Skip to content

Chemistry with a Year in Industry (BSc)

Entry year

This BSc degree is designed to give you a broad education in chemistry and, in addition, supply you with a wide range of research, mathematical and computational skills, with practical training an essential element.

Book an Open Day

Bottles in a chemistry laboratory

Course overview

The BSc Chemistry course aims to give you a flexible and dynamic education in the knowledge and skills needed to advance into a successful chemistry career. We aim to develop your research, mathematical and computational skills alongside practical training.

Accredited by the Royal Society of Chemistry, the course provides an excellent platform to chemistry careers and is also a respected bridge to careers outside of chemistry and related disciplines. The skills and knowledge gained throughout the course can be applied in broader working contexts such as business, teaching or research.

This is a four-year course that incorporates a 9-12 month paid work placement in industry after you have completed year two, greatly adding to your value in the job market.  The course includes an extensive research project worth 30 credits in the final year.

Distinctive features

  • Learn about all aspects of chemistry during our common first and second year before specialising with optional specialist modules according to the interests you’ve developed.
  • Flexibility to transfer to a programme with a year abroad or to our MChem after our common first and second year.
  • Take part in research projects over the summer break working with leading researchers in the School.
  • Benefit from the School’s newly refurbished lecture facilities situated opposite the Students’ Union and close to city centre amenities.
  • Learn from staff who are world-renowned in their fields, for example our catalysis experts from the Cardiff Catalysis Institute.


UCAS codeF101
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.

Gain valuable work experience to enhance your employability with a 9-12 month professional placement in the chemical industry.

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 and Critical Thinking are 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 sub-score.


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

PTE Academic

62 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.

You will require GCSE Maths at grade C or grade 4 and GCSE English or Welsh Language at grade C or grade 4. 

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, text books (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. 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. Transferring to the BSc Chemistry course is possible at the end of year one or two. Transferring to a MChem course is also an option, if you have achieved an adequate average grade in each of the first two years.

Most compulsory modules are worth 20 credits, and run over the whole academic year.  Optional modules are usually worth 10 credits and last a single semester. 

Currently, in year one you take compulsory chemistry modules worth 90 credits, and optional modules worth 30 credits, which may be in chemistry or any other subject.  If you do not have A-level Mathematics, you must take Mathematical Methods as one of your options; and if you do not have A-level Biology, you must take Chemical Biology as part of your options.

Modules across the first two years usually incorporate lectures and practical work.  In year two you will take compulsory chemistry modules in various different subject areas. Year three is the placement year.

In year four you will be able to undertake practical work in the autumn semester. This is currently followed by a research project in the spring semester.  You will also take a compulsory theory module in each branch of the subject and are able to choose from a range of optional modules.

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 may also take optional modules in disciplines such as Biological Sciences, Physics or Modern Languages.

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 you will take more advanced compulsory modules that enable you to practise and consolidate new skills through application to a wide range of problems.
If you achieve at least 55% overall in year two, you have the opportunity to transfer to a MChem course before the start of year three. Application advice and guidance is generally given throughout year two.  Placements are competitive, but generally available nationwide across all branches of the chemical, pharmaceutical and manufacturing industry. If you decide that you do not wish to undertake a placement, you may transfer to the BSc Chemistry course at the end of year two.

There are usually also opportunities to undertake summer research projects in Cardiff, under academic staff supervision.

Year three: Sandwich year

You will spend year three on a work placement. This will usually be based in the UK, but industrial placements overseas are occasionally available. You will effectively be an employee of the company with whom you are placed, and you will conduct chemistry-related activities appropriate to the commercial nature of the company. 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.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Industrial TrainingCH9999120 credits

Year four

In year four a substantial research project is currently undertaken in the spring semester. You will take a compulsory theory module in each branch of the subject and select from a range of optional modules.

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 and comprehensive pastoral care.

Teaching is undertaken through a series of lectures, tutorials, workshops and practical classes. These are 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, 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.

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.

Small-group teaching

Small group tutorial classes are given in all 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, one specialist in each of the areas of organic, inorganic and physical chemistry. The same three 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 the final year of the BSc course you will join a research group working in your preferred area of chemistry, and be allocated a topic to investigate. 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.

As a student on the BSc Chemistry with Industrial Experience course, you will spend year three as an employee of a company involved in a chemically related business.  Your performance will be monitored during the year and you will be required to submit a written report at the end of the placement.

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, 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 usually 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, workshop 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 BSc 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
  • Essays
  • problem-solving exercises (as workshop assignments)
  • oral presentations
  • preparation and display of posters.

What skills will I practise and develop?

  • Communication skills, covering written and oral communication
  • problem-solving skills relating to qualitative and quantitative information, with extension to situations where evaluations have to be made based on limited information
  • numeracy and computational skills including error analysis, order-of-magnitude estimations, correct use of units and modes of data presentation
  • information-retrieval skills relating to primary and secondary information sources, including information retrieval through on-line computer searches
  • technology skills such as word processing and spreadsheet use, data-logging and storage, web communication and using chemical drawing packages
  • interpersonal skills, relating to the ability to interact with other people and engaging in team-working
  • time-management and organisational skills, as evidenced by the ability to plan and implement efficient and effective modes of working.
  • study skills needed for continuing professional development

In year 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.

Careers and placements

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 and/or further study within six months of graduation. Employers included Intertek, Jones Environmental Forensics, One Scientific and Spofforths.

Career destinations included analytical chemist, laboratory assistant, trainee teacher, trainee accountant and entrepreneur.


  • Healthcare Assistant
  • Trainee Chemistry Teacher
  • Health and Safety Assistant
  • Trainee Accountant


On this course you will spend year three on an industrial placement related to your interests and strengths, which the School will help you to find. The placement generally lasts for 9-12 months during which time you will be paid by the company employing you. Placements are usually based in the UK, however overseas placements are occasionally available.

During the placement you will effectively be an employee of the company with whom you are placed, and you will conduct chemistry-related activities appropriate to the commercial nature of the company. However, we will maintain close contact with you throughout your placement to ensure that you are supported.

In the past, students have been placed with companies such as the Dow Chemical Company, GSK, Pfizer and Kodak.


Next Undergraduate Open Day

Spring 2020




Get in touch


How to apply