A Day in the Life of a Chemistry Student 

Ben and Megan take you on a tour of a typical day of a Chemistry student at the University of Birmingham. 


Ben: Hiya, I’m Ben. I’m a first year Chemistry student here at the University Birmingham and for me, each morning starts here on the Vale. A lot of Freshers stay here if they’re staying in halls although there are other sites. It takes about 15 minutes to walk into Chemistry so you don’t have to get up too early for your lectures.

We have about 10 to 12 lectures a week and they’re about 50 minutes each. They’re all really interesting. What they do here at Birmingham, which I found really quite helpful, is that you’re not expected to write everything down in the lectures. You get handouts and you make additions and notes on that, so you needn’t worry about learning a new shorthand or whatever.

We have tutorials on each area of the course, so that’s organic, physical, inorganic and analytical. We usually have one a week and the questions for the tutorial is set a week in advance. Tutorials are great because you can ask questions you have about the subject matter and really work through the problems or difficulties that you might have. I personally find tutorials help me a lot. We have two four-hour labs a week and you work on the theory that you learn in lectures. Because there’s always so much to do in labs you always get really busy. It’s good chemistry and it’s really social as well. You get to know your lab group really well. Chemistry as a subject is one that involves a high level of practicals, so you would expect labs to be of the highest quality and they definitely deliver. I really enjoy labs. This is our workroom here in the Chemistry building, it’s used by all students and it’s a really good place to study and to meet between lectures.

Megan: Hi, I’m Megan, a Final year student here at the University of Birmingham. I’m now on my way to meet my supervisor to discuss my final year project. In final year you will be able to choose an independent research project. I have regular meetings with my supervisor to discuss my findings and to see if I’m on the right track. You will get to work with staff and PhD students and there are also opportunities to use specialist equipment that are not used in the first few years. t’s not all hard work. As well as running in my free time, I also get to play in the Uni brass band. We meet on Wednesday evenings in the Bramall Music Building. It’s really sociable and we often go out afterwards.