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An MChem in 4 years
UCAS code: F100

Course statistics for 2013 entry

Interviewed: 93%
Successful: 32%
Intake: 180

Tuition fees for 2014

Home/EU: £9,000/year
No upfront costs: you can get a loan for the full amount
Grants, bursaries and scholarships available

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2 and 3 July, and 19 September 2014

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What is Chemistry?

Chemistry is a wide-ranging science concerned with the synthesis, structures, dynamics, properties and transformations of all types of materials – organic, inorganic and biological.

Chemists are a constant source of innovation: it is hard to imagine any product introduced in recent times that did not require the creative efforts of a chemist at some stage. Chemistry also underpins the conceptual framework and methodology of biochemistry and molecular medicine, and is at the heart of many major industrial activities.

If you have a scientific approach, and chemistry is your favourite subject, that is enough reason in itself to study it at university. As well as its inherent challenge and excitement a Chemistry degree opens the door to a wide and varied range of careers.

Chemistry at Oxford

ChemistryThe Department of Chemistry is the largest in the western world. Each year some 180 chemists graduate after a four-year course which includes a year of research, and about 80 graduates receive doctorates.

Oxford is one of the leading chemistry research departments in the world with around 80 academic staff carrying out international-level research, and an annual research income of around £15m. The latest (2008) Research Assessment Exercise confirmed that Oxford Chemistry has the highest ‘power rating’ (breadth and depth of science) in the UK. The department is currently engaged in a number of innovative areas of work including chemistry for measurement, drug discovery, energy, catalysis, nanochemistry, synthesis, atmospheric chemistry, synthetic biology and femtochemistry.

The department has an unrivalled track record in protecting and commercialising the innovative work of research staff. Tens of millions of pounds has been raised for the University as a result of spin-out activities from research carried out by Oxford chemists.

The school is housed in four laboratories clustered together in the University’s Science Area, particularly close to the well-stocked Radcliffe Science Library. These include a state-of-the-art £65m research laboratory with unrivalled facilities, which opened in 2004.

The undergraduate course lasts four years, the fourth year (Part II) being devoted exclusively to research – a distinctive, long-standing feature of Chemistry at Oxford.

Chemistry is part of the Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences Division, which also contains Computer Science, Earth Sciences (Geology), Engineering, Materials, Mathematics, Physics, Plant Sciences, Statistics and Zoology, some of which are taught in combinations in joint courses. In the later stages of honour schools in Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences there are opportunities to take options in other subject areas: in Chemistry, for example, it is possible to take History and Philosophy of Science or a language as supplementary subjects, usually in the second year.


As the central scientific subject, Chemistry provides an excellent opportunity for the development of your critical faculties and intellect, and also instils a variety of important transferable skills that will serve you well whatever your subsequent choice of career. Typically about 55% of our Chemistry graduates go on to do research or further study. Others enter professions such as accountancy, banking and actuarial work, as well as manufacturing, IT and education. The Royal Society of Chemistry provides further information about careers using chemistry at Recent Chemistry graduates include a management consultant, a market research analyst, and a scientist.

Sue graduated in 1975 and is now a patent attorney. She says: ‘My job is to assist inventors to achieve proper legal protection for their inventions. I handle chemical inventions, and am involved at the cutting edge of chemistry, as well as being an expert in the relevant law. My Oxford training gave me first-rate scientific understanding, and also the analytical skills I need to handle legal work.’

Related Courses

Students interested in this course might also like to consider Biochemistry (Molecular and Cellular), Biomedical Sciences, Earth Sciences (Geology), Materials Science or Physics.