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Chemistry with Year in Industry (MChem)

Entry year

This four-year MChem programme takes you to the heart of modern science and technology, supplemented by a placement year working in an industrial laboratory.

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Student working on a chemistry experiment

Course overview

MChem Chemistry with a Year in Industry aims to give you a detailed understanding of the requirements for a successful chemistry career, and a real competitive advantage by experiencing one year in a work placement.

Our flexible four-year course incorporates a major research project worth 60 credits in the final year, and a year spent working at an industrial laboratory in the UK or elsewhere. During this time, you will continue with your studies as well as undertake work assigned by the industrial host. The entire year is assessed as part of your degree.

A solid grounding across the whole subject of chemistry will be delivered, before you focus in depth on your specific areas of interest. This culminates in a major research project, working alongside subject experts within the School in your final year.

With more emphasis on analysis, synthesis and problem solving than BSc degrees, as well as significant opportunities to develop transferrable professional skills and gain invaluable work experience, you can acquire all the attributes needed to be a self-sufficient working chemist.

Distinctive features

  • This course is accredited by the Royal Society of Chemistry
  • MChem graduates are eligible for full membership of the Royal Society of Chemistry (MRSC), and may apply for the title of Chartered Chemist (CChem) after further experience in a relevant job
  • Students who are interested in a placement abroad may request a transfer to the MChem with a Placement Year Abroad
  • Availability of opportunities to undertake summer research projects in Cardiff under academic staff supervision.


UCAS codeF104
Next intakeSeptember 2020
Duration4 years
ModeFull time with sandwich year
Typical places availableThe School typically has around 170 places available.
Typical applications receivedThe School typically receives around 600 applications.

Experience both research and industry facets of a chemistry career with a 9-12 month placement as well as a specialist research project.

Entry requirements

AAB-ABB including Grade B in Chemistry with (where applicable) a pass in the practical element of the A-level. Please note that General Studies is not accepted for entry.

Extended Project Qualification: Applicants with grade A in the EPQ will typically receive an offer one grade lower than the standard A level offer. Please note that any subject specific requirements must still be met.

The Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate will be accepted in lieu of one A-Level (at the grades listed above), excluding any specified subjects.

DDM - DMM in BTEC Applied Science.

30 - 34 points including Chemistry

Alternative qualifications may be accepted. For further information on entry requirements, see the School of Chemistry admissions criteria pages.


Grade C or grade 4 in GCSE English Language.

IELTS (academic)

At least 6.5 overall with a minimum of 5.5 in each subskill.


At least 90 overall with minimum scores of 17 for writing, 17 for listening, 18 for reading and 20 for speaking.

PTE Academic

At least 62 overall with a minimum of 51 in all communicative skills.

Trinity ISE II/III

II: at least two Distinctions and two Merits.
III: at least a Pass in all components.

Other accepted qualifications

Please visit our English Language requirements page for more information on our other accepted language qualifications.

GCSE Maths grade C/4. GCSE English Language grade C/4 or an accepted English Language equivalent

Tuition fees

UK and EU students (2020/21)

Please see our fee amounts page for the latest information.

Students from outside the EU (2020/21)

Please see our fee amounts page for the latest information.

Costs for sandwich years

During a sandwich year (e.g. year in industry, placement year or year abroad) a lower fee will apply. Full details can be found on our fees pages.

Additional costs

The School covers the cost of everything that is an essential part of the programme, this will be clearly detailed in all programme information and in any verbal instructions given by tutors. You may be required to cover additional costs that are either not essential or are basic costs that a student should be expected to cover themselves. This includes but is not limited to laptop computers, calculators, general stationery, textbooks (assumed to be available in the library), and basic copying/ printing.

Course specific equipment

You do not need any specific equipment. We will provide you with a lab coat, a pair of safety glasses, a laboratory notebook and a molecular modelling kit, usually at enrolment. Chemical drawing software ChemDraw is available on all university computers, and you will be able to download it to your own computers for free.


We have a range of residences to suit your needs and budget. Find out more on our accommodation pages.

Course structure

We are currently working with our students to update and improve the content of this course. The information shown below reflects the current curriculum and is likely to change. The review of the course is expected to be completed by August 2020 and this page will be updated by end of October 2020 to reflect the changes.

All our chemistry degrees share a common first and second year. At the end of year one or two it is possible to transfer to the MChem Chemistry with a Placement Year Abroad, or MChem Chemistry.

This four-year MChem course builds on the strong platform of the common first two years to explore particular areas in greater detail later on. This gives an enhanced level of insight and deeper knowledge on which to base your research and further study.

This course has met the Royal Society of Chemistry requirements for accreditation, which means that MChem graduates are eligible for full membership of the society (MRSC), and may apply for the title of Chartered Chemist (CChem) after further experience in a relevant job.

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2020/21 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2020.

Year one

In year one we aim to stimulate your interest in the subject, whilst giving you a solid knowledge base to build upon in the following years. Our core chemistry modules are based around three principal subject areas, including coverage of key skills for chemists. These are complemented by a range of optional modules, allowing you to exercise choice over your studies and extend your breadth of experience.

You can also take optional modules in disciplines such as biological sciences, physics or modern languages.

Students must obtain a year 1 average of at least 55% overall in order to progress into year 2 of the MChem programme. Students who do not achieve a year 1 average of 55% or above will be required to transfer to the BSc programme.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Module titleModule codeCredits
Forensic ChemistryCH211210 credits
Chemistry of the CosmosCH211510 credits
Mathematical Methods for ChemistryCH211610 credits
Environmental ChemistryCH211710 credits
Energy Resources and MaterialsCH211810 credits
Communicating ChemistryCH312010 credits

Year two

In year two, core material is rigorously developed across all of the main areas of chemistry through compulsory modules.
Students must obtain a year 2 average of at least 55% overall in order to progress into year 3 of the MChem with a Placement Year Abroad programme. Students who do not achieve a year 2 average of at least 55% will be required to transfer to a BSc programme. Students must obtain all credits from years 1 and 2 before commencing a placement.
If a placement abroad appeals to you, you need to register an interest by the start of year two, and transfer to the MChem Chemistry with a Placement Year Abroad course by the start of year three. You may transfer to the three year BSc Chemistry course or the four year MChem Chemistry course at any point prior to the start of year three.

There are also opportunities for several students to undertake summer research projects in Cardiff under staff supervision.

Year three: Sandwich year

Year three is spent working for a host employer, giving you real working experience as part of the course.

We encourage you to look for your own placement provider, but we do share potential opportunities with our partner companies who seek Cardiff students in particular. We will maintain close contact with you throughout your placement.

A research project supervised by the host employer but assessed primarily in Cardiff will form a significant part of the year. You will also take a number of modules by 'distance learning' in inorganic, organic and physical chemistry. This ensures you have covered the same core material as students spending year three in Cardiff.

Year four

A substantial year-long research project in an area of your choosing gives you the chance to develop and demonstrate new skills through research. There are currently no compulsory theory modules in year four which will enable you to select available modules that match your interests.

The University is committed to providing a wide range of module options where possible, but please be aware that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances. This is due to the fact that some modules have limited numbers of places available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, while others have minimum student numbers required before they will run, to ensure that an appropriate quality of education can be delivered; some modules require students to have already taken particular subjects, and others are core or required on the programme you are taking. Modules may also be limited due to timetable clashes, and although the University works to minimise disruption to choice, we advise you to seek advice from the relevant School on the module choices available.
Chemistry student in laboratory
Lectures are supplemented with practical work in our well-equipped laboratory facilities.

Learning and assessment

How will I be taught?

We aim to provide an exceptional environment for chemical education and undergraduate degrees reflect our current research strengths and interests, with final-year projects fully integrated in research groups. Your course of study has been carefully designed to enable you to realise your maximum potential. We aim to deliver expert teaching, state of the art laboratory facilities, and comprehensive pastoral care.

Teaching is undertaken through a series of lectures, tutorials, workshops and practical classes. These are currently supported by material hosted on Learning Central, the University’s virtual learning environment.


The major element of staff teaching is through lectures, typically 10-12 per week of 50 minutes duration. Subject matter is supported in various ways depending on the topic. This can include slides, computer presentations, overhead transparencies, handouts and course summaries.

Laboratory work

The second part of teaching involves practical classes, again typically averaging about 10-12 hours each week. In year one the emphasis is on basic techniques and simple but accurate recording of observations. Skills are taught by practical demonstrations and supported by a range of e-learning resources freely available and readily accessible to all students.

Self-testing offers insight into different practical techniques, and the chance to correct mistakes before attending laboratory sessions. Electronic resources will help you to understand theory and practical application of spectroscopic techniques.

Laboratory work progresses towards substantial experiments which need careful planning, analysis and interpretation of results, as well as professional standard reporting. Practical work is currently integrated into each core module in the first two years, providing experience in all the main laboratory procedures and techniques. Training is designed progressively to extend your level of proficiency in practical chemistry, preparing you to undertake an independent research project at the end of your degree.

Information technology

Harnessing the newest technology available to the School, you will learn how to use software and molecular modelling packages. All your work is expected to be presented in a professional fashion, especially towards the end of your degree, and there are facilities to enable this in the form of numerous well-equipped computer suites across the University.

You will spend much of year three in activities related to your placement and research project, but you will also study modules remotely. This involves regular work directed by the appropriate tutor, and includes the study of digital course material through literature, regular marked assignments and a final examination in Cardiff in August.

Small-group teaching

Small group tutorial classes are given in the first three years, allowing practice, discussion and analysis of the lecture material, as well as the development of communication skills. Sessions are delivered by three allocated staff members, typically with one specialist in each of the areas of organic, inorganic and physical chemistry. The same tutors usually remain assigned to each group throughout your degree.

Research project

All our Chemistry courses have a major element of independent, supervised research. In MChem Chemistry with a year in industry, you undertake two research projects. One is conducted during the year in industry and the second takes the form of a 60 credit year four module. This takes about two full days each week of both semesters, including planning, experimental work, analysis of results and reporting in a thesis. Working under the guidance of an expert in the field, you will present results of your work orally and in writing. In the past, this has even led to undergraduates co-authoring published papers.

Year 1

Scheduled learning and teaching activities


Guided independent study




Year 2

Scheduled learning and teaching activities


Guided independent study




Year 3

Scheduled learning and teaching activities


Guided independent study




Year 4

Scheduled learning and teaching activities


Guided independent study




How will I be supported?

Every student has a number of academic tutors, one of whom also acts as your personal tutor. You will see one of your tutors each week in the first two years, either as part of a small tutorial group or on a one-to-one basis in a personal tutorial. All staff operate an open door policy, meaning you can always approach staff with issues, academic or otherwise.  Personal Development Planning is based around maintenance of the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Undergraduate Skills Record. This will be discussed in personal tutorials.

You will be given access to a comprehensive handbook appropriate to your year of study, containing details of the School’s procedures and policies.

We make extensive use of the University’s Virtual Learning Environment (Learning Central) to share information.  Marks for in-course assessment will be available via Learning Central within three weeks of the deadline.


You will receive regular oral and written feedback on your progress throughout the course. Feedback is usually given on coursework such as practical scripts, workshops and tutorials. You will also have the opportunity to discuss your results and feedback with your tutor in more depth at weekly tutorials and regular personal tutorials.

How will I be assessed?

Formative and summative assessments are carried out during each year of study. This gives a measure of performance to inform you, us as staff and potential future employers about your progress and achievement. It can also help the learning process by highlighting areas of success and areas needing more attention. Assessment for the MChem degree involves methods which are selected to suit the particular outcomes of each module and the course as a whole. These methods include the following.

  • Formal examinations with fixed time-limits
  • class tests
  • reports on laboratory work
  • planning, conduct and reporting of project work
  • reflective review of placement
  • essays
  • problem-solving exercises (as workshop assignments)
  • oral and video presentations
  • preparation and display of posters.

Activities involving group work allow your work to be judged as a group member, rather than in isolation as an individual student.

Assessment methods (2017/18 data)

Year 1

Written exams


Practical exams




Year 2

Written exams


Practical exams




Year 3

Written exams


Practical exams




Year 4

Written exams


Practical exams




What skills will I practise and develop?

Knowledge and Understanding

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to demonstrate systematic knowledge and a critical comprehensive understanding of essential facts, concepts, principles and theories relating to the subject area of chemistry. Specifically,

  • Chemical terminology, nomenclature, conventions and units.
  • The structural and stereochemical features of chemical elements and their compounds, including conformational analysis.
  • The characteristic properties and behaviour of elements and their compounds including group relationships and trends within the Periodic Table.
  • The principles and procedures used in chemical analysis and the characterisation of chemical compounds, including the application of spectroscopies to the determination of structure and properties of chemical entities.
  • The properties of the different states of matter and the theories used to describe them, and the relation between bulk properties and the properties of individual atoms, molecules and functional groups, including macromolecules.
  • The role of energy changes in chemical systems, including knowledge of the laws of thermodynamics and the ability to use quantitative methods to account for energy changes in chemical systems.
  • The factors that affect the rate of chemical change, the way in which they influence the rate and the use of mechanistic understanding to explain the course of chemical reactions.
  • The basic principles of quantum mechanics and their application to the description of the structure and properties of atoms and molecules, and an understanding of the theories of bonding and their applications.
  • The major types of chemical reaction and the main characteristics associated with them.
  • The properties and reactions of inorganic, organic, organometallic and coordination compounds.
  • Major pathways in synthetic chemistry, including functional group interconversions and bond formation, and the idea of retro-synthetic analysis.
  • The structures and chemical reactivity of the principal classes of biomolecule.
  • Awareness of major issues at the frontiers of chemical research.
  • Gain knowledge of a specialised project in an industrial placement provider.
  • Mathematical knowledge in basic algebra and calculus and numerical manipulation appropriate for the analysis and evaluation of chemical problems.

Intellectual Skills

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to:

  • apply knowledge and understanding of the subject areas identified above to the solution of qualitative and quantitative problems of a familiar and unfamiliar nature.
  • recognise and analyse novel problems and strategies, criticise techniques applicable to their own advanced scholarship, and plan strategies for their solution.
  • use conceptual understanding to evaluate current research and advanced scholarship, develop critiques and, where appropriate, propose new approaches.
  • display originality in the application of knowledge, together with a practical understanding of how established techniques of research and enquiry are used to create and interpret knowledge in the discipline.
  • appreciate the uncertainty, ambiguity and limits of current knowledge.

Professional Practical Skills

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to:

  • handle chemical materials safely, taking account of physical and chemical properties, assessing risk for experimental procedures and chemical substances and reporting specific hazards associated with their use.
  • carry out standard laboratory procedures for preparation, purification, and analysis of a range of substances, and use appropriate instrumental techniques for their study.
  • operate standard and advanced chemical instruments, such as those used for structural investigation and separation.
  • monitor chemical properties or changes, by observation and measurement, and record, in a systematic and reliable fashion, documentation relating to these events in a manner appropriate for a professional chemist working in an academic or industrial situation.
  • research, review, plan, design and execute practical investigations, select appropriate procedures from literature and knowledge, and proceed from the problem-recognition stage through to the evaluation and critical appraisal of results with subsequent suggestion of approaches to address shortfalls in current findings.
  • interpret data derived from laboratory observations and measurements in terms of their current significance and the theory underlying them, to assess their significance and place in context.
  • plan, recognise and implement good measurement science and practice across a wide range of chemistry.
  • present scientific material and arguments clearly and correctly, in writing and orally, to a range of audiences including peer-reviewed chemistry journals, research seminars and colloquia.
  • demonstrate computational, data-processing skills and electronic searching skills, relating to chemical information, data and the primary literature.
  • produce written work, give presentations in, and participate in team work in the style and format of the industrial placement provider.

Transferrable/Key Skills

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to:

  • communicate orally and in writing.
  • evaluate, interpret, manipulate and synthesise chemical information and data.
  • apply information technology such as word processing, spreadsheets, data-logging and storage, web communication and chemical drawing packages.
  • interact with other people and engage in team-working.
  • plan and implement projects working towards a goal relevant to current chemical understanding and/or industrial targets.
  • independently identify and undertake study needed for continuing professional development.

In years one and two you take compulsory “key skills” modules, during which you will learn and practise some or all of the above skills.  You also receive training in CV writing, completing application forms, and interview techniques, delivered in collaboration with the Careers Service.

Group of students working in laboratory
We encourage group working during our laboratory practicals.


Career prospects

Graduate chemists have an array of career options. Many join the chemical industry, while others enter academia or government establishments. A number of graduates use the logical and practical training they have gained to enter marketing, sales, management or finance.

Scientific journalism, publishing and teaching are all realistic potential destinations. Equally, the specific skills gained in laboratories can provide a stepping stone to roles in the manufacturing industry.

In 2016/17 95% of the School’s graduates were in employment or further study within six months of graduation, Employers of MChem graduates included PCI Pharma, Randox, Hazelwoods LLP and Dwr Cymru Welsh Water.

Career destinations included research scientist, formulation scientist, quality control analyst, laboratory technician and trainee accountant.


  • Research Scientist
  • Technologist
  • Associate Consultant
  • PhD Researcher

Next Undergraduate Open Day

Spring 2020




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How to apply