University of St Andrews

Materials Chemistry MChem (Hons)

University of St Andrews
In St Andrews

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Important information

Typology Master
Location St andrews (Scotland)
Duration 5 Years
  • Master
  • St andrews (Scotland)
  • Duration:
    5 Years

The MChem (Hons) in Materials Chemistry seeks to understand the interrelationships between the composition, structure, microstructure and properties of matter in order to design and develop new materials – for example, semiconductor processing and fabrication; energy and IT; biomaterials; catalyst materials; ‘smart coatings’; and nanotechnology.

The MChem allows you to combine undergraduate and postgraduate study into a single five-year programme, graduating with a Masters degree. The course is designed to give you the best possible training for a career in chemistry and is tailored for those intending to enter the professional chemical sector or to carry out postgraduate study upon graduation.

Facilities (1)
Where and when



St Andrews (Fife)
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University Of St Andrews, KY16 9AJ


On request

To take into account

· What are the objectives of this course?

The MChem in Materials Chemistry is a five-year course run by the School of Chemistry. During the course, you will develop an awareness and appreciation of the latest advances in Materials Chemistry in addition to the fundamentals of the subject. You will be provided with a broad base of chemical knowledge and understanding reinforced by extensive practical experience. In addition, you will get a high level of general intellectual and scientific training, which allows many graduates to enter challenging careers in areas not directly related to chemistry. In the first two years, you will take modules in organic, inorganic and physical chemistry. The skills you gain in research and analysis during these years will prepare you to undertake more advanced and specialist modules during your final three years. These specialist subjects include (but are not limited to): chemistry of materials energy conversion and storage functional materials and electrons in solids introduction to analysis of materials materials processing.

· Who is it intended for?

Chemistry graduates have never been more in demand and they are keenly sought by major companies; there are also exciting opportunities in a new generation of innovative grassroots companies. Those who take an Integrated Masters degree receive advanced research training and are prepared for a career within the scientific sector. St Andrews Chemistry graduates are highly employable and have gone on to find success in a wide variety of careers in industry and business including: professional chemists in the chemical, pharmaceutical and engineering industries teachers forensic scientists various careers in the food industry (including brewing) management consultancy marketing and advertising patent lawyers

· Requirements

SQA Highers AAAB, including A in Chemistry, and an additional Higher in one of the following: Biology or Human Biology Computing Science or equivalent Geography Mathematics Physics Psychology.

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Reviews on this course

5.0 25/06/2018
What I would highlight: This university has a lot to offer. It excels in extra curricular activities giving you a chance to explore several areas of your interest.
What could be improved: -
Would you recommend this course?: Yes
Did this opinion help you? Yes (0)
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The average rating is higher than 3.7

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This centre has featured on Emagister for 10 years

What you'll learn on the course

Physical Chemistry
Materials Chemistry
Energy conversion
Structure calculations
Statistical Mechanics

Course programme


In the first two years of your degree (known as sub-honours) you will take the required modules in Chemistry alongside modules in at least one other subject.

Typically, you will take one or two Chemistry modules per semester during your first two years, and four to six per semester during your third, fourth and fifth years

1st Year

Students will take the following compulsory first-year modules:

  • Introduction to Inorganic and Physical Chemistry: covers the origin of the elements, atoms and the Periodic Table, shapes and properties of molecules, chemistry of the elements, properties of solutions, thermochemistry, thermodynamics and kinetics.
  • Inorganic and Physical Chemistry 1: covers bonding in simple molecules, inorganic solids, chemistry of the first row transition metals, properties of solids, states of matter and introductory spectroscopy.
  • Organic and Biological Chemistry 1: covers the structure, stereochemistry and nomenclature of simple organic compounds, fundamental organic reaction mechanisms, organic functional groups and their reactions, introductory bioorganic chemistry, and organic spectroscopy.
2nd Year

Students will take the following compulsory second-year modules:

  • Inorganic Chemistry 2: covers metal complexes and organometallics, descriptive transition-metal chemistry, atmospheric chemistry, solid-state chemistry and descriptive main-group chemistry.
  • Organic Chemistry 2: covers carbon-carbon bond formation, interconversion of functional groups, aromatic and heteroaromatic reactivity, mechanistic biological chemistry and organic spectroscopy.
  • Physical Chemistry 2: covers quantum mechanics, thermodynamics and electrochemistry, kinetics, molecular spectroscopy and diffraction and mathematical tools for chemistry.
3rd Year

If you decide to take Materials Chemistry in your third year, you choose from a wide variety of advanced options, including modules ranging from physical inorganic chemistry to quantum theory of atoms, molecules and solids.

Here is a sample of Honours modules which have been offered in previous years:

  • Statistical Mechanics and Computational Chemistry
  • Introduction to Analysis of Materials
  • Quantum Theory of Atoms, Molecules and Solids
  • Chemistry of Materials.
4th Year

During fourth year, you will have the opportunity to work on a placement outside St Andrews for a whole year. This is a great chance to gain experience in industry and to add value to your CV at the same time.

Typically, you may join a research and development group within a company and receive a salary for the duration of your placement. It is also possible for the placement to be carried out in an overseas academic institution.

The School will assist students in applying for an 8 to 13-month placement in a leading industrial research laboratory. The School has links with large and small companies of different types, including:

  • AstraZeneca (UK)
  • BASF (Germany)
  • BP (UK)
  • DSM (Amsterdam, Netherlands)
  • GlaxoSmithKline (UK)
  • Johnson Matthey (UK)
  • Novartis (Basel, Switzerland)
  • Roche (Basel, Switzerland)
  • Rolls Royce (UK)
  • SINTEF (Norway)

Alternatively, you have the choice to complete the MChem without doing an external placement, and will take lecture and practical modules during your fourth year Honours programme at St Andrews instead.

5th Year

During fifth year, you will take advanced research-led modules in your chosen speciality. Advanced modules offered in the past include:

  • Nanostructured Materials
  • Processing of Materials
  • Energy Conversion and Storage
  • Surface Chemistry and Heterogeneous Catalysis
  • Chemical Applications of Electronic Structure Calculations.

Students will also undertake a substantial research project in their final year on a topic chosen in consultation with academic staff. The project aims to develop your skills in experimental design and problem-solving, the evaluation and interpretation of data, and communications skills.

Additional information

Overseas  Fee £22,350

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