Why study this course
Take your research worldwide to gain an advanced degree in chemistry and significant research experience on this four-year degree programme.
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.
This course includes a 9-12 month overseas placement during year three. Studying and working abroad allows you to experience a different culture, expand your network and develop your employability skills. This practical overseas experience will be a valuable addition to your CV when seeking graduate employment.
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 of the credits of your 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.
The school is currently going through the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) re-accreditation process.
We accept a combination of A-levels and other qualifications, as well as equivalent international qualifications subject to entry requirements. Typical offers are as follows:
AAB-ABB. Must include Chemistry. You will need to pass the science practical element of the A-level if this is part of your programme of study.
Extended/International Project Qualification: Applicants with grade A in the EPQ/IPQ will typically receive an offer one grade lower than the standard offer. Please note that any subject specific requirements must still be met.
Our grade range covers our standard offer and contextual offer. We carefully consider the circumstances in which you've been studying (your contextual data) upon application.
- Eligible students will be given an offer at the lower end of the advertised grade range.
- Where there is no grade range advertised and/or where there are selection processes in place (like an interview) you may receive additional points in the selection process or be guaranteed interview/consideration.
34-32 overall or 666-665 in 3 HL subjects. Must include grade 6 in HL Chemistry.
From September 2023, there will be a new qualification called the Advanced Skills Baccalaureate Wales (level 3). This qualification will replace the Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate (Welsh Baccalaureate). The qualification will continue to be accepted in lieu of one A-Level (at the grades listed above), excluding any specified subjects.
Other qualifications from inside the UK
DDD-DDM in a BTEC Extended Diploma in Applied Science.
Acceptance of T Levels for this programme will be considered on a case-by-case basis by the Academic School. Consideration will be given to the T Level grade/subject and grades/subjects achieved at GCSE/Level 2.
Please see our admissions policies for more information about the application process.
Tuition fees for 2024 entry
Your tuition fees and how you pay them will depend on your fee status. Your fee status could be home, island or overseas.
Fees for home status
|Year three (sandwich year)||£1,350||None|
Students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland
If you are an EU, EEA or Swiss national, your tuition fees for 2024/25 be in line with the overseas fees for international students, unless you qualify for home fee status. UKCISA have provided information about Brexit and tuition fees.
Fees for island status
Learn more about the undergraduate fees for students from the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man.
Fees for overseas status
|Year three (sandwich year)||£4,230||None|
Financial support may be available to individuals who meet certain criteria. For more information visit our funding section. Please note that these sources of financial support are limited and therefore not everyone who meets the criteria are guaranteed to receive the support.
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.
We're based in one of the UK's most affordable cities. Find out more about living costs in Cardiff.
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 research project (80 credits) in an overseas placement provider 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 2024/2025 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2024.
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 modern languages, which is encouraged if you intend to spend year three in a non-English speaking country.
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 at least 55% will be required to transfer to the BSc programme.
|Module title||Module code||Credits|
|Foundations of Physical Chemistry||CH5101||20 credits|
|Foundations of Inorganic Chemistry||CH5102||20 credits|
|Foundations of Organic Chemistry||CH5103||20 credits|
|Introduction to University Chemistry||CH5108||10 credits|
|Year 1 Chemistry Foundation Practical||CH5110||30 credits|
|Mathematical Methods for Chemistry||CH5116||10 credits|
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 minimum average of 55% will be required to transfer to a BSc programme. Students must obtain all credits from years 1 and 2 before commencing a placement.
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. If a placement in industry appeals to you instead, you need to register an interest by the start of year two, and transfer to the corresponding BSc or MChem course by the start of year three. Advice and guidance in applying for placements is given throughout year two.
There are also opportunities for several students to undertake summer research projects in Cardiff, under staff supervision.
|Module title||Module code||Credits|
|Further Physical Chemistry||CH5201||20 credits|
|Structure, bonding and reactivity in compounds of the p and d-block elements||CH5202||20 credits|
|Further Organic and Biological Chemistry||CH5203||20 credits|
|Communicating Chemistry: Key skills for chemists||CH5206||10 credits|
|Introduction to the chemistry of life||CH5207||10 credits|
|Applications of Molecular Spectroscopy||CH5208||10 credits|
|Further Chemistry Laboratories||CH5210||30 credits|
Year three: Sandwich year
Year three is spent at a university abroad, giving you the chance to experience the working practices and culture of a different country. Cardiff University currently has partner institutions in almost all European countries, as well as in Australia, Canada, China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Africa and the USA. Your placement will be organised by the School depending on your interests and strengths, and we maintain close contact with you throughout your placement.
A research project supervised in the host institution but assessed primarily in Cardiff will form a significant part of your year abroad. You will also take modules by 'distance learning' in biological, inorganic, organic and physical chemistry. This ensures that you have covered the same core material as students spending year three in Cardiff.
|Module title||Module code||Credits|
|Placement Experience||CH4309||80 credits|
|Advanced Organometallic and Coordination Chemistry for Distance Learners||CH4311||10 credits|
|Quantum and Statistical Mechanics of Molecules and Solids for Distance Learners||CH4313||10 credits|
|Macromolecules of Life for Distance Learners||CH4314||10 credits|
|Advanced Synthetic Strategies for Distance Learners||CH5312||10 credits|
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 no compulsory theory modules in year four which will enable you to select available modules that match your interests.
|Module title||Module code||Credits|
|Bio-imaging Applications of Coordination Chemistry||CH3403||10 credits|
|Asymmetric Synthesis of Pharmaceuticals and Natural Products||CH3404||10 credits|
|Molecular Modelling||CH3406||10 credits|
|Advanced Materials||CH3407||10 credits|
|Catalytic Materials for Green Chemistry||CH3411||10 credits|
|Supramolecular Chemistry||CH3412||10 credits|
|Advanced Techniques in Biophysical Chemistry||CH4405||10 credits|
|Modern Catalysis||CH4408||10 credits|
|Applications of Advanced Spectroscopic Methods||CH4409||10 credits|
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 overseas on a research project 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 overseas placement coordinator will assist students in finding a suitable project supervisor matching their research interests in the institution or country of their choice.
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.
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 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 that 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
- Problem-solving exercises (as workshop assignments)
- Oral presentations
- Preparation and display of posters.
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 overseas 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 overseas 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 from different cultures 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.
- The ability to adapt to living and working in a culture outside the UK.
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.
- Research Scientist
- Laboratory Technician
- Formulation Scientist
- Quality Control Analyst
All students on this course will undertake a two semester research project within a Cardiff Chemistry research laboratory in their fourth year.
Students will take a 9-12 month overseas placement during year 3. The School will help you to find a placement related to your interests and strengths. Students who do not secure a placement will transfer to an alternative MChem or BSc Chemistry programme at the end of year 2.
Finally, there are a variety of opportunities to undertake summer research projects in Cardiff under academic staff supervision.
HESA Data: Copyright Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited 2021. The Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited cannot accept responsibility for any inferences or conclusions derived by third parties from its data. Data is from the latest Graduate Outcomes Survey 2019/20, published by HESA in June 2022.