MPhil, PhD Chemistry

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Research opportunities

You can study an MPhil over the course of one year or a PhD over the course of three or four years.

These degrees are available for study within any of our research groups:

Scientist working in a lab

THE Awards 2019: UK University of the Year Winner

Top ranking department

Our department, Pure and Applied Chemistry, has been named third in the UK and top in Scotland for Chemistry by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2020.

More reasons to study at Strathclyde
Liam McLean, Pure & Applied Chemistry PhD student
The University of Strathclyde has several industry contacts and as a result, the research being carried out can directly impact the chemical industries.
Liam McLean
Pure & Applied Chemistry PhD student
The Times / The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021. University of the Year shortlisted.
The Times / The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021. University of the Year shortlisted.
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Fees & funding

All fees quoted are per academic year unless otherwise stated.

Entrants may be subject to a small fee during the writing up period.

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England, Wales & Northern Ireland





Have a look at our scholarship search for any funding opportunities available.

Postgraduate research opportunities

Search for all funded and non-funded postgraduate research opportunities.

Additional costs
  • lab coats and safety goggles approx £25
  • cost of binding two copies of thesis and a CD copy £25 per each thesis

Please note: the fees shown are annual and may be subject to an increase each year.

*Fees have not yet been set by research councils.

Chemistry Clinic

Find out more about our student-led, knowledge exchange service, which provides opportunities for SMEs and larger companies to access chemistry facilities or consultancy services.

More about the Chemistry Clinic
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NameResearch methodologies & approaches usedCurrent PhD student topics
Dr Matthew Baker  

spectroscopy, spectrometry, data analysis, experimental design.

clinical spectroscopy, forensic analysis, drug detection, disease detection, cellular quantification, spectral analysis and biological interpretation.

Professor Nico Bruns

synthetic polymer chemistry, controlled radical polymerizations, polymer self-assembly, polymer nanotechnology, protein engineering, biocatalysis.

engineering of enzymes for biocatalytic ATRP, Advanced polymerization methods for biocatalytic ATRP, Ultrasensitive malaria diagnostics by biocatalytic polymerizations, Light-responsive DASA block copolymers, Bio-inspired stimuli-responsive polymersome nanoreactors, Bio-inspired reinforced amphiphilic polymer conetworks, Cuticle-mimetic silk-polymer layered materials.

Dr Christine Davidson

experimental research, quantitative analysis, method development, environmental studies.

development of colorimetric sensors for field applications; geochemistry of potentially toxic elements in freshwater systems; sequential chemical extraction; microplastics as vectors for potentially toxic elements in the environment; phytoremediation of contaminated soil.

Dr Lynn Dennany

electrochemical analysis, cyclic voltammetry, electrochemiluminescence, chromatography, spectroscopic analysis.

illicit drug detection, biomarker recognition, bacterial infection detection, portable drug screening, pharmaceutical drug detection, combined electrochemical & spectroscopic analysis. 

Dr Robert Edkins

synthesis of organic and inorganic conjugated molecules, (time-resolved) fluorescence spectroscopy, fluorescence microscopy.

photodynamic and photothermal therapy, fluorescent sensors, photoactive materials.

Professor Karen Faulds

Raman, surface enhanced Raman scattering (SERS), bionanotechnology.

SERS bionanosensors for bioanalytical detection (e.g. for cancer, bacteria, sepsis, CVD), biomedical spectroscopy, nanoparticle synthesis and biofunctionalisation, towards in vivo detection of nanobiosensors (SESORS), Raman/SERS imaging.

Dr Penelope Haddrill

molecular biology, DNA profiling, RNA quantification, population genetics and genomics.

analysis of DNA methylation to estimate age, RNA quantification for aging body fluid stains, population genetics and genomics of global human populations.

Dr Craig Jamieson medicinal chemistry, organic synthesis, peptide chemistry, chemical biology. design, synthesis and evaluation of bioactive compounds; sustainable approaches to amidation chemistry; novel biomolecular labelling techniques.
Dr Alan Kennedy

X-ray diffraction, crystallography, structural analysis, solid-state analysis.

pharmaceutical materials, dyes and pigments, correlation of solid-state structures with material properties, solubility.

Professor William Kerr

metal-mediated synthetic organic chemistry.

hydrogen isotope exchange, C-H activation, natural product synthesis, asymmetric processes.

Dr K H Aaron Lau

control of peptide and peptide-mimetic (peptoid) material properties through sequence design of molecules, solid phase synthesis of peptide and peptoids, Nanostructure self-assembly (nanosheets, micelles, nanofibres), enzyme triggered self-assembly, protein separation using nanopores, HPLC, LC-MS, MALDI-MS, anodisation, surface plasmon resonance (SPR), ellipsometry, and related surface optical measurements, AFM, XPS, SEM.

biointerfaces, (Stem) cell-surface and protein-surface interactions, transport/diffusion of proteins through nanopores, antifouling and antimicrobial polymer brushes and nanostructures, polyphenol surface modification, protein and enzyme assays, peptide characterization.

Dr John Liggat

polymer physical chemistry, physics and technology, including adhesion, crystallisation behaviour, physical ageing, nanocomposite technology and polymer processing. Elucidation of the mechanistic organic chemistry of polymer degradation processes, particularly in relationship to polymer durability, processing and fire response.

physical chemistry of gelatin, fire-retardant polyurethanes, polymer photochemistry, self-healing coatings, fermentation-derived biodegradable polymers, composite materials.

Professor Robert Mulvey

main group chemistry, organometallic chemistry, structure and bonding, synthesis, catalysis.

synergistic chemistry using bimetallics; sustainable homogeneous catalysis though earth abundant metals; trans-metal trapping.

Professor John Murphy

synthetic organic chemistry, chemical mechanism, physical organic chemistry

electron transfer in chemistry and biology, radical ions, super electron donors, super electrophiles, C-H actvation.

Dr David Nelson

physical (in)organic chemistry, catalysis, organometallic chemistry, organic synthesis.

reaction mechanisms and structure/reactivity relationships in nickel catalysis; odd-numbered oxidation states of nickel in catalysis.

Dr Alison Nordon

process analysis, chemometrics, in situ measurements, optical spectroscopy, acoustics, NMR spectroscopy.

In situ monitoring of continuous pharmaceutical manufacturing processes, advances in chemometrics for on-line mid infrared and low-field NMR measurements, advances in data pre-processing, compression and data fusion for assessment of tea products by hyperspectral imaging, advances in data pre-processing, compression and data fusion for assessment of tea products by hyperspectral imaging, process performance monitoring for the life sciences.

Dr Charles O'Hara

synthesis, catalysis, structural elucidation.

main group catalytic applications; novel methodologies for the deprotonation of arenes; bimetallic asymmetric synthesis.

Dr David Palmer theoretical and computational chemistry, molecular informatics, molecular simulation, quantum mechanics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, statistical mechanics, solution-state theory. molecular integral equation theory in drug discovery, protein allostery, chymosin biochemistry, artificial intelligence for molecular property prediction.
Dr John Parkinson applications using and developments of Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) Spectroscopy methods. complex mixture analysis, metabolic profiling, reaction process monitoring, AI in NMR, photo-active process monitoring, biomolecular structure elucidation, molecular recognition and related molecular assembly processes, venom chemistry.
Dr Stuart Robertson inert atmosphere synthesis, Solid state and solution structure elucidation, organometallic complex design. secondary magnesium battery electrolyte design and synthesis, bimetallic main group chemistry.
Professor Nicholas Tomkinson synthesis, isolation, purification and analysis of small organic molecules. chemical biology, medicinal chemistry, synthetic methodology.
Professor Christopher Tuttle development and application of computational methods including, density functional theory, atomistic MD simulations, coarse grain methodology, and multi scale methods. directed discovery of functional peptide-based materials, catalyst design, rationalising reactivity, exploiting experimental and computational chemistry synergy.
Dr Alastair Wark bioanalytical chemistry, nanotechnology, optical (Raman, fluorescence, surface plasmon resonance) and electrochmical sensors, confocal multiphoton microsopy including coherent Raman techniques, cell imaging, surface and interfacial chemistry. Biomolecular and enviromental sensor design, disease detection, multiplexed biomarker panel analysis, nanoparticle synthesis and functionalisation, single nanoparticle tracking, multi-modal optical imaging and mnitoring live cells.

Our research

We're one of the largest research schools in the UK with interest and expertise across analytical, biological, physical and synthesis research areas.


Find out more about our research

Laboratory ultraviolet light box during electrophoresis for detection of DNA

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Support & development

Postgraduate Certificate in Researcher Professional Development (PgCert RPD)

As part of your PhD degree, you'll be enrolled on the Postgraduate Certificate in Researcher Professional Development (PgCert RPD). 

This certificate is designed to support you with your research and rewards you for things you'll do as a research student here.

It'll help you improve skills which are important to professional development and employability:

  • knowledge and intellectual abilities to conduct your research
  • personal qualities to succeed in your research and chosen career
  • standards, requirements and conduct of a professional researcher in your discipline
  • working with others and communicating the impact of your research to a wide range of audiences

All you have to do is plan these activities alongside your doctorate, documenting and reflecting your journey to success along the way.

Find out more about the PgCert RPD programme.


The University Careers Service can help you with everything from writing your CV to interview preparation.

Student support

From financial advice to our IT facilities, we have a wide range of support for all students here at Strathclyde. Get all the information you need at Strathlife.

Postgraduate research at the Strathclyde Doctoral School

The Strathclyde Doctoral School provides a vibrant and comprehensive student-centred research and training environment in order to grow and support current and future research talent. The School encompasses our four faculties and is committed to enriching the student experience, intensifying research outputs and opportunities, and ensuring training is at the highest level. As a postgraduate researcher, you'll automatically become a member of the Strathclyde Doctoral School.

Find out more about the Doctoral School

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International students

We've a thriving international community with students coming here to study from over 100 countries across the world. Find out all you need to know about studying in Glasgow at Strathclyde and hear from students about their experiences.

Visit our international students' section

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Glasgow is Scotland's biggest & most cosmopolitan city

Our campus is based in the very heart of Glasgow, Scotland's largest city. National Geographic named Glasgow as one of its 'Best of the World' destinations, while Rough Guide readers have voted Glasgow the world’s friendliest city! And Time Out named Glasgow in the top ten best cities in the world - we couldn't agree more!

We're in the city centre, next to the Merchant City, both of which are great locations for sightseeing, shopping and socialising alongside your studies.

Find out what some of our students think about studying in Glasgow!

Find out all about life in Glasgow

Interested in undertaking a postgraduate research degree at Strathclyde?

Read our step-by-step guide on how to submit your application.

How to apply
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Entry requirements

You'll need a first-class or upper second-class UK Honours degree, or overseas equivalent, in a chemistry-based discipline from a recognised academic institution.

If English isn't your first language, you'll also need to have a recent UKVI-recognised Secure English Language Test (SELT) qualification.

The application

During the application you'll be asked for the following:

  • your full contact details
  • transcripts and certificates of all degrees
  • proof of English language proficiency if English isn't your first language
  • two references, one of which must be academic
  • funding or scholarship information
  • research proposal of 250 to 1,000 words in length, detailing the subject area and topic to be investigated

By filling these details out as fully as possible, you'll avoid any delay to your application being processed by the University.


Research supervisors are assigned to you by the Department of Pure & Applied Chemistry. We ask that you highlight a potential supervisor in your application but the department will team you up with the best supervisor for your project.

Once we've received your application, your research proposal is passed to potential supervisors for consideration. If it's not compatible with the researcher's current projects and they are unble to supervise, it's passed along to another supervisor for consideration. If they can supervise you, they'll confirm and nominate a potential second supervisor.

As soon as a second supervisor is confirmed, an offer will be sent to you through Pegasus, our online application system.

If you accept our offer of study, you'll receive a full offer in writing via the email address you provide.

Accepting an offer

Once you've accepted our offer, we'll need you to fulfil any academic, administrative or financial conditions that we ask.

UK or EU students

If you're applying as a UK or EU student, you'll then be issued with your registration documentation.

International students

An ATAS (Academic Technology Approval Scheme) clearance certificate is a mandatory requirement for some postgraduate students in science, engineering and technology.

Find out if you need an ATAS certificate.

Apply now

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Contact us

Dr Christine Davidson

Telephone: +44 (0)141 548 2672


Thomas Graham Building
295 Cathedral Street
G1 1XL