also available in 2018
A Level Requirements
see all requirements
see all requirements
Full time 4 Year(s)
Chemists are great problem solvers and analytical thinkers; they have been instrumental in developing our modern world. The Study Abroad programme provides a multicultural experience and equips you with a multidisciplinary skill set that will prepare you for your career.
Our four-year MChem degree programme allows you to explore a range of core topics, including chemical synthesis and materials, chemical physics and analysis, chemical computation and theory, and chemical biology. It also contains a significant research component, where you will work for 20 weeks on a contemporary research problem in one of our research groups. We offer a diverse range of modules that are developed and assessed by world-leading academics, whose cutting-edge research continually shapes the content that they teach.
You will expand your horizons by spending a year studying at one of our international partner universities. There, you will undertake advanced chemistry courses that are complementary to those offered at Lancaster. Destinations currently include North America, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, France and the Netherlands, with extension to further destinations in progress.
Our modern approach combines the traditionally segregated subjects of organic, inorganic and physical chemistry, and teaches chemistry in logical stages. As part of the degree, you will receive an expansive introduction to the foundations of chemistry, from the fundamentals of atoms and molecules, to chemical reaction kinetics. Later years build on these foundations, and develop advanced knowledge and skills in modern chemical theory and contemporary practical techniques.
In your first year you will study our core chemistry modules (comprising two-thirds of the year) along with your free choice of optional modules that can be selected from other subject areas taught in the University. Throughout your degree, you will develop your practical skills in our brand-new, research-grade labs, with access to an impressive range of equipment. Alongside the technical knowledge, you will gain excellent transferable skills in communication, research, data analysis, mathematics and computation, and analytic and logical thinking; all of which can applied to many different career paths.
Your second year builds upon the broad fundamentals of first year, and you will cover some familiar topics in more detail, such as organic synthesis, spectroscopy and kinetics, while new, more advanced topics are introduced, such as d-metal chemistry, soft-matter chemistry and quantum chemistry.
Your final year will enable you to apply your skills by undertaking a major research project, which provides an exciting opportunity for you to address a significant research problem as part of one of our research groups, alongside postgraduate students and postdoctoral staff. Additionally, you will study a series of advanced taught modules that allow you to examine areas of chemistry in greater depth.
We are a modern and inclusive department committed to small group teaching which we believe fosters a highly supportive and productive learning environment. In keeping with the University’s ethos, we value the importance of maintaining an excellent student-to-staff ratio, and we want to ensure that you are treated as an individual. Our new Chemistry Building offers space to socialise, as well as facilities to help you excel in your studies. Our open-door policy enables students to call in for help and advice at any time.
BSc and MChem
As the degree shares a common first- and second-year with the BSc and Lancaster-based MChem programmes, there is flexibility to switch between programmes once you are in Lancaster (subject to academic requirements).
A Level ABB
Required Subjects A level grade AB in Chemistry and a further science from; Biology, Computing, Environmental Science, Geography, Human Biology, Information Technology, Mathematics, Physics or Psychology.
GCSE Mathematics grade B or 6, English Language grade C or 4
IELTS 6.5 overall with at least 5.5 in each component. For other English language qualifications we accept, please see our English language requirements webpages.
International Baccalaureate 32 points overall with 16 points from the best 3 Higher Level subjects including 6 in Chemistry HL and 6 in a further HL science subject
BTEC Distinction, Distinction, Merit to include sufficient science. We require Distinctions in majority of relevant science units. We will assess the qualification on an individual basis but will be looking for substantial study of Chemistry and additional science at Distinction level. We typically require an additional A level Chemistry grade B alongside the BTEC to meet the Chemistry subject prerequisite. Please contact the Admissions Team for further advice.
We welcome applications from students with a range of alternative UK and international qualifications, including combinations of qualification. Further guidance on admission to the University, including other qualifications that we accept, frequently asked questions and information on applying, can be found on our general admissions webpages.
Contact Admissions Team + 44 (0) 1524 592028 or via firstname.lastname@example.org
Many of Lancaster's degree programmes are flexible, offering students the opportunity to cover a wide selection of subject areas to complement their main specialism. You will be able to study a range of modules, some examples of which are listed below.
This module provides a link between A-level and undergraduate chemistry. It covers topics such as the elements and Periodic Table, atomic structure, properties of atoms, molecular shape, types of bonding and the basic principles of spectroscopic techniques and their use in molecule identification.
The practical laboratory classes include an introduction to chemical synthesis, to build upon skills learned at A-level, and to introduce new lab techniques. Students will use some techniques they may recognise, together with some new techniques, to synthesise and react some simple metal complexes.
The module offers a complete overview of the theory and practice of chemical reaction kinetics, leading to an understanding of the kinetic principles of reaction kinetics. Using this knowledge, students will determine orders of reaction, rate constants and activation energies from kinetic measurements. The module explores the relationship between temperature and rate, as well as introducing the Arrhenius Equation. More advanced topics, including collision theory, transition state theory and the kinetics of complex reactions will be studied. Students will become familiar with the steady state approximation and learn how to use this to derive rate laws of complex reactions.
Practical classes give hands-on experience in measuring physical properties and reinforce the theoretical concepts taught in lectures.
The module introduces key concepts of inorganic chemistry such as periodicity and trends in atomic properties, bond models and molecular shapes, acid-base properties, and d-block co-ordination complexes. Students will gain a basic knowledge and understanding of the topic and develop their skills in analysing and interpreting information, problem solving, working safely and competently in a laboratory, keeping orderly records and drawing evidence based conclusions.
Practical sessions involve the use of qualitative spot tests for the identification of metals using simple inorganic reactions, and their use to characterise and identify unknown samples.
Building on the Inorganic Chemistry module, this module, through a mixture of lectures and practicals, demonstrates how common compounds involving main group elements are prepared, and teaches students to be able to account for the observed reactivity of the elements within an s or p block group. Students will use crystal field theory to account for different geometries adopted by transition metal complexes and will describe and discuss bonding between transition metals and common ligands including organometallics.
Building on earlier practical sessions, students will learn further inorganic chemistry techniques. Practicals include reacting Werner’s Nobel Prize complexes to form simple octahedral metal complexes; the synthesis of metal acetyl-acetone complexes; and the synthesis and quantitative analysis of polyiodide complexes. As part of the practical work, the molecules synthesised will be characterised via various spectroscopic techniques.
This module introduces the importance of molecular orbital theory in understanding organic reactivity and explains how such reactivity can be accurately represented by curly arrow mechanisms. In addition, we introduce the students to important concepts of acidity, basicity, pKa and leaving group ability. With this key information in hand, the reactivity of a broad range of organic functional groups can be readily explained. As such, in the first half of the course, the student will be equipped with the skills to predict the reactivity of a variety of carbonyl compounds and substitution reactions.
In the second half of the module, substitution reactions at saturated carbon, and elimination reactions will be described. In this context, the students will be able to analyse the various factors involved in determining the outcome of these reactions and predict the reactivity of a variety of organic substrates. Finally, an introduction to the formation of enols and enolates, as well the aldol reaction will be given.
Techniques learned in earlier modules will be built upon in the practical laboratory sessions. Students will address the synthesis of more complex organic molecules and the identification of the synthesised molecules using the full range of spectroscopic techniques, including NMR, IR and UV/vis spectroscopies.
Introducing organic chemistry, this module provides a basic understanding of key concepts such as nomenclature, bonding and structure, shape and isomerism, and electronegativity. Students will learn about the concept of functional groups and their importance in a biological or environmental context. They will be able to provide examples of chemical reactions in which these groups participate.
Practical sessions in our laboratories develop skills in microscale organic chemistry techniques, including the halogenation of alkenes, the formation of alcohols by reduction of ketones, and the dehydration of alcohols.
Expanding on the introductory mathematics taught in the Skills for Chemists module, this module provides the student with an understanding of the practical applications of calculus and the physical underpinnings of chemistry. Students will learn about the fundamental process of modelling physical phenomena using mathematics and how new models are developed. They will learn to solve simple, chemically relevant calculus problems unaided, whilst solving more complex problems by computational techniques.
The module also provides an understanding of the interactions and drawbacks of treating atoms as solid (classical) particles. The interactions between electrons and nuclei, and between charged and neutral atoms and molecules will also be considered. It will also introduce the basic consequences of the quantisation of matter, with relevance for future courses in spectroscopy and quantum chemistry.
Computer-based practicals will be used to highlight several key physical phenomena from the lectures, and to provide experience in the use of computers for solving complex mathematical problems and in particular their applications to quantum chemistry and molecular dynamics.
This module serves to introduce concepts and technical language relevant to undergraduate chemistry, and to prepare students for future physical and theoretical chemistry courses. This includes learning how to write in a fluent, modern, scientific style and how to develop and present material for a particular audience (for example, writing for posters or presentations, for expert and non-expert), together with an introduction to the chemistry academic literature. It also involves recapping and developing new fundamental mathematical skills (mathematics is the language of physical and theoretical chemistry), and learning how to best present numerical data.
The module is supported by a series of computer-based practical classes, which introduce the importance of computers in solving complex mathematical problems, and how this can be used to benefit modern applications in chemistry.
This module describes the principles and practice that underpins analytical chemistry and illustrates their utility through a range of challenging analysis applications. Students will gain an understanding of instrumental techniques such as spectrophotometry, spectrofluorimetry, atomic spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, electro analysis, and analytical separations, and they will learn about the differences between these and absolute techniques of chemical analysis.
Taking part in practical sessions, students will measure quantitative solution conductivities of strong-acid/strong-base, strong-acid/weak-base, and strong-acid weak-acid/strong-base systems. They will investigate selectivity coefficients using ion-selective Li, Na and K electrodes. The sessions also help to develop skills in serial dilutions and calibrations, and the use of potentiometry, to analyse a multi-component mixture by UV/vis spectroscopy.
Here, the main physical chemistry topics of bulk materials; thermodynamics, chemical equilibria and reaction kinetics, which control the rate of reaction, the yield of reaction, and the stability of a chemical system, are all introduced. The module also relates these principles to catalysis and enzyme-catalysed reactions, and provides a grounding in material relevant for second year modules.
Practical laboratory classes will build upon concepts in accuracy and precision, and will involve the quantitative reaction of acid-base systems measured using pH meters. Students will calculate the dissociation constant of weak acids and determine the enthalpy of solution from solubility measurements. They will also investigate the variation of reaction rates with temperature.
Advanced Coordination Chemistry looks at metals in solution, including the chemistry of metal ions in solution, the general description of solvation of ions and the description of inner sphere and outer sphere coordination and solvent changes. Students will be introduced to metal clusters, borane and related cages and clusters. The module provides an introduction to coordination equilibria and solution equilibria, the use of formation constants, rates of exchange and factors affecting rates of exchange. The module also examines coordination and reaction chemistry of the 2nd and 3rd row transition metals, looking at selected examples of oxides and halides and trends in stability of oxidation states for important representative examples.
By the end of the module, students will be familiarised with the solution behaviour of metal ions, and the behaviour of ions in solution, trends in, and examples of, 2nd and 3rd row transition metal chemistry and metal-metal bonding. The module will improve students’ skills in practical chemistry, spectroscopic interpretation, report writing and problem solving.
Students will learn about a variety of topics, including Nucleophilic addition to aldehydes and ketones, nucleophilic substitution at C=O and synthesis and electrophilic addition to alkenes and alkynes. Key concepts will be introduced, including nucleophilic addition and substitution of carbonyl compounds, synthesis and reactions of alkenes and electrophilic and nucleophilic substitution of aromatic compounds. The module also covers nucleophilic attack of 1, 3-unsaturated carbonyls and electrophilic and nucleophilic substitution of aromatic compounds. The module is taught through lectures and practical lab sessions to exemplify taught reactions.
Students will gain knowledge, skills and understanding in the chemistry of carbonyl, alkene and aromatic compounds. Additionally, the module teaches students to work safely and competently in a laboratory, keeping an orderly record of accurate experimental observations and the presentation of reports drawn from evidence-based conclusions.
Information for this module is currently unavailable.
The first part of this module focuses on conformational analysis of chains and rings, with a particular focus on conformations of acyclic and cyclic hydrocarbons, conformations and reactivity of substituted cyclohexanes, as well as conformations and reactivity of cyclohexene, cyclohexanone, strained and bridgehead-containing rings. Students will then concentrate on the application of spectroscopic methods in organic structure determination. The importance of geminal, vicinal and long-range coupling in 1H NMR will be assessed, as well as the uses of Nuclear Overhauser effect, and 2D NMR in structure elucidation will be examined.
Students will gain knowledge, understanding and skills in the conformational analysis and structural determination of organic modules. Additionally, they will improve their skills in problem solving and analysing and interpreting data.
Students will gain knowledge and understanding of organometallics of the s/p block metals. The module offers an introduction to organotransition metal chemistry, commonly encountered ligands and their classification: X/L notation and hapticity. The synthesis, structure and bonding, and reactivity of metal carbonyls and phosphine ligands will be studied. Key reaction types and mechanisms will be examined as part of the module. Students will also receive an introduction to catalytic processes involving transition metal intermediates to offer an understanding of how reaction types operate within the mechanisms of catalytic cycles.
By the end of the module, students will have an understanding of the basic concepts and principles of organometallic chemistry and will be introduced to the structures, bonding, synthesis and properties of a representative range of organotransition metal complexes. Additionally, Ligand substitution, oxidative-addition, reductive-elimination, migratory insertion, beta-H elimination and nucleophilic attack on coordinated ligands are introduced as key reaction types in organometallic chemistry.
The aim of this module is to introduce the principles and techniques of theoretical, or quantum, chemistry and the fundamental mathematical techniques that underpin it. Quantum mechanics, symmetry and group theory are included in the module. There is an introduction to chemical phenomena that cannot be explained through the use of classical mechanics. Quantisation will be introduced as naturally arising from bound (confined) systems, and the Schrodinger equation is also explored.
The module will, alongside the chemistry content, introduce the mathematical techniques required to understand and appreciate solutions to the Schrodinger equation. Specifically, it will introduce the quantisation of matter, the Schrodinger equation, various Hamiltonians representing different physical models, including the Coulombic molecular Hamiltonian. It will also provide an introduction to the mathematical and computational techniques required to solve the complex mathematical problems that arise in theoretical chemistry. Alongside this, symmetry and its fundamental importance in understanding molecular orbital theory, interpreting spectroscopic observations and the shapes of molecules will also be introduced.
This module describes the properties and behaviour of solids such as metals, salts and crystalline molecular compounds and soft matter, including polymers and their surfaces. In particular, relationships between structure, property and material behaviour will be explored. Characterization techniques, (X-ray crystallography, gel permeation chromatography (GPC) and differential scanning calorimetry (DCS)) will be explored. Applications of hard and soft surfaces in catalysis and gas storage will be highlighted. The use of X-ray crystallography as a characterization tool will be explored and the chemical and mathematical concepts behind this technique introduced.
By the end of the module, students will have developed their problem solving and data analysis skills and be able to present results and findings in a clear and concise manner.
This module describes strategies for and approaches to the synthesis of organic molecules in a controlled manner. The importance, formation methods and various uses of enols, enolates and enolate equivalents in synthesis are all introduced. The module will also introduce the concept of retrosynthetic analysis as a means of designing syntheses of complex organic molecules. Strategies of utilising protecting groups in synthesis will be discussed to overcome selectivity problems. Students will then explore retrosynthetic analysis as a tool to design multi-step syntheses of complex organic molecules. In this context, logical disconnections of various bonds, which allow for the conceptual 'breaking down' of a molecule into smaller units, will be discussed.
By the end of the module, students will understand the versatility of enolate chemistry in organic synthesis and the application of enolate and other chemical methods in retrosynthetic analysis as a way of devising syntheses of complex organic structures. Students will also improve their skills in problem-solving, consolidating information, core practical techniques, analysis of data and the presentation of reports.
This module discusses the underlying physical principles that govern spectroscopic techniques that compliment an in depth knowledge of techniques crucial to all areas of chemistry. Students will also be introduced to practical techniques for the recording and interpretation of spectra. The module includes topics such as the electromagnetic spectrum, atomic spectroscopy and x-ray based spectroscopic techniques. Students will also explore nuclear magnetic resonance, luminescence and spectroscopic imaging.
Additionally, the module offers practical sessions based around NMR, UV/Vis, IR and Fluorescence, and workshops that will connect the theory to the practical interpretation of spectra. The Physical Principles of Spectroscopy aims to consolidate students’ knowledge of spectroscopic methods and expand skills to rationalisation of observed spectra in terms of the underlying chemical and physical properties of molecules and techniques.
Students will gain an in depth knowledge surrounding thermodynamics, covering a variety of topics including ideal gas laws; internal energy, including heat and work, and the Carnot cycle. The module then progresses to exploring enthalpy, heat capacity and entropy. Free energies and chemical potential, along with microstates, partition function, molecular interactions and molecular simulation are investigated as part of the module.
The module aims to develop a critical understanding of chemical thermodynamics and statistical mechanics, focusing on concepts and their application in understanding chemical driving forces and stability. Problem solving skills and mathematical ability will be improved, and through theoretical lectures and practical sessions, students will also improve their laboratory and written communication skills.
What next after your degree? What kind of work will you enjoy and find fulfilling? What available careers are there which will suit you and how can you gain entry?
This module will help students to analyse their own preferences, skills, values and career aspirations. They will learn about career opportunities and labour market trends, and they will research employment and training opportunities for graduates and specifically for those with their degree specialism. Students will consolidate and further develop the key skills which employers are looking for such as communication, teamwork, problem-solving, and researching and presentation skills. Students will also develop a career plan and enhance their job search and application skills. This includes understanding and interpreting job adverts, writing CVs, understanding assessment centres and developing interview skills. The module includes contact with and presentations by a range of employers to raise awareness of employer needs and trends.
You will expand your horizons by spending a year studying at one of our international partner universities. There, you will undertake advanced chemistry modules that are comparable to those offered at Lancaster. Destinations currently include North America, Australia and New Zealand, with extension to further destinations in progress.
Lancaster University offers a range of programmes, some of which follow a structured study programme, and others which offer the chance for you to devise a more flexible programme. We divide academic study into two sections - Part 1 (Year 1) and Part 2 (Year 2, 3 and sometimes 4). For most programmes Part 1 requires you to study 120 credits spread over at least three modules which, depending upon your programme, will be drawn from one, two or three different academic subjects. A higher degree of specialisation then develops in subsequent years. For more information about our teaching methods at Lancaster visit our Teaching and Learning section.
Information contained on the website with respect to modules is correct at the time of publication, but changes may be necessary, for example as a result of student feedback, Professional Statutory and Regulatory Bodies' (PSRB) requirements, staff changes, and new research.
Chemistry graduates are well-positioned to enter a career with a competitive starting salary. Wherever your ambition takes you, we will teach relevant life and work-based skills to prepare you for a challenging and rewarding career, as well as equipping you with the skills and knowledge needed to become a chemist. As part of your degree, we offer tutorials and workshops to help you identify and develop your transferrable skills, and in second year, you will also study a careers skills module, that is designed to guide you towards your career aspirations.
There are a wide variety of career paths open to you such as in pharmaceuticals, product development, postgraduate medicine, energy and more. Alternatively, you may wish to pursue a career in academia. Our degrees offer a route into a career in teaching and research, allowing you to make a difference, such as contributing to curing diseases and protecting the environment. Both the Department and the University host regular career and networking events that offer an insight into science-based careers as well as enabling you to forge connections with industry.
As a Chemistry graduate, you can also apply to become a chartered chemist by the Royal Society of Chemistry. This is a recognised professional qualification that demonstrates to potential employers that you are committed to your profession, and that you've achieved an accredited standard of competence in addition to your qualifications.
Lancaster University is dedicated to ensuring you not only gain a highly reputable degree, you also graduate with the relevant life and work based skills. We are unique in that every student is eligible to participate in The Lancaster Award which offers you the opportunity to complete key activities such as work experience, employability/career development, campus community and social development. Visit our Employability section for full details.
We set our fees on an annual basis and the 2019/20 entry fees have not yet been set.
As a guide, our fees in 2018 were:
Some science and medicine courses have higher fees for students from
the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. You can find more details here:
For full details of the University's financial support packages including eligibility criteria, please visit our fees and funding page
Students also need to consider further costs which may include books, stationery, printing, photocopying, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits. Following graduation it may be necessary to take out subscriptions to professional bodies and to buy business attire for job interviews.
Typical time in lectures, seminars and similar per week during term time
Average assessment by coursework