Coronavirus information for applicants and offer-holders

We understand that prospective students and offer-holders may have concerns about the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. The University is following the advice from Universities UK, Public Health England and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Read our latest coronavirus information

MChem Chemistry with Industrial Experience / Course details

Year of entry: 2021

Course description

Choosing to study Chemistry can open the door to an exciting range of career options. From practical scientist through research technologist to academic specialist, all can be reached, in part, through this contemporary, multi-disciplinary degree programme. Our innovative skills-based curriculum will give you the tools to succeed in your degree and our award-winning careers service will assist you in making choices for your future.

Our courses will equip you with an armoury of skills to take into the world of work, including the ability to analyse problems, to work collaboratively as part of a team, and to develop laboratory, numeracy and communication skills. You will also gain an appreciation for a subject which links so many scientific disciplines through applications and examples as well as practical work and learning through research. In lectures, the topics and examples you discuss will be taken from the latest research, much of which is carried out right here by our academics.

Undertaking a placement in industry will allow you to develop real-world expertise and earn a salary whilst completing the third year of your degree. The transferable skills that you gain will prove invaluable in helping to shape your future career. In recent years companies our students have undertaken placements with include GlaxoSmithKline, Reckitts, AstraZeneca, Roche, AzkoNobel, Lucozade Ribena Suntory and Sellafield Ltd .

Special features

A range of study options

It's possible to broaden your degree by taking units from the University College , Business and Management for all Programmes in exchange for a few units from your degree.

Foundation Year available

You can prepare for the full degree course if you do not have the appropriate qualifications for direct entry by undertaking our foundation course first.

Flexibility to transfer between courses

It is generally possible to transfer between the various chemistry degrees we offer in years 1-3. This is subject to satisfactory academic performance and completion of the required pre-requisite modules.

Additional course information

Your industrial placement year You'll undertake your industrial placement in Year 3 and also complete the 4th year research project, so you gain both industrial and academic research experience.

You'll spend your third year gaining valuable paid experience in the chemical industry. An Academic Tutor will keep in contact throughout the year and visit you at your placement. You'll undertake core chemistry modules by distance learning over the web, for which tutorial support is provided. Assessment will involve a report and presentation marked by the Academic Tutor and a performance assessment provided by the industrial supervisor.

We will charge less than the standard half fee for students taking up a year in industry and offer to waive or significantly discount this fee for students from less well-off backgrounds. Further information about the University's extensive programme of scholarships and bursaries can be found on our Student finance page, under University support .

Our student community

ChemSoc is a student-run society with the aim of giving chemistry students the complete experience whilst at The University of Manchester. The year begins with the infamous lab coat pub crawl and concludes with a fantastic annual ball! In between ChemSoc hosts socials alongside other societies, allowing your inner passion for your subject to come out and show everyone that chemistry is the best subject.

The society has two successful sports teams, football and netball, with the football team winning the league last year! Teams comprise of first years right through to PhD students, so you will be able to meet lots of new faces!

Besides the social side the society has reinvented its academic aspects; ChemSoc hosts research talks accessible to all students featuring our high level of research from Manchester. Finally, the society encourages students to think about their employability, and have worked closely with the Careers Service to run events throughout the year, such as a LinkedIn workshop.

Our blog

You can read about our students' experience in studying chemistry, work placement and study abroad diaries, as well as alumni profiles in our department blog .

Teaching and learning

At Manchester you will be taught by academic staff who are leading experts in Chemistry, in a diverse and inclusive learning environment. Teaching and Learning will be delivered using a variety of methods, including: 

  • Lectures 
  • Tailor-made videos
  • Workshops
  • Small group tutorials
  • Laboratory classes 
  • Group work
  • Individual research projects
  • PASS sessions and peer mentoring 

Some activities will be delivered face-to-face and others online, following a blended learning approach.  A range of ancillary mathematics, data handling, presentation, IT skills and computer-based chemistry are integrated into the course.

Practical chemistry is important in all areas of the subject, and is a key part of all our programmes. During your degree, you'll carry out practical work in our modern well-equipped undergraduate laboratories, built to a high specification. Our practical courses are designed to provide experience of the wide range of chemical techniques for measurement and synthesis necessary for the study of modern chemistry. As well as providing the opportunity to do interesting chemistry, our practical courses train students to work safely and effectively in the laboratory.

A typical week in your first year of study will comprise 40 hours of activity, of which approximately 20 hours will be timetabled study and 20 hours will be independent or self-directed study. Given the strong practical elements in this course, a typical week will include 6 hours of timetabled practical work.

As you progress through the course an increasing emphasis will be placed on you applying your knowledge and skills in substantial group and individual projects. In your final year of study, all of your time in the second semester is devoted to your project. You will be supported by staff through all of your independent study, and this transition to being able to explore your own ideas through project work is an important attribute of a Chemistry graduate.

Chemistry at Manchester offers a high level of learning support. You'll have weekly tutorials in small groups of typically 6 students. You'll have three Academic Tutors, one each for Organic, Inorganic and Physical chemistry. You'll also be allocated a Personal Advisor to oversee your personal welfare, reflect on your academic and personal development, discuss future goals and agree action plans.

We offer additional Maths support to all our students. In Year 1 this is through a programme of online, self-directed study with weekly support clinics if you need additional support or advice.

PASS (Peer Assisted Study Sessions) and Peer Mentoring We're proud of our innovative PASS and Peer Mentoring scheme. The PASS scheme provides additional support around the current week's tutorial. It's entirely voluntary and consists of second, third and fourth-year current students helping first years to tackle problems defined by the content of the current tutorial. The emphasis is on showing students how to think about the problems, how to develop problem-solving skills and how to get the most from the educational resources available.

More about blended learning   Some of your activity will be synchronous, where you learn live with your lecturer / peers and can interact as appropriate, helping you get support and feel part of a community. At other times it will be asynchronous, where you access materials like presentations, video content, online discussion boards or collaborative documents in your own time (within a framework provided by your programme).

We believe this blended approach will help each individual study in a way that works best for them and will ensure students receive the best student-experience.

Coursework and assessment

Assessment is by a mixture of traditional examinations, online assessments, coursework, laboratory and project reports, practical and workshops. Assessment methods vary widely to suit the nature of the course unit and each level of study. Around one third of the marks come from continuous assessment.

The first year is a simple pass/fail, but from then on a percentage of each year's assessment counts towards your final degree classification.

  • Taught courses are usually assessed by written exam, which are held at the end of an academic semester.
  • Practical units are usually assessed by experimental report and/or short written assignment and/or written exam.
  • The proportion of independent study assignments increases during each year of study.

During your placement year

Whilst on placement you will be supported by a visiting academic tutor, who will keep in contact with you and your placement supervisor, as well as visiting you twice during the year. There will be a small element of assessed  core chemistry material to keep you up to speed with organic and inorganic topics, taught by online distance learning units and supported remotely by specialist subject tutors. At the end of your placement, you will submit a written report and make an oral presentation which your academic tutor and placement supervisor will mark. Your overall performance during the year will be also be assessed by your industrial placement supervisor.

Course content for year 1

Your first-year topics include:

  • molecular orbital approaches to chemical bonding
  • chemical reaction mechanisms
  • molecular spectroscopy; coordination chemistry
  • thermodynamics
  • kinetics
  • quantum mechanics

You will also attend course units that cover a range of presentational, mathematical and analytical and IT skills. Finally, you have the opportunity to study subjects from another department - see the list of optional course units below.

Course units for year 1

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Introductory Chemistry CHEM10101 30 Mandatory
Energy and Change CHEM10212 10 Mandatory
Coordination Chemistry CHEM10312 10 Mandatory
Structure and Reactivity CHEM10412 10 Mandatory
Chemists' Toolkit CHEM10520 20 Mandatory
Practical Chemistry CHEM10600 20 Mandatory
Fundamentals of Biochemistry BIOL10551 10 Optional
Fundamentals of Finance BMAN10552 10 Optional
Environmental Processes and Change: The Global System GEOG10401 10 Optional
Dynamic Earth GEOG10422 10 Optional
Bodies in History: An introduction to the History of Medicine HSTM10272 10 Optional
Mathematics 1Q1 MATH19641 10 Optional
Mathematics 1E2 MATH19682 10 Optional
Entrepreneurial Skills MCEL10002 10 Optional
Properties of Medicines PHAR10102 10 Optional
Displaying 10 of 15 course units for year 1

Course content for year 2

The second year continues developing the core and extends topics from your first year, introducing new areas such as:

  • bonding and reactivity
  • chromatography
  • organometallic chemistry
  • molecular symmetry
  • metal-ligand bonding
  • polymer chemistry
  • advanced spectroscopy
  • biological and heterocyclic chemistry

In addition to the core units you will have the opportunity to study course units introducing some of the contemporary themes of modern chemistry, as well as green and environmental chemistry. Alternatively you may choose to study a course from the University's College for Interdisciplinary Learning, including our innovative Leadership in Action course, which combines study with volunteering and personal development.

Students on the Industrial Experience programme are responsible for finding their own placement. You will be supported in this by our Careers Service, the course tutor and our employability intern, who will offer advice on CV preparation, the application process and interview/assessment centre preparation. Our annual careers fair involves many placement providers and you will also have the opportunity to receive advice from students who have been successful in obtaining placements in previous years.

Course units for year 2

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Core Physical Chemistry CHEM20212 10 Mandatory
Group Theory: Fundamentals and Applications CHEM20311 10 Mandatory
Inorganic Chemistry CHEM20312 10 Mandatory
Organic Synthesis CHEM20411 10 Mandatory
Structure and reactivity of organic molecules CHEM20412 10 Mandatory
Chemists' Toolkit II CHEM20500 10 Mandatory
Integrated Spectroscopy and Separations CHEM20611 10 Mandatory
Practical Chemistry CHEM22600 30 Mandatory
Contemporary Themes in Chemistry CHEM20711 10 Optional
Environmental and Green Chemistry CHEM20712 10 Optional
Biomolecular Structure and Function CHEM20722 10 Optional
Displaying 10 of 11 course units for year 2

Course content for year 3

Your third year will be spent undertaking a year-long placement. You will find yourself in the role of a real employee within a company with some chemistry-related activity, doing things like chemical synthesis, analytical chemistry, product formulation and quality control. During your placement, you will be paid as a normal employee would be and will be subject to the internal structures and normal pressures of the workplace.

Whilst on placement you will be supported by a visiting academic tutor, who will keep in contact with you and your placement supervisor, who will make two visits during the year. There will be a small element of core chemistry material to keep you up to speed with organic and inorganic topics, taught by online distance learning units and supported remotely by specialist subject tutors. At the end of your placement, you will submit a written report which your academic tutor will mark, and make an oral presentation which your academic tutor and industrial placement supervisor will mark.

Course units for year 3

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
MChem Placement CHEM30640 100 Mandatory
Core Chemistry 4 (Distance Learning) CHEM31312 10 Mandatory
Core Chemistry 1 (Distance Learning) CHEM31411 10 Mandatory

Course content for year 4

In your final year you will undertake an extended individual project based within one of the research groups in our Department. This will give you the opportunity work on a current problem in your chosen area of chemistry under the supervision of one of our academic staff.

You will study enhanced core course material and also choose from our extensive list of specialist optional course units, which cover cutting-edge developments in chemistry and are taught by world-leading scientists, giving you the opportunity to tailor your final year to the areas of chemistry which most inspire you.

Course units for year 4

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Core Chemistry 3 (level 4) CHEM40221 10 Mandatory
Core Chemistry 2 (level 4) CHEM40341 10 Mandatory
MChem Yr4 Project Report CHEM41600 40 Mandatory
MChem Yr4 Project Execution CHEM42600 20 Mandatory
MChem Yr4 Project Presentation and Viva CHEM43600 10 Mandatory
MChem Project Planning & Literature Review CHEM44600 20 Mandatory
Personalised Learning Unit 1.10 CHEM40111 10 Optional
Personalised Learning Unit 1.20 CHEM40121 20 Optional
Computational Modelling Techniques CHEM40241 10 Optional
Radiochemistry and Nuclear Chemistry CHEM40311 10 Optional
Advanced Organic Synthesis CHEM40411 10 Optional
Nanoscience and Nanotechnology CHEM40711 10 Optional
Advanced Bioorganic Chemistry CHEM41411 10 Optional
Displaying 10 of 13 course units for year 4

Scholarships and bursaries

For information about scholarships/bursaries/sponsorship please see our undergraduate fees pages and go to Department and university scholarships .


The University of Manchester offers extensive library and online services to help you get the most out of your studies.

Our modern teaching laboratories are equipped Our modern teaching laboratories are equipped with a wide range of specialist facilities including:

  • State-of-the-art synthetic labs for project work.
  • Dedicated NMR spectrometer for exclusive use by undergraduates.
  • A suite of dedicated analytical instrumentation.
  • The undergraduate teaching labs also have 3 HPLC and one HPLC-MS instruments to help you learn the fundamentals and applications of measurement and of separation science.
  • Ten spectrophotometers and a suite of infra-red spectrometers for measuring solids, liquids and gases.

You will also have access to:

  • Open access research laboratories for Separations, EPR, NMR and Mass Spectrometry.
  • Cutting-edge X-ray diffractometers.
  • Research Computing Facility to support teaching & learning in computational and theoretical science.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email: