple of years as an associate editor at Nature Nanotechnology, I have been made chief editor of Nature Chemistry.

Stuart Cantrill (Chemistry and Bioorganic Chemistry BSc) Chief Editor, Nature Chemistry

Careers Network

At Careers Network, our unique careers guidance service is tailored to your academic subject area. Our team source exclusive work experience opportunities to help you stand out amongst the competition, with mentoring, global internships and placements available to you.  Once you have a career in your sights, one-to-one support with CVs and job applications will help give you the edge. In addition, our employer-endorsed award-winning Personal Skills Award (PSA) recognises your extra-curricular activities, and provides an accredited employability programme designed to improve your career prospects.

Visit the Careers Network website for more details


An internship can complement your studies perfectly, giving you practical, real-world insights into the world of work in your chosen field. You can apply for the Work Experience Bursary Scheme, the Birmingham Undergraduate Internship Programme or one of our successful mentoring schemes.

The video below talks to students, staff and employers about their internship experience: