MChem Chemistry


Key facts

  • UCAS Code: F103
  • Accreditation: Royal Society of Chemistry
  • Second-year entry: available to suitably-qualified students

Study with us

  • benefit from our industrial placement scheme, strong industry links and close relationships with professional bodies
  • option to switch between other MChem courses and BSc degrees, such as BSc (Honours) Chemistry, up to Year 3
  • AstraZeneca and GSK offer a bursary scheme for undergraduates in chemistry
  • accredited by the Royal Society of Chemistry
  • study of pure and applied chemistry provides maximum flexibility when choosing a career path
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Why this course?

On our MChem Chemistry degree, you'll study both pure and applied chemistry. Pure chemistry is about unravelling the mysteries of molecular structure and reactivity. Applied chemistry uses chemical knowledge to respond to the challenges created by society.

Advanced classes include photochemistry, cage and cluster modules, environmental chemistry, polymer chemistry and molecular catalysis.

The Chemistry MChem course is for students who want complete coverage of the subject to keep their career options open. It’s possible to switch between the other MChem courses and also the following shorter BSc degrees within the first three years:

  • BSc (Honours) Chemistry
  • BSc (Honours) Forensic and Analytical Chemistry
  • BSc (Honours) Chemistry with Drug Discovery

The industrial placement year was definitely the most beneficial part of the course.

Final year student, MChem Chemistry

THE Awards 2019: UK University of the Year Winner

What you’ll study

You'll take foundation classes in chemistry, mathematics, and physics or biology at introductory or advanced level. Classes in forensic science, drug discovery and chemical engineering are available depending on your degree choice.

Practical chemistry laboratory sessions help you to master basic preparative and analytical skills. 

In later years, classes will include fundamental inorganic, organic, biological and physical chemistry.

In Year 4, MChem students undertake a paid 12-month industrial placement. Research and Knowledge Exchange placements are also available. For BSc (Honours) students Year 4 is the final year.

In the final year, you’ll specialise in the areas and applications that interest you most and undertake a research project.

Study abroad

You can study at a European university for one year of your degree. You can also spend your placement year abroad.

Major projects

You’ll complete a research project in one of our specialist research laboratories in your final year when you'll work with full-time researchers on real chemistry challenges.

Postgraduate study

Many graduates from this course go on to complete a PhD in Chemistry at Strathclyde and elsewhere. This course equips you for life after graduation, be that employment or further study.

Student competitions

Strathclyde chemistry students also compete successfully for national awards. In recent years, our students have won:

  • Salters’ Graduate prize (£1,000)
  • Low Carbon Undergraduate of the Year Award
  • Carnegie Scholarship
  • Most Meritorious Student award from the Forensic Science Society

The Dean of Science recognises exceptional performance each year through the Dean’s certificate for the best students in the faculty. Students can also win prizes including:

  • P&G Bursary (£1,000 a year plus a one-year paid industrial placement)
  • Chemistry International Alumni Ambassadors UG award for overseas travel (£1,000)
  • Group third-year Poster Competition sponsored by GlaxoSmithKline
  • The RSC Prize in Analytical Chemistry
  • Andersonian Centenary Medal Prize
  • Beilby and Huddleston Prize
  • ICI Chemical and Polymers Group Andersonian Centenary Prize
  • GlaxoSmithKline Prize
  • Syngenta Prize


Accredited by the Royal Society of Chemistry for the purpose of fully meeting the educational requirement for Chartered Chemist.

Work placement

You’ll undertake a paid 12-month placement in the pharmaceutical industry, either in the UK or abroad. Research and Knowledge Exchange placements within the Department's 'Chemistry Clinic' are also available. 

The Strathclyde chemistry industrial placement scheme is one of the longest-running in the UK, and more than 70 students are placed with companies each year.

Find out more about the industrial placement scheme.

The Chemistry Clinic

Find out more about the work of the Chemistry Clinic.

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Course content

Personal Development Planning (PDP)

You normally have the same Personal Development Adviser (PDA) throughout your degree. PDP is an important part of learning and personal development. It's not only associated with your university course, it allows you to plan for the future.

Chemistry: Principles & Practice 1 & 2 (40 Credits)

These lectures and tutorials cover all the broad areas of chemistry including: Analytical Chemistry, Structure & Bonding, Physical Chemistry, Inorganic Chemistry, Organic Chemistry and Spectroscopy.

Practical & Transferable Skills (20 Credits)

You will have one laboratory class per week which runs in both Semester 1 and Semester 2.

Mathematics 1C (20 Credits)

This module will provide you with a basic understanding of mathematical functions, differentiation, integration, complex numbers, matrices and vectors.

Foundation Science: Big Ideas for Chemists (20 Credits) (optional)

This module will provide you with a broad foundation in fundamental scientific thought and theory, underpinning your future as a professional scientist.

Elective modules (20 or 40 Credits) (Optional)

You can select elective modules freely from the University timetable subject to your possessing appropriate entrance qualifications, there being places available, and the times do not clash with compulsory chemistry classes.

Subjects are available in:

  • Science
  • Engineering
  • Business
  • Arts & Humanities

Chemistry students are provided with a list of classes where the timetable is suitable, although other options are also available. Students often choose a language class as an elective.

Inorganic Chemistry (20 Credits)

This module will provide you with a broad knowledge of the important concepts in inorganic chemistry from which more specialist topics can be tackled. This includes investigation of the chemistry of the main group and transition metals and introduces topics at the forefront of inorganic and materials chemistry.

Fundamental Organic Chemistry (20 Credits)

This module covers the fundamental principles of infra-red, ultra-violet, nuclear magnetic resonance and mass spectroscopy; develops competence in the interpretation of spectra and the your  awareness of the role of spectroscopic techniques. It will also develop your knowledge of reactions, understanding of mechanisms and appreciation of the role of reactivity in organic chemistry.

Physical Chemistry 1 (20 Credits)

This module provides a broad knowledge of the important concepts in Thermodynamics, investigating the major features as applied to chemical systems. Topics include:

  • the importance of reaction rates in chemical systems
  • concepts of the electrode/solution interface
  • equilibrium and electron transfer kinetics
  • mass transport
  • the composition and utilisation of fossil fuels with their environmental pollutants
  • nuclear and renewable energy sources

Practical Organic & Inorganic Chemistry (20 Credits)

You'll receive a practical demonstration of topics contained in the lectures. You'll develop basic laboratory skills in preparative chemistry and analysis, and gain experience in the applications of spectroscopy and common instrumental techniques.

Practical Physical and Applied Chemistry and Chemical Analysis (20 Credits)

You'll conduct experiments and gain practical experience of the theoretical aspects covered in lectures. You'll develop skills in the demonstration of physical chemical principles, observation, the use of statistical methods, interpretation of data and the writing of laboratory reports.

Forensic Trace Analysis and Analytical Chemistry (20 Credits)

This module provides fundamental concepts of separation science and outlines its importance in obtaining information about analytes in a sample. Also covers the fundamental concepts of recovery of trace evidence and treatment of materials to provide identification. You're taught how to handle, examine and assess errors in chemical measurements.

Study abroad (Optional)

You have the option to spend your third year studying abroad in a sister University in the European Union or the European Free Trade Area.

We're leading practitioners of the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS), designed to simplify and facilitate the planning and recognition of periods of study in other universities. Additional EU funding under the ERASMUS programme may be available to some students each year to supplement their SAAS grants. There will also be opportunities to spend third year at one of the premier universities in the USA or in Canada, but you will have to find some money towards the costs.

Physical Chemistry 2 (20 Credits)

This module provides you with an understanding of intermolecular forces and their importance in defining key aspects of chemical behaviour and molecular organization. It introduces:

  • surface chemistry and the common systems in which it plays a major role
  • the electronic structure of atoms and molecules through the prism of quantum chemistry
  • group theory and how it can be applied to the determination of the symmetry of molecules and their properties
  • the principles of bonding in molecules as described by valence bond and molecular orbital theories

Practical Organic & Inorganic Chemistry (20 Credits)

In this module you'll receive a practical demonstration of topics contained in the lectures. You'll develop basic laboratory skills in preparative chemistry and analysis, and gain experience in the applications of spectroscopy and common instrumental techniques.

Intermediate Organic Chemistry & Spectroscopy (20 Credits)

This module teaches you modern NMR spectroscopy as it is applied to chemistry. It covers:

  • skills for handling and interpreting NMR data for the purposes of chemical structure elucidation
  • theoretical basis of the NMR experiment using the vector formalism
  • reactivities of organic molecules
  • organic syntheses using the disconnection approach
  • synthesis and reactivities of electron-poor and electron-rich heterocyclic molecules

It provides an insight into the role of computational chemistry in chemical research and training in the use of modern computational chemistry software.

Inorganic Chemistry, Structures & Spectroscopy (20 Credits)

This module provides you with a more advanced view of main group and transition metal coordination and organometallic chemistry. Themes to be covered include ligands and their influence on complexes, trends in structure and bonding, stereochemistry, reactivity, and the application of spectroscopic and other methods of identification. Also, modern spectroscopy as it is applied in chemistry.

Practical Physical, Applied, Forensic & Analytical Chemistry (20 Credits)

In this module you'll conduct experiments and gain practical experience of the theoretical aspects covered in lectures. You'll develop skills in: the demonstration of physical chemical principles; observation; the use of statistical methods; interpretation of data and the writing of laboratory and court reports.

Analytical Chemistry & Drugs of Abuse (20 Credits) (Optional)

This module covers the fundamental analytical methods and advanced theories in chromatography, mass spectrometry and electroseparations.

It introduces the concept of experimental design and its application in analytical, forensic and preparative chemistry, and how to perform analytical calculations and interpret data. The analytical procedures used to identify substances controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001, the Medicines Act 1968 and the World Anti-Doping Agency.

You're introduced to methods of clandestine synthesis and how drug profiling can identify the synthetic route used. The pharmacology of drugs of abuse and the various biological matrices used in drug screening will also be described.

Chemical Biology (20 Credits) (Optional)

This module will provide a detailed overview on the structure, function and chemistry of biological macromolecules such as proteins, nucleic acids, lipids and carbohydrates. Topics include:

  • protein & nucleic acid folding
  • energetics of macromolecular interactions (kinetics & thermodynamics)
  • mechanistic enzymology

The overarching theme in this course is that structure and function are intimately linked.


Distance Learning (40 Credits)

Students on placement in Year 4 continue their studies using online learning materials, with progress assessed through the submission of coursework. Topics studied through distance learning include:

  • Process analytical chemistry
  • Oxidation and reduction processes in organic synthesis
  • Polymers and mechanism


Choose one from the following:

Industrial Placement (80 Credits)

Students may undertake a 12-month placement in the UK or overseas at a chemical company. Examples of companies with which our students have been placed include GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer, Astra Zeneca and Roche. In addition to providing you with relevant industrial experience, you will receive a salary from the company that you work for.

Research Placement (80 Credits)

Students may opt to undertake a 12-month placement within the Department of Pure and Applied Chemistry, working on a research project with one of our experienced academic staff to address real-life challenges in the field.

Knowledge Exchange Placement (80 Credits)

Students may opt to undertake a 12-month placement within Strathclyde’s ‘Chemistry Clinic’. This initiative provides opportunities for businesses to access advice, facilities and instrumentation from students and staff within Strathclyde’s Department of Pure and Applied Chemistry, to further their projects, processes and materials.

Core chemistry (20 Credits)

This class covers more advanced topics in chemistry, such as:

  • Key reactions in organic chemistry
  • Chemical biology IIa
  • Chemistry in the Excited State

MChem Chemistry Specialisation (40 Credits)

In this class, you'll have the opportunity to specialise in a number of areas within chemistry, such as:

  • Advanced & modern methods in organic synthesis
  • Molecular catalysis
  • Polymers: synthesis & chemical properties
  • Solid state chemistry
  • Interpretative spectroscopy
  • Nanochemistry applications in medicinal chemistry


Final-Year Project & Dissertation (60 Credits)

Over the course of the year, you'll complete a practical research project relating to your chosen area of chemistry under the supervision of one of our experienced academics, leading to the production of a dissertation.

Learning & teaching

Each year contains compulsory classes and some years contain either optional classes, which relate to different areas of chemistry and/or elective classes from other subject areas in the University.

In Years 1 to 3, lectures give you the essential knowledge and understanding required by all chemistry graduates. This is supported by small and large group tutorials. Chemistry is a practical subject and you'll gain training in all branches of mainstream practical chemistry.

Your fourth year is a 12-month industrial placement. You’ll continue your studies through distance learning assignments.

In your final year, you’ll study advanced chemistry and complete an independent research project in your chosen field. 

Guest lectures

The Andersonian Chemical Society (the longest-running student organisation in the UK) organises guest speakers and other events, including very popular social events.


Assessment methods include:

  • short answer class tests
  • multiple choice tests
  • end of year examinations
  • oral presentation
  • group project work
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MChem Chemistry entry requirements

Required subjects are shown in brackets.

Note: Students joining our MChem Chemistry have the option of transferring into the following BSc degrees after registering for year 1:

  • Chemistry
  • Forensic & Analytical Chemistry
  • Chemistry with Drug Discovery

Standard entry requirements*:

Year 1 entry: ABBB/AABC

(Chemistry B, Maths B)

Advanced Higher Chemistry and Maths recommended for S6 study and to compensate for missed Higher grades in S5.

Minimum entry requirements**:

Year 1 entry: ABBC/BBBB

(Chemistry B and Maths B)

Advanced Higher Chemistry and Maths recommended for S6 study and to compensate for missed Higher grades in S5. Applicants with grades slightly below the minimum requirements may be considered for admission subject to successful completion of the Strathclyde STEM Summer School.

Advanced Highers

Minimum entry requirements:

Year 2 entry: BBB

(Chemistry, Maths, Physics or Biology)

A Levels

Standard entry requirements*:

Year 1 entry: BBB

(Chemistry, and one of Maths, Physics or Biology)

Year 2 entry: BBB

(Chemistry, Maths, Physics or Biology)

International Baccalaureate

Standard entry requirements*:

Year 2 entry: 30

(Chemistry, Maths, Physics or Biology all at HL)

Year 1 entry: 30

(Chemistry at HL and one of Maths, Physics or Biology at HL)


Year 1 entry: relevant HNC, B in Graded Unit
Year 2 entry: relevant HND, BBB in Graded Units

International students

View the entry requirements for your country.

Deferred entry


*Standard entry requirements

Offers are made in accordance with specified entry requirements although admission to undergraduate programmes is considered on a competitive basis and entry requirements stated are normally the minimum level required for entry.

Whilst offers are made primarily on the basis of an applicant meeting or exceeding the stated entry criteria, admission to the University is granted on the basis of merit, and the potential to succeed. As such, a range of information is considered in determining suitability.

In exceptional cases, where an applicant does not meet the competitive entry standard, evidence may be sought in the personal statement or reference to account for performance which was affected by exceptional circumstances, and which in the view of the judgement of the selector would give confidence that the applicant is capable of completing the programme of study successfully.

**Minimum entry requirements

Find out if you can benefit from this type of offer.

Contextual Admissions for Widening Access

We want to increase opportunities for people from every background.

Strathclyde selects our students based on merit, potential, and the ability to benefit from the education we offer. We look for more than just your grades. We consider the circumstances of your education and will make lower offers to certain applicants as a result.

Find out if you can benefit from this type of offer.

University preparation programme for international students

We offer international students (non-UK/Ireland) who do not meet the academic entry requirements for an undergraduate degree at Strathclyde the option of completing an Undergraduate Foundation Programme in Business and Social Sciences at the University of Strathclyde International Study Centre. ​

Upon successful completion, you can progress to your chosen degree at the University of Strathclyde.

International students

We've a thriving international community with students coming here to study from over 140 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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Fees & funding

All fees quoted are for full-time courses and per academic year unless stated otherwise.

Fees may be subject to updates to maintain accuracy. Tuition fees will be notified in your offer letter.

All fees are in £ sterling, unless otherwise stated, and may be subject to revision.

Annual revision of fees

Students on programmes of study of more than one year (or studying standalone modules) should be aware that tuition fees are revised annually and may increase in subsequent years of study. Annual increases will generally reflect UK inflation rates and increases to programme delivery costs.

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Fees for students who meet the relevant residence requirements in Scotland are subject to confirmation by the Scottish Funding Council. Scottish undergraduate students undertaking an exchange for a semester/year will continue to pay their normal tuition fees at Strathclyde and will not be charged fees by the overseas institution.

England, Wales & Northern Ireland


Assuming no change in fees policy over the period, the total amount payable by undergraduate students will be capped. For students commencing study in 2024/25, this is capped at £27,750 (with the exception of the MPharm and integrated Masters programmes), MPharm students pay £9,250 for each of the four years. Students studying on integrated Masters degree programmes pay an additional £9,250 for the Masters year with the exception of those undertaking a full-year industrial placement where a separate placement fee will apply.



University preparation programme fees

International students can find out more about the costs and payments of studying a university preparation programme at the University of Strathclyde International Study Centre.

Additional costs
  • lab coats and safety goggles (approximately £30)
  • molecular modelling kits are recommended but are not a compulsory requirement (£20)
  • class materials (such as lecture notes and exercise sheets) for Pure and Applied Chemistry classes are freely available for download
  • for some classes students may wish to supplement their material by accessing textbooks which are in the range of £40 to £80, however all recommended reading texts are available in the library

International students: International students may have associated visa and immigration costs. Please see student visa guidance for more information.

Available scholarships

Take a look at our scholarships search for funding opportunities.

Please note: All fees shown are annual and may be subject to an increase each year. Find out more about fees.

How can I fund my studies?

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Students from Scotland

Fees for students who meet the relevant residence requirements in Scotland, you may be able to apply to the Student Award Agency Scotland (SAAS) to have your tuition fees paid by the Scottish government. Scottish students may also be eligible for a bursary and loan to help cover living costs while at University.

For more information on funding your studies have a look at our University Funding page.

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Students from England, Wales & Northern Ireland

We have a generous package of bursaries on offer for students from England, Northern Ireland and Wales:

You don’t need to make a separate application for these. When your place is confirmed at Strathclyde, we’ll assess your eligibility. Take a look at our scholarships search for funding opportunities.

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International Students

We have a number of scholarships available to international students. Take a look at our scholarship search to find out more.

What our students think

Naomi Mackay, MChem graduate

Naomi Mackay

In my first post-university job, my experience from industrial placement saw me “hit the ground running” and earned me an early promotion!
Fraser Gunn, MChem Chemistry graduate

Fraser Gunn

All the staff members in the department from the lab technicians, the lecturers, the store staff and the office staff were all friendly and approachable and made me feel at home within the department.

Nicholas Boname

I really like the chemistry department. They are extremely supportive and do their best to accommodate the needs of the students. The campus is green with lots of trees and some historical architecture, and the union provides a great place to take a break between classes.
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There’s a continuous demand for chemistry graduates. Our graduates compete successfully for jobs in all branches of the chemical industry. These are well-rewarded careers that allow you to go on to supervisory or management roles. Your chances of employment are substantially increased by the industrial placement and training.

A degree in chemistry opens doors to a wide variety of employment opportunities. The range of available jobs is considerable and covers many different types of chemistry and industries such as nanotechnology, large scale chemical plants, the drinks and pharmaceutical industries or teaching.

Your skills will also be in demand in other areas. A study of chemistry helps you develop logical thought and numerical skills and the ability to write accurate and concise reports. As a result, our chemists are in demand in national and local government, in hospitals and in education at all levels.

This course is accredited by the Royal Society of Chemistry and graduates are eligible to apply for the status of Chartered Chemist, the qualification recognised in the UK and EU for professional chemists.

How much will I earn?

The average salary 15 months after graduating is £25,000 (Discover Uni, 2024).

Job options

Jobs directly related to your degree include:

  • Analytical chemist
  • Biotechnologist
  • Clinical research associate
  • Colour technologist
  • Crime scene investigator
  • Food technologist
  • Forensic scientist
  • Medicinal chemist
  • Nanotechnologist
  • Oceanographer
  • Palaeontologist
  • Pharmacologist
  • Radiation protection practitioner
  • Research scientist (physical sciences)
  • Science writer
  • Toxicologist

Jobs where your degree would be useful include:

  • Actuary
  • Business analyst
  • Civil service fast streamer
  • Data analyst
  • Environmental consultant
  • Higher education lecturer
  • Nuclear engineer
  • Patent attorney
  • Product/process development scientist
  • Secondary school teacher

(Information taken from Prospects, 2024)

Glasgow is Scotland's biggest & most cosmopolitan city

Our campus is based right in the very heart of Glasgow. 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.

Life in Glasgow

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Start date: Sep 2024

Chemistry (1 year entry)

Start date: Sep 2024

UCAS Applications

Apply through UCAS if you are a UK applicant. International applicants may apply through UCAS if they are applying to more than one UK University.

Apply now

Direct Applications

Our Direct applications service is for international applicants who wish to apply to the University of Strathclyde at this time.

Apply now

Start date:

Chemistry (1 year entry)

Start date:

Chemistry (2 year entry)

Start date: Sep 2024

Chemistry (2 year entry)

Start date: Sep 2024

UCAS Applications

Apply through UCAS if you are a UK applicant. International applicants may apply through UCAS if they are applying to more than one UK University.

Apply now

Direct Applications

Our Direct applications service is for international applicants who wish to apply to the University of Strathclyde at this time.

Apply now
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Contact us

Find out more about the programme

Roslyn Nimmo

Admissions Assistant

Telephone: +44 (0)141 548 2282


Dr Fraser Scott

Academic Selector

Telephone: +44 (0)141 548 2800


Charlie O’Hara

Director of Teaching

Telephone: 0141 548 3537