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Course overview

Chemistry contributes directly to our everyday lives, from the food we eat and the medicines we take, to the environment in which we live.

You'll be taught by academic staff who will feed your curiosity for chemistry. You may even recognise some of our staff from the popular Periodic Videos YouTube channel.

This integrated undergraduate masters course includes a major research project in the fourth year.

You'll explore the interplay between chemistry and biology and develop a specialist understanding of the two subjects. Modules on spectroscopy and molecular structure will teach you the key elements in this field. You'll also study tailored interdisciplinary modules such as Medicinal Chemistry and Human Physiology.

Our students go onto work in a variety of industries including chemistry, physics and pharmaceutics.

Why choose this course?

  • Accredited by the Royal Society of Chemistry
  • 11th for chemistry in the UK (Complete University Guide 2021)
  • Flexibility to transfer between most chemistry degrees
  • Choose from a range of optional modules that interest you
  • Small-group tutorials support your learning
  • Put theory into practice in our modern labs and facilities

Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2021 entry.

UK entry requirements
A level offer AAA-AAB at A level including chemistry at grade A
Required subjects
  • GCSE Mathematics at grade 4 (C) (or equivalent)
  • GCSE English at 4 (C) or above
IB score 36-34 (including 6 in chemistry at Higher Level)

A levels

  • AAA-AAB at A level including chemistry at grade A.
  • Typical offers will vary depending on the A level subjects offered in addition to chemistry.
  • A pass is normally required in science practical tests, where these are assessed separately. However, due to the pandemic and the uncertainty of practical tests taking place, this will not be required for 2021 applicants.

GCSEs

  • Mathematics at grade 4 (C) (or equivalent)
  • Plus GCSE in English at 4 (C) or above

If you do not meet the MSci grades in your offer but meet the BSc Chemistry grades then you will automatically be offered a place for the BSc Medicinal and Biological Chemistry FC17 degree.

Foundation progression options

Applicants who are not eligible for direct entry to undergraduate study may be able to apply for a foundation course. Find out more at nottingham.ac.uk/foundationcourses

Learning and assessment

How you will learn

Teaching methods

  • Computer labs
  • Lab sessions
  • Lectures
  • Tutorials
  • Workshops

How you will be assessed

An overall mark of 55% or above for the second year is required to progress into the third year of the MSci degree. Students may be considered for progression into the third year of the BSc Chemistry degree depending on their credit-weighted average at the end of the second year.

Your final degree classification will be based on marks gained for your second and subsequent years of study. Year two is worth 20% with years three and four worth 40% each.

Assessment methods

  • Coursework
  • Lab reports
  • Research project
  • Written exam

Contact time and study hours

There are typically 10 lectures in addition to 8 to 10 hours of laboratory classes per week.

You will be assigned a personal tutor who will support you through your studies and help you make the most of the opportunities available at Nottingham. Your personal tutor will guide your personal and academic development, offering you help, encouragement and guidance.

Core modules are typically delivered by professors or associate professors. Some study skills modules may be taught by PhD students.

Study abroad

A study abroad opportunity isn’t offered on this course. If you are interested in studying abroad, you may want to look at the Chemistry with an International Study Year MSci.

Students who choose to study abroad are more likely to achieve a first-class degree and earn more on average than students who did not (Gone International: Rising Aspirations report 2016/17).

Year in industry

A placement year isn't offered on this course. If this is something you are interested in you may want to look at Chemistry with Year in Industry MSci.

An industrial year can improve your employability.

A report by High Fliers in 2019 found that over a third of recruiters who took part in their research said that graduates who have no previous work experience at all are unlikely to be successful during the selection process for their graduate programmes.

Modules

In the first year, you will follow introductory courses in chemistry, physiology and pharmacology, including practical training.

If you do not have A level mathematics (or equivalent) then you will take the Mathematical Toolkit module to prepare you for this aspect of the chemistry course.

Introduction to Structure, Periodicity and Coordination Chemistry

This module builds on your previous studies in chemistry and provides a firm foundation in topics including:

  • atomic and molecular structure
  • the shapes of molecules
  • chemical bonding
  • Lewis structures
  • molecular shape and symmetry
  • Intermolecular interactions and periodic trends in the properties of the elements of the s- and p-blocks
  • the chemistry of the transition metal elements and their coordination complexes.

You’ll attend two lectures per week for this module.

Introduction to Spectroscopy, Energy and Bonding in Chemistry

In this module you will learn about the development of quantum theory and the spectroscopy of the hydrogen atom. You will examine the theories used to describe the bonding in molecules and will develop an understanding of microwave and infra-red spectroscopies.

The module also introduces you to some of the key concepts in thermodynamics including enthalpy, entropy and free energy and their application in describing equilibria and electrochemical processes. You will develop an understanding of the key concepts in reaction kinetics. 

You’ll attend two lectures per week for this module.

Introduction to Organic Molecules and their Reactivity

You’ll examine the fundamental principles of organic chemistry. This will include nomenclature, bonding concepts, orbitals and the shape, stereochemistry and acid-base properties of organic molecules.

Later the module will focus on reactivity and important reactions and transformations in organic chemistry.

You’ll attend two lectures per week for this module.

Foundation Laboratory Work

This module introduces you to the essential laboratory skills that are required in inorganic, organic and physical chemistry.

You’ll spend around eight hours per week in laboratory practicals performing experiments, and collecting and analysing data.

You’ll present written reports of your experimental work that will form part of the assessment for this module.

Chemistry Study Skills

You’ll follow this introductory module right at the start of your course. It is designed to develop your study skills so that you can work effectively at University.

The module will also introduce you to first-year undergraduate laboratory chemistry.

You’ll spend around four hours in your first week in practical sessions studying this module.

Calculations in Chemistry

This module is for those who already with A level maths will teach you the essential mathematic skills required for chemists. You will learn how to use your maths skills to solve a variety of problems in chemistry.

There will be two hours of lectures per week with a one hour workshop.

Human Physiology
In this module, you will be introduced to the physiology of major systems such as cardiovascular, nervous, and musculoskeletal, including some aspects of drug action. This module will allow you to understand your biochemical and genetics knowledge in the context of the intact organism. This module includes lectures and laboratory classes.

Optional modules

Molecules of Life

You’ll learn about Nature's building blocks including the structure and functions of lipids, amino acids, carbohydrates and nucleotides. You'll also learn about the reactivity of these molecules and their biological roles through case studies.

Introduction to Green Chemistry and Processing

In this module you’ll look at green chemistry in its broadest sense, covering the fundamental concepts and chemistry involved in making chemical processes cleaner and more environmentally benign.

You’ll spend one hour per week in lectures, seminars and workshops over the whole year studying this module.

Frontiers in Chemistry

This module will introduce you to selected topics at the forefront of current research in chemistry from a physical chemistry perspective.

Example topics include:

  • nanochemistry and its applications
  • energy generation and storage technologies
  • chemistry in the digital age
  • the chemistry of ions
  • the application of advanced photon sources
Mathematical Toolkit

You’ll gain a firm understanding of the use of mathematical equations in a chemical context through the study of topics including: scientific notation and significant figures; common chemical units and conversions between them; the rearrangement of chemical expressions and their graphical representation; trigonometry, differentiation and integration, and differential equations for chemical problems.

This module is compulsory for students not offering A level mathematics (or equivalent); optional for students offering A level mathematics or equivalent.

To provide students with a basic knowledge of the main mathematical techniques required in following a Chemistry-based course. Topics are:

  • functions of single variable
  • differential calculus of a single variable
  • integral calculus of a single variable
  • first-order ordinary differential equations
  • elementary probability and statistics
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 may change or be updated 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 the latest information on available modules.

You will cover topics in physical, inorganic and organic chemistry in more depth. You'll also study complimentary courses in spectroscopy, biological chemistry and pharmacology. This includes a case study on the development of a recent drug.

Core modules

General Inorganic Chemistry

You’ll spend two hours per week in lectures studying topics including the synthesis, bonding and reactivity of organometallic compounds, the use of symmetry and group theory to interpret infra-red spectra and NMR spectroscopy in inorganic chemistry.

Further support is provided by tutorials every third week.

Synthesis and Spectroscopy

In this module, you’ll discuss the reactivity of, suggest synthetic routes for and interpret the spectroscopic characterisation of organic compounds including some natural products.

Topics studied include:

  • modern spectroscopic techniques
  • carbon-carbon bond forming reactions
  • the influence of heteroatoms on reactivity

You’ll attend two lectures each week in this module and tutorials every third week.

Core Laboratory Work

This module builds on the practical, analytical and communication skills developed in the first year and introduces experiments across the range of chemistry, based on your second year theory modules.

You’ll spend around 10 hours per week in practicals for this module. 

Energy, Spectroscopy and Solid State Chemistry

In this module you'll study  the physical principles underlying chemical phenomena, with emphasis on energy, quantum mechanics and spectroscopy. You'll also be introduced to solid-state chemistry, including the structure, characterisation, energetics and the band theory of solids.  

You’ll attend two hours of lectures each week in this module. 

Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics

Primary objective of the module

This module will examine in depth the analysis of drug action, and its application to the design and use of current therapeutics.

Module content

This module will examine in depth the analysis of drug action, and its application to the design and use of current therapeutics. We will define what drugs are, the different ways they act at the cellular and molecular level, and pharmacokinetic principles underlying drug absorption, distribution, metabolism and elimination.   This framework will provide the basis to explore the rationale and goals of treatment for clinical therapeutic case studies.  These will highlight major current challenges to human health – in cardiovascular and respiratory disease, diabetes and obesity, CNS disorders, cancer and infectious disease.  Overall, the student will develop a deep understanding of what the discipline of pharmacology represents, and its application to both basic biological research and current and future medical advances. 

Medicinal Chemistry and Molecular Biology

This module introduces students to the chemistry of the fundamental building blocks of life; the structures of, and replication processes in prokaryotes; and how these can be disrupted by anti-infectives and harnessed in protein engineering.

Fundamental concepts in medicinal chemistry and drug discovery are presented including the mode of action of a number of anti-cancer agents and the basic requirements for drug delivery, metabolism and targeting.

You’ll attend two lectures each week for this module. 

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 may change or be updated 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 the latest information on available modules.

You will study advanced modules in chemistry and drug discovery.

A final research project will apply your theoretical, computational and experimental techniques to an area of your choice.

Core modules

Bioinorganic and Metal Coordination Chemistry

The aim of this module is to provide you with an understanding of coordination chemistry in the context of macrocyclic, supramolecular and bioinorganic chemistry and its applications in metal extraction and synthesis.

You will gain an appreciation of the importance of metals in biological systems, and be able to explain the relationship between the structure of the active centres of metallo-proteins and enzymes and their biological functions.

The module is assessed by a two-hour written exam.

Catalysis
This module aims to provide a framework for understanding the action of heterogeneous catalysts in terms of adsorption/desorption processes and for understanding catalyst promotion in terms of chemical and structural phenomenon and also describes a wide variety of homogeneous catalytic processes based on organo-transition metal chemistry.
Chemical Bonding and Reactivity

To provide a fundamental understanding of molecular structure and of the requirements for reactivity.

To introduce modern electronic structure theory and demonstrate how it can be applied to determine properties such as molecular structure, spectroscopy and reactivity.

Organometallic and Asymmetric Synthesis

This module will introduce you to a range of reagents and synthetic methodology. You will learn how to describe how it is applied to the synthesis of organic target molecules.

By the end of the module you will know how the use of protecting groups can be used to enable complex molecule synthesis and how modern palladium-mediated cross-coupling reactions can be used to synthesise useful organic molecules.

Your problem-solving and written communication skills will be developed.

Pericyclics and Reactive Intermediates

Use of frontier molecular orbital analysis to explain and predict stereochemical and regiochemical outcomes of pericyclic reactions (Woodward-Hoffmann rules etc).

Examples will be drawn from Diels-Alder reactions, cycloadditions [4+2] and [2+2], [3,3]-sigmatropic rearrangements (eg Claisen and Cope), [2,3]-sigmatropic rearrangements (eg Wittig and Mislow-Evans).

Generation and use of reactive intermediates in synthesis (ie radicals, carbenes, nitrenes).

Solids, Interfaces and Surfaces

This course aims to teach the relationship between structure and properties of solids, structure of Solids and characterisation.

It aims to teach a general introduction to Interfaces and Surfaces.

Contemporary Drug Discovery

This module explores modern approaches to drug discovery and will involve discussions on how chemical structure influences the molecular properties, biological activity, and toxicity of drugs.

Many examples from case histories of successful medicines will be used to illustrate the underlying chemical principles.

Chemistry Project

For the project, you will put into practice methods of accessing, assessing and critically appraising the chemical literature. The module will provide experience in experimental design and methodology, the recording, analysis and reporting of physical data (both in written and verbal form).

Optional modules

Chemical Biology and Enzymes

Students should gain a good appreciation of the applications for a range of enzymological, chemical and molecular biological techniques to probe cellular processes and catalysis at the forefront in chemical biology research.

This module represents a culmination of principles and techniques from a biophysical, molecular, biochemical and genetic perspective.

Topics in Inorganic Chemistry
This module covers inorganic mechanisms and the overarching fundamental principles of greener and sustainable chemistry as applied to processes, inorganic reaction mechanisms, and discussion on the theme of greener and sustainable chemistry
Protein Folding and Biospectroscopy

This module will develop an understanding of protein structure, stability, design and methods of structural analysis. In addition you will understand the protein folding problem and experimental approaches to the analysis of protein folding kinetics and the application of site-directed mutagenesis.

You will also be expected to develop a number of spectroscopic experimental techniques to probe protein structures.

There will be two hours of lectures a week.

Molecular Microbiology and Infections

This module focuses on the molecular biology that drives the fundamental principles behind the survival of microorganisms and their interaction with humans.

Lectures will discuss the interaction between the host and pathogens and how they drive the mechanisms of infection and immunity.

There will be two hours of lectures a week.

Lasers in Chemistry

A general introduction to lasers, including laser radiation and its properties will be given, leading to why lasers have such widespread uses in Chemistry.

The bulk of the module is devoted to selected applications, which will include some of:

  • atmospheric measurements
  • combustion
  • photochemistry and synthesis
  • chemical kinetics
  • spectroscopic studies of isolated molecules (stable and reactive)
  • studies of van der Waals complexes
  • studies of small metal clusters and nanoparticles
  • time-resolved studies
Complementary and Alternative Medicines

To introduce the students to the issues surrounding the use of complementary and alternative medicines, including legal issues, safety issues, and interactions with drugs.

Prospects for Personalised Medicine

This module aims to facilitate

(i) awareness of the types, frequency and range of individual genetic variation in proteins linked with disease prevalence and drug action
(ii) evaluation of pharmacogenetic evidence using pre-clinical case studies in cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity, and cancer
(iii) in depth understanding of the major class of GPCRs in man, and their wider roles as drug targets, through a focus on polymorphisms in these receptors and related proteins
(iv) evidence based understanding of the scientific challenges, risks and benefits of targeting such polymorphic variants therapeutically to deliver future medical advances.

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 may change or be updated 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 the latest information on available modules.

You will work on an in-depth research project in an area of your choice. The project will develop not only your practical ability, team working and problem-solving skills, but also your literature and presentation skills.

Core modules

MSci Chemistry Research Project

You will be welcomed into one of the research groups within the School of Chemistry to undertake an in-depth research project.

All projects will involve a review of relevant published work and the planning and execution of a research topic under the guidance of two supervisors.

Optional modules

Advanced Physical Chemistry

Building on your knowledge from the previous years' modules in inorganic chemistry, you’ll study topics including:

  • electron transfer pathways
  • inorganic chemistry in biological systems
  • the principles of molecular and supramolecular photochemistry
  • applications of inorganic photochemistry
  • photocatalysis

You’ll attend two lectures each week in this module. 

Contemporary Organic Synthesis

Explore the synthesis of a variety of natural (and unnatural) compounds of relevance to biology and medicine, with reference to the goals and achievements of contemporary organic synthesis through a range of case studies. There is an emphasis on the use of modern synthetic methodology to address problems such as chemoselectivity, regiocontrol, stereoselectivity, atom economy and sustainability.

You will also study the application of new methodology for the rapid, efficient and highly selective construction of a range of target compounds - particularly those that display significant biological activity. There will also be an opportunity to address how a greater understanding of mechanism is important in modern organic chemistry. This module is assessed by a two hour exam.

Nucleic Acids and Bioorganic Mechanisms

During this module you will learn to understand in depth the structure, chemistry and molecular recognition of nucleic acids and their reactivity towards mutagens, carcinogens and ionising radiation and anti-tumour drugs. You will appreciate the plasticity and dynamics of the DNA duple helix through base motions that underpin its function.

The bacterial replisome will be used as the prime example to highlight the problems associated with DNA replication and the significance of telomeres will be discussed. Alongside this you will develop an understanding of the chemical reactivity of coenzymes and how these add significantly to the functionality of the 20 amino acids found in proteins. 

Inorganic and Materials Chemistry

In this module you will explore inorganic photochemistry, electron transport pathways, molecular and supramolecular photochemistry, and artificial photosynthesis together with the principles that underpin green chemistry.

You will attend two lectures per week in this module.

Molecular Interactions and Supramolecular Assembly

In this module you’ll learn about the importance of intermolecular forces, across a wide cross-section of subject areas from biology through to supramolecular chemical systems.

You'll study molecular organisation, assembly and recognition in biological and supramolecular systems.

In addition to appreciating the rich chemistry underlying self-assembling systems, you'll learn about the phenomena that impact on the properties of materials and important interactions in biology. 

You'll attend two lectures per week in this module.

Enterprise for Chemists

Students will learn about the factors that lead to successful innovation, including evaluation and management of an idea/concept.

In addition, students will consider the factors required to extract the value from a product/concept (e.g. market awareness) and the potential routes to market available from both an academic and industrial viewpoint.

Advanced Biocatalysis, Biosynthesis and Chemical Biology

Advanced Chemical Biology

To introduce concepts of chemical genetics and including activity-based protein profiling, non-natural amino acid incorporation, bio-orthogonal reactivity and the use of bump-and-hole strategies, applied to various challenges such as finding kinase/target pairs.

Biocatalysis

To introduce enzyme engineering and the synthetic utility of designer biocatalysts, especially highlighting chemo-enzymatic approaches toward chiral commodity molecules (e.g. pharmaceuticals) and their precursors.

Biosynthesis

To introduce the biosynthetic pathways and enzyme catalysed reactions leading natural products polyketides, terpenes, fatty acids and non-ribosomal peptides.

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 may change or be updated 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 the latest information on available modules.

Fees and funding

UK students

£9,250
Per year

International students

£25,000*
Per year
*For full details including fees for part-time students and reduced fees during your time studying abroad or on placement (where applicable), see our fees page.

If you are a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland starting your course in the 2021/22 academic year, you will pay international tuition fees.

This does not apply to Irish students, who will be charged tuition fees at the same rate as UK students. UK nationals living in the EU, EEA and Switzerland will also continue to be eligible for ‘home’ fee status at UK universities until 31 December 2027.

For further guidance, check our Brexit information for future students.

Additional costs

As a student on this course, you should factor some additional costs into your budget alongside your tuition fees and living expenses, including:

  • scientific calculator
  • model kit (optional)

You should be able to access most of the books you’ll need through our libraries, though you may wish to purchase your own copies.

Due to our commitment to sustainability, we don’t print lecture notes but these are available digitally. You will be given £5 worth of printer credits a year. You are welcome to buy more credits if you need them. It costs 4p to print one black and white page.

Personal laptops are not compulsory as we have computer labs that are open 24 hours a day but you may want to consider one if you wish to work at home.

Scholarships and bursaries

The University of Nottingham offers a wide range of bursaries and scholarships. These funds can provide you with an additional source of non-repayable financial help.

Home students*

Over one third of our UK students receive our means-tested core bursary, worth up to £1,000 a year. Full details can be found on our financial support pages.

* A 'home' student is one who meets certain UK residence criteria. These are the same criteria as apply to eligibility for home funding from Student Finance.

International/EU students

We offer a range of Undergraduate Excellence Awards for high-achieving international and EU scholars from countries around the world, who can put their Nottingham degree to great use in their careers. This includes our European Union Undergraduate Excellence Award for EU students and our UK International Undergraduate Excellence Award for international students based in the UK.

These scholarships cover a contribution towards tuition fees in the first year of your course. Candidates must apply for an undergraduate degree course and receive an offer before applying for scholarships. Check the links above for full scholarship details, application deadlines and how to apply.

Careers

Our graduates can find roles in the pharmaceutical, chemical, food and drink, and energy sectors. This course will develop your skills in; practical and theoretical chemistry, data-analysis and problem-solving. These skills are also valuable for careers in finance, education and the media.

Graduate destinations

  • Boots
  • Cancer Research
  • GlaxoSmithKline
  • HSBC
  • Intellectual Property Office
  • NHS
  • Unilever

Many students continue their studies in chemistry or a related discipline working towards a PhD degree.

Average starting salary and career progression

89.3% of undergraduates from the School of Chemistry secured graduate level employment or further study within 15 months of graduation. The average annual salary for these graduates was £25,886.*

* HESA Graduate Outcomes 2020. The Graduate Outcomes % is derived using The Guardian University Guide methodology. The average annual salary is based on graduates working full-time within the UK.

Studying for a degree at the University of Nottingham will provide you with the type of skills and experiences that will prove invaluable in any career, whichever direction you decide to take.

Throughout your time with us, our Careers and Employability Service can work with you to improve your employability skills even further; assisting with job or course applications, searching for appropriate work experience placements and hosting events to bring you closer to a wide range of prospective employers.

Have a look at our careers page for an overview of all the employability support and opportunities that we provide to current students.

The University of Nottingham is consistently named as one of the most targeted universities by Britain’s leading graduate employers (Ranked in the top ten in The Graduate Market in 2013-2020, High Fliers Research).

Royal Society of Chemistry

This course is accredited by the Royal Society of Chemistry.

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Related courses

The University has been awarded Gold for outstanding teaching and learning

Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) 2017-18

Disclaimer

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.