Chemistry with Study Abroad MSci

As the central science, Chemistry is responsible for many of the most important breakthroughs in science. In taking some of the world's most exciting ideas and discoveries and turning these into innovative processes and products, its potential to improve our everyday lives is enormous.

Study Chemistry at Birmingham and you will join one of the UK's leading departments and have access to some of the best research facilities in the country. Throughout your time with us, you will be constantly challenged as you push forwards the boundaries of your understanding, all within a supportive learning environment. By the time you graduate, you will be ready to forge an exciting career that shapes the future of science and society.

Please be reassured that the vote to leave the European Union does not mean there will be any immediate material change to the UK university sector's participation in EU programmes such as Erasmus and study abroad programmes. Visit our EU Referendum information page for more information.

Dr Adrian Wright

Dr Adrian Wright

Senior Lecturer

“Chemistry is a dynamic subject that is constantly evolving to meeting the needs of society. As Chemists, you will develop a broad, multi-disciplinary outlook, which is vital if we are able to help solve the problems we face in healthcare and medicine, sustainability and the environment.”

Chemistry 2018 NSS score Would you like to spend one year of your degree studying chemistry at a foreign university? Perhaps you are interested in developing your language skills whilst training as a chemist or you see yourself working abroad in a future career. If so, our accredited Chemistry with Study Abroad programme might be for you.

Placements in Europe (studying in language of host country):

Birmingham has an arrangement with universities in the following countries: France (Université Bordeaux 1 , Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1 , Ecole Nationale Superieure de Chimie de Montpellier , Ecole Nationale Superieure de Chimie de Toulouse ), Germany (Technische Universität Braunschweig , Philipps Universität Marburg) and Spain (Universidad de Santiago de Compostela).  Students on these placements pay reduced tuition fees whilst on their year out and may be eligible to apply for an award from the EU Erasmus Programme to assist with living costs. Fee information and further clarification is available on the University fees and funding page.

ChemistryLaura Totterdell, MSci Chemistry with Study Abroad, Montpellier, France
My French improved dramatically and the time spent in the lab really prepared me well for my final-year project…even if it was challenging at times, I would definitely recommend the course…and revision is a lot less painful when you’re on the beach and it’s 30 ºC!”

Placements in Europe (studying in English): 

Should you like the idea of experiencing life in a European country but are a little daunted by the thought of studying Chemistry in a second language then you could opt to study in English at one of our partner institutions in Finland (University of Helsinki ) and Sweden (Uppsala University). Students on these placements pay reduced tuition fees whilst on their year out and may be eligible to apply for an award from the EU Erasmus Programme to assist with living costs. Fee information and further clarification is available on the University fees and funding page.

Placements further afield (studying in English):

Studying abroad at an English-speaking university outside of the EU is increasingly popular. In the last few years, Birmingham Chemistry students have studied chemistry in universities in Australia (Sydney, Melbourne, New South Wales, Queensland and Adelaide), New Zealand (Auckland) and Singapore (National University of Singapore), China (Fudan), Hong Kong (HKU), Canada (British Colombia and Western Ontario) and the USA (Wisconsin and Maryland). 

International placements, such as these, are organised by the University’s International Relations Office and it is also possible for placements to be arranged at over 50 destinations worldwide. Should you require further information about these potential overseas placements, please contact us  in the first instance. Students on these placements pay reduced tuition fees whilst on their year out. Fee information and further clarification is available on the University fees and funding page.

ChemistryRachel London, MSci Chemistry with Study Abroad,University of New South Wales, Australia
I chose to come to Birmingham because this course allowed me to spend a year studying in Australia.

Why study this course

Chemists at Birmingham adopt a broad, multi-disciplinary outlook to their subject, which is vital if we are to solve the problems of the 21st Century in healthcare, medicine, sustainability and the environment. The School has a leading research rating and is committed to excellence in teaching: your lecturers are not only experts in their fields but also passionate about chemistry and committed to inspiring you!

The unique feature of this particular four-year, single-honours Chemistry MSci course is the third year in which you will study overseas at one of our partner institutions in Europe or further afield. Spending a year, living and studying in another country will not only allow you to experience a different culture and, should you wish, improve your language skills but also broaden your horizons to the fantastic opportunities that are available to Chemistry graduates establishing careers in the global economy.

Yvonne Malewski, MSci Chemistry with Study Abroad, University of Auckland, New Zealand
I've already learnt so many things from my stay here, including those which can't be taught.


Read more about why you should study Chemistry at Birmingham


Course Structure

Each year contains 120 credits of taught material, delivered in modules that are typically worth 20 credits. Core modules (60 credits in Years 1 and 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. Year 1 also includes a self-paced maths module.

The remaining 60 credits in the first two years comprise optional material and 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. Language modules replace the optional chemistry modules for those planning on studying at a non English-speaking university.

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.

If you intend to study at a non English-speaking university on your year out, in place of an optional module you will take a module in the appropriate modern language.  Otherwise, you will choose from a wide range of non-chemistry option courses from across the University, including a number of foreign languages spanning a range of abilities.   

Those of you who do not have A-level maths – don’t worry! We provide a self-paced introductory maths module in Semester 1, which will 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 I - 20 credits
  • Physical Chemistry I - 20 credits
  • Practical Chemistry Ia - 20 credits
  • Practical Chemistry Ib - 20 credits
  • Widening Horizons - 20 credits
  • Year 1 Summer Skills Laboratory *
  • Fundamental Mathematics **
* Year 1 Summer Skills Laboratory is a zero credit module which fulfils the accreditation requirement of the Royal Society of Chemistry. Satisfactory completion is assessed by maintenance of a laboratory notebook, the quality of the data produced in the laboratory and its interpretation. Satisfactory completion of this module is normally required fro progression to Year 2.

** Fundamental Mathematics is a zero credit module which is student centred and self paced, providing training in the fundamental skills and concepts of mathematics that underpin the rest of the programme. Satisfactory completion of this module is normally required for progression to Year 2.

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 a chemistry options module, choosing from a range of courses, choosing from a range of courses, which include analytical chemistry, computational chemistry and biological chemistry, that is, unless you are planning on studying at a non English-speaking university in your third year, in which case you will take a further module in the appropriate modern language.

  • Inorganic Chemistry II - 20 credits
  • Organic Chemistry II - 20 credits
  • Physical Chemistry II - 20 credits
  • Practical Chemistry IIa - 20 credits
  • Practical Chemistry IIb - 20 credits
  • Year 2 Chemistry Options or Language - 20 credits
    If you are planning to study in a country where English is not the language of instruction you should study 20 credits of a language of your anticipated host country.  This is taken in place of Year 2 Chemistry Options.

Students may proceed with the MSci programme providing a minimum of 220 credits have been accumulated by the end of Stage 2 and an Overall Stage 2 mark of greater than 60% has been obtained, normally to include passes in core chemistry exams.

Year 3 

You take  a 10-credit intensive lab course before leaving Birmingham, the remainder of Year 3 is spent out at your chosen university at which you will take 110 credits of modules. These will have been chosen to ensure that when you return to Birmingham to re-join your MSci cohort, you possess the necessary skills and knowledge to underpin a successful final year of your MSci. This course is accredited by the Royal Society of Chemistry for those students choosing to study at a university in which English is the language of instruction.

  • Chemistry Year Abroad - 120 credits


  • Year Abroad - 110 credits
  • Intensive Practical Chemistry - 10 credits

Year 4 

After spending your third year studying abroad at your chosen university, you will return to Birmingham for your fourth year.  You will find significant flexibility in this, your final, year, as you choose 60 credits of taught modules from a range of courses pitched at the cutting edge of the discipline. 

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.

Core module

  • Masters Research Project - 60 credits

Optional modules

Select 60 credits of optional modules, examples listed below:

  • Biological Chemistry and Drug Discovery (03 20495) - 10 credits
  • Materials Chemistry (03 24508) - 10 credits
  • Applications of Supramolecular Chemistry (0320493) - 10 credits
  • Synthesis of Natural Products (03 20494) - 10 credits
  • Clusters, Surfaces and Interfaces (03 20497) - 10 credits
  • Chemical Dynamics, Spectroscopy and Symmetry (03 20496) - 10 credits
  • Bio-inorganic Chemistry (03 28079) - 10 credits
  • Modern Methods for Molecular Synthesis (03 28080) - 10 credits
  • Soft matter (03 28081) - 10 credits

As a condition of RSC accreditation and to provide sufficient breadth of knowledge, students must choose at least one module from 03 20495, 03 20494 and 03 28080, at least one module from 03 24508, 0320493 and 03 28079 andat least one module from 03 20497, 03 20496 and 03 28081.

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 2019. 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 and funding

Annual tuition fees 2019/20

UK/EU £9,250
International £21,180

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

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.

Entry 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/B. GCSE Grade 7/A in a relevant language if study abroad at a non-English speaking university. 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.

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 Mathematics 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 Mathematics at GCSE.


Only considered when combined with other qualifications.

Other qualifications are considered – learn more about entry requirements.

Additional information:

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:

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.

How to apply

Apply through the UCAS website using code F106

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', including advice for UK, EU and overseas applicants.

You will be taught by a mixture of professors, doctors and postgraduates, thereby receiving a rich diversity of academic knowledge and experience.You can find out more about the members of staff in the School of Chemistry here where you can read about their qualifications, publication history and specific areas of interest.

Collaborative Teaching Laboratory

The Collaborative Teaching Laboratory (CTL), which opened in 2018, will become a hub for science & engineering teaching, with multifunctional labs suitable for subject-specific and cross-disciplinary teaching and team working.

Personal Tutor: At the start of your degree, you will be assigned a Personal Tutor who remains with you throughout your studies. You will meet him or her at least once a semester to review your academic progress and to discuss how to develop your transferable skills. Your personal tutor will also be able to advise on particular areas where you may need additional support. During your first year it is important that you have a smooth transition into University. You will be able to talk to your tutors about this and discuss if there are particular areas where you need support.

Delivery of the course

As a Birmingham student you are part of an academic elite and will learn from world-leading experts. From the outset you will be encouraged to become an independent and self-motivated learner; we want you to be challenged and will encourage you to think for yourself.

Your learning will take place in a range of different settings, including lectures, workshops and small-group tutorials, self-study and peer-group learning sessions and laboratory and project work.

You may find these new ways of studying challenging at first; however, rest assured, we will work with you to facilitate this transition. You will have access to a comprehensive academic and pastoral support system, which includes your personal tutor and welfare tutors.

The course is delivered as lectures, tutorials, workshops and laboratory classes. In your final year, you will also complete a research-related project.

Small-group tutorials run alongside our lecture courses and provide a valuable opportunity for you to discuss specific problems with your tutor, as well as consolidate and test your understanding of the lecture material through problem-solving exercises..

Enquiry-Based Learning (EBL) provides an environment where the learning process is driven by enquiry. In this learning approach, the lecturer acts solely as a facilitator. EBL is a particularly useful method for teaching aspects of chemistry, for example, the use of spectroscopic techniques in structure elucidation. It often requires you to work in a team to solve a problem and exemplifies the research-oriented approach to problem-solving, which lies at the heart of the research-led ethos of the University.

Laboratory-based practical work forms an integral part of the School's degree programmes. These classes not only develop your practical skills but also reinforce concepts introduced in the associated lectures. Practical sessions typically last four hours in your first year; however, these increase in length in subsequent years to allow for more advanced experiments.

In your final year, if you are on an MSci programme, you will undertake a major research project. You will join a research group and become a member of the Research School. Your project will enable you to focus on the area of Chemistry that interests you most and to carry out science that has never been done before. Projects can be synthesis-based or concentrate on more theoretical aspects of the subject or involve a combination of both; you will work closely with your project supervisor to tailor the project to your particular research interests.

If you are a BSc student, you will also complete a research-related project in your final year, which can involve practical-based research, computer-based research or a literature dissertation. If you are interested in entering the teaching profession, you may opt instead for a project in the area of chemical education.

Contact hours

Year one and year two has around 15 hours per week of lectures, tutorials, workshops and lab classes. Year three  is spent abroad, contact hours are dependent on modules chosen at the partner University. Year four consists of approximately 22 hours per week of lectures, workshops and project work. These figures may vary depending on module choice.

Assessment methods

Each module is assessed independently. Most contain a component of continuous assessment, which usually contributes a quarter to one-third of the module mark. Methods of assessment are tailored to best assess the learning outcomes of the module and can include end-of-year examinations, written assignments, oral and poster presentations, computer-based tests and/or laboratory and project reports. Some modules are assessed completely by coursework. Examinations are taken in May and June.

We provide prompt and informative feedback on all pieces of submitted work. Feedback comes in a variety of forms, including written comments on pieces of assessment, whole-class feedback sessions and one-on-one discussions with your tutors. In all cases, the feedback will highlight the good points as well as those areas that require more attention.

At the beginning of the year, you will be given information on how and when you will be assessed. You will receive feedback on each assessment within four weeks (and often much sooner) so that you can learn from, and build on, what you have done. You will also be given feedback on any exams that you take.

As a Birmingham Chemistry graduate you will possess excellent core skills in numeracy, IT and literacy, as well as highly-developed problem-solving, team-working, and communication skills, all of which are deemed crucial by employers. Combining these transferable skills with an in-depth knowledge of Chemistry, both theory and practice, you will enter the workplace ready to interpret complex data, to propose innovative solutions to challenging problems, and to design new molecules and materials to solve societal needs.

You might decide to pursue a career in one of the chemical, pharmaceutical or manufacturing industries; alternatively, you could choose to work in other areas of science and technology, such as environmental protection, analytical chemistry or forensics. Other areas that need the problem-solving skills you will have developed include finance, law and marketing, as well as teaching and research.

Birmingham Chemistry has strong research links with many chemical companies, which we can exploit to help you to gain industrial experience whilst studying. Whilst you may choose to undertake a Summer placement as part of your degree, our Chemistry with Industrial Experience MSci programme is a more popular degree choice should you wish to gain experience of working during your degree. On this programme, you spend your third year in paid employment. Working and studying in an industrial setting provides you with valuable experience, whilst at the same time improving your career prospects.

Matt Gray
MSci Chemistry with Industrial Experience
Placement: AstraZeneca

A placement is not as intimidating as it first appears and if you enjoy practical work, then I can't think of a better degree to choose.

Career destinations of previous graduates include:

  • AstraZeneca
  • GlaxoSmithKline
  • BASF
  • Procter and Gamble
  • Reckitt Benckiser
  • Severn Trent Water
  • Forensic Science Service
  • BAE Systems


The graduate employment market is competitive, many employers require evidence of employability or being ready for the world of work.

Internships represent a great way for you to gain experience of the workplace. They also offer employers the opportunity of clarifying what they are looking for and perhaps even assessing interns for future employment. We offer our students the opportunity of internship placements during their time at Birmingham.
The video below talks to students, staff and employers about their internship experience:

University Careers Network

Preparing for your future career should be one of the first things you think about as you start university. Whether you have a clear idea of where your future aspirations lie or would rather consider the broad range of opportunities that are available to you once you have your degree, our Careers Network are there to help you to achieve your goal.

Our unique careers guidance service is tailored to your academic subject area, offering specialised expert advice and mentoring, as well as guidance to help you to secure exclusive work-experience opportunities and global internships, all of which will help you to stand out from the competition. Once you have a career in your sights, one-to-one support with CVs, interview practice and job applications will further help to give you the edge. In addition, our employer-endorsed, award-winning Personal Skills Award (PSA) recognises your extra-curricular activities and is an accredited employability programme designed to improve your career prospects.

If you make the most of the wide range of services you will be able to develop your career from the moment you arrive.

Visit the careers section of the University website for further information.

Professional accreditation

Birmingham has transformed into one of Europe's most exciting cities. It is more than somewhere to study; it is somewhere to build a successful future.

Clubs and societies

The Guild has over 200 Societies, community volunteering groups and associations for you to join; they cover every topic and activity that you can think of - there really is something for everyone.

We have a very active Chemical Society run entirely by our students. Everyone is encouraged to get involved in ChemSoc activities including the annual black tie ball, charity drives, guest lectures careers events and scientific debate.


Coming to Birmingham might be your first time living away from home. Our student accommodation will allow you to enjoy your new-found independence in safe, welcoming and sociable surroundings.

The City of Birmingham

One of Europe's most exciting destinations, Birmingham is brimming with life and culture, making it a wonderful place to live, study and work.

Our students fall in love with the city - around 40% of our graduates choose to make Birmingham their home.

International students

The University of Birmingham has been welcoming international students onto our campus since 1900.

We have one of the largest and most vibrant international student communities in the UK, with 5,000 international students from more than 150 different countries and 31% of our academic staff from overseas.

If you would like further information about entry requirements, how to apply and funding options, then you can visit our international students webpage. You may also wish to take a virtual tour of our campus and watch the video below to hear our international students say their favourite thing about the University of Birmingham.