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Catalysis (MSc) 2022 entry

The MSc in Catalysis provides students with specialised advanced knowledge and skills in modern catalysis. It includes a research project leading to a dissertation. The course details the role catalysis plays in improving sustainability and solving environmental issues in chemical manufacture.

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Key information

Course type

Postgraduate, leading to a Master of Science (MSc)

Course dates

  • Start date: 5 September 2022
  • End date: 30 September 2023

Information about all programmes from previous years of entry can be found in the archive.

Course duration

One year full time

Entry requirements

The qualifications listed are indicative minimum requirements for entry. Some academic Schools will ask applicants to achieve significantly higher marks than the minimum. Obtaining the listed entry requirements will not guarantee you a place, as the University considers all aspects of every application including, where applicable, the writing sample, personal statement, and supporting documents.

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Tuition fees

Home: £10,395
Overseas: £25,450

Application deadline

Thursday 11 August 2022. Applicants should apply as early as possible to be eligible for certain scholarships and for international visa purposes.

Application requirements

  • CV or résumé. This should include your personal details with a history of your education and employment to date.
  • two original signed academic references
  • academic transcripts and degree certificates
  • evidence of English language proficiency (required if English is not your first language)
  • letter of intent (optional).

For more guidance, see supporting documents and references for postgraduate taught programmes.

Course information

The MSc in Catalysis is a one-year taught programme run by the School of Chemistry. It is designed to equip students and professionals who have a degree in Chemistry or an allied subject with a range of analytical, critical thinking, and communication skills.

The course provides students with specialised advanced knowledge and skills in modern catalysis with the ability to undertake a significant research project for their dissertation. The course aims to introduce awareness of the role catalysis plays in improving sustainability and solving environmental issues in chemical manufacture.


  • Provides you with an understanding of the science of catalysis in the context of its impacts on industry and academia.
  • You will gain knowledge in all major branches of catalysis, including homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysis, organocatalysis, biocatalysis, asymmetric catalysis and ligand design.
  • Skills acquired in the taught element will be applied in a short, intensive research project. This research-led teaching component is aligned with the interests of the School's world-leading research groups.
  • St Andrews has extensive expertise in catalysis research; this has been recognised by the award of the EPSRC Centre of Doctoral Training in Critical Resource Catalysis and the recently established EaSI-CAT Centre for doctoral training

Teaching format

The course consists of two semesters of taught modules followed by a significant research project and dissertation (15,000 words) focused over the summer months.

Teaching methods include:

  • seminars
  • lectures
  • tutorials
  • practical laboratory work
  • consultation sessions with supervisors.

Modules are assessed through coursework, written examinations, or a combination of both. Typical class sizes range from around 5 students for seminars and tutorials and around 40 students for lectures. 

Further particulars regarding curriculum development.


Students will take five compulsory and three optional modules during the course.

The modules in this programme have varying methods of delivery and assessment. For more details of each module, including weekly contact hours, teaching methods and assessment, please see the latest module catalogue which is for the 2021–2022 academic year; some elements may be subject to change for 2022 entry.

  • Contemporary Research Awareness: research colloquia and seminars delivered by external speakers and covering areas within current chemical science research. 
  • Homogeneous Catalysis: demonstrates the links between catalyst structure, performance, commercial utilisation and sustainability.
  • Literature Review for MSc Catalysis: an in-depth survey of the published literature within the area of catalysis, which is related to the prospective research project, including peer-review-like assessment and a short oral presentation. 
  • Natural Products, Biosynthesis and Enzyme Co-factors: introduces the origin of natural products and the diversity of enzyme reactions.
  • Research Skills in Chemistry: develops knowledge of specialised research techniques for the prospective research project.
  • Surface Science and Heterogeneous Catalysis: introduces the important general concepts of the chemistry of heterogeneous catalysis.

Here is a sample of optional modules that may be offered.

Semester 1 – students choose one optional module for the first semester.

  • Advanced Metal Chemistry
  • Advanced Spectroscopic Methods
  • Asymmetric Synthesis
  • Electrochemistry and Computational Chemistry
  • Heterocyclic and Pericyclic Chemistry
  • Nanostructured Materials
  • Processing of Materials

Semester 2 – students choose two optional modules for the second semester.

  • Advanced Main Group Chemistry
  • Advanced Physical Inorganic Chemistry
  • Blockbuster Solids
  • Chemical Applications of Electronic Structure Calculations
  • Chemical Biology
  • Energy Conversion and Storage 
  • Fragrance, Food and Colour Chemistry
  • Functional Materials and Electrons in Solids
  • Fundamentals of the Spectroscopy of Molecules and Solids
  • Molecular Recognition
  • Reactive Intermediates 

Optional modules are subject to change each year and require a minimum number of participants to be offered; some may only allow limited numbers of students (see the University's position on curriculum development).

During the final three months of the course, students undertake a research project finishing in a 15,000-word dissertation. The project is supervised by a member of the academic staff, and the project topic and aims will be selected by both supervisor and student. 

If students choose not to complete the dissertation requirement for the MSc, there is an exit award available that allows suitably qualified candidates to receive a Postgraduate Diploma. By choosing an exit award, you will finish your degree at the end of the second semester of study and receive a PGDip instead of an MSc.

The modules listed here are indicative, and there is no guarantee they will run for 2022 entry. Take a look at the most up-to-date modules in the module catalogue.

Meet us online

If you're interested in studying at St Andrews, join us on a virtual visiting day or daily information session to find out about our courses, how to apply, and to meet current students. 

Virtual events

Join our Admissions team for one of our upcoming virtual events. During these events, you can find out more about studying at St Andrews and what it will do for your future.

Online information events

Conferences and events

The School of Chemistry is accredited through the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), the largest organisation in Europe for advancing the chemical sciences. Supported by a worldwide network of members and an international publishing business, its activities span education, conferences, science policy and the promotion of chemistry to the public. The RSC often organises events and conferences in the Tayside area. 


Recent Graduate Discount
The University of St Andrews offers a 10% discount in postgraduate tuition fees to students who are eligible to graduate or who have graduated from St Andrews within the last three academic years and are starting a postgraduate programme with the University of St Andrews.

Find out more about postgraduate scholarships

After the MSc

Research degrees

In addition to the taught MSc, the School offers a one-year research MSc (Res) and a two-year Master of Philosophy (MPhil) degree option in Chemistry.

Many graduates continue their education by enrolling in PhD programmes at St Andrews or elsewhere. The School of Chemistry offers a large number of fully-funded PhD studentships each year. Key areas of PhD research include:

  • catalysis and synthesis
  • energy, environmental and sustainable chemistry
  • functional materials
  • synthetic chemistry and chemical dynamics
  • chemistry biology interface.

The School hosts the EaSI-CAT Centre for doctoral training, which provides studentships and innovative training in catalysis research. 

PhD in Chemistry


Chemistry graduates have gone on to successful careers in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries with companies such as:

  • AstraZeneca
  • BP
  • GSK
  • Johnson Matthey
  • Pfizer
  • Shell
  • Siemens.

Other career routes outwith a research environment include scientific publishing, patent law, forensic science, IT and energy consultancy.

The Careers Centre offers one-to-one advice to all students on a taught postgraduate course and offers a programme of events to assist students in building their employability skills.

"The staff are very supportive and I truly feel like I am part of the academic and research community. Support from other postgraduates has been incredibly helpful in handling stressful periods or just looking for a way to wind down."

- Vilnius, Lithuania


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

Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 3816

School of Chemistry


Admission to the University of St Andrews is governed by our admissions policy.

Information about all programmes from previous years of entry can be found in the archive.

Curriculum development

As a research intensive institution, the University ensures that its teaching references the research interests of its staff, which may change from time to time. As a result, programmes are regularly reviewed with the aim of enhancing students' learning experience. Our approach to course revision is described online.

Tuition fees

The University will clarify compulsory fees and charges it requires any student to pay at the time of offer. The offer will also clarify conditions for any variation of fees. The University’s approach to fee setting is described online.

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