Triangle

Research overview

Join a School that is finding solutions to global problems through cutting-edge research. We are working in a wide range of areas including cleaner energy, sustainable synthesis, new materials health care and drug discovery. We are looking for passionate research students to help us make a difference to people and the environment. 

Join a thriving research environment with 160 postgraduate students and 60 post-doctoral fellows from all corners of the globe.

Our research themes are:

For more in-depth information about our research themes, view our individual webpages where you will find about more about supervisors and alumni as well as current and previous research.

Centre for Doctoral Training

These are the current CDTs and DTPs at Nottingham that have projects related to chemistry. There are a number of PhD studentships available each year in a wide range of research areas.

Course content

Assessment

You will complete a written thesis of up to 100,000 words, with expert support and advice from your academic supervisor(s). You will also take a verbal examination called a viva voce where you explain your project in-depth to an examination panel.

A PhD is an independent in-depth research project. You will be able to develop additional skills through training programmes to help you complete your PhD. See the support section for more details.

In each year you will have regular meetings with your supervisor and an annual review.

Past PhD projects have included:

  • Chemical Synthesis of Bioactive Natural products
  • Design and Development of Novel Catalysts
  • Sustainable Synthetic Chemistry
  • Novel Polymers From Terpenes
  • Industrial Exploitation of Supercritical Carbon Dioxide
  • Synthesis of Antimalarial Compound Using a Simple and Flexible Photo Reactor
  • Nanoscale manipulation using TEM
  • Chlorotoxin as a Drug Delivery System to Treat Glioblastoma Multiforme
  • A Computational Screening of Porous Materials for Biogas Upgrading

An MSc is a one-year full time degree that consists of a research project that is worth up to 180 credits with the option to study masters-level taught modules. We run MSc projects in all of our research themes - please visit the themes you are interested in for further information.

Modules are usually taught by Assistant Professors to Full Professors.

An MSc is assessed by the research project and the taught modules. The pass rate for taught modules is 50%.

Example modules

In this module, invited lectures from industrial speakers will teach real examples of greener processes in the chemical industry.

This module will increase your knowledge and understanding of the importance of materials in energy generation, storage and transport, and the challenges of identifying feedstock material. This will include a review of:

  • energy-related gas storage in nanostructured carbons, metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) and related coordination polymers, including the use of these organic/inorganic materials for capture and purification of hydrogen and for storage other fuel gases such as methane, acetylene and CO2
  • energy storage and conversion in fuel cells, batteries and photovoltaic devices; recent developments in the application of electrochemical methods for energy conversion and storage and the use of novel metal-based catalysts for fuel cells will be explored. Insights into the development of new materials for high-energy batteries will also be discussed, as will the development of materials and devices for the conversion of solar energy into electricity and solar fuels

This module outlines how sustainable synthesis can be achieved by enzymes and whole cells, both on their own and in combination with other synthetic methods.

You will be given a detailed appreciation of the major challenges facing the chemical-using community. The module will cover sustainable methods for the construction of C-C bonds and C-Heteroatom bonds, in order to access high-value materials, and the best available methods for changes in oxidation level (both oxidation and reduction), as well as routine functional group interconversions.

Emphasis will be placed upon catalytic methods (where appropriate). The need to adopt alternative ‘green’ solvents will be covered, and a range of new and emerging reaction media will be discussed. The use of metrics (eg process mass intensity, E-factor, atom efficiency) will be discussed, and these will be applied to a variety of chemical processes to assess the strengths and merits of each.

Examples from the chemical industry will be used to show how the use of metrics can lead to the development of ‘greener’ pharmaceutical manufacturing routes.

Modern approaches to chemistry in-silico will be introduced including quantum chemistry and molecules mechanics.

Key concepts in quantum chemistry including the wavefunction, electron density, electron correlation, basis sets, potential energy surfaces and molecular properties, will be introduced.

These will be discussed qualitatively and in the context of the application of quantum chemistry to problems in molecular modelling. The discussion of molecular mechanics will include empirical force fields and molecular dynamics simulations.

Some emphasis will be placed on appreciating the merits and limitations of the different approaches. A hands-on approach to molecular modelling will be provided.

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules.

An MRes is a one-year full time degree that consists of a research project that is worth up to 180 credits with the option to study masters-level taught modules. We run MRes projects in all of our research themes - please visit the themes you are interested in for further information.

Modules are usually taught by Assistant Professors to Full Professors.

An MRes is assessed by the research project and the taught modules. The pass rate for taught modules is 50%.

Example modules

In this module, invited lectures from industrial speakers will teach real examples of greener processes in the chemical industry.

This module will increase your knowledge and understanding of the importance of materials in energy generation, storage and transport, and the challenges of identifying feedstock material. This will include a review of:

  • energy-related gas storage in nanostructured carbons, metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) and related coordination polymers, including the use of these organic/inorganic materials for capture and purification of hydrogen and for storage other fuel gases such as methane, acetylene and CO2
  • energy storage and conversion in fuel cells, batteries and photovoltaic devices; recent developments in the application of electrochemical methods for energy conversion and storage and the use of novel metal-based catalysts for fuel cells will be explored. Insights into the development of new materials for high-energy batteries will also be discussed, as will the development of materials and devices for the conversion of solar energy into electricity and solar fuels

You will be given a detailed appreciation of the major challenges facing the chemical-using community. The module will cover sustainable methods for the construction of C-C bonds and C-Heteroatom bonds, in order to access high-value materials, and the best available methods for changes in oxidation level (both oxidation and reduction), as well as routine functional group interconversions.

Emphasis will be placed upon catalytic methods (where appropriate). The need to adopt alternative ‘green’ solvents will be covered, and a range of new and emerging reaction media will be discussed. The use of metrics (eg process mass intensity, E-factor, atom efficiency) will be discussed, and these will be applied to a variety of chemical processes to assess the strengths and merits of each.

Examples from the chemical industry will be used to show how the use of metrics can lead to the development of ‘greener’ pharmaceutical manufacturing routes.

This module outlines how sustainable synthesis can be achieved by enzymes and whole cells, both on their own and in combination with other synthetic methods.

Modern approaches to chemistry in-silico will be introduced including quantum chemistry and molecules mechanics.

Key concepts in quantum chemistry including the wavefunction, electron density, electron correlation, basis sets, potential energy surfaces and molecular properties, will be introduced.

These will be discussed qualitatively and in the context of the application of quantum chemistry to problems in molecular modelling. The discussion of molecular mechanics will include empirical force fields and molecular dynamics simulations.

Some emphasis will be placed on appreciating the merits and limitations of the different approaches. A hands-on approach to molecular modelling will be provided.

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules.

Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2023 entry.

QualificationPhDMRes
Degree

2:1 in an MSci/MChem or equivalent

2:2 in an MSci/MChem or equivalent. We may also consider a BSc depending on the circumstances.

Additional information

Applications are initially assessed and successful applicants are then invited to an interview.

Applications are initially assessed and successful applicants are then invited to an interview.

QualificationPhDMRes
Degree

2:1 in an MSci/MChem or equivalent

2:2 in an MSci/MChem or equivalent. We may also consider a BSc depending on the circumstances

International and EU equivalents

We accept a wide range of qualifications from all over the world.

For information on entry requirements from your country, see our country pages.

We accept a wide range of qualifications from all over the world.

For information on entry requirements from your country, see our country pages.

Additional information

Applications are initially assessed and successful applicants are then invited to an interview. If you're not in the UK then this can be done through a video call.

Applications are initially assessed and successful applicants are then invited to an interview. If you're not in the UK then this can be done through a video call.

IELTS6.0 (5.5 in each element)6.0 (5.5 in each element)
English language requirements

As well as IELTS (listed above), we also accept other English language qualifications.

This includes TOEFL iBT, Pearson PTE, GCSE, IB and O level English.

As well as IELTS (listed above), we also accept other English language qualifications.

This includes TOEFL iBT, Pearson PTE, GCSE, IB and O level English.

Meeting our English language requirements

If you need support to meet the required level, you may be able to attend a presessional English course. Presessional courses teach you academic skills in addition to English language. Our Centre for English Language Education is accredited by the British Council for the teaching of English in the UK.

If you successfully complete your presessional course to the required level, you can then progress to your degree course. This means that you won't need to retake IELTS or equivalent.

For on-campus presessional English courses, you must take IELTS for UKVI to meet visa regulations. For online presessional courses, see our CELE webpages for guidance.

Visa restrictions

International students must have valid UK immigration permissions for any courses or study period where teaching takes place in the UK. Student route visas can be issued for eligible students studying full-time courses. The University of Nottingham does not sponsor a student visa for students studying part-time courses. The Standard Visitor visa route is not appropriate in all cases. Please contact the university’s Visa and Immigration team if you need advice about your visa options.

We recognise that applicants have a variety of experiences and follow different pathways to postgraduate study.

We treat all applicants with alternative qualifications on an individual basis. We may also consider relevant work experience.

If you are unsure whether your qualifications or work experience are relevant, contact us.

Applying

We strongly encourage all PhD and MRes applicants to contact potential supervisors directly to discuss current projects and funding opportunities. Please visit our staff pages and research themes:

You do not need to provide a research proposal when applying to the School of Chemistry.

On the research details page of the application form, you can enter the area of chemistry you're interested in and the name of a potential supervisor.

Find a supervisorHow to apply

Fees

UK fees are set in line with the national UKRI maximum fee limit.

Additional information for international students

If you are a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, you may be asked to complete a fee status questionnaire and your answers will be assessed using guidance issued by the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA).

These fees are for full-time study. If you are studying part-time, you will be charged a proportion of this fee each year (subject to inflation).

Additional costs

All students will need at least one device to approve security access requests via Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). We also recommend students have a suitable laptop to work both on and off-campus. For more information, please check the equipment advice.

As a student on this course, we do not anticipate any extra significant costs, alongside your tuition fees and living expenses. You should be able to access most of the books and journals you’ll need through our libraries. A laptop may be helpful but it isn't essential. The school provides personal protective equipment. The school also supports with funding to cover conference attendance. 

Funding

Home and EU applicants

We offer a number of projects each year which are funded by:

  • the school and University
  • industry partners
  • charities
  • centres of doctoral training (CDTs)
  • doctoral training partnerships (DTPs)

Some of the funded projects the school offers are posted on the studentship jobs website.

CDTs/DTPs

These are the current CDTs and DTPs at Nottingham that have projects related to chemistry:

International applicants

If you need funding please discuss this with your potential supervisor. We can help you to see if there is funding available from your home country.

MRes and MSc funding

You may be able to get a Postgraduate Masters Loan from the government for an MRes. Check eligibility and how much you could get.

There are many ways to fund your research degree, from scholarships to government loans.

Check our guide to find out more about funding your postgraduate degree.

Postgraduate funding

Support

You will have at least 10 documented meetings with your supervisor a year but you can typically expect to see them daily or weekly.

Other school staff are available to support you:

  • Director of Postgraduate Studies
  • Senior Tutor (for pastoral support)
  • Welfare Manager
  • Disability Liaison Officer

The school has a postgraduate forum run by students to discuss anything related to their studies.

We have a student-run society called ChemSoc. They organise academic and social activities.

Researcher training and development

The Researcher Academy is the network for researchers, and staff who support them. We work together to promote a healthy research culture, to cultivate researcher excellence, and develop creative partnerships that enable researchers to flourish.

Postgraduate researchers at Nottingham have access to our online Members’ area, which includes a wealth of resources, access to training courses and award-winning postgraduate placements.

Student support

You will have access to a range of support services, including:

  • academic and disability support
  • childcare services
  • counselling service
  • faith support
  • financial support
  • mental health and wellbeing support
  • visa and immigration advice
  • welfare support

Students' Union

Our Students' Union represents all students. You can join the Postgraduate Students’ Network or contact the dedicated Postgraduate Officer.

There are also a range of support networks, including groups for:

  • international students
  • black and minority ethnic students
  • students who identify as women
  • students with disabilities
  • LGBT+ students

SU Advice provides free, independent and confidential advice on issues such as accommodation, financial and academic difficulties.

Where you will learn

Chemistry PGR facilities

We have equipment including mass spectrometers, high-field NMR, solid-state NMR, lasers, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, and powder X-ray diffractometers.

You could be working in the School of Chemistry Building, the GSK Carbon Neutral Laboratory or the Biodiscovery Institute

Careers

Whether you are considering a career in academia, industry or haven't yet decided, we’re here to support you every step of the way.

Expert staff will work with you to explore PhD career options and apply for vacancies, develop your interview skills and meet employers. You can book a one-to-one appointment, take an online course or attend a workshop.

International students who complete an eligible degree programme in the UK on a student visa can apply to stay and work in the UK after their course under the Graduate immigration route. Eligible courses at the University of Nottingham include bachelors, masters and research degrees, and PGCE courses.

A chemistry research degree can lead to research chemist jobs working in industries such as pharmaceuticals and petrochemicals.

If you want to pursue an academic career, most graduates will move into a postdoctoral research position or other junior academic appointment after completing their PhD.

A research degree gives you transferable skills in communication, problem-solving, time management and analysis.

85.7% of postgraduates in the School of Chemistry secured work or further study within 15 months of graduating. 

Source: HESA Graduate Outcomes 2020. The Graduate Outcomes % is derived using The Guardian University Guide methodology. 

If your project is funded by an industrial partner, it is common to spend some time working with them in industry.

Luisa Ciano
The group I work in focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms that govern enzymatic reactions, particularly in the case of metallo-enzymes. The current research is centred on the interaction between polysaccharide-active enzymes and their natural substrates for applications in the fields of biofuel production and sustainable chemistry.
Dr Luisa Ciano, School of Chemistry

Related courses

Research Excellence Framework

We are ranked 7th in the UK for research power (2021), according to analysis by Times Higher Education. The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is a national assessment of the quality of research in UK higher education institutions.

  • 97% of the School of Chemistry's research activity was judged to be 'internationally excellent' or 'world-leading'
  • 90%* of our research is classed as 'world-leading' (4*) or 'internationally excellent' (3*)
  • 100%* of our research is recognised internationally
  • 51% of our research is assessed as 'world-leading' (4*) for its impact**

*According to analysis by Times Higher Education ** According to our own analysis.

This content was last updated on 25 June 2022. Every effort has been made to ensure that this information is accurate, but changes are likely to occur between the date of publishing and course start date. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply.