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MChem Chemistry with International Study / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course description

Study abroad has to be the highlight of my time studying Chemistry at Manchester. As the educational standard is so high at the University of Manchester, I could take high-level courses when studying in the USA.

The diversity of my practical training allowed me to pursue all available practical chemistry topics at the University of Missouri when studying abroad. A great benefit of studying abroad: combining study, travel, and another culture provided a great learning experience whilst abroad.

Joe Lake Rees / MChem(Hons) Chemistry with International Study graduate

MChem Chemistry with International Study offers you a four-year degree programme. During the first two years you cover all the major branches of chemistry and learn how they are interconnected. Laboratory classes in both years form an essential integrated component of your training and you will conduct experiments in all branches of the subject. You will also study your chosen language (we currently offer French, German, Spanish and Italian) for those students who will take up a placement in mainland Europe.

Your third year will be spent studying chemistry in either mainland Europe (under the ERASMUS programme) or at one of our worldwide partner universities, and currently offers a range of universities in France, Germany, Spain and Italy, North America and Singapore. The placement year will be fully assessed by the host university and will involve coursework, laboratory classes and examinations. You will also be able to access material taught in Manchester in Year 3 via our student portal. This material will not be assessed by us, but you are required to be aware of its content before you return to Manchester for your fourth year. Both the Programme Director and the Study Abroad Unit will be in e-mail contact with you during your stay and will provide help and support when necessary. The Study Abroad Unit offers information about the financial aspects of your year abroad and links to partner universities' webpages. 

Special features

Join Harry for a tour of the Chemistry labs.

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.

Study abroad

You can apply to spend Year 3 studying abroad at a partner university. Students can choose from a range of partner institutions from across the globe.

We will charge less than the standard half fee for students taking up a year abroad and offer to waive or significantly discount this fee for students from less well-off backgrounds. 

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.

Intensive language support

Study a modern language at the University's Language Centre, which provides weekly classes throughout Years 1 and 2.

Year 4 research project

Your extended individual project will be 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.

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.

Course content for year 1

First-year topics include:

  • bonding in molecules
  • organic reaction mechanisms
  • natural product chemistry
  • s, p, and d block chemistry
  • thermodynamics
  • kinetics
  • quantum mechanics

You will also take course units that cover a range of presentational, mathematical and analytical and IT skills. Finally, you have the opportunity to study optional course units from other departments such as Life Sciences (Biochemistry), Earth Sciences (Geology), Geography, Mathematics, Physics and also Languages. For details 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:

  • molecular spectroscopy
  • bonding and reactivity
  • surfaces and interfaces
  • chemistry of the heavier elements
  • molecular symmetry
  • metal-ligand bonding
  • polymer science
  • structure determination
  • stereochemistry and heterocyclic chemistry
  • plus additional course units involving polymer, materials and computational chemistry

In addition students can choose to combine their chemistry studies with course units from the College for Interdisciplinary Learning , including our innovative Leadership in Action course, which combines study with volunteering and personal development.

Students who are following the ERASMUS programme will be required to maintain fluency in their chosen language, which usually requires you to attend language classes as your optional course units in Years 1 and 2, in preparation for your placement in Year 3.

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

Year 3 - the year abroad

During your year abroad you will effectively be a student of the host institution. You will follow a course that is broadly similar to that delivered to the third-year students who stay in Manchester, but you may be able to study options that may not currently be available at Manchester. The course you follow will be carefully chosen to ensure that your educational development is at the correct level. Your placement year will be fully assessed by the host university and will involve coursework, laboratory classes and examinations.

Both your course director and our Study Abroad Unit will be in email contact with you during your stay, providing help and support when necessary. The Study Abroad Unit offers information about the financial aspects of your year abroad and links to partner universities' web pages. A number of our students extend their visits in order to take up research internships at their host University, and this is an outcome which we encourage.

You have the choice of study at either a European university or on a worldwide placement.

In Europe:

During this year in Europe, you will study chemistry in lectures and laboratory classes, following the syllabus of the host university. Your tutor will maintain contact with you throughout your European placement and you may be visited where possible. You will be assessed by the marks that you gain from your host university and by report on your placement.

Our Study Aboard unit offers information about the financial aspects of your year aboard and links to partner universities' web pages. You can choose to attend one of the following universities during your time away (though this list is subject to change):

Valencia, SpainGöttingen or Freiburg in GermanyENSCM, Montpellier or Strasbourg in FranceFlorence, Italy


We choose our partner universities on the basis of their academic standing and their ability to provide an overall educational experience similar to that of Manchester. We regularly review our partner universities to ensure that your educational experience is not compromised during your year abroad. As such it is important to note that our list of host institutions may change as part of this auditing exercise.

The current list of worldwide placement institutions includes:

Arizona State UniversityUniversity of CaliforniaUniversity of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign)University of Missouri at ColumbiaUniversity of Tennessee at KnoxvilleUniversity of Massachusetts at AmherstUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillRutgers (New Jersey)University of Vancouver (British Columbia)Queens University (Ontario)McGill University (Montreal)Nanyang Technological University (Singapore)

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
International Study Placement CHEM30630 120 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
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 .


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: