Why study this course
Chemistry is a fundamental and exciting discipline, and one that plays a significant role in many areas of science and in everyday life.
This four-year course with a preliminary year is for candidates who have not had the opportunity to study the pre-requisite subjects or are unable to meet the requirements for first-year entry to the BSc Chemistry degree. Successful completion of the preliminary year will allow you to progress onto the first year of the core part of the degree.
You will gain a broad introduction to the main areas of chemistry and have the opportunity to specialise in an area that is interesting or important to you through optional modules and a research project later in the course. Plus, you will spend many hours in our labs gaining hands-on experience and developing your research, mathematical and computational skills.
Our graduates are employed as chemists working in research, process development and analysis, as well as in broader areas such as teaching, marketing, environmental control, patents and finance.
Study abroad or in industry
You may request a transfer to the MChem, Year in Industry or Year Abroad schemes.
Following a £20 million investment, our facilities provide a superb environment for excellence.
Develop your practical skills in the lab and gain experience of problem solving, group working and report writing.
CCC including Grade C 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.
MMM in BTEC Applied Science.
24 - 30 points to include HL Chemistry
Other UK qualifications may also be accepted, often in lieu of A-levels, but subject requirements must be met. If you are offering non-UK qualifications, our qualification equivalences guide should allow you to calculate what kind of offer you are likely to receive.
Please be aware that this is a general guide, and that some programmes may have more detailed or specific entry requirements which will be reflected in your offer.
Grade C or grade 4 in GCSE English Language.
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.
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.
You will require GCSE Maths Grade C or Grade 4 and GCSE English or Welsh Language at grade C or grade 4.
Typical IELTS offer: At least 6.5 overall with a minimum of 5.5 in each sub-score
You are not required to complete a DBS (Disclosure Barring Service) check or provide a Certificate of Good Conduct to study this course. If you are currently subject to any licence condition or monitoring restriction that could affect your ability to successfully complete your studies, you will be required to disclose your criminal record. Conditions include, but are not limited to:
- access to lab facilities including chemicals
- access to computers or devices that can store images
- use of internet and communication tools/devices
- freedom of movement
- contact with people related to Cardiff University.
UK and EU students (2021/22)
We are currently awaiting confirmation on tuition fees for the 2021/22 academic year. Fees for the previous year were £9,000.
Students from outside the EU (2021/22)
We are currently awaiting confirmation on tuition fees for the 2021/22 academic year.
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. At enrolment 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.
Each year is made up of modules totalling 120 credits
The preliminary year (year one) provides a solid foundation in science, with 40 credits core chemistry, and 80 credits of options. 20 further credits of optional Chemistry and 20 credits of Maths are available, and students are encouraged to choose these modules, though prior qualifications (e.g. a good A level in Maths) might mean other options can be chosen.
In year two you take compulsory chemistry modules worth 110 credits, including 30 credits of practical, and an optional module worth 10 credits, which may be in chemistry or any other subject.
In year three you will take compulsory chemistry modules in various different subject areas, including a 30 credit practical module.
In year four you will undertake practical work in the autumn semester (20 credits). This is followed by a specialised research project in the spring semester (30 credits). You will also take a compulsory theory module in each branch of the subject in the autumn semester (40 credits) and choose from a range of optional modules in the spring semester (3 x 10 credits).
The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2021/22 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2021.
The preliminary year course includes modules in biosciences, chemistry and maths. Your modules will depend on your academic background and discussions with staff at enrolment.
In year one we aim to stimulate your interest in the subject, while giving you a solid knowledge base to build upon in the following years. Our core chemistry modules are based around five principal subject areas (analytical inorganic, organic, physical and solid state chemistry), and include 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.
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. If an industry placement is attractive to you, you need to register your interest by the start of year two, and transfer to the BSc Chemistry with a Year in Industry course by the start of year three.
In year three a substantial research project is undertaken in the spring semester. You will take a compulsory theory module in four branches of the subject and select from a range of options.
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.
Learning and assessment
We aim to provide an exceptional environment for chemical education and our undergraduate degrees reflect our current research strengths and interests, with final-year projects fully integrated into our research groups. Your course of study has been 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.
One major element of 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.
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 that need careful planning, analysis and interpretation of results, as well as professional standard reporting. Practical work provides experience in all the main laboratory procedures and techniques, and is designed to extend your level of proficiency in practical chemistry, preparing you to undertake an independent research project in the final stages of your degree.
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.
All our Chemistry courses have a major element of independent, supervised project work. In the final year of the BSc course you will work on a project in your preferred area of chemistry, and be allocated a topic to investigate or develop. 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 led to undergraduates co-authoring published papers.
How will I be supported?
Every student has three 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.
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.
What skills will I practise and develop?
Knowledge & 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 feature and chemical behaviour of chemical 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.
- Theories describing structure, bonding, reactivity and chemical change and the relationship between microscopic and bulk properties of matter.
- The properties and major types of chemical reaction of inorganic, organic, biological, organometallic and coordination compounds.
- Mathematical knowledge in basic algebra and calculus and numerical manipulation appropriate for the analysis and evaluation of chemical problems.
On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to demonstrate:
- The application of knowledge and understanding of the subject areas identified above to the solution of qualitative and quantitative problems of a familiar and unfamiliar nature.
- Recognition and analysis of problems and strategies, criticise techniques applicable to their own advanced scholarship, and plan strategies for their solution.
Professional Practical Skills:
On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to demonstrate the ability to:
- Plan and safely carry out standard laboratory procedures for preparation, purification, and analysis of a range of substances, and use appropriate instrumental techniques for their study.
- Monitor chemical and physical properties or changes across a wide range of chemistry, 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 and execute a project, selecting appropriate procedures from literature and knowledge, and proceed from the problem-recognition stage through to the evaluation and critical appraisal of outcomes.
- 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.
- Present scientific material and arguments clearly and correctly, in writing and orally, to a range of audiences including peer-reviewed chemistry journals, seminars and colloquia.
- Demonstrate computational, data-processing skills and electronic searching skills, relating to chemical information, data and the primary literature.
On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to demonstrate the ability to:
- Communicate orally and in writing.
- 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.
- Independently identify and undertake study needed for continuing professional development
Careers and placements
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 BSc graduates included Hichrom Ltd, Johnson Matthey, Patent Seekers and Price Bailey LLP.
- Product Development Chemist
- Patent Analyst
- Quality Control Scientist
- Science Writer
- Chemical Engineer
All students on this course will undertake a one-semester research project within a Cardiff Chemistry research laboratory.
There are additional opportunities for students who are interested in a placement abroad or in industry to transfer to the BSc Chemistry with a Year in Industry, the BSc Chemistry with a Placement Year Abroad, the MChem Chemistry with a Year in Industry, or the MChem Chemistry with a Placement Year Abroad courses.
Finally, there are a variety of opportunities to undertake summer research projects in Cardiff under academic staff supervision.