Materials Chemistry MChem (Honours) 2023 entry

The MChem (Hons) in Materials Chemistry seeks to develop an understanding of the interrelationships between the composition, structure, microstructure and properties of matter in order to design and develop new materials. Examples may include: semiconductor processing and fabrication; materials for energy and IT; biomaterials; catalyst materials; ‘smart coatings’; and nanotechnology. 

The MChem allows you to study the subject at great depth with a significant emphasis on research, 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.  

Accreditation 

All single Honours Chemistry degree programmes are accredited by the Royal Society of Chemistry

UCAS code
F200
Start date
September 2023
End date
September 2028
Duration
Five years full time
School
School of Chemistry
“In my first year I found the amount of one-on-one time with the lecturers was amazing and having weekly tutorials was very helpful. The teaching laboratories allowed me to become proficient in not only my favourite branch of chemistry – organic - but also in computational, physical, and inorganic. If you want to go to a place where you can meet people from all around the world of different cultures and backgrounds, then you can find it here in St Andrews.”
Tommy
- Missouri, USA

Entry requirements

The University offers different entry requirements, depending on your background. Find out more about Standard, Minimum and Gateway entry requirements using academic entry explained and see which entry requirements you need to look at using the entry requirements indicator.

  • Standard entry grades:
    AAAAB, including A in Chemistry and an A in one other subject from the following: Biology (or Human Biology), Computing Science, Economics, Geography, Mathematics and Physics.
    Minimum entry grades:
    AABB, including A in Chemistry and an A in one other subject from the following: Biology (or Human Biology), Computing Science, Economics, Geography, Mathematics and Physics.
    Gateway entry grades:
    Applicants who have narrowly missed the minimum entry grades, but meet the University's contextual criteria, may be interested in one of the University’s Gateway programmes.
  • Standard entry grades:
    AAA, including A in Chemistry.
    Minimum entry grades:
    ABB, including A in Chemistry.
  • Standard entry grades:
    38 (HL 6,6,6), including HL6 in Chemistry and HL6 in one of the following subjects: Biology, Computer Science, Economics, Geography, Mathematics and Physics.
    Minimum entry grades:
    36 (HL 6,5,5), including HL6 in Chemistry and HL5 in one of the following subjects: Biology, Computer Science, Economics, Geography, Mathematics and Physics.

General entry requirements

All applicants must have attained the following qualifications, or equivalent, in addition to the specific entry requirements for individual programmes.

  • SQA National 5 (B) in English and one SQA National 5 (B) from the following:

    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Computing science
    • Geography
    • Lifeskills Mathematics (A grade)
    • Mathematics
    • Physics
    • Psychology.
  • GCSE (5) in English language or English literature, and one GCSE (5) from the following:

    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Computing Science
    • Geography
    • Mathematics
    • Physics
    • Psychology.

Other qualifications

We accept a wide range of qualifications for entry on to our programmes. Please see our entry requirements for more information.

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 web page.

Do I need to have studied this subject before?

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

Alternative study options

Students interested in this course may also be interested in the following:

Direct entry to second year

Well-qualified school leavers may be able to apply for admission directly into the second year of this course.

Gateway programmes

Applicants who have narrowly missed the minimum entry grades but meet the University's contextual criteria may be interested in the Gateway to Science programme.

Study abroad

Chemistry students can apply to participate in the University-wide St Andrews Abroad programme. Chemistry students are only able to study abroad for the full academic year (semester placements are not available). For information about study abroad options, please see the study abroad site

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. 

International applicants

If English is not your first language, you will need to provide an English language test score to evidence your English language ability. Find out more about approved English language tests and scores for this course.

Course details

The MChem in Materials Chemistry is a five-year Integrated Masters course run by the School of Chemistry. During the course, you will develop an awareness and appreciation of the latest advances in materials chemistry in addition to the fundamentals of the subject. You will receive a high level of general intellectual and scientific training which allows many graduates to enter challenging careers in areas not directly related to chemistry. 

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 how academic years are organised.  

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

  • energy conversion and storage 
  • functional materials 
  • materials analysis 
  • materials processing. 

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

During your final year, you will also carry out a research project in one of the School’s highly rated research groups on a topic chosen in consultation with staff. 

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 web page.

Modules

In the first two years of your degree (sub-honours level), 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 (Honours level).

Students will take the following compulsory first-year modules: 

  • Introductory Inorganic and Physical Chemistry: covers origin of the elements and the periodic table, atomic structure, shapes and properties of molecules, chemistry of the elements, properties of solutions, thermochemistry, thermodynamics and kinetics, and mathematical tools for chemistry. 
  • 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 and nomenclature of simple organic compounds, basic stereochemistry, fundamental organic reaction mechanisms, organic functional groups and their reactions, introductory bioorganic chemistry, and organic spectroscopy. 

Each of the compulsory sub-honours modules in chemistry involves a mixture of lecture-based and practical teaching. 

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. 
  • Organic Chemistry 2: covers methods for carbon-carbon bond formation and interconversion of functional groups, aromatic and heteroaromatic reactivity, retrosynthetic analysis, mechanistic biological chemistry and organic spectroscopy. 
  • Physical Chemistry 2: covers quantum mechanics, thermodynamics and electrochemistry, chemical kinetics, molecular spectroscopy and diffraction, and advanced mathematical tools for chemistry. 

Each of the compulsory sub-honours modules in chemistry involves a mixture of lecture-based and practical teaching. 

If you decide to take materials 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. 

Examples of Materials Chemistry Honours modules that have been offered in previous years include: 

  • Chemistry of Materials 
  • Introduction to Analysis of Materials 
  • Quantum Theory of Atoms, Molecules and Solids 
  • Statistical Mechanics and Computational Chemistry. 

During fourth year, you will have the opportunity to work on a placement outside St Andrews for up to 12 months. 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 leading research laboratory 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 has links with many large and small companies and will assist students in CV preparation, interview techniques and making placement applications. Some of the companies that students from St Andrews have completed placements with recently include: 

  • Agfa (Mortsel, Belgium) 
  • AkzoNobel (Sassenheim, The Netherlands) 
  • AstraZeneca (UK) 
  • BASF (Ludwigshafen, Germany) 
  • BP (UK) 
  • DSM (Amsterdam, Netherlands) 
  • GlaxoSmithKline (UK) 
  • Johnson Matthey (UK) 
  • Roche (Basel, Switzerland) 
  • Rolls Royce (UK) 
  • SINTEF (Norway). 

Alternatively, you have the choice to complete the MChem without doing an external placement, and will take lectures and practical modules during your fourth year at St Andrews instead. 

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

  • Chemical Applications of Electronic Structure Calculations 
  • Energy Conversion and Storage 
  • Nanostructured Materials 
  • Processing of Materials 
  • Surface Science and Heterogeneous Catalysis. 

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, independent working, and both oral and written communication. 

The compulsory modules listed here must be taken 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 appropriate to the programme for the current academic year can be found in the programme requirements.

Teaching

Chemistry is taught through a combination of lectures (80 to 200 students) and labs (20 to 50 students), which are supplemented by small group tutorials (5 to 10 students). Class sizes decrease significantly at Honours level. 

All lecture courses have online 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. 

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 aims to provide feedback on assessments and coursework within three weeks to help you improve on future assessments. 

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 see the common reporting scale.

You will be taught by an experienced teaching team of world-leading academics and specialists in materials chemistry. Postgraduate research students who have undertaken training may also contribute to the teaching of practical classes under the supervision of the module leader. 

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

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 web page.

Fees

Scotland
Tuition fees have yet to be set.

England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland
£9250

Channel Islands, Isle of Man
£9250

EU and overseas
£28190

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

Additional costs

There are no additional fees for labs in the School. However, the School expects that students provide their own lab coat and, in line with University policy, to purchase a number of textbooks as part of their study. 

Accommodation fees

Find out about accommodation fees for University accommodation.

Funding and scholarships

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

Careers

St Andrews chemistry graduates have an employment rate of over 95% and are in demand by large multinational and grassroots companies alike. Chemistry degrees provide a range of highly desirable skills that are prized by employers across numerous sectors, including: 

  • problem-solving 
  • numeracy 
  • data handling 
  • teamwork 
  • oral and written communication.  

St Andrews chemistry graduates move into a wide range of employment both in the materials, chemical and allied industries, as well as sectors outside physical sciences. Many MChem graduates continue on to PhD-level degrees both in the UK and overseas. 

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.

What to do next

Online information events

Join us for one of our information events where you can find out about different levels of study and specific courses we run. There are also sessions available for parents and college counsellors.

Undergraduate visiting days

We encourage all students who are thinking of applying to the University to attend one of our online or in-person visiting days.

Contact us

Phone
+44 (0)1334 46 3800
Email
chemistry@st-andrews.ac.uk
Address
School of Chemistry
Purdie Building
North Haugh
St Andrews
KY16 9ST

School of Chemistry website

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