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MChem Chemistry / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course description

Chemistry student Zaynah tells us why she chose to study at Manchester.

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.

MChem Chemistry is a four-year degree programme. The first two years follow a core structure, which allows greater flexibility later on. In your final year you will undertake an extended individual project based within one of our research groups . This will give you the opportunity work on a current problem in your chosen area of chemistry.

Special features

Join Harry for a tour of the Chemistry labs.

A range of study options

You can extend your degree by a year to undertake an integrated master's or gain industrial experience/study abroad.

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

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

Undergraduates have around 20 hours contact time per week and are expected to spend around 30 hours in private study. Your week will be made up of:
  • Lectures
  • Small group tutorials
  • Laboratory classes
  • Group work
  • Individual research projects
  • Computer-based tuition - A range of ancillary mathematics, data handling, presentation and IT skills, and computer based chemistry are taught on the dedicated computer cluster.
  • Workshops
  • PASS session - student-led peer-assisted study sessions where second and third year students help you to develop learning strategies and techniques.
Personalised learning support

Chemistry at Manchester offers a high level of learning support. You will have weekly tutorials in small groups of no more than 6.

You'll have three Academic Tutors, one each for Organic, Inorganic and Physical chemistry. You'll also be allocated a Personal Tutor to oversee your personal welfare - reflect on your academic and personal development, discuss future goals and agree action plans.

PASS (Peer Assisted Study Sessions) and Peer Mentoring

We are also proud of our innovative PASS (Peer Assisted Study Sessions) and Peer Mentoring scheme. The PASS scheme provides additional support in the area of the current week's tutorial. It is entirely voluntary and second, third and fourth-year students help 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.

Additional maths support

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

Practical chemistry

Practical chemistry is important in all areas of the subject, and is a key part of all our programmes. Throughout 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.

Coursework and assessment

Assessment is by a mixture of traditional examinations, coursework, laboratory practical and workshops.

Assessment methods vary widely to suit the nature of the course unit and each level of study. Examinations take place in January and May each year, with around one third of the marks 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.

  • Lectures are usually assessed by written exam (multiple choice or essay-based), 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.

Course content for year 1

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 Management BMAN10011 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
Properties of Medicines PHAR10102 10 Optional
Introduction to Astrophysics and Cosmology PHYS10191 10 Optional
Displaying 10 of 16 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.

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

In your third year you will study advanced core units covering areas such as computational chemistry, organic and inorganic synthetic methods, surface chemistry and catalysis, molecular structure determination and photochemistry.

You will be also choose from options which cover topics that cut across the traditional subject areas (e.g. nuclear, environmental and biological chemistry), as well as some areas outside chemistry such as the History of Science or Enterprise and Innovation.

You will also take your practical chemistry and independent learning to a higher level with extended, advanced experimental and theoretical experiments, as well working with a small team to plan a short project tackling a contemporary chemistry problem.

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
Core Chemistry 3 CHEM30211 10 Mandatory
Core Chemistry 2 CHEM30311 10 Mandatory
Core Chemistry 4 CHEM30312 10 Mandatory
Core Chemistry 1 CHEM30411 10 Mandatory
Advanced Practical Training CHEM30620 40 Mandatory
Personalised Learning Unit 1 CHEM30111 10 Optional
Personalised Learning Unit 2 CHEM30112 10 Optional
Materials Chemistry CHEM30122 10 Optional
Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry CHEM30432 10 Optional
Biosynthesis and Bioenergetics CHEM30712 10 Optional
Biomolecular Structure and Function 2 CHEM30722 10 Optional
Environmental Challenges: Waste Disposal EART33102 10 Optional
The Nuclear Age: Global Nuclear Threats from Hiroshima to Today HSTM31212 10 Optional
Climate Change & Society HSTM33201 10 Optional
Advanced Technology Enterprise MCEL30011 10 Optional
Advanced Technology Enterprise MCEL30012 10 Optional
Displaying 10 of 16 course units for year 3

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
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 CHEM40111 10 Optional
Advanced Analytical Chemistry CHEM40121 10 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 11 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 .

Disability support

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