This is a resource page that will give you an idea of what to expect when studying chemistry at the undergraduate level. The course covers a wide range of topics in theoretical and practical chemistry and allows for specialist options to be taken. It satisfies the requirements of the Royal Society of Chemistry for Membership and will provide you with the basis for progression to Chartered Chemist status through further study. It will also develop your transferable and problem solving skills to facilitate employment in non-scientific careers. Numerical ability, problem-solving, analytical skills, and written and oral communication, these are all skills you will learn and which are highly valued by potential employers.

Chemistry graduates are in high demand in manufacturing, education and the medical sector to work in research, scientific support and analysis. Depending on your grades, you could have a career in the chemical industry, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, environmental management or nanotechnology, many graduates choose to go into research or further study. Students will acquire a wide range of valuable transferable skills such as; numeracy, data handling, computing and IT, in evaluating written material and in presenting both written and verbal reports of their work. All of these are exactly the competencies required in many areas of managerial and administrative work, in business, commerce, finance, banking or the Civil Service.

Chemistry degree course overview

This course will give students a comprehensive introduction to the study of key areas of chemistry. You will also study it in an environmental and social context, this will give you an awareness of its ethical implications, as well as issues relating to environmental impact and sustainability. In different areas it can overlap with biology and medicine, with physics and engineering, and with geology and earth science.

A major part of a degree course is spent learning the skills of research. This is because chemistry is an experimental science, and work in the laboratory is the method by which new areas of the field are discovered and contributions to society are made.

Coursework in all chemistry modules is assessed by a range of methods, both individually and in the form of team and small group work. These include assignments, examinations, as well as oral and poster presentations, and laboratory reports, although relative weightings vary from module to module. No one module solely assessed by examination, instead each one is fully assessed by a combination of factors at the end of the semester in which it is taught.

Typical course modules and areas of study on a chemistry degree 

  • Medicinal Chemistry
  • Key Skills for Chemists
  • Chemistry Laboratory
  • Instrumentation and Analytical Methods
  • Spectroscopy and Analysis
  • Professional Skills for Chemists
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Pharmaceutical Chemistry
  • Chemistry with Forensic Science
  • Specialised Topics for Chemists
  • Core Chemistry Laboratory
  • Specialised Chemistry Laboratory
  • Physical Chemistry

Students will learn about

  • The fundamental principles of chemistry.
  • Chemistry-related subjects.
  • The importance of chemistry in an industrial, economic, environmental and social context.
  • Reactions involving organic compounds.
  • Organic mechanisms
  • Organic synthesis
  • Spectroscopy
  • States of matter
  • Thermodynamics
  • Phase diagrams and phase equilibria
  • Electrochemistry
  • Chemical kinetics
  • Quantum mechanics
  • IT & technology

Students will learn how to

  • Plan and carry out experiments.
  • Use computer software models.
  • Process large amounts of data.
  • Work as part of a team.
  • Make accurate and precise measurements.
  • Use instruments.
  • Keep an accurate and complete laboratory notebook.
  • Handle chemicals and dispose of them safely.
  • Communicate your results orally or in writing.
  • Synthesize, separate, and characterize chemical compounds.

Chemistry personal statement

Below is a chemistry personal statement written by one of our writers. You can use this example to gain an idea of how to structure and put together your own one. You are strongly advised not to copy or plagiarise it, instead use it as a resource to inspire your own creative writing.

Chemistry personal statement example 1 

“To me chemistry is the science of how the world works, and is very much involved in tackling the problems faced by our modern society. Chemistry is on our bodies, our food and our environment, every time we light a match, boil an egg or simply breathe in and out, we perform a chemical reaction. It is a science that is instrumental in shaping the world of the future, with almost every technological innovation and important breakthrough involving chemistry. There is so much more to chemistry that white coats, Bunsen burners and test tubes.

I really want to study chemistry because it can open the door to careers both inside and outside the lab. Chemistry graduate are well prepared to assume professional positions in industry, education, or public service. Chemists are one of the most in demand scientists, and are highly sought after in numerous other occupations which make direct use of their scientific knowledge. It will also not just restrict me to chemistry, but can be a stepping stone to many other professions.

I also want to understand how things really work, why they work, and be involved in pioneering new experimental methods. Although it is challenging it also brings the real possibility of discovery. Common materials, medicines and microchips have all been developed with the involvement of chemists. In my opinion it is a subject that can enrich our quality of life in numerous ways by providing new solutions to problems in health, materials, and energy usage.

I am results orientated individual who fully acknowledges that this ‘core science’ is a demanding intellectual subject, with no easy ‘topics’ in it. I feel I am suitable for this course because I already have many of the practical skills required for performing experiments, operating scientific equipment, planning and organising projects, and also the knowledge of how to safely handle, store and produce large quantities of chemicals. I consider myself to be an observant and accurate person who is persistent, and has an eye for detail. In the past I have proven myself to be patient, motivated and someone who can deal professionally with problems or setbacks.

After leaving school I went straight to college where I studied chemistry at A level. I learnt all about how properties react with each other and change. My experience there gave me an excellent understanding of all the aspects of molecules, their physical and chemical properties, their composition and structure, their synthesis and use in the 21st century. I gained a comprehensive understanding of pharmaceuticals, plastics, petrochemicals, agrochemicals, toiletries and food. Classes covered a wide range of topics including; molecular structure, bonding, chemical reactions, periodic trends, chemical equilibrium, acids and bases, and thermodynamics. I felt it was a worthwhile experience that has fully prepared me for university.

Up until recently I had a job as a laboratory assistant, working with a busy support team. Although it was an entry level position I held, I was involved in important and vital work. My duties included; preparing materials and samples for the labs following checklists, bar coding preparation plates, sterilizing equipment, and also processing waste material for disposal by accurately following safety instructions. Whilst there I also learnt how to examine and interpret results and make evaluations based on limited information. This work experience was invaluable to me as it gave me an insight into the world of work that cannot be taught in a classroom.

Choosing where to study is an important decision for me. After much consideration I have decided to apply to your university because your institution is committed to high quality teaching and student support, and it is also very active in research. You have internationally recognised research groups, who specialise in all areas of chemistry including: biological chemistry, green chemistry and molecular properties. I also like the way you have ensured that your syllabus is filled with cutting-edge topics. I firmly believe that I will benefit from your excellence in teaching, research and welfare provision, as well as your well-equipped teaching and research laboratories.”


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