Why study this course
Gain an advanced degree in chemistry and significant research experience in an industrial laboratory on this four-year course.
This course includes a 9-12 month paid work placement during year three. You will get the opportunity to create valuable contacts and develop transferable skills that will prepare you for a competitive work environment. Our strong links with industry can help you find a placement, in the past our students have completed placements with Dow Chemical Company, GSK, Pfizer and Kodak.
You will develop a solid understanding of the main areas of chemistry before focusing on and area that is interesting or important to you through a substantial research project worth half the credits of the final year. Plus, you will spend many hours in our labs gaining hands-on experience and developing your research, mathematical and computational skills.
With more of an emphasis on research than our BSc degrees, backed up with analysis, interpretation and problem solving together with significant opportunities to develop transferrable professional skills, you can acquire all the attributes needed to be a self-sufficient working chemist.
Graduates are eligible for full membership to the Royal Society of Chemistry (MRSC), and may apply for the title of Chartered Chemist.
Following a £20 million investment, our facilities provide a superb environment for excellence.
Summer research projects
There are opportunities available for you to undertake a research project during the summer months.
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
34 - 30 points to include 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.
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.
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.
Students will be expected to cover additional costs associated with the placement, including travel, subsistence and visa/work permit costs. Students may be required to cover the cost of additional insurance.
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.
Each year is made up of modules totalling 120 credits
In year one 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 two you will take compulsory chemistry modules in various different subject areas, including a 30 credit practical module.
In year three you will take a 9-12 month placement (80 credits) in industry and a compulsory theory module in each branch of the subject across both semesters (40 credits) by distance learning.
In year four, half the credit comes from a specialised research project in one of the research groups in the school, working alongside PhD students and Post-doctoral workers. Optional modules (6 x 10 credits) are chosen and make up the remainder of the year.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
During the placement year, lectures, learning resources and assessments for theory modules will be provided on-line through the University’s Virtual Learning Environment.
The placement will be spent working in industry and will include project work accompanied by other tasks assigned by the placement provider.
All our Chemistry courses have a major element of independent, supervised research. In the final year of the MChem 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 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.
The School’s industrial placement coordinator will bring relevant placement opportunities to the attention of students. The University Careers and Employability service will provide training and support relating to placement applications.
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.
- Awareness of major issues at the frontiers of chemical research.
- Mathematical knowledge in basic algebra and calculus and numerical manipulation appropriate for the analysis and evaluation of chemical problems.
- Gain knowledge of a specialised project in an industrial placement provider.
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 novel 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, 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.
- 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.
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 relevant to current chemical understanding and/or industrial targets.
- 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 MChem graduates included PCI Pharma, Randox, Hazelwoods LLP and Dwr Cymru Welsh Water.
- Research Scientist
- Associate Consultant
- PhD Researcher
- Formulation Scientist
Students will take a 9-12 month placement in industry during year 3. Industry placements are competitive and cannot be guaranteed. Students who do not secure a placement will transfer to an alternative MChem or BSc Chemistry programme at the end of year 2.
All students on this course will undertake a two semester research project within a Cardiff Chemistry research laboratory in their fourth year.
Finally, there are a variety of opportunities to undertake summer projects in Cardiff under academic staff supervision.