MSc in Theoretical and Computational Chemistry (Stand-Alone) | University of Oxford
Oxford skyline
The Oxford skyline in autumn
(Image Credit: Rob Judges / Oxford University Images)

MSc in Theoretical and Computational Chemistry (Stand-Alone)

About the course

The three primary activities in theoretical and computational chemistry are development of new theory, implementation of methods as reliable software, and application of such methods to a host of challenges in chemical and related sciences. The MSc aims to train new research students to be able to deliver these outcomes.

The MSc consists of a set of training modules and a short project. The eight compulsory core modules are as follows:

  • Quantum Mechanics
  • Statistical Mechanics
  • Mathematics 1
  • Statistics
  • Computer Programming and Numerical Methods
  • Methods of Computer Simulation
  • Electronic Structure Theory
  • Software Development Training

You will also select five optional modules from the following for assessment:

  • Applied Computational Chemistry
  • Biomolecular Simulation
  • Mathematics 2
  • Quantum Mechanics in Condensed Phases
  • Intermolecular Potentials
  • Chemical Informatics
  • Chemical Reaction Dynamics
  • Advanced Statistical Mechanics
  • Advanced Quantum Mechanics

You will also be required to undertake a six-week project, with an allocated supervisor, for which you must submit a project report for assessment. 

Students on the MSc in Theoretical and Computational Chemistry (Stand-Alone) are taught alongside the first-year Theory and Modelling in Chemical Sciences (EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training) cohort.

Graduate destinations

The number of students on this course is so small that statistics are not meaningful. The department runs a number of activities in close cooperation with the Careers Service, including an annual careers conference, CV workshops and visits from many employers. The course also has strong engagement with industrial partners. 

Related courses

Changes to the course

The University will seek to deliver this course in accordance with the description set out in this course page. However, there may be situations in which it is desirable or necessary for the University to make changes in course provision, either before or after registration. For further information, please see our page on changes to courses.

Entry requirements for entry in 2017-18

Within equal opportunities principles and legislation, applications will be assessed in the light of an applicant’s ability to meet the following entry requirements:

1. Academic ability

Proven and potential academic excellence

Applicants are normally expected to be predicted or have achieved a first-class or strong upper second-class undergraduate degree with honours (or equivalent international qualifications), as a minimum, in chemistry,  physics, materials science or a related discipline, with appropriate background in mathematics, quantum mechanics and statistical mechanics.

For applicants with a degree from the USA, the minimum GPA sought is 3.6 out of 4.0.

However, entrance is very competitive and most successful applicants have a first-class degree or the equivalent.

If you hold non-UK qualifications and wish to check how your qualifications match these requirements, you can contact the National Recognition Information Centre for the United Kingdom (UK NARIC).

No Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or GMAT scores are sought.

Applicants with substantial professional experience are welcome.

Other appropriate indicators will include:

Supporting documents

You will be required to supply supporting documents with your application, including references and an official transcript. See 'How to apply' for instructions on the documents you will need and how these will be assessed.

Performance at interview(s)

Interviews are normally held as part of the admissions process. The criteria for shortlisting are academic merit, references and motivation. Those who are shortlisted will be invited to attend interview, which will typically last around 30 minutes. There will be at least two interviewers.

Publications

Prior publications are not expected.

2. English language requirement

Applicants whose first language is not English are usually required to provide evidence of proficiency in English at the higher level required by the University.

3. Availability of supervision, teaching, facilities and places

The following factors will govern whether candidates can be offered places:

  • The ability of the Department of Chemistry to provide the appropriate supervision, research opportunities, teaching and facilities for your chosen area of work
  • Minimum and maximum limits to the numbers of students who may be admitted to Oxford's research and taught programmes.

The provision of supervision, where required, is subject to the following points:

  • The allocation of graduate supervision is the responsibility of the Department of Chemistry and it is not always possible to accommodate the preferences of incoming graduate students to work with a particular member of staff
  • Under exceptional circumstances a supervisor may be found outside the Department of Chemistry.

Where possible your academic supervisor will not change for the duration of your course. However, it may be necessary to assign a new academic supervisor during the course of study or before registration for reasons which might include sabbatical leave, maternity leave or change in employment.

4. Disability, health conditions and specific learning difficulties

Students are selected for admission without regard to gender, marital or civil partnership status, disability, race, nationality, ethnic origin, religion or belief, sexual orientation, age or social background.

Decisions on admission are based solely on the individual academic merits of each candidate and the application of the entry requirements appropriate to the course.

Further information on how these matters are supported during the admissions process is available in our guidance for applicants with disabilities.

5. Assessors

All recommendations to admit a student involve the judgment of at least two members of academic staff with relevant experience and expertise, and additionally must be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies or Admissions Committee (or equivalent departmental persons or bodies).

Admissions panels or committees will always include at least one member of academic staff who has undertaken appropriate training.

6. Other information

Whether you have yet secured funding is not taken into consideration in the decision to make an initial offer of a place, but please note that the initial offer of a place will not be confirmed until you have completed a Financial Declaration.

Resources

All students will be allocated their own desk, with a computer. Access to the departmental IT network is open at all times and extensive software is available. Departmental computers, software licences and the network are supported by the department's IT staff. Network access is offered at all times via the VPN.

Internet access to all relevant recent journals is available. Books and older journal issues are are available in the university science library, located within five minutes' walking distance.

In the event of difficulty, pastoral care can be offered by your college, by the project supervisor, the course leadership team and/or the director of studies.

Funding

There are over 1,000 full graduate scholarships available across the University, and these cover your course and college fees and provide a grant for living costs. If you apply by the relevant January deadline and fulfil the eligibility criteria you will be automatically considered. Over two thirds of Oxford scholarships require nothing more than the standard course application. Use the Fees, funding and scholarship search to find out which scholarships you are eligible for and if they require an additional application, full details of which are provided.

For students applying to programmes within the MPLS Division at Oxford, Research Council and other funding opportunities available, subject to eligibility. These opportunities are included in the Fees, funding and scholarship search.

Costs

Annual fees for entry in 2017-18

Fee status

Tuition fee

College fee

Total annual fees

Home/EU
(including Islands)
£6,085£3,021£9,106
Overseas£19,335£3,021£22,356

The fees shown above are the annual tuition and college fees for this course for entry in the stated academic year; for courses lasting longer than one year, please be aware that fees will usually increase annually. For details, please see our guidance on likely increases to fees and charges.

Tuition and college fees are payable each year for the duration of your fee liability (your fee liability is the length of time for which you are required to pay tuition and college fees).

Following the period of fee liability, you may also be required to pay a University continuation charge and a college continuation charge. The University and college continuation charges are shown on the Continuation charges page.

For more information about tuition fees, college fees and fee liability, please see the Fees section of this website. EU applicants should refer to our dedicated webpage for details on the impact of the result of the UK referendum on its membership of the European Union.

Additional information

There are no compulsory elements of this programme that entail additional costs beyond fees and living costs.  However, please note that, depending on your choice of research topic and the research required to complete it, you may incur additional expenses, such as travel expenses, research expenses, and field trips. You will need to meet these additional costs, although you may be able to apply for small grants from your department and/or college to help you cover some of these expenses.

Living costs

In addition to your tuition and college fees, you will need to ensure that you have adequate funds to support your living costs for the duration of your course.

For the 2017-18 academic year, the range of likely living costs is between £1,002 and £1,471 for each month spent in Oxford. Full information, including a breakdown of likely living costs in Oxford for items such as food, accommodation and study costs, is available on our Living costs page.

How to apply

You may wish to make contact with the course administrator before you apply in order to work out whether this is the right choice.

The set of documents you should send with your application to this course comprises the following:

Official transcript(s)

Your transcripts should give detailed information of the individual grades received in your university-level qualifications to date. You should only upload official documents issued by your institution and any transcript not in English should be accompanied by a certified translation.

More information about the transcript requirement is available in the Application Guide.

CV/résumé

A CV/résumé is compulsory for all applications. Most applicants choose to submit a document of one to two pages highlighting their academic achievements and any relevant professional experience.

Statement of purpose/personal statement:
1,000 to 1,500 words

Your statement should be written in English and explain your motivation for applying for the course at Oxford, your relevant experience and education, and the specific areas that interest you and/or you intend to specialise in.

This will be assessed for the coherence of the statement; evidence of motivation for and understanding of the proposed area of study; the ability to present a reasoned case in English; and commitment to the subject.

References/letters of recommendation:
Three overall, generally academic

Whilst you must register three referees, the department may start the assessment of your application if two of the three references are submitted by the course deadline and your application is otherwise complete. Please note that you may still be required to ensure your third referee supplies a reference for consideration.

References should generally be academic though a maximum of one professional reference is acceptable where you have completed an industrial placement or worked in a full-time position.

Your references will support intellectual ability, academic achievement, motivation, and ability to work in a group.