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Chemistry MSci

Start date
September
Duration
4 years
UCAS code
F101
Course Type
Undergraduate, Single Honours
Fees

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2021/22 are as follows:
£9,250 (UK)
£23,400 (International)
Further information

A dynamic, ever-evolving subject, chemistry offers a route into a range of careers in a multitude of industries. During our MSci Chemistry course, you’ll develop your multidisciplinary and creative problem-solving skills, gaining a comprehensive understanding of all aspects of modern chemistry.

COVID-19

Please rest assured that we will make all reasonable efforts to provide you with the courses, services and facilities described. However, it may be necessary to make changes due to significant disruption, for example in response to COVID-19.

Information for future students and applicants

Chemistry MSci

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. You’ll also learn about the latest developments in cutting-edge research, and take part in it yourself in your final-year project, thus equipping you to take the first step on your career path or the next step in your studies. 

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.

Why study Chemistry MSci at Birmingham?

  • Work in our Collaborative Teaching Laboratory (CTL)
    An innovative new offering, the CTL features state-of-the-art 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, a transformational approach to teaching and learning.
  • Benefit from technology-enhanced learning
    Our new audio-visual system enables you to interact on an individual basis with your lecturers, in real time, offering you instant access to feedback, support and advice.
  • 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. 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.

Read more about why you should study Chemistry at Birmingham

Meet Rosie

Rosie

Rosie is a 2nd year Chemistry student who lives at home. This year she will be regularly blogging about her experiences studying at Birmingham. She loves both the arts and science, and also tutors Chemistry GCSE and A level in her spare time.

Read Rosie's blogs >> 

Studying Chemistry at the University of Birmingham has been brilliant. Everyone in the department is always happy to offer support or a helping hand.

James Carr-Smith, MSci Chemistry

Interested in Computer Science?

Our ' Year in Computer Science'  offers students from non-computing disciplines the chance to gain in-depth knowledge of computing and enhance their work-based skills through the study of Computer Science. 

Coronavirus (COVID-19) latest updates and FAQs for future students and offer-holders

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Modules

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 1-3) 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 1-3 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.

There is significant flexibility in your fourth and final year, as you choose 60 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 60 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.

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 in Semester 1 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.  

In Semester 2, 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.

  • Inorganic Chemistry I - 20 credits
  • Organic Chemistry 1a - 10 credits
  • Organic Chemistry 1b - 10 credits
  • Physical Chemistry I - 20 credits
  • Practical Chemistry Ia1 - 10 credits
  • Practical Chemistry Ia2 - 10 credits
  • Practical Chemistry Ib1 - 10 credits
  • Practical Chemistry Ib2 - 10 credits
  • Fundamental Maths for Chemists - 10 credits
  • Innovative Approaches to Data Analysis and Presentation - 10 credits

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.

  • Inorganic Chemistry IIa - 10 credits
  • Inorganic Chemistry IIb - 10 credits
  • Organic Chemistry IIa - 10 credits
  • Organic Chemistry IIb - 10 credits
  • Physical Chemistry IIa - 10 credits
  • Physical Chemistry IIb - 10 credits
  • Practical Chemistry IIa1 - 10 credits
  • Practical Chemistry IIa2 - 10 credits
  • Practical Chemistry IIb1 - 10 credits
  • Practical Chemistry IIb2 - 10 credits
  • Year 2 Chemistry Options A – 10 credits
  • Year 2 Chemistry Options B – 10 credits

MSci study is dependent upon performance: you will need a 60% overall mark and pass all core modules in Year 2 in order to remain on the MSci programme.

Year 3

In Year 3, core chemistry modules in inorganic, organic and physical chemistry are accompanied by further choice in optional subjects, which focus on some of the most exciting aspects of current chemistry research. Two modules of advanced laboratory work and project skills training will prepare you for the major research project that you will undertake in your fourth year.

Core modules

  • Inorganic Chemistry IIIa - 10 credits
  • Inorganic Chemistry IIIb - 10 credits
  • Organic Chemistry IIIa - 10 credits
  • Organic Chemistry IIIb - 10 credits
  • Physical Chemistry IIIa - 10 credits
  • Physical Chemistry IIIb - 10 credits
  • Year 3 Research Methodology I - 20 credits
  • Year 3 Research Methodology II - 20 credits
  • Year 3 Chemistry Options A - 10 credits
  • Year 3 Chemistry Options B - 10 credits

Year 4

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 60 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 60 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.

Core module

  • Masters Research Project - 60 credits

Optional modules

Select 60 credits of optional modules, examples listed below:

  • Materials Chemistry  - 10 credits
  • Applications of Supramolecular Chemistry  - 10 credits
  • Synthesis of Natural Products  - 10 credits
  • Clusters, Surfaces and Interfaces  - 10 credits
  • Bio-inorganic Chemistry  - 10 credits
  • Modern Methods for Molecular Synthesis  - 10 credits
  • Soft matter - 10 credits
  • Statistical Mechanics, Symmetry and Spectroscopy - 10 credits
  • Advanced Sustainable Polymeric and Advanced Molecular Materials - 10 credits

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 2020. 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.

Fees

Annual tuition fees 2021/22

  • £9,250 - UK
  • £23,400 - International

Visit our  tuition fees page for more information.

Scholarships

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 F101

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:
AAA–AAB
Required subjects and grades:
A level Chemistry. Minimum Mathematics requirement: GCSE grade 6/B. You must also pass the practical element of any reformed science A levels which include Biology, Chemistry and Physics taught from 2015.

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 6/B in Maths at GCSE.

BTEC

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.

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, with most featuring a component of continuous assessment, usually contributing a quarter or a third of the overall module mark. You will take end-of-year exams, produce written assignments, give oral and poster presentations, and take computer -based tests and/or lab and project reports. Some modules will be 100% coursework.

Contact Hours

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

First and second year - On average 15 hours a week in lectures, tutorials, workshops and lab classes.

Third year - Around 19 hours a week in lectures, tutorials, workshops and lab classes

Fourth year - Around 20 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. Thanks to our strong research links with a range of chemical companies, you can gain industrial experience during your studies, giving you an extra competitive edge.

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

Internships

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:

Professional Accreditation

Culture and collections

Schools, institutes and departments

Services and facilities