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MSc in Physical Organic Chemistry (MSc)

This new course explores the physical aspects of organic chemistry. Physical organic chemistry finds application in many differing situations such as organic synthesis, chemical biology, green chemistry, catalysis, materials science and alternative energy research. The course will train the student in the scientific approach employed in physical organic chemistry. This approach involves the combined use of different techniques, such as theory, computational science, mechanistic analysis, organic synthesis and a variety of instrument-based techniques. This combined approach can then be applied to solve problems through a quantitative understanding of key processes.

Reaction Intermediate Diagram

Students will gain a feel for the potential applications of the techniques and approaches of physical organic chemistry and will be able to apply this knowledge to developing a quantitative understanding of reactions and proposing potential improvements to existing processes in organic chemistry, biology, biosynthesis, environmental and green processes. The acquired skills will be put into practice in a short project forming part of currently ongoing research.

The course is designed around a modular system of teaching and assessment, with modules covering the range of both theory and applications of physical organic chemistry. Three core and two optional modules are taken in the first semester (Sept - Jan), with two core and four optional modules in the second (Feb - May). The summer is then spent solely on a research project, running from June to August.

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Course Content

Semester 1

Plus any two from

Semester 2


The summer research project (60 credits) is typically chosen from a list of options proposed by course staff, usually in an area of current research interest. More information on these areas can be found here, or on individual staff pages.

The course is taught mainly by members of the Cardiff Physical Organic Chemistry Centre. Some modules also feature specialist contributions from external lecturers from other Schools in Cardiff, from industry, and from other universities.

Online Course Material can be accessed through the University’s Learning Central system (Cardiff University users only).


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