MChem Forensic & Analytical Chemistry

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Key facts

  • UCAS Code: FF41
  • Start date: Sep 2020
  • Accreditation: Royal Society of Chemistry, Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences

  • High Flyer Programme: qualified applicants can complete the course in 4 years

  • Work placement: 12-month paid placement - UK or abroad

Study with us

The Centre for Forensic Science at Strathclyde has provided degrees in forensic science for longer than any other university in the UK.

You’ll be joining a global network of Strathclyde graduates; our forensic and analytical chemistry graduates are highly respected throughout the world.

This Integrated Masters degree provides you with a comprehensive education in both chemistry and forensic science. The degree qualifies you as an all-round analytical chemist, with thorough training in the applications of forensic science. Graduates of this course go on to careers in all areas of analytical chemistry including the forensic arena.

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Why this course?

This is the only course in the UK to have dual professional accreditation from the Royal Society of Chemistry and the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences. It’s delivered in partnership with the Strathclyde Centre for Forensic Science.

Transferable skills are taught in all years and include IT, scientific writing, presentation skills, report writing and problem-solving. You can study at a European University for one year of your degree, and you can choose to spend your placement year abroad.

Transfer is possible between the other MChem courses and also the following shorter BSc degrees within the first three years:

  • BSc (Hons) Chemistry
  • BSc (Hons) Chemistry with Analytical Chemistry
  • BSc (Hons) Chemistry with Forensic Chemistry
  • BSc (Hons) Chemistry with Drug Discovery

Laboratory ultraviolet light box during electrophoresis for detection of DNA

What you’ll study

Year 1

You'll take foundation classes in chemistry and mathematics, and either physics or biology. In addition, you are given the opportunity to take elective classes including forensic science, drug discovery, chemical engineering, and subjects from other areas of the University.

Practical chemistry laboratory sessions help you to master basic preparative and analytical skills. You’ll spend one afternoon in the laboratory and the rest of your time will be in lectures and tutorials.

Years 2 & 3

You'll take classes in fundamental inorganic, organic, biological and physical chemistry, plus forensic trace analysis and analytical chemistry. You'll have a choice of electives as in Year 1.

Laboratory work increases to four afternoons per week and your practical skills are enhanced with computer modelling and group exercises to develop presentational skills.

Year 4

MChem students may undertake a 12-month industrial placement, specialising in either forensic or analytical chemistry. Academic research and knowledge exchange placements are also available.

Year 5

In the final year, you’ll specialise in the areas and applications that interest you most including DNA analysis, toxicology, process analytical chemistry, and atomic/nuclear spectroscopy. In addition, in a specialist topic of your choice, you will undertake a research project leading to the submission of a dissertation.

Overseas study

You can complete a year of your degree studying at a European university. As well as getting an in-depth knowledge of practising chemistry in another country, you’ll have the opportunity to become fluent in another language.

Major projects

You’ll complete a research project in one of our specialist research laboratories in Yera 5. You'll work with full-time researchers on real forensic and analytical chemistry challenges.

Facilities

Our high quality, bright and modern laboratories include a range of specialist equipment. You will gain hands-on experience of the state-of-the-art equipment used in industry and research.

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

Accreditation

Accredited by the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences.

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

High Flyer Programme

Well-qualified applicants with appropriate A Levels and Advanced Highers will be admitted to the Faculty of Science prestigious 'High Flyer' Programme, which allows students to complete an Honours degree in three years and an Integrated Masters degree in four. If you are studying the relevant subjects you may receive a dual offer, specifying grades to direct entry to Year 2 as a High Flyer and also standard Year 1 entry.

Find out more about our High Flyer Programme.

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.

Take a look at our video to 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
These lectures and tutorials cover all the broad areas of chemistry including:
  • analytical chemistry
  • structure & bonding
  • physical chemistry
  • inorganic chemistry
  • organic chemistry
  • spectroscopy
Practical & Transferable Skills
All students have one laboratory class per week which runs in both Semester 1 and Semester 2.
Mathematics
This class aims to give a basic understanding of:
  • mathematical functions
  • differentiation
  • integration
  • complex numbers
  • matrices & vectors
Mechanics, Optics & Waves
This class provides you with an understanding of motion of simple mechanical systems, gravitation and simple harmonic motion. You'll also learn about the fundamentals of wave propagation and the superposition of waves as well as simple optical phenomena such as diffraction.
Molecular Bioscience
You'll study cellular structure and function and is concerned with the chemical basis of life and the fundamentals of cell biochemistry. The molecular basis of inheritance, human genetics, genes and the environment are also covered.
Elective classes

You can select elective classes from the University if you have the appropriate entrance qualifications, there are 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, or Introduction to Forensic Science as an elective.

Transferable Skills
The programme provides a framework for a wide range of team-working and problem solving skills in a general chemistry related context, and includes scientific writing, group working and chemical drawing software.
Inorganic Chemistry
This class aims to provide 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
This class covers the fundamental principles of infra-red, ultra-violet, nuclear magnetic resonance and mass spectroscopy; develops competence in the interpretation of spectra and your awareness of the role of spectroscopic techniques. It will also develop knowledge of reactions, understanding of mechanisms and appreciation of the role of reactivity in organic chemistry.
Physical Chemistry 1
This class 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 & electron transfer kinetics
  • mass transport
  • the composition & utilisation of fossil fuels with their environmental pollutants
  • nuclear & renewable energy sources
Forensic Trace Analysis & Analytical Chemistry

This class provides fundamental concepts of separation science and outlines its importance in obtaining information about analytes in a sample. It 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

You'll have the option to spend 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.

Transferable Skills
The programme provides a framework for a wide range of team-working and problem solving skills in a general chemistry related context, and includes a poster production and presentation; data retrieval; verbal presentation and a quality systems workshop.
Physical Chemistry 2
Provides an understanding of intermolecular forces and their importance in defining key aspects of chemical behaviour and molecular organisation. The class 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
You'll receive a practical demonstration of topics contained in the lectures. You'll also 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
This class teaches 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
  • the theoretical basis of the NMR experiment using the vector formalism
  • the reactivities of organic molecules
  • organic syntheses using the disconnection approach
  • the synthesis and reactivities of electron-poor and electron-rich heterocyclic molecules
  • insight into the role of computational chemistry in chemical research and training in the use of modern computational chemistry software
Inorganic Chemistry, Structures & Spectroscopy

This class provides 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
  • the application of spectroscopic and other methods of identification
  • modern spectroscopy as it is applied in chemistry
Practical Physical, Applied, Forensic & Analytical Chemistry
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
Practical Physical, Applied & Drug Discovery Chemistry

You'll conduct experiments in physical and applied chemistry and in chemistry relating to drug discovery, gaining practical experience of theoretic aspects of physical, applied and synthetic medicinal chemistry covered in lectures.

You'll develop laboratory skills in:

  • physical chemistry and analytical observation
  • the use of statistical methods
  • synthetic medicinal chemistry and analysis
  • applications of spectroscopy and common instrumental techniques
  • the writing of laboratory reports
Analytical Chemistry & Drugs of Abuse

This class covers the fundamental analytical methods and advanced theories in chromatography, mass spectrometry and electro-separations. 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. Students are 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.

Distance Learning

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
Industrial Placement

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

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

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

This class covers more advanced topics in chemistry, including:

  • Organic chemistry
  • Cage and cluster molecules
  • Environmental chemistry
  • Interpretative spectroscopy
  • Transition metal chemistry
  • Nanochemistry
  • Understanding molecules and materials



Forensic & Analytical Chemistry Specialisation

In this class, you'll have the option to specialise in a number of areas within forensic science and analytical chemistry, including:

  • Principles and practice of forensic science
  • Toxicology and alcohol
  • Chemistry of DNA profiling
  • Fires and explosives
  • Surface analysis and x-ray techniques
  • Atomic nuclear spectroscopy
  • Multivariate analysis
  • Process analytical chemistry




Final-Year Project & Dissertation

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 deliver the essential knowledge and understanding required by all chemistry graduates. This is supported by small and large group tutorials. Chemistry is a practical subject so students will also gain training in all branches of mainstream practical chemistry.

Your fourth year is a 12-month industrial, research or knowledge exchange placement giving hands-on training. You’ll continue your studies through distance learning assignments.

In your final year, you’ll study advanced topics in forensic and analytical 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

Assessment methods include short answer class tests, multiple-choice tests, end of year examinations, oral presentation and group project work.

Good performance in chemistry classes in Year 1 leads to exemption from the final exam.

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Entry requirements

Required subjects are shown in brackets.

Highers

Standard entry requirements:

Year 1 entry: AABB/AAAC

(Chemistry, Maths, Physics or Biology/ Human Biology, English preferred as fourth subject)

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

Minimum entry requirements*: 

ABBB or equivalent

(Highers/Advanced Highers mix of Chemistry, Maths, Physics or Biology, and English respectively)

Highers not achieved can be topped up by attending Strathclyde Summer School.

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

Advanced Highers

Year 2 entry: AAA-ABB

(Chemistry, Maths, Physics or Biology)

Those with three Advanced Highers including Chemistry and only one other preferred subject will be considered for Year 1 entry.

A Levels

Year 2 entry: AAA-ABB

(Chemistry, Maths, Physics or Biology)

Those with three A Levels including Chemistry and only one other preferred subject will be considered for Year 1 entry.

International Baccalaureate

Year 2 entry: 34

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

Those with three IB HL including Chemistry and only one other preferred subject will be considered for Year 1 entry.

HNC/HND

Year 1 entry: relevant HNC, A in Graded Unit
Year 2 entry: relevant HND, AAA in Graded Units

International students

Find out entry requirements for your country by visiting our country pages.

Deferred entry

Accepted

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.

Degree preparation course for international students

We offer international students (non-EU/UK) who do not meet the academic entry requirements for an undergraduate degree at Strathclyde the option of completing an Undergraduate Foundation year programme at the University of Strathclyde International Study Centre.

Upon successful completion, you will be able to progress to this degree course at the University of Strathclyde.

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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Fees & funding

2020/21

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

Scotland/EU

TBC

Fees for students domiciled in Scotland and the EU are subject to confirmation in early 2020 by the Scottish Funding Council.

(2019/20: £1,820)

Rest of UK

TBC

Assuming no change in RUK fees policy over the period, the total amount payable by undergraduate students will be capped. For students commencing study in 2020/21, 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.

(2019/20: £9,250)

International

£19,750

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:

  • approx £25
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 and the EU

If you're a Scottish or EU student, 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. Have a look at our scholarship search for any more funding opportunities.

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International Students (Non-UK Scholarships, EEA)

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

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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!

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Careers

A degree in chemistry opens doors to a wide variety of employment opportunities and our graduates compete successfully for jobs in the chemical industry. Your chances of employment are substantially increased by having completed training in an industrial placement.

Developments in forensic science move quickly, with new means of gathering and characterising minute traces of evidence constantly being sought.

The skills of analytical chemists are also increasingly in demand for checking the quality of our food and water, protecting the environment and monitoring industrial materials and processes.

Another emerging area is the restoration of artworks and historical artefacts, proving that the career opportunities for a well-trained analytical chemist are both wide and interesting.

This course is accredited by both the Royal Society of Chemistry and the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences. 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 (median) salary of graduates in full-time work is £18,500**

With management experience, you could earn up to £50,000.*

Where are they now?

86.4% of our graduates are in work or further study.**

Recent job titles include:

  • Analytical Chemist
  • Bioanalytical Lab Assistant
  • Forensic Scientist Graduate Trainee
  • Development Analyst
  • Drug Analyst
  • Medical Sales Representative
  • Systems Test Engineer

Recent employers include:

  • Almac
  • Cyprotex Ltd
  • Encap Drug Delivery
  • Lab Logic
  • LGC Forensic
  • Novartis
  • Reaqua Systems
  • St Aloysius College

* Information is intended only as a guide.

** Based on the results of the national Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education.

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Forensic & Analytical Chemistry

Qualification: MChem

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Contact us

Roslyn Nimmo

Admissions Secretary

Telephone: +44 (0)141 548 2282

Email: chemistry.enquiry@strath.ac.uk

Dr Mark Dufton

Academic Selector

Telephone: +44 (0)141 548 2440

Email: mark.dufton@strath.ac.uk

Dr Lorraine Gibson

Director of Teaching

Telephone: +44 (0)141 548 2224

Email: lorraine.gibson@strath.ac.uk

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