Organic and Biological Chemistry PhD/MPhil/MRes


Fact file

Entry requirements
2:1 (or international equivalent) in an MSci/MChem (2:2 for MRes)
6.0 (5.5) If these grades are not met, English preparatory courses are available
University Park
Organic and Biological Chemistry
Other requirements

Research overview

Organic and biological chemistry research at Nottingham is very broadly based, and spans the whole spectrum of activity from medicinal chemistry, target organic synthesis, catalysis and development of new synthetic methodology through to mechanistic enzymology, chemical genetics, protein biochemistry, protein engineering and structural biology. Organic chemistry is especially strong in the areas of target synthesis, natural product chemistry, and asymmetric synthesis. Complex natural products and their analogues continue to present a fascinating challenge to the synthetic chemist. Research groups at Nottingham are probing new strategies and developing new methodologies for the synthesis of such molecules, with emphasis on compounds with significant biological activity. In particular, we are interested in novel compounds with antibacterial, anticancer and antimalarial properties. In biological chemistry, we address problems at the interface of chemistry and biology, to define the molecular interactions that determine the specificity and control of biological processes. The department is well supported through UK Research Council and EU funding, and has strong links to the pharmaceutical industry. Key themes include:

Synthesis and Natural Products

The design and application of novel synthetic methodologies for the synthesis of naturally occurring target molecules, including antibiotics, alkaloids, terpenes and marine natural products.

Asymmetric Synthesis and Catalysis

The design of new reagents and catalysts to effect diastereoselective and enantioselective reactions, involving alkylations, C-H oxidation, reduction, and rearrangement processes. 

Biological and Medicinal Chemistry

Studies of the fundamental properties of biomolecules, for example the folding of proteins and the binding of antibiotics to DNA; synthesis of enzyme inhibitors, antisense DNA, and hapten design for generation of catalytic antibodies. Novel compounds with antibiotic, anticancer and antimalarial properties.

Entry requirements

The usual minimum requirement for PhD/MPhil entry is an upper 2nd class or first class honours degree (or International equivalent) in an MSci or MChem degree in chemistry.

The usual minimum requirement for MRes entry is a lower 2nd class honours degree (or International equivalent) in chemistry.

International research students need to achieve an IELTS score of 6.0 with no less than 5.5 in each element.

The University runs a number of preparatory English programmes each summer and, for extra support during your degree, you can attend its free language classes. For more information, visit our Centre for English Language Education (CELE).



  • £1.5m Centre for Mass Spectrometry
  • Computational modelling with an ultra high powered GRID
  • Fluorometers and ToF SIMS
  • FTIR
  • Full range of workshop facilities
  • High-field nmr
  • Mass spectrometers
  • Powder X-ray diffractometers
  • Single crystal CCD
  • Solid-state nmr
  • SQUID magnetometer
  • State-of-the-art XPS
  • UHV and surface equipment
  • UV/VIS/Raman
  • World-class laser facilities
  • From UV to IR, with timescales from picoseconds to CW

Research support

A number of University support services exist to assist you during your time at Nottingham and beyond.

The Postgraduate Students' Association (PGSA) are a particularly important source of support. 


Find a supervisor

We encourage you to get in touch with a member of academic staff about your research proposal before submitting an application. They may be able to help you with your proposal and offer support to find funding opportunities in your area. Details of research supervisors at the University can be found on our research A to Z.



UK/EU students

The University Graduate School operates two schemes of its own to help support current postgraduate research. The Graduate School Travel Prize and Universitas21 funding. For prospective students the University has introduced a new funding database . The Graduate School also holds a list of other sources of fundingStudentship opportunities are also available.

International and EU students

The University of Nottingham offers a range of research scholarships for outstanding international and EU students.

Applicants must receive an offer of study before applying for our scholarships. Please note the closing dates of any scholarships you are interested in and make sure you submit your research course application in good time so that you have the opportunity to apply for them.

The International Office also provides information and advice for international and EU students on financing your degree, living costs, external sources of funding and working during your studies.

Find out more on our scholarships, fees and finance webpages for international applicants.



Visit the school page for additional opportunities


Average starting salary and career progression

In 2015, 100% of postgraduates in the School of Chemistry who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary for postgraduates from the Faculty of Science was £29,024 with the highest being £67,000*

* Known destinations of full-time home postgraduates, 2014/15. 

Career prospects and employability


The University of Nottingham is consistently named as one of the most targeted universities by Britain’s leading graduate employers* and can offer you a head-start when it comes to your career.  

Those who take up a postgraduate research opportunity with us will not only receive support in terms of close contact with supervisors and specific training related to your area of research, you will also benefit from dedicated careers advice from our Careers and Employability Service.  

Our Careers and Employability Service offers a range of services including advice sessions, employer events, recruitment fairs and skills workshops – and once you have graduated, you will have access to the service for life.


*The Graduate Market 2013-2016, High Fliers Research. 


Get in touch

+44 (0)115 846 8500  
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This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.

Professor CJ Moody
School of Chemistry
The University of Nottingham
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