Chemistry MChem (Hons) 2018 entry

The MChem (Hons) in Chemistry will teach you the fundamentals of this central science, from the composition and properties of matter to using reactions to create new materials, from pharmaceuticals to drinkable water. Chemistry at St Andrews interfaces with biology, physics, mathematics, medicine and geology, making it a highly applicable subject to many areas of study.

The MChem allows you to study chemistry at great depth with emphasis on research all combined in a single five-year programme, graduating with a Masters degree. The course is designed to give you the best possible training for a career in chemistry and is tailored for those intending to enter the professional chemical sector or to carry out postgraduate study upon graduation.

Students can also take Chemistry as a standard four-year BSc degree.

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UCAS code

F101 (MChem), F102 (MChem with external placement)

Course type

Master in Chemistry (Integrated Masters degree)

Course duration

Five years full time

  • Start date: 10 September 2018
  • End date: 30 June 2023

If you started this programme in 2017, you can find information about 2017 entry on the 2017 Chemistry MChem (Hons) page. Information about all programmes from previous years of entry can be found in the archive.

Typical entry requirements

The following are likely grades considered for an offer. St Andrews considers all aspects of every application, including context, equivalent qualifications and the personal statement, and offers may be higher or lower than the grades stated here.

SQA Highers AAAB, including A in Chemistry, and an additional Higher in one of the following:
  • Biology or Human Biology
  • Computing Science or equivalent
  • Geography
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Psychology.
GCE A-Levels AAB, including A in Chemistry.
IB points 35, including HL6 in Chemistry.

Well-qualified school leavers may be able to apply for admission directly into the second year of this course. Find out more about direct entry to second year for Chemistry MChem. 

For degrees combining more than one subject, the subject with the higher entry requirements determines the grades you need. You will also need to meet any further subject specific entrance requirements as outlined on their pages.

International applicants

If English is not your first language you will need an overall IELTS score of 6.5, with a minimum score of 6.0 in each component (Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking), or an equivalent English Language qualification.

Find out more about international entry requirements.

How to apply

Do I need to have studied this subject before?

Applicants must have studied Chemistry at SQA Higher, GCE A-Level, IB or equivalent. Preference may be given to candidates with strong science qualifications.

Faculty entry requirements

You must also meet the Faculty of Science minimum qualifications. These vary depending on which qualifications you hold.

Other qualifications

Passes in other examinations at equivalent levels and subjects may be accepted by the Dean of the Faculty. More information on how to apply via other entry routes or accreditation of prior learning and experience can be found on the University’s entry requirements webpage.

Find out more about Faculty of Science entry requirements.

Timetables

St Andrews students must meet with their Adviser of Studies at the beginning of Semester 1 in September to complete advising – a compulsory part of the matriculation process. After module choices have been decided, a timetable will be allocated indicating the dates and times of classes.

Course information

The MChem in Chemistry is a five-year Integrated Masters course run by the School of Chemistry. Chemistry at St Andrews provides students with a fundamental and comprehensive understanding of chemistry, along with intellectual training in numeracy, problem-solving, teamwork and communications.

In the first two years, you will take modules in organic, inorganic and physical chemistry. Alongside Chemistry, in the first year of your studies you will be required to study an additional two subjects. In the second year, you will usually carry on at least one of these subjects, sometimes two. Find out more about more about how academic years are organised.

The skills you gain in research and analysis during these years will prepare you to undertake more advanced and specialist modules during your final three years. These specialist subjects include (but are not limited to):

  • organometallic chemistry
  • carbohydrate and nucleic acid chemistry
  • energy conversion and storage
  • statistical mechanics and computational chemistry.

In your fourth year, you will have the opportunity to apply for an external placement in a leading industrial laboratory in the UK, Europe and North America. The School of Chemistry will assist you in applying for a placement.

During your final year, you will carry out a research project in one of the School’s highly-rated research groups.

Well-qualified school leavers may be able to apply for admission directly into the second year of this course. Find out more about direct entry to second year for Chemistry MChem.

Students can also take Chemistry as a standard four-year BSc degree.

The University of St Andrews operates on a flexible modular degree system by which degrees are obtained through the accumulation of credits. More information on the structure of the modules system can be found on the flexible degree structure webpage.

Find out more about studying Chemistry at St Andrews.

Modules

In the first two years of your degree (known as sub-honours) you will take the required modules in Chemistry alongside modules in at least one other subject.

Typically, you will take one or two Chemistry modules per semester during your first two years, and four to six per semester during your third, fourth, and fifth years (known as Honours). Find out more about the modular Scottish degree system.

Students will take the following compulsory first-year modules:

  • Introductory Inorganic and Physical Chemistry: covers the origin of the elements, atoms and the periodic table, shapes and properties of molecules, chemistry of the elements, properties of solutions, thermochemistry, thermodynamics and kinetics.
  • Inorganic and Physical Chemistry 1: covers bonding in simple molecules, inorganic solids, chemistry of the first row transition metals, properties of solids, states of matter and introductory spectroscopy.
  • Organic and Biological Chemistry 1: covers the structure, stereochemistry and nomenclature of simple organic compounds, fundamental organic reaction mechanisms, organic functional groups and their reactions, introductory bio-organic chemistry, and organic spectroscopy.

Students will take the following compulsory second-year modules: 

  • Inorganic Chemistry 2: covers metal complexes and organometallics, descriptive transition-metal chemistry, atmospheric chemistry, solid-state chemistry and descriptive main-group chemistry.
  • Physical Chemistry 2: covers quantum mechanics, thermodynamics and electrochemistry, kinetics, molecular spectroscopy and diffraction and mathematical tools for chemistry.
  • Organic Chemistry 2: covers carbon-carbon bond formation, interconversion of functional groups, aromatic and heteroaromatic reactivity, mechanistic biological chemistry and organic spectroscopy.

If you decide to take Chemistry in your third year, you choose from a wide variety of advanced options, including modules ranging from physical inorganic chemistry to quantum theory of atoms, molecules and solids.

Here is a sample of Honours modules which have been offered in previous years:

  • Organometallic Chemistry
  • Quantum Theory of Atoms, Molecules and Solids
  • Synthetic Methodology
  • Mechanism in Organic Chemistry.

During fourth year, you will have the opportunity to work on a placement outside St Andrews for a whole year. This is a great chance to gain experience in industry and to add value to your CV at the same time.

Typically, you may join a research and development group within a company and receive a salary for the duration of your placement. It is also possible for the placement to be carried out in an overseas academic institution.

The School will assist students in applying for an 8 to 13-month placement in a leading industrial research laboratory. The School has links with large and small companies of different types, including:

  • BP (UK)
  • Sasol (UK)
  • AstraZeneca (UK)
  • Roche (Basel, Switzerland)
  • Proctor and Gamble (UK)
  • Novartis (Basel, Switzerland)
  • DSM (Amsterdam, Netherlands)
  • GlaxoSmithKline (UK)
  • Syngenta (UK).

During fifth year, you will take advanced research-led modules in your chosen speciality. Advanced modules offered in the past include:

  • Homogeneous Catalysis
  • Asymmetric Synthesis
  • Advanced Spectroscopic Methods
  • Advanced Ligand Design
  • Chemical Biology. 

Students will also undertake a substantial research project in their final year on a topic chosen in consultation with academic staff. The project aims to develop your skills in experimental design and problem-solving, the evaluation and interpretation of data, and communications skills. 


The sub-honours modules listed here are the compulsory modules that students must take in order to graduate in this subject. However, most students at St Andrews take additional modules, either in their primary subject or from other subjects they are interested in. For Honours-level, students choose from a range of Honours modules, some of which are listed above. A full list of all modules available for the current academic year can be found in the module catalogue.

Teaching

Teaching format

Chemistry is taught through a combination of lectures (80 to 160 students) and labs (20 to 50 students), which are supplemented by small group tutorials (5 to 10 students). Class sizes decrease at Honours level.

All lecture courses have web-based support materials, and additional teaching support is given for selected topics, such as mathematics.  

When not attending lectures, tutorials and labs, you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. Typically, this will involve:

  • working on individual and group projects
  • undertaking research in a laboratory
  • undertaking research in the library
  • preparing coursework assignments and presentations
  • preparing for examinations.

You will be taught by an experienced teaching team with expertise and knowledge of Chemistry. Postgraduate research students who have undertaken teacher training may also contribute to the teaching of laboratory classes and seminars under the supervision of the module leader.

You can find contact information for all Chemistry staff on the School of Chemistry website.

In addition to your studies in the School of Chemistry, optional academic support is available through practical study skills courses and workshops hosted within the University.

The University’s student services team can help students with additional needs resulting from disabilities, long term medical conditions or learning disabilities. More information can be found on the students with disabilities webpage.

Assessment

All sub-honours modules are assessed by 60% to 70% written examinations combined with 30% to 40% coursework covering laboratories, tutorials and transferable skills exercises.

For Honours modules, assessment is either by written examination for lecture-based modules, or by coursework including written reports, oral presentations and oral examinations for laboratory, workshop and research project modules. 

Examinations are held at the end of each semester during a dedicated exam diet with revision time provided beforehand. 

The School of Chemistry provides feedback on every assessment, with a view to improving your performance in future, and aims to provide feedback on assessments and coursework within three weeks.

Undergraduates at the University of St Andrews must achieve at least 7.0 on the St Andrews 20-point grade scale to pass a module. To gain access to Honours-level modules, students must achieve the relevant requisites as specified in the policy on entry to Honours and in the relevant programme requirements. Please note that some Schools offer qualified entry to Honours, and this will be clearly specified in the programme requirements. To find out the classification equivalent of points, please visit the common reporting scale webpage.

Visit St Andrews

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

Undergraduates

Upcoming visiting days:

  • Wednesday 26 September 2018
  • Wednesday 3 October 2018
  • Wednesday 17 October 2018
  • Wednesday 24 October 2018
  • Wednesday 31 October 2018

Fees

Tuition fees for 2018 entry

Scotland and EU £1,820
Rest of the UK £9,250
Overseas £21,290

For overseas students, tuition fees will be fixed at this level for the duration of your programme.

More information on tuition fees can be found on the undergraduate fees and funding page.

Accommodation fees

Find out about accommodation fees for University accommodation in 2018.

Funding and scholarships

The University of St Andrews offers a number of scholarships and support packages to undergraduate students each year.

Chemistry Purdie scholarships

The Chemistry Purdie scholarships award £1,000 for one year of study to applicants from the UK or EU who are applying for a degree in Chemistry or a chemistry-related subject.

Find out more about undergraduate scholarships.

Joint Honours degrees

You can take Chemistry as part of a joint Honours degree alongside one of the following subjects.

"With" degrees

You can take the MChem in Chemistry as part of a "with" Honours degree in which the majority of the course deals with the first named subject. St Andrews offers the following "with" degrees in Chemistry:

Your future

Careers

Chemistry graduates have never been more in demand, and they are keenly sought by major companies; there are also exciting opportunities in a new generation of innovative grassroots companies. Those who take an Integrated Masters degree receive advanced research training and are prepared for a career within the scientific sector.

St Andrews Chemistry graduates are highly employable and have gone on to find success in a wide variety of careers in industry and business including: 

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

Recent Chemistry graduates are engaged in many diverse roles, including as an intern at the European Patent Office, as a research scientist at a company involved in enhanced oil recovery in western Canada, as a pharmaceutical development scientist at Reckitt-Benckiser, as an audit assistant at KPMG and as a regional liaison officer for the Royal Society of Chemistry.

The Careers Centre offers one-to-one advice to all students as well as a programme of events to assist students to build their employability skills.

Study abroad

The University is delighted to offer undergraduates a number of exciting opportunities to apply to spend a semester or year abroad as part of a St Andrews degree programme. St Andrews is partnered with large and small institutions, ancient and young, across the globe. What unites all of our programmes is the quality of the academic provision, ensuring that participation in a St Andrews Study abroad programme opens the door to a new and valuable academic experience at another world-class institution. Study Abroad for credit is permitted on existing University-approved programmes only.

Working abroad

Completing a work placement abroad is a good opportunity to gain work experience in another culture or language and to enhance valuable skill sets. As part of specific degree programmes in Chemistry, you may apply to undertake a work placement abroad for credit.

Student life

From the outset, the University of St Andrews offers an array of events and opportunities which result in a truly unique student experience. Students participate in a range of traditions, notably, the red academic gown and the academic family, where older students adopt first year students as ‘children’ and help guide them in a system of mentoring. These traditions and the choice of over 150 sports clubs and student societies to choose from ensures a community feel amongst students from first year onwards.

The School of Chemistry is located in the Purdie Building and the Biomedical Sciences Building in the North Haugh on the western edge of town. These buildings offer recently upgraded lecture theatres and seminar rooms, as well as state-of-the-art teaching laboratories for chemistry. 

The town of St Andrews itself has lots to offer. As the campus is located around town, walking around you encounter ancient and modern buildings and areas of greenery and seaside which provide a rich, beautiful backdrop to learning. If you want a change of scenery, St Andrews' position near surrounding towns and cities such as Anstruther, Dundee and Edinburgh make it ideal for getting to know more about Scotland.

Find out more about student life at the University of St Andrews.

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

School of Chemistry website