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Chemistry

Everything around us involves chemistry, from the food that we eat to the air that we breathe. Chemistry is a vibrant and exciting central science that interfaces with biology, physics, mathematics, medicine and geology, and St Andrews offers appropriate modules highlighting the importance of these interfaces.

At St Andrews, students are able to build their fundamental training in chemistry into specialised areas including medicinal chemistry, materials, molecular biology, nanotechnology, catalysis and surface science. Chemists are highly valued as researchers, developers and managers in manufacturing industries including fuels and pharmaceuticals.

Courses

Undergraduate

Chemistry BSc (Hons)
Chemistry MChem (Hons)
Biomolecular Science BSc (Hons)
Chemical Sciences BSc (Hons)
Chemistry with Medicinal Chemistry BSc (Hons)
Chemistry with Medicinal Chemistry MChem (Hons)
Materials Chemistry BSc (Hons)
Materials Chemistry MChem (Hons)
Sustainable Development BSc (Hons)
Sustainable Development MA (Hons)

Joint degree options

The Chemistry BSc and the Chemistry MChem programmes can be taken with another subject as part of a joint degree or a "with" degree.

Postgraduate

Taught

Catalysis MSc
Chemical Science MSc
Chemistry MPhil

PhDs

Please contact a supervisor in your research area to inquire about PhD opportunities.

Visit St Andrews

If you are interested in studying at St Andrews, join us at an open day to explore the town, find out about our courses and meet current students.

 Undergraduates

Booking for our autumn visiting days will open in early September 2017.

  • Wednesday 27 September 2017
  • Wednesday 4 October 2017
  • Wednesday 18 October 2017
  • Wednesday 25 October 2017
  • Wednesday 1 November 2017

 

Postgraduates

  • November 2017 - date to be confirmed.

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Latest in Chemistry at St Andrews

A Royal Society of Chemistry ‘blue plaque’ was placed on the railings in North Street on 11 October 2016 to recognise the historic contributions of two St Andrews Chemists.

News

The EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Critical Resource Catalysis (CRITICAT) is a PhD training programme hosted by St Andrews, Heriot-Watt and Edinburgh Universities.

News

Chemistry research areas

The School has several groups carrying out research in core areas of organic synthesis and molecular inorganic chemistry. This includes diversity orientated synthesis; natural product chemistry; asymmetric synthesis; inorganic and organic heterocycles; and sulfur and phosphorus chemistry. The School is a leading centre in the area of catalysis, where they are leading a new EPSRC-funded Centre for Doctoral Training.

The key areas of research within the School are grouped into four research areas:

Chemistry-biology interface

The chemistry-biology interface area is broad, with particular strengths in the areas of protein structure and function, mechanistic enzymology, proteomics, biologically targeted synthesis, the application of high throughput and combinatorial approaches, and biophysical chemistry, which focuses on the development and application of physicochemical techniques to biological systems.

Staff members currently undertaking research in this area include:

  • Dr Bela Bode: EPR Spectroscopy including pulsed and continuous wave EPR spectroscopy; nanometre distance measurements; hyperpolarisation techniques.
  • Dr Catherine Botting: mass spectrometry including protein mass spectrometry; proteomics.
  • Dr Gordon Florence: organic synthesis including asymmetric synthesis; synthesis of bioactive natural products and structural analogues; new methods and strategies for acyclic stereocontrol.
  • Dr Rebecca Goss: bio-organic chemistry including natural product biosynthesis; biocatalysis; natural products of medicinal interest; synthetic biology.
  • Dr John Mitchell: computational chemistry including bioinformatics; enzyme reactions; chemoinformatics; machine learning; solubility; computational toxicology.
  • Dr Tanja van Mourik: computational chemistry including ab initio quantum chemistry; conformation of biological molecules.
  • Professor Jim Naismith FRS: structural biology using protein crystallography including molecular medicine; protein structure; protein crystallography; mechanistic biochemistry; drug design.
  • Professor David O’Hagan: bio-organic and natural product chemistry including organic synthesis; biosynthesis; organofluorine chemistry; stable isotopes; biotransformations; chiral compounds; enzyme chemistry.
  • Professor Nicholas Westwood: organic and biomolecular synthesis including combinatorial synthesis; bioactive molecules; organic synthesis.

Chemical physics

Chemical physics is the fundamental study of molecular properties and processes. Areas of expertise include:

  • probing molecular structure in the gas phase, clusters and nanoparticles
  • the development and application of physicochemical techniques such as mass spectoscropy to molecular systems
  • the EaStCHEM surface science group, who study complex molecules on surfaces, probing the structure property-relationships employed in heterogeneous catalysis.

Staff members currently undertaking research in this area include:

  • Dr Yuri Andreev: powder diffraction data treatment and their application to structural characterisation of materials.
  • Professor Sharon Ashbrook: solid state NMR including solid state NMR methodology; inorganic materials; minerals; microporous solids; high-pressure phases; ceramics; ab-initio calculation.
  • Professor Christopher Baddeley: surface chemistry including heterogeneous catalysis; bimetallic surfaces; chiral surfaces; nanoparticle chemistry; liquid-solid interface.
  • Dr Bela Bode: EPR Spectroscopy including pulsed and continuous wave EPR spectroscopy; nanometre distance measurements; hyperpolarisation techniques.
  • Professor Manfred Buck: physics and chemistry at interfaces including molecular self-assembly at interfaces; electrochemical nanotechnology; non-linear optical spectroscopy; scanning tunnelling microscopy.
  • Professor Michael Bühl: computational chemistry including computational chemistry; transition-metal complexes; homogeneous catalysis; NMR properties; first-principles molecular dynamics simulations.
  • Dr David Cordes: X-ray crystallography; molecular structure determination for crystalline solid-state materials.
  • Dr Daniel Dawson: NMR spectroscopy.
  • Dr Herbert Früchtl: computational studies of surfaces and materials; investigation of graphene and its precursors; molecular switches on metal surfaces.
  • Dr Georg Hähner: physics and chemistry at interfaces including functional ultrathin organic films; self-assembled monolayers; liquid-solid interface; electronic structure; photoelectron spectroscopy.
  • Dr John Mitchell: computational chemistry including bioinformatics; enzyme reactions; chemoinformatics; machine learning; solubility; computational toxicology.
  • Dr Tanja van Mourik: computational chemistry including ab initio quantum chemistry; conformation of biological molecules.
  • Professor Neville Richardson: surface science including: molecular chemisorption processes; surface characterisation; scanning probe microscopies; reflection absorption infra-red spectroscopy.
  • Dr Renald Schaub: surface science including heterogeneous catalysis; scanning tunnelling microscopy; mass spectrometry; model systems; metal-oxide surfaces.
  • Professor Alexandra Slawin: crystallography keywords: single crystal; x-ray; sensors; h-bonding; structure; receptors.
  • Professor John Walton: free radicals and the development of organic syntheses and novel materials based on these species.
  • Professor Wuzong Zhou: electron microscopy including: solid state structural chemistry; material chemistry; oxides; mesoporous solids.

Molecular synthetic chemistry

Molecular synthesis encompasses the synthesis and characterisation at ambient and extreme conditions of organic and inorganic compounds, including those with application in homogeneous catalysis, nanotechnology, supramolecular chemistry, drug discovery and ligand design. The development of innovative synthetic and characterisation methodologies (particularly in structural chemistry) is a key feature.

Staff members currently undertaking research in this area include:

  • Dr Alan Aitken: synthetic organic chemistry including synthetic chemistry; asymmetric synthesis; flash vacuum pyrolysis; heterocyclic chemistry; organophosphorus chemistry; main group chemistry.
  • Dr Matt Clarke: organic synthesis using homogeneous catalysts including asymmetric synthesis; greener organic chemistry; homogeneous catalysis; organometallic chemistry.
  • Dr Gordon Florence: organic synthesis including asymmetric synthesis; synthesis of bioactive natural products and structural analogues; new methods and strategies for acyclic stereocontrol.
  • Dr Rebecca Goss: bio-organic chemistry including natural product biosynthesis; biocatalysis; natural products of medicinal interest; synthetic biology.
  • Professor Paul Kamer: homogeneous catalysis including homogeneous catalysis; organometallic chemistry; ligand design; transition metalloenzymes.
  • Dr Euan Kay: organic; supramolecular and nanomaterials synthesis including self assembly; hybrid nanocrystal-organic materials; functional molecules; artificial molecular machines.
  • Dr Petr Kilian: main group chemistry including synthesis; organo-element chemistry; organo-phosphorus and organo-pnictide chemistry; low and hypercoordinated phosphorus chemistry.
  • Professor David O’Hagan: bio-organic and natural product chemistry including organic synthesis; biosynthesis; organofluorine chemistry; stable isotopes; biotransformations; chiral compounds; enzyme chemistry.
  • Professor Douglas Philp: physical organic chemistry including bio-organic chemistry; molecular recognition; self-assembly; replication processes; computational methods; reaction mechanisms; crystal engineering.
  • Professor Andrew Smith: organic synthesis including asymmetric synthesis; molecular enantiorecognition; organocatalysis; asymmetric carbene catalysis; chiral auxiliary development.
  • Dr Andreas Stasch: low oxidation states; metal hydrides; bonding modes; organometallics; low coordination numbers; ligand design.
  • Dr James Taylor: sustainable catalysis; asymmetric catalysis; methodology development; organic synthesis.
  • Professor John Walton: free radicals and the development of organic syntheses and novel materials based on these species.
  • Professor Nicholas Westwood: organic and biomolecular synthesis including combinatorial synthesis; bioactive molecules; organic synthesis.
  • Professor Derek Woollins (Vice-Principal in Research and Provost of St Leonard’s College) : inorganic synthesis keywords: synthesis; sulfur; selenium; phosphorus; heterocycles; metal extraction; inorganic rings and cages.
  • Dr Eli Zysman-Colman: inorganic synthesis including: light-emitting electrochemical cells; electrochemiluminescence; photoredox catalysis.

Materials chemistry

The St Andrews Materials Chemistry group is one the largest materials chemistry groups in the UK. Areas of strength include the design, synthesis and characterisation of strongly correlated electronic materials, battery and fuel cell materials and devices, porous solids, materials at extreme pressures and temperatures, polymer microarray technologies and technique development for materials and nanomaterials analysis.

Staff members currently undertaking research in this area include:

  • Dr Robert Armstrong: the synthesis and characterisation of novel electrode materials for lithium-ion and sodium-ion batteries.
  • Professor Sharon Ashbrook: solid state NMR including solid state NMR methodology; inorganic materials; minerals; microporous solids; high-pressure phases; ceramics; ab-initio calculations.
  • Dr Richard Baker: materials science including high resolution transmission electron microscopy; fuel cells; heterogeneous catalysts; electro-active polymers.
  • Dr Herbert Früchtl: computational studies of surfaces and materials; investigation of graphene and its precursors; molecular switches on metal surfaces.
  • Professor John Irvine: inorganic solid state chemistry including electronic and ionic conducting materials; solid state electrochemistry; superconductors; fuel cells; lithium batteries; ceramics; oxides.
  • Professor Philip Lightfoot: solid state chemistry and crystallography including: structural chemistry; x-ray and neutron diffraction; microporous solids; ferroelectrics; functional materials.
  • Professor Russell Morris FRS: the synthesis of inorganic-organic hybrid materials including solid state chemistry; microporous materials; catalysts; layered materials; dendrimers; x-ray diffraction.
  • Dr Finlay Morrison: materials chemistry including electroceramics; solid state chemistry; functional oxides; ferroelectrics; thin films; nanostructured oxides.
  • Professor James Scott FRS: solid-state chemistry; ferroics; quantum critical phenonmena.
  • Professor Paul Wright: microporous and mesoporous solids and heterogeneous catalysis including: microporous solids; mesoporous solids; coordination complex and enzyme encapsulation; catalysis; solid acids; redox catalysts.
  • Professor Wuzong Zhou: electron microscopy including: solid state structural chemistry; material chemistry; oxides; mesoporous solids.

Chemistry research centres

The School of Chemistry currently has four research centres:

Biomedical Sciences Research Complex (BSRC)
Researchers within the Biomedical Sciences Research Complex employ state-of-the-art techniques to address key questions at the leading edge of the biomedical and biological sciences. The ethos of the BSRC is to break down barriers between scientific disciplines and conduct world-class research on the broad theme of infection and immunity.

Centre of Magnetic Resonance (CMR)
The CMR combines expertise in liquid or solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance, dynamic nuclear polarization, electron paramagnetic resonance, muon spin rotation, and computational magnetic resonance.

Organic Semiconductor Centre (OSC)
The OSC aims to encourage synergy between physicists, chemists and biologists to develop the next generation of organic semiconductors. The OSC provides world class facilities for the researchers within the centre to focus on conjugated polymers and dendrimers, as well as their combination with quantum dots.

Scottish Centre for Interdisciplinary Surface Spectroscopy (SCISS)
SCISS is a collaborative centre established in 2008 at the University of St Andrews by the Scottish Funding Council (SFC), through a strategic research development grant. It focuses on real and momentum space resolved electron spectroscopies applied to complex materials.

Chemistry research portal

Chemistry facilities

The School of Chemistry is equipped to support major facilities across the full spectrum of Chemistry, including:

  • NMR (both solution and solid-state)
  • X-ray crystallography (single-crystal, powder and macromolecular)
  • electron microscopy
  • catalyst evaluation
  • analytical chemistry
  • spectroscopy
  • surface science.

The School also houses its own library containing all of the major books required for postgraduate research work. Comprehensive online access to journals and national and international databases is available.

Find out more about the facilities and services the School of Chemistry offers.

Funding opportunities

The University of St Andrews offers various funding opportunities at every level of study.

Undergraduate

The Chemistry Purdie Scholarship (UK and EU applicants) and the Benjamin Franklin Chemistry Scholarship (USA applicants), worth £1000 to cover maintenance fees, are available for Chemistry applicants and are awarded on a competitive basis.

Undergraduate scholarships

Postgraduate students

There are various funding opportunities available to postgraduate students.

Postgraduate taught scholarships

PhD students

Find out more about funding at PhD level.

Funding for PhD students

Careers for graduates in Chemistry

St Andrews Chemistry graduates are in demand by both major and grassroots companies. Popular careers for chemists include:

  • professional chemists in the chemical, pharmaceutical and engineering industries
  • management consultants
  • accountants
  • investment bankers
  • teachers
  • forensic scientists
  • patent lawyers
  • journalism and the media
  • various careers in the food industry (including brewing)
  • marketing and advertising.

Many also continue in academic life, in universities or research institutions in the UK, Europe, North America, Japan and others worldwide. Other career routes outwith a research environment include scientific publishing, patent law, forensic science, and IT and energy consultancy.

Recent Chemistry graduates are engaged in diverse roles and have found positions such as:

  • a research scientist at a company involved in enhanced oil recovery in western Canada
  • an intern at the European Patent Office
  • pharmaceutical development scientist at Reckitt-Benckiser
  • audit assistan at KPMG
  • regional liaison officer for the Royal Society of Chemists.

See recent graduate employment case studies.

Awards

REF 2014

In the UK Research Excellence Framework 2014, Chemistry research at St Andrews was ranked top in Scotland with 28% of its overall research activity rated as world leading.

Athena Swan Silver Award

The School of Chemistry was the first School at St Andrews to receive an Athena SWAN Silver award. The School is determined to actively support equality and fairness irrespective of race, disability, age, faith, gender and sexual orientation and is taking active steps to stamp out any explicit or implicit discrimination of staff and students on the basis of these differences.

RSC Emerging Technologies Award 2016

MOFgen, a spin-off company from the School of Chemistry and led by Professor Russell Morris, FRS, have won first prize in the Royal Society of Chemistry Emerging Technologies competition for their Health and Wellbeing Technology.

Contact

School of Chemistry
University of St Andrews
North Haugh
St Andrews
KY16 9ST

Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 3800 
Email: chemistry@st-andrews.ac.uk

Chemistry website   Chemistry research portal