Chemistry (International Route)
4 years full-time
Please note: Courses may be affected by Covid-19 and are therefore subject to change due to the ongoing impact of Covid-19. Applicants will be informed of any changes which we are required to make to course entries as a result of Covid-19.
This is a four-year MChem degree accredited by the Royal Society of Chemistry. You will spend the first three years developing an understanding of a broad range of modern chemistry covering organic and inorganic synthesis, physical characterisation methods, and chemistry at the interfaces with biosciences, engineering and physics. You will also gain a broad range of practical skills in synthesis, physical measurement and data analysis. In your final year you will carry out an individual research project at one of our overseas partner universities addressing a novel area of contemporary chemistry, whilst following some chemistry at the research forefront. Throughout the degree you will develop your chemical understanding, problem-solving, independence and practical skills. Graduates of this course are well-prepared for higher level study, work in the chemicals sector, and roles requiring problem-solving and numeracy skills.
You will study 120 credits per academic year. In the first year there are 80 credits of chemistry modules that teach you the basics of inorganic, organic and physical chemistry, consolidating and building on pre-university courses. Mathematical and Experimental Tools Required in Chemistry (METRiC) contains courses that develop mathematical and physical concepts as tools for chemistry, and also some background biology and physics. Practical Chemistry is introduced in two cross-disciplinary modules, concluding in a short project.
For this degree you are expected to study an appropriate language module in first year.
- Core Chemistry 1
- Practical Chemistry 1A
- Mathematical and Experimental Tools Required in Chemistry
- Introduction to Materials Chemistry
- Practical Chemistry 1B
- An appropriate language module.
Examples of optional modules:
You will take 20 credits of modules from those offered by other departments in science and the other faculties. Modules have previously included:
- Biology and languages are popular
- We offer an elective Chemistry module ‘Molecules in Action’.
You will study compulsory modules to the value of 100 credits. These extend your knowledge of inorganic, organic, physical and theoretical chemistry from the first-year introduction, and develop further practical skills. There is also an option to take a language module.
- Core Chemistry 2
- Chemistry of the Elements
- Structure and Reactivity in Organic Chemistry
- Properties of Molecules
- Practical Chemistry 2– Inorganic
- Practical Chemistry 2 – Organic
- Practical Chemistry 2 – Physical.
Examples of optional modules:
Your final second-year module provides you with an opportunity to specialise or to continue study with a timetable-compatible module of another subject. You will study one 20-credit module. Modules have previously included:
- Biological Chemistry
- Computational Chemistry
- A module from another subject, which can include a language.
There are two compulsory modules, and the remaining modules allow you to study all areas of the subject or to specialise. There is also an option to take a language module in Year 3 if not taken in Year 2.
- Core Chemistry 3
- Chemistry Literature Perspective.
At least two 10-credit modules from:
- Inorganic Concepts and Applications
- Advanced Organic Chemistry
- Molecules and their Interactions.
At least two 10-credit laboratory modules from:
- Practical Chemistry 3 – Inorganic
- Practical Chemistry 3 – Organic
- Practical Chemistry 3 – Physical.
Examples of optional modules:
These 20-credit modules provide you with the opportunity to further develop your interest in specialised areas of the subject. Modules have previously included:
- Advanced Biological Chemistry (if Biological Chemistry was taken in the second year)
- Computational Chemistry (if not taken in the second year)
- Materials Chemistry
- Advanced Computational Chemistry.
Chemistry MChem courses
The final choice of where to carry out your Research Project may be delayed until your third year, and you will perform your project work overseas.
MChem with overseas project
You carry out a Research Project at an overseas university, and also follow some taught material by distance learning. At the time of writing the Department currently has exchanges with universities in Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands and Spain. Alternatively, Research Projects are carried out at one of the University’s growing number of partner universities outside Europe. Recent exchanges have been with universities in Canada, Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia.
- Core Chemistry 4D
- External Research Project.
PlacementYou may be able to take a work placement. Find out more.
Chemistry is a linear, quantitative subject containing a significant volume of factual material. It is an experimental science where practical work, and development of practical skills, is important. This four-year course is delivered through a mixture of “Core” and “add-on” modules using lectures, tutorials, problem classes and laboratory practical work, culminating in a major research project in the fourth year conducted on placement at a research laboratory outside the UK, normally at a university that we have an exchange scheme in place.
Lectures provide the key information on a particular area and form the main basis by which you will learn the fundamental concepts and facts of the subject. In tutorials and workshops you will acquire and consolidate subject-specific knowledge, and also develop problem-solving skills embodying the concepts from lectures in a formative environment.
Revision classes in the first year prepare for the end of year examinations. Problem classes are used in the first year to develop mathematical and other quantitative skills in a problem-solving environment. Laboratory classes are used to teach, develop and refine the subject-specific experimental skills of synthesis, measurement and characterisation that characterise a competent chemistry graduate, whilst applying concepts from lectures in an experimental environment.
For the first three years of the course, you are expected to spend a minimum of one subsequent hour per hour of lecture contact on private study, reading and problem-solving using textbooks and other resources. Additional private study is directed at preparing for tutorials, workshops, writing reports of laboratory work and revision for examinations. In the four compulsory modules you will attend seven hours of lectures, two hours of tutorials or problem classes and six hours of laboratory work each week. Additionally, a third of the year’s credits are from elective modules which involve between two and six hours of lectures and laboratories each week. On this course at least half of the elective modules are in the study of an appropriate foreign language. Individual learning forms an important part of academic study.
In the second and third years, you will typically attend 12 hours of lectures or workshops per week and 10 hours of laboratory work. The laboratory work in the course moves from a defined set of practicals in the first year towards a more open-ended course, providing choice and some element of project work in Year 3.
The major element of the fourth year is an independent individual research project, carrying out novel chemistry research embedded within a research group in an overseas university, normally one that we have an exchange agreement with. Research is carried out under the supervision of a member of academic staff of that overseas university, and a member of Durham staff will maintain regular contact with you. You will typically work for 20 to 30 hours per week for at least 19 weeks and prepare a project report describing your findings which is assessed by Durham staff. The assessment also includes a poster and an oral presentation, training is provided in these skills. In addition, you will study for a sixth of your final year credits in a module of distance learning which is based on one of the lecture modules delivered in Durham and supported through our virtual learning environment. The independent learning skills you developed at earlier levels are enhanced by this mode of study.
You are allocated an academic adviser at the start of the course, who normally delivers some first-year tutorials, provides feedback on examination performance and remains with you throughout the course. Meetings between you and your adviser are timetabled three times a year, but you can always request further meetings. All members of staff are available to meet students on an “open office” basis.
A level offer – A*AA including Chemistry and Mathematics.
BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma/OCR Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma – D*DD and A level requirements as above.
IB Diploma score – 38 with 666 in higher level subjects, including Chemistry and Mathematics (either Analysis and approaches HL or Applications and interpretations HL).
In addition to satisfying the University’s general entry requirements, please note:
- We welcome applications from those with other qualifications equivalent to our standard entry requirements and from mature students with non-standard qualifications or who may have had a break in their study. For more information contact our Admissions Selectors.
- We are pleased to consider applications for deferred entry, but encourage a short statement of gap year plans in your personal statement.
Science A levels
Applicants taking Science A levels that include a practical component will be required to take and pass this as a condition of entry. This applies only to applicants sitting A levels with an English examination board.
International students who do not meet direct entry requirements for this degree might have the option to complete an International Foundation Year.
Fees and funding
Full Time Fees
|Home students||£9,250 per year|
|EU students||£28,500 per year|
|Island students||£9,250 per year|
|International students||£28,500 per year|
The tuition fees shown for home students are for one complete academic year of full time study and are set according to the academic year of entry. Fees for subsequent years of your course may rise in line with an inflationary uplift as determined by the government.
The tuition fees shown for overseas and EU students are for one complete academic year of full time study, are set according to the academic year of entry, and remain the same throughout the duration of the programme for that cohort (unless otherwise stated).
Please also check costs for colleges and accommodation.
Scholarships and Bursaries
We are committed to supporting the best students irrespective of financial circumstances and are delighted to offer a range of funding opportunities.Find out more about Scholarships and Bursaries
Of those students who graduated in 2018:
- 87% are in paid employment or further study 15 months after graduation across all our programmes
Of those in employment:
- 96% are in a professional or managerial job
- Average salary of £26,000.
(Source: HESA Graduate Outcomes Survey. The survey asks leavers from higher education what they are doing 15 months after graduation. Further information about the Graduate Outcomes survey can be found here www.graduateoutcomes.ac.uk)
Synthesise your future with an introduction to the key elements of this dynamic and fundamental science. Chemistry is a linear, quantitative subject, containing a significant volume of factual material. It is an experimental science, where the development of practical skills is important.
For more information see our department webpages.
- 2nd in The Guardian University Guide 2021.
- 3rd in The Complete University Guide 2020.
- 4th in The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021.
Research Excellence Framework
- Ranked 1st in the UK for World-leading research impact (REF 2014).
We are a recognised centre of excellence in crystallography, attracting academic collaborations from all over the world due to our unique range of instrumentation. Our state-of-the-art equipment forpowder diffraction measurements and members of staff have considerable expertise in all aspects of this analytical technique. We also host a biennial residential training course on powder diffraction and Rietveld refinement.
More information on our facilities and equipment.
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