Chemistry and Molecular Physics MSci


Fact file - 2019 entry

MSci Hons Chemistry and Molecular Physics
UCAS code
4 years full-time
A level offer
Required subjects
Maths, physics and chemistry
IB score
34 (6 in maths at Higher Level plus 6, 5, in physics and chemistry in any order with both at Higher Level preferred); GCSE maths and English at grade 4 (C) or above
Course location
University Park Campus
Course places
20 (for FF31 and FFH1 in total) 
We are still currently taking applications for 2018 entry


This course focuses on the area of overlap between the traditional disciplines of chemistry and physics. The course emphasises molecular and solid-state physics, quantum mechanics and spectroscopy, and the more quantitative aspects of chemistry.
Read full overview

The MSci Chemistry and Molecular Physics degree focuses on the area of overlap between the traditional disciplines of chemistry and physics. The BSc and MSci degrees are a unique alternative to chemical physics courses offered elsewhere and our graduates enter a wide range of science based careers or progress to research-level degrees. The courses are designed to be flexible so it may be possible to transfer to a chemistry or physics degree at the end of the first year, depending on your performance in year one.

Year one 

In the first year you will study introductory chemistry, physics and mathematics modules. You will take practical chemistry classes in our teaching laboratories and a special module on data analysis and scientific computing.

Year two

In the second year, lectures will concentrate on physical chemistry, spectroscopy, quantum mechanics and electromagnetic fields, and there are laboratory classes in both chemistry and physics. There is a choice of optional modules, covering specialised topics such as nanotechnology and analytical chemistry.

Year three

In the third year, core modules cover energetics and kinetics, magnetic resonance, surface science, solid-state physics, and atomic and particle physics. You will develop communication skills and undertake project-based practical work to develop your understanding of these key areas. Optional modules include lasers in chemistry and catalysis.

Year four

You will carry out a major research project. As well as formal lectures, emphasis is placed on the development of problem-solving and communication skills.

More information 

See also the School of Physics & Astronomy.

Entry requirements

A levels: AAB, including maths, physics and chemistry.

Applicants taking A level biology, chemistry and/or physics are also required to pass the practical element of assessment (where it is assessed separately).

English language requirements 

IELTS 6.5 (no less than 6.0 in any element)

For details of other English language tests and qualifications we accept, please see our entry requirements page.

If you require additional support to take your language skills to the required level, you may be able to attend a presessional course at the Centre for English Language Education, which is accredited by the British Council for the teaching of English in the UK.

Students who successfully complete the presessional course to the required level can progress onto their chosen degree course without retaking IELTS or equivalent.


Flexible admissions policy

In recognition of our applicants’ varied experience and educational pathways, The University of Nottingham employs a flexible admissions policy. We consider applicants’ circumstances and broader achievements as part of the assessment process, but do not vary the offer from the grades advertised as a result of these. Please see the University’s admissions policies and procedures for more information.

We value diversity and are committed to equal opportunity.



The following is a sample of the typical modules that we offer as at the date of publication 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. Due to the passage of time between commencement of the course and subsequent years of the course, modules may change due to developments in the curriculum and the module information in this prospectus is provided for indicative purposes only.

Typical year one modules
Fundamental Physical Chemistry

In this module you'll cover units, quantities and conversions; the development of quantum theory; gases and the gas laws; intermolecular forces; an introduction to the kinetic theory of gases; an introduction to molecular orbital diagrams; an introduction to rotational and vibrational, spectroscopies; an introduction to thermodynamics (internal energy, enthalpy, entropy and free energy, and their temperature dependence); thermodynamics and equilibria; an introduction to electrochemistry; an introduction to reaction kinetics. You will attend one lecture per week in this module.

Fundamental Organic Chemistry

In this module you will study the basics of organic chemistry, including nomenclature, molecular structure and bonding, stereochemistry and the chemical reactivity of common functional groups and reaction types through an understanding of their electronic properties. You will attend one lecture per week in this module.

Fundamental Inorganic Chemistry

In this module you'll focus on the electronic structures of atoms and molecules, and the theories underpinning the chemistry of the transition metal elements. You will attend one lecture per week in this module.

Introductory Laboratory Work

This module introduces you to the essential laboratory skills that are required in inorganic, organic and physical chemistry. You’ll spend around four 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. 

From Newton to Einstein

This module will introduce you to topics which will underpin all subsequent physics modules such as: classical mechanics; vectors; Einstein's special theory of relativity; electromagnetism; electrical circuits and quantum physics. You’ll spend around five hours per week in lectures and tutorials studying this module. 

Computing For Physical Science

You’ll receive training in basic computing techniques using MatLab, and will be introduced to their use in solving physical problems. You’ll spend three to four hours in computer classes and a one hour lecture each week. 

Mathematics for Physics and Astronomy

You’ll study a selection of mathematical techniques that are used for analysing physical behaviour. Topics will include: complex numbers; calculus of a single variable; plane geometry; differential equations; calculus of several variables; and matrix algebra. You’ll spend around three hours per week in workshops and lectures studying this module.

Typical year two modules


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 six hours per week in practicals for this module. 

Intermediate Inorganic Chemistry

You’ll explore the organometallic chemistry of the transition metals and will discuss the use of multinuclear NMR spectroscopy as a tool for the characterisation of molecules.

Intermediate Physical Chemistry

You’ll build upon the principles of thermodynamics and kinetics developed in year one. You’ll discuss the behaviour at liquid/gas and solid/gas interfaces and will be introduced to electrochemical cells and voltammetry.

Spectroscopy and Quantum Chemistry

You’ll study quantum mechanics and show how it can be applied to confined particles, the  rotation and vibration of molecules, the hydrogen atom, and one-electron ions. You’ll be introduced to the principles of spectroscopy to predict and understand atomic and diatomic molecular spectra, and understand how electronic and molecular structure determines the appearance of spectra.

The Quantum World

You’ll be given an introduction to the theoretical and elementary applications of quantum mechanics. Beginning with a discussion of the motion of particles and the quantum theory of angular momentum, you’ll then study the importance of symmetry, quantum statistics and matrix mechanics. You’ll have four hours of lectures and workshops each week for this module. 

Classical Fields

Building on the year one module From Newton to Einstein, you’ll be introduced to the mathematics of vector calculus and will cover various aspects of electromagnetism including the treatment of magnetic media, electromagnetic waves and various techniques for the solution of electromagnetic problems. You’ll spend around four hours per week in lectures and workshops for this module.

Experimental Techniques and Instrumentation

You’ll be introduced to a variety of topics including: basic techniques and equipment used in experimental physics; training in the analysis and interpretation of data; and training in the skills of record keeping and writing scientific reports. You’ll have around eight hours of practicals and lectures each week to study this module.



Atmospheric Chemistry

You’ll study topics such as the physical properties of the atmosphere, chemistry of ozone in the stratosphere, global warming, and analytical methods in atmospheric chemistry in three hours of lectures each week.

Principles of Analytical Chemistry

You’ll be introduced to the principles of analytical chemistry, including the principal types of instrumentation used and the statistical treatment of analytical results. You’ll spend around two hours per week in lectures and workshops studying this module. 

Force and Function at the Nanoscale

You’ll be given an overview of how forces at the nanoscale are different to those observed in macroscopic systems and will consider how they can be exploited in nanometre-scale processes and devices. You’ll focus on the physical basis and measurement of forces operating on the nanoscale, considering van der Waals, electrostatic, hydrophobic and hydrophilic interactions. You’ll spend around three hours per week in lectures and workshops studying this module.

Typical year three modules


Chemical Bonding and Reactivity

You’ll learn about the fundamental requirements for two molecules to react and how to assess the likelihood of reactivity based on energy level structure. You’ll learn about experiments that can probe the outcomes of reaction and experiments that can promote reaction. You’ll learn about some theoretical methods that can be used to understand reactivity. The module will progress at two lectures per week, with four workshops interspersed throughout the semester and regular problem sheets.

Solids, Interfaces and Surfaces 

You’ll study the relationships between structure and properties of solids, and develop electronic structure theories that account for a wide range of properties of solids. You’ll learn about semi-conductors, photoconductivity, LEDs and solar cells and attend around two lectures per week in this module.

Fourier Methods

You’ll be introduced to general methods for the discussion of wave propagation, specifically methods for the solution of differential equations and Fourier methods. You’ll spend around six hours each week in lectures and workshops for this module. 

Atoms, Photons and Fundamental Particles

This module will introduce you to the physics of atoms, nuclei and the fundamental components of matter. You’ll cover topics such as: particle physics; atomic physics; lasers; and nuclear physics. You’ll spend around four hours a week in lectures and workshops for this module. 

Introduction to Solid State Physics

Providing a general introduction to solid state physics, you’ll cover topics such as: bonding; crystal structures; band theory; phonons; and optical properties of solids and magnetism. You’ll spend around four hours per week in lectures and workshops studying for this module. 

Physics Project

You’ll carry out a project within the areas of chemical and molecular physics, which may be experimental or theoretical in nature. Spending around two hours per week in lectures and tutorials, you’ll work in pairs to plan your project under the guidance of a project supervisor.

Advanced Laboratory Techniques

You’ll gain experience of advanced experimental techniques, spending around 12 hours per week in practicals. You’ll study the principles upon which modern experimental methodology is based, obtain and interpret physical data, and undertake project work and report writing.

Chemistry and Molecular Physics Literature and Communication Skills

You’ll undertake a literature review on a selected topic in the area of chemistry and molecular physics, presenting your work as a written report. You’ll also develop your communication skills through group work, presentations and writing for the general public. You’ll spend around two hours per week in workshops for this module. 



Lasers in Chemistry

You'll explore the applciations of lasers in chemistry including their use in atmospheric measurements; combustion; photochemistry and synthesis; chemical kinetics; studies of small metal clusters and nanoparticles and time-resolved studies. 

Bioinorganic and Metal Coordination Chemistry

You’ll study the roles of the transition metal elements in biology including iron in haemoglobin and myoglobin, metal centres in enzymes and the use of metal complexes in medicine. You'll learn about the physical methods used to study the electronic structure of transition metal centres and the synthesis and the application of coordination chemistry in metal extraction, photochemistry and catalysis. You’ll attend two lectures per week in this module.


This module will develop your knowledge and understanding of heterogeneous and homogeneous catalysis, catalyst promotion and the concept of catalytic cycles. You’ll spend around two hours per week in lectures and seminars for this module. 

Topics in Inorganic Chemistry

You’ll study aspects of solid state materials chemistry and f-Block chemistry including their synthesis, technological uses and applications, electronic structure, spectroscopy and optical properties, magnetism and roles in catalysis.

Typical year four modules

You will choose one of the following modules

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.

Natural Science and CMP Physics Project

The module will consist of a project the aim of which is to solve a practical or theoretical problem. Practical problems will be undertaken in research laboratories and typically students work in groups on their project.



From Accelerators to Medical Imaging

This module examines experimental high energy physics techniques such as synchrotrons and cyclotrons and their applications in medical imaging. Through two hours of lectures each week, you’ll cover topics including: cyclotrons, synchrotrons; applications to radiation detectors; X-ray imaging; and nuclear medicine. 

Functional Medical Imaging

Through two hours of lectures per week you’ll cover topics such as: NMR; introduction to MRI; physics of nerves; EEG and MEG.

Imaging and Manipulation at the Nanoscale

You’ll consider the use of scanning probes to acquire images of surfaces with sub-atomic resolution and to investigate the phenomena which occur on the nanometre length-scale. Spending around two hours per week in lectures, you’ll examine how scanning probe microscopy has provided an enormous stimulus to nanoscience and how new research and applications are developing in this emerging discipline. 

Semiconductor Physics

This module will explore the physics of semiconductors and some of their applications. Topics include: semiconductor materials; energy bands and band bending; quantum confinement and the density of states; electrical properties; and semiconductor devices. You’ll have around two hours of lectures each week to study for this module. 

Quantum Dynamics

You’ll extend and develop your  knowledge of quantum theory with a particular emphasis on how quantum systems evolve over time. The module will focus on developing the mathematical formalism of quantum mechanics as well as introducing important physical models and calculational techniques.

Advanced Physical Chemistry

Building on your knowledge from the previous years' modules in physical chemistry, you’ll study topics including: intermolecular forces, computer modelling and simulations of condensed phases and chemical sensors. You’ll spend around two hours in lectures and seminars each week for this module. 

Contemporary Physical Chemistry

You’ll learn about the properties of matter from condensed matter through to gas phase including the novel states of matter such as ultracold molecules in traps and liquid He nanodroplets, microsolvated clusters, and low dimensional carbon structures. You’ll study the dynamics of chemical processes and the capability of modern light sources allowing for the study of time-resolved measurements on timescales ranging from pico- to attoseconds. You’ll study this module through two hours of lectures per week.

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 spend around two hours each week in lectures and seminars.

Self-assembly and Bottom-up Approaches to Nanostructure Fabrication

In this module you’ll study the approaches to the fabrication of molecular assemblies on the nanoscale. You’ll gain an understanding of the nature of intermolecular forces, paying particular attention to their application to self-assembly. You’ll spend around two hours per week studying this module.

The Politics, Perception and Philosophy of Physics

In this module you'll gain an appreciation of the broad societal impact of physics (and science in general). You'll be introduced to the politics surrounding science policy (on, e.g., global warming/renewable energy R&D) and research funding. You'll also explorre some of the key ideas in the philosophy of physics and science, particularly as they relate to public perception of scientific research.



You will have a unique qualification in chemistry and molecular physics, with a sound understanding of the two disciplines. Your transferable skills will include problem solving, computer programming, communicating science and teamwork.

Professional accrediation

The Institute of Physics accredits bachelor and integrated masters degree programmes for the purposes of the professional award of Chartered Physicist. Chartered Physicist requires an IOP accredited degree followed by an appropriate period of experience during which professional skills are acquired. 

An accredited integrated masters degree fulfils the academic requirements for Chartered Physicist. 

institute of physics

Average starting salary and career progression

In 2016, 90.8% of undergraduates in the school who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £24,150 with the highest being £32,000.*

* Known destinations of full-time home undergraduates 2015/16. Salaries are calculated based on the median of those in full-time paid employment within the UK.

Careers support and advice

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 2013-2017, High Fliers Research).


Fees and funding

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. For up to date information regarding tuition fees, visit our fees and finance pages.

Home students*

Over one third of our UK students receive our means-tested core bursary, worth up to £2,000 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

Our International Baccalaureate Diploma Excellence Scholarship is available for select students paying overseas fees who achieve 38 points or above in the International Baccalaureate Diploma. We also offer a range of High Achiever Prizes for students from selected countries, schools and colleges to help with the cost of tuition fees. Find out more about scholarships, fees and finance for international students.


Key Information Sets (KIS)

KIS is an initiative that the government has introduced to allow you to compare different courses and universities.

How to use the data

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.


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