Chemistry - MChem

UCAS code F109

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Chemistry is a fascinating area of science and central to understanding the world around us. Studying at Kent, you are involved in live research and develop skills that can be applied to some of the key challenges of the 21st century – such as human health and the world’s increasing energy demands.


At the School of Physical Sciences, we have a strong teaching record in analytical chemistry and we are proud to link our world-leading research on materials chemistry to our undergraduate programmes. All practical classes take place in our newly refurbished laboratories, where you use the latest equipment.

This programme is fully accredited by the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC).

Our degree programme

Chemistry at Kent is a distinctive programme and includes a set of ‘chemistry in context’ modules where you apply your knowledge to specific case studies. For example, in our first-year Disasters module, you choose a chemical disaster and use your understanding of chemical phenomenon to formulate a disaster management plan.

Your first year modules introduce you to the broad base of knowledge on which chemistry is founded. In your second year, you further develop your knowledge of organic, inorganic and physical chemistry and improve your practical laboratory skills.

In your third year, alongside compulsory modules you can choose to take a module focusing on DNA analysis or fires and explosions. You also complete an advanced project in which you gain experience of advanced laboratory techniques and produce a short research project.

In your final year, you complete either an experimental or computational research project, which you choose from our project list. You work with an academic supervisor as part of their research team gaining invaluable practical experience as well as an understanding of the challenges and rewards of extending knowledge in your field.

Student view

Chemistry student Liam talks about his course at the University of Kent.

BSc programme

You also have the option of doing a three-year BSc degree. For details, see Chemistry. It is possible to take the BSc with a placement year and gain valuable work experience. For details, see Chemistry with a Year in Industry.

Foundation year

If you do not have the grades you need to study on our BSc degree, you could take Chemistry with a Foundation year.

Study resources

We recently invested £10 million in our laboratories and improved our general study spaces. Facilities to support chemistry include a full characterisation suite for materials containing:

  • three powder diffractometers
  • a crystal diffractometer
  • X-ray fluorescence
  • instruments to measure magnetic and transport properties at 4K and up to 7 T
  • a Raman spectrometer
  • two scanning electron microscopes (SEM)
  • gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC-MS)
  • high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) system
  • atomic absorption spectrometry (AAS) equipment
  • Fourier transform infrared spectrometer (FTIR).

Extra activities

The School of Physical Sciences is home to an international scientific community of chemistry, forensic science, physics and astronomy students. Numerous formal and informal opportunities for discussion make it easy to participate in the academic life of the School. All students have an academic adviser and we also run a peer mentoring scheme.

You are encouraged to participate in conferences and professional events to build up your knowledge of the science community and enhance your professional development. The School also works collaboratively with business partners, which allows you to see how our research influences current practice.

You can also take part in:

  • the School’s Physical Sciences Colloquia, a popular series of talks given by internal and external experts on relevant and current topics
  • the student-run chemistry society, Chemsoc, which organises talks with top industry professionals, practical demonstrations and social events.

Independent rankings

Chemistry at Kent scored 90.1 out of 100 in The Complete University Guide 2019.

In the National Student Survey 2018, over 91% of final-year Chemistry students who completed the survey, were satisfied with the overall quality of their course.

Of Chemistry students who graduated from Kent in 2017 and completed a national survey, over 88% were in work or further study within six months (DLHE).

Teaching Excellence Framework

All University of Kent courses are regulated by the Office for Students.

Based on the evidence available, the TEF Panel judged that the University of Kent delivers consistently outstanding teaching, learning and outcomes for its students. It is of the highest quality found in the UK.

Please see the University of Kent's Statement of Findings for more information.

TEF Gold logo

Course structure

The course structure below gives a flavour of the modules and provides details of the content of this programme. This listing is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.

Stage 1

Compulsory modules currently include Credits

This module introduces and revises the basic concepts of chemistry that underpin our understanding of the stability of matter. This starts with introducing atomic and molecular structure, with a focus on understanding the electronics of bonding in the molecular compounds around us. You will then study the laws governing the behavior of gases and origins of other interactions that hold solids and liquids together, alongside describing some of their basic properties such as conductivity, viscosity, and the way in which ions behave in solution. In the final aspect of this module we cover the critical role thermodynamics plays in determining the stability of matter, including the fundamental laws of thermodynamics and the importance of equilibrium in reversible reactions.

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This module reintroduces the basic concepts of organic chemistry that are vital in understanding pharmaceutical and biological substances. You will study the basics of the chemistry of carbon, the element critical to underpinning life, including its basic building blocks and functional groups. We also cover the mechanisms by which basic organic reactions including elimination, substitution and oxidation processes occur. This module concludes with studying aromatic compounds and chirality, which crucially influence how organic molecules interact within living systems.

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Chemistry in context

Using an organic chemistry perspective, you will study the fundamentals of biochemistry, the chemistry of life, including enzyme reactions, protein chemistry, DNA, lipids and carbohydrates. These topics are underpinned by the role chemical phenomena such as thermodynamics and intermolecular interactions play in a biological context. We then explore the nature and discovery of drugs, how they work, and the potential effects of their misuse.

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Chemistry in context:

In this module, you will study particular cases in which disasters occur (for example, explosions, volcanic eruptions, exposure to chemical warfare agents and accidents in the chemical industry), either as a result of human participation or in the natural course of events. We will explore how science, and in particular chemistry, is integral to the understanding and mitigation of such events. You will then focus on an aspect particular disaster and give a short oral presentation on it alongside a written report and press release. Note: this module constitutes the writing component required by the Royal Society of Chemistry.

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Introduction to the concept of programming languages, and to Fortran 90 in particular.

Introduction to the UNIX operating system: including text editors, the directory system, basic utilities, the edit-compile-run cycle.

Introduction to Fortran 90, including the use of variables, constants, arrays and the different Fortran data types; iteration (do-loops) and conditional branching (if statements).

Modular design: subroutines and functions, the intrinsic functions.

Simple input/output, such as the use of format statements for reading and writing, File handling, including the Fortran open and close statements, practical read/write of data files. The handling of character variables.

Programming to solve physical/chemistry problems.

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This module will introduce you to core scientific chemical concepts including chemical equations and stoichiometry, kinetics and activation energies for reactions in solutions and acid and base chemistry. You will learn the theoretical background and terminology needed to understand these core concepts, along with the mathematical skills required by a practicing chemist. Hands-on laboratory experimentation is a key component of this module, teaching you the basic methodology used for understanding the physical chemistry of reactions, with a particular focus on their kinetics and thermodynamics. As part of this you will be taught how to effectively use fundamental laboratory equipment and instrumentation (Lab component).

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In this module you will be introduced to the key concept of periodicity and how, through a deeper knowledge of the periodic table, chemists are able to understand and predict the chemical properties, reactivity and compounds formed by the elements. You will also be introduced to redox chemistry, which plays a key role in the reactivity of the elements and the forms in which they are found.

This module also has a significant focus on experimental chemistry. You will therefore complete a set of laboratory practicals, enabling you to develop the laboratory skills and knowledge to work safely in an experimental environment and carry out fundamental organic and analytical chemistry procedures, including basic spectroscopy. This will be supplemented by teaching you the essentials of laboratory safety awareness and the skills needed to write scientific reports, including ways to clearly present data arising from experiments. To enable you to achieve this you will learn, through examples of physical science applications, the basic mathematics required to understand, plot and analyse graphical information, including differentiation and integration. This will be supported by lessons in how to use simple computer programs for drawing molecular and crystal structures and carry out basic calculations on the energy levels of chemical systems (Lab component.)

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Stage 2

Compulsory modules currently include Credits

You will study organic reactions and materials encountered in organic chemistry in depth. In particular, you will look at the organic chemistry of functional groups such as alcohols, ethers, carbonyl, amines and alkyl halides. You will also look at carbon-carbon forming reactions and strategies for synthesising target molecules. (Lab component.)

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You will develop an understanding of the theory and application of techniques for chemical identification. You will study symmetry, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), gas chromatography (GC), mass spectrometry (GCMS), infrared and Raman spectroscopy, spectrophotometry/fluorimetry, basic diffraction methods and electron spin resonance.

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Chemistry in context

Plastics, Liquid Crystals and Organic LEDs are ubiquitous in everyday life; your smartphone, tablet or television screen is likely an Organic LED. Here, the chemistry of these common materials is explored. Specifically, the structure and nomenclature of organic and inorganic macromolecules are covered, as well as polymer syntheses. The physical, chemical and mechanical properties of polymers, liquid crystals and light emitting materials are dissected and device structure of organic LEDs is deconvoluted.

(Lab component.)

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The speed (kinetics) and energetics (thermodynamics) of a reaction are of central importance in chemistry. Here, we use thermodynamics and kinetics to predict whether a particular reaction would take place and its likely product yield. We also cover equilibrium constants, electrochemical cells, colligative properties, including elevation and depression of melting and boiling points, zero, first, second and third order reaction kinetics and statistical thermodynamics. Experiments are included to help to cement understanding. (Lab component.)

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This module will deepen your understanding of the fascinating world of quantum mechanics and symmetry. We explore how this gives rise to quantisation and selection rules, and go on to apply this to spectroscopic methods to understand structure and bonding including: rotational (microwave) spectroscopy, vibrational (IR and Raman) spectroscopy and electronic transitions (UV-vis, PES). The lab course will give you hands on experience of some of these quite abstract concepts, and will allow you to apply your spectroscopic skills to real chemical problems. (Lab component.)

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The arrangement of atoms and defects in a solid governs its properties. Here, we cover the crystal structures and phase diagrams of solid materials. Bonding in solids is discussed, including metallic, ionic and molecular crystals, band theory, defects and non-stoichiometry. You will be introduced to the synthesis, properties and applications of a wide range of materials and their solid state reactions. Applications covered include catalysis, energy materials such as fuel-cells and Li-ion batteries, superconductivity and semiconductors and nanomedicine. (Lab component.)

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Here, you will explore the chemistry of the d- and f-block elements, including their electronic and colour properties as well as their magnetic behaviour, both in lectures and workshops and also practically through a lab component. Environmental chemistry is of growing importance and this module will also equip you to understand environmental concerns such as toxicity, bioavailability and environmental mobility. (Lab component.)

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Trace Analysis:

Trace analysis: definitions, methods and problems. Sampling, storage and contamination. Quality control. Random and systematic errors; statistical treatment of data. Accuracy and precision. Signal/noise ratio. Sensitivity and detection limits. Choice of methods for trace analysis.

Units, dimensions, exponentials and logarithms:

Decimal places and significant figures. Units and dimensions: SI units, dimensional analysis. Manipulation of exponentials and logarithms. Power laws. Exponential decay and half-life. Beer-Lambert law, Arrhenius equation, Boltzmann distribution, Gaussian functions.

Chemical Arithmetic:

Balancing chemical equations. Amount of substance, molar quantities, concentration and volumetric calculations, gravimetric analysis, gas pressures and volumes.

Equilibrium calculations, strong and weak electrolytes. pH, acid-base equilibria, buffer solutions. Solubility. Chemical kinetics: reaction rates, rate constants and orders of reaction.

Probability and Statistics:

Elementary probability, probability spaces, Venn diagrams, independence, mutual exclusion, expectation. Quantitative treatment of the effect of evidence: Bayes’ Theorem and conditional probability Samples and populations, mean, standard deviation, moments, standard error. Probability distributions: binomial, normal, poisson. Limiting cases. Use of normal tables. Significance testing and confidence limits. Hypothesis testing. The chi-squared test. A brief look at probability-based arguments used by expert witnesses, recent controversies and challenged convictions. Regression and correlation

Laboratory work:

Analysis of alkaloids by HPLC

Accelerant analysis by gas chromatography

Analysis of metal cartridge cases and counterfeit coins using X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy

Determination of copper by atomic absorption spectroscopy

Quantifying substances in a mixture using UV-visible spectroscopy

Isolation & purification of caffeine from tea leaves

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Stage 3

All of the modules listed below are compulsory, apart from PS601 - Fires and Explosions and PS637 - DNA Analysis & Interpretation, which you choose between as your final option. 

Compulsory modules currently include Credits

Chemists and physicists are now playing an important role in the growing field of materials research. More recently, there has been a growing interest, driven by technological needs, in materials with specific functions and this requires a combination of physics and chemistry. For example, new materials are needed for the optics and electronics industry (glasses and semiconductors). The aim of this module is to introduce students to this area of modern materials and associated techniques. Examples of the topics that might typically be covered are: Crystals and crystallography; Molecular materials; Glasses; Magnetism and Magnetic Materials; Multiferroics; X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS).

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Here, you will be introduced to a variety of modern techniques used to understand the structure, properties and potential applications of materials. Analytical techniques include: atomic emission/absorption spectrometry, high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), capillary zone electrophoresis (CZE), ion chromatography, mass spectrometry and gas chromatography (GCMS), electro-analytical chemistry, optical microscopy, electron microscopy.

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‘Nanoscience will sculpt the scientific landscape of the 21st century.’ Here, you will be exposed to the synthesis of nanomaterials spanning nanoparticles, nanorods and porous architectures. You will learn how to control their shape, size, functionalisation and stabilisation. Solid-state reactions are introduced as well as high-pressure synthesis to prepare novel materials. The wealth of applications and potential applications of nanomaterials will be covered spanning: catalysis and quantum dots to nanomedicine. You will also synthesise nanomaterials in our chemistry laboratory. (Lab component.)

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The nature of chemical bonding changes as you move across and down the periodic table. In this module, you will study how and why this bonding changes and how we can use our understanding of this to understand the structure and reactivity of many classes of compounds. This is coupled to advanced analytical techniques for probing these often complex and flexible structures. The concepts developed then feed into the reactivities underpinning modern Organometallic catalysis, moving from pure fundamentals to application and showing how they let us understand the cutting edge of modern research and industrial syntheses.

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A key component to chemical education is the exposure to more advanced aspects of chirality, and chemical transformations towards the synthesis of simple targets. Concepts relating to the synthesis of natural and unnatural target molecules through organic chemical transformations are essential to the students’ chemical repertoire. In-depth exposure to chirality, exposure to asymmetric chemical transformations, carbon-carbon bond-forming reactions, and their application in targeted small molecule synthesis will be covered.

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The module is designed to give students experience of a range of advanced laboratory methods with wide application in the Chemical Industry and modern Forensic Science. These methods will underpin Stage 4 research projects (PS740 and CH740) as well as advanced concepts in the Stage 4 program.

The module will be in two sections. In the first section, taught in the Autumn Term, students will receive training in a range of advanced chemical and physical laboratory methods. This section of the module will be assessed by a report written on each experiment. In the second section, beginning towards the end of the Autumn term and continuing throughout the Spring Term, students will select a topic for an extended self-directed literature review. This will evaluate the available literature on a subject and allow the student to develop critical thinking. This section of the module will be assessed by oral presentation and a written dissertation.

Experiments will include such as (NB this is an illustrative list):

  • Gas chromatography – mass spectrometry

    Important example of modern hyphenated analysis techniques. Used in analysis of accelerant and explosive traces at scenes of fires and explosions, also in analysis of drugs of abuse.

  • Atomic absorption spectroscopy

    Used in the analysis of trace metal content. Experiment to compare flame and graphite furnace methods.

  • NMR spectroscopy

    Universally used in analysis of organic substances. Experiment to manipulate FID curves, to explore peak resolution and detect contaminants in samples such as counterfeit medicines.

  • X-ray fluorescence

    Used in analysis of metal artefacts, including bullet casings and forged coins.

  • X-ray diffraction

    Used in analysis of materials with crystalline lattices, including metals and inorganic explosives residues.

  • Electron microscopy

    SEM, TEM and Electron Probe Microanalysis (EPMA) in the analysis of gunshot and explosives residues.

  • Raman spectroscopy

    Used in forensic analysis of ink pigments, street drugs and counterfeit pharmaceuticals.

  • HPLC

    Widely used method of separating and identifying substances in forensic science.

  • UV-visible/fluorescence spectroscopy

    Used in comparison of pigments and paper in questioned documents; also chemical tests for explosives and drugs of abuse.

  • Image processing

    Facial recognition software, signature comparison, and the reconstruction of CCTV images.

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  • 30
    Optional modules may include Credits

    The module lectures will cover the following topics:

    • Historical methods

    • DNA sample collection, processing and storage

    • DNA theory

    • DNA databases and statistical interpretation

    • Quality Assurance, management and control

    • Legal aspects

    • Forensic case studies

    • Future trends

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    Physics and chemistry of fires and explosions:

    Fire and arson – occurrence and importance. Combustion – definitions. Thermodynamics and enthalpy. Flammability limits, flash point, fire point, ignition temperature. Pyrolysis of wood and plastics. Fuels and accelerants. Propagation and spread of fires. Sampling and laboratory analysis of fire scene residues.

    Explosions – definitions. Vapour phase and condensed phase explosions. Detonation and deflagration. High and low explosives. Primary and secondary high explosives. Molecular design of explosives. Survey of important explosives. Stoichiometry, oxygen balance, gas volumes, thermodynamics and enthalpy. Sampling and laboratory analysis of explosives residues. Preventative detection of explosives in contexts such as airports.


    Fire dynamics. Propagation and spread of fires – flames, fire types, flashover. Fire investigation. Forensic Science Service procedures at the scene. Damage observation and assessment. Fire and smoke patterns. Sources of ignition. Injuries and fatalities. Evidence recovery: sampling and laboratory analysis. Establishing the origin : the seat of the fire. Finding the cause: natural, accidental, negligent or deliberate? Indicators of arson. Evidence procedures. Case studies.


    Control of the explosion scene and procedures for recovery of evidence. Damage observation and assessment. The work of the Forensic Explosives Laboratory. Identification of explosives: organics and inorganics. Bulk analysis. Trace analysis of explosives: recovery, extraction and analysis of samples. Physical evidence: detonators. Preventative detection. Precursor identification. Explosives evidence in court: legal definitions and procedures. Terrorism. Case studies.

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    Stage 4

    Compulsory modules currently include Credits

    Students will undertake a project from an available project listing and will work under the guidance of a supervisor. The student will be encouraged to develop some level of research independence within the project remit appropriate of an M-level masters' student. The project will be assessed on a number of criteria which will include the project work (the amount, quality, level of effort, etc appropriate for the level), the preparation of a written report, an oral presentation, and a viva voce examination session. The composition of a microreview on a topic of the student's choice will round-off their skills through critical analysis of the academic literature.


    - To conduct individual masters level research.

    - To develop research independence such that the student can take responsibility for the research direction of the project within the confines of the project remit.

    - To further deepen the student's knowledge within a specific research area.

    - To prepare students for independent research careers in industry or at PhD level.

    - To further enhance student’s abilities for scientific communication through oral presentations and report writing.

    - Time management and forward planning skills

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    This module will introduce the student to the growing field of computational chemistry and its viability as a cost effective alternative to experiment that provides unique insight. It is critically important that an MChem student is trained in this area because many peer reviewer publications in physical, inorganic and organic chemistry include a computational component. The module will run primarily as a set of computational labs with lectures delivering the understanding, background and application of the methods used in the laboratory sessions including:

    Classical Mechanics Atomistic Simulation, Force-fields, Energy Minimisation,

    Molecular Dynamics, Monte Carlo

    Quantum Mechanics Density Functional Theory, Hartree-Fock theory,

    Wave-Function mechanics

    Simulation Codes Examples may include for example: DL_POLY, GULP (classical mechanics), Gaussian, Castep, Dmol (quantum mechanics)

    The experiments will cover the use of computer modelling to explore the structure, properties, processes and applications of organic and inorganic materials. Typically, they might comprise:

    ? Simulating the adsorption of molecules on surfaces (catalysis)

    ? Calculating the density of states and phonon modes of materials (band gap)

    ? Calculating activation energy barriers of a chemical reaction (organic chemistry)

    ? Simulating diffusion processes (fuel cells, battery materials)

    ? Simulating (hard, soft) systems at the mesoscale, such as surfactant-polymer interactions and architectures

    ? Quantitative Structure–Activity Relationship (QSAR) models; the application of descriptor calculations and statistical modelling to design new molecules.

    ? Machine Learning –intelligent computer-aided design of new materials

    The final experiment (mini project) will be one of the students own choosing where they will plan, design and formulate a computational experiment using any computational method available and then appraise the reliability and intellectual or commercial value of the experiment.

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    Topic A

    The properties of species containing transition metals and lanthanides are governed by the electronic structure of these metals and ions and a more in-depth understanding of their electronic states is necessary to explore these properties and current research trends. This course will include looking at the energy scales of ss, ll and sl coupling and the Russell-Saunders coupling scheme and when various coupling schemes are valid, and Hund’s rules for transition metals and lanthanides. This will lead into the use of term symbols to discuss electron configurations and microstates. This initial theory will provide a basis on which we can investigate ligand field theory and electronic spectra for transition metals (considering concepts such as Racah parameters and the nephelauxetic effect, and using Orgel, Tanabe-Sugano and correlation diagrams) and then lanthanides. The consequences of these concepts for physical properties (for example, magnetism and when to expect an orbital contribution to spin) will be explored. Current research ideas will also be incorporated (for example, spin-crossover systems).

    Topic B

    Nanoscale phenomena are increasingly important in cutting edge materials science. Understanding colloids and interfaces is integral to entry into this field. Students will learn the physical chemistry of these systems, starting from classifications, and move forward to understanding the thermodynamics and kinetics through application of principles of structural chemistry. Characterisation and up-to-date applications of colloidal systems will be delivered.

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    Module Aim: The ability to examine a molecule through the lens of retrosynthetic analysis, and subsequent delineation of a feasible series of reactions to generate the target molecule, is an essential tool in all areas of Synthetic Chemistry. The topic finds its fullest expression in the total synthesis of complex molecules such as natural products. Students will make use of the full repertoire of reactions they have compiled to date, but new reactions may also be delivered. The development of synthetic schemes will be taught. Exposure will be given to consideration of functional group compatibility, convergent and template-directed synthesis, protecting group strategies, strategies devoid of protecting groups, and non-covalent approaches. In-depth exposure to chirality and carbon-carbon bond forming reactions, and their application in small molecule synthesis will be covered. Much of the teaching will be delivered through use of important examples. Comprehensive literature searching as a means to problem solving will be emphasised. These are topics relevant to the cohorts completing UoK’s Chemistry programmes. The aim of this module is to deliver advanced concepts of modern synthetic chemistry and the introduction of these concepts in the synthesis of complex molecular targets.


    I) The aims and tools of total synthesis

    II) Total synthesis of topical organic molecules

    III) Template-directed synthesis and non-covalent assemblies

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    Teaching and assessment

    The degree is made of a combination of lectures, laboratory classes, project work and problem solving seminars.

    Assessment is by a combination of written examinations, continuous assessment and other assignments. You must pass the Stage 1 examinations in order to go on to Stage 2.

    Coursework assessments include practical laboratory skills, presentation skills as well as essay and report writing.

    Please note that there are degree thresholds at stages 2 and 3 that you will be required to pass in order to continue onto the next stages.

    Contact Hours

    For a student studying full time, each academic year of the programme will comprise 1200 learning hours which include both direct contact hours and private study hours.  The precise breakdown of hours will be subject dependent and will vary according to modules.  Please refer to the individual module details under Course Structure.

    Methods of assessment will vary according to subject specialism and individual modules.  Please refer to the individual module details under Course Structure.

    Programme aims

    The programme aims to:

    • Instil a sense of enthusiasm for chemistry, an appreciation of its application in different contexts and involve students in an intellectually stimulating and satisfying experience of learning and studying.
    • Provide a broad, balanced foundation of chemical knowledge and practical skills.
    • Extend this knowledge and practical ability to an advanced level in a selected specialist area and develop a critical awareness of advances in chemical science.
    • Provide access to as wide a range of students as practicable.
    • Develop the ability to apply knowledge and skills to the solution of chemical science problems.
    • The ability to apply chemical knowledge and skills to the solution of theoretical and practical problems.
    • Develop a wide range of practical skills, including a knowledge, understanding and ability to assess safety in the laboratory environment.
    • Impart a range of appropriate skills, of value in chemical and non-chemical employment.
    • Provide a stimulating, research-active environment in which students are supported and motivated to achieve their academic and personal potential.
    • Enable students to graduate with an understanding of scientific methodology, the ability to use this in the solution of problems in and outside of a laboratory environment, and the ability to undertake and report on an experimental investigation using such methodology.
    • To further use and adapt this methodology to the solution of unfamiliar problems and in the pursuit of advanced experimental investigations.
    • Establish an appreciation of the importance and sustainability of the chemical sciences in an industrial, academic, economic, environmental and social context.
    • Provide the knowledge and skills to proceed to graduate employment or continue with further studies.
    • To further prepare you for a professional role in chemical sciences (employment or doctoral studies).

    Learning outcomes

    Knowledge and understanding

    You gain knowledge and understanding of:

    • Core and foundation scientific physical, biological, and chemical concepts, terminology, theory, units, conventions, and laboratory practise and methods in relation to the chemical sciences.
    • Advanced theory, concepts, and practice in the chemical sciences.
    • Areas of chemistry including properties of chemical elements, states of matter, organic functional groups, physiochemical principles, organic and inorganic materials, synthetic pathways, analytical chemistry, medicinal chemistry, biochemistry, fires and explosions.
    • Developments at the forefront of some areas of chemical sciences.
    • A critical awareness of a substantial area of chemistry including contemporary materials chemistry.

    Intellectual skills

    You gain the following intellectual abilities:

    • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of essential facts, concepts, principles and theories relating to the subject and to apply such knowledge and understanding to the solution of qualitative and quantitative problems.
    • Recognise and analyse problems and plan strategies for their solution by the evaluation, interpretation and synthesis of scientific information and data.
    • Adapt and apply methodology above to solve advanced and unfamiliar problems.
    • Use computational methods for the practical application of theory and to use information technology and data-processing skills to search for, assess and interpret chemical information and data.
    • Essay writing and presenting scientific material and arguments clearly and correctly, in writing and orally, to a range of audiences and the ability to communicate complex scientific argument to a lay audience.

    Subject-specific skills

    You gain subject-specific skills in the following:

    • The safe handling of chemical materials, taking into account their physical and chemical properties, including any specific hazards associated with their use and risk assessment of such hazards.
    • The ability to carry out out documented standard laboratory procedures involved in synthetic and analytical work in relation to organic and inorganic systems. Skills in observational and instrumental monitoring of physiochemical events and changes and the systematic and reliable documentation of the above. Operation of standard analytical instruments employed in the chemical sciences.
    • The ability to select appropriate techniques and procedures for the above.
    • Collate, interpret and explain the significance and underlying theory of experimental data, including an assessment of limits of accuracy.
    • Use an understanding of the limits of accuracy of experimental data to inform future work.
    • Implement research projects, including competence in the design and execution of experiments.
    • Research, project planning and implementation, including competence in the planning, design and execution of experiments, and the ability to work independently and be self-critical in the evaluation of risks, procedures and results.

    Transferable skills

    You gain transferable skills in the following:

    • Communication, covering written and oral communication.
    • The ability to undertake further training of a professional nature.
    • Problem-solving skills, relating to qualitative and quantitative information, extending to situations where evaluations have to be made on the basis of limited information.
    • Demonstration of self-direction and originality.
    • Numeracy and computational skills, including such aspects as error analysis, order-of-magnitude estimations, correct use of units and modes of data presentation.
    • Information-retrieval skills, in relation to primary and secondary information sources, including through online computer searches.
    • Word-processing and spreadsheet use, data-logging and storage, and internet communication.
    • Interpersonal skills and the ability to interact with other people and to engage in team working within a professional environment.
    • The ability to communicate and interact with professionals from other disciplines.
    • Time-management and organisational skills, as evidenced by the ability to plan and implement efficient and effective modes of working. Self-management and organisational skills with the capacity to support life-long learning.
    • Effective research costing and planning.
    • Study skills required for continuing professional development and professional employment.
    • The skills relevant to a career in the chemical sciences.
    • The ability to exercise initiative and personal responsibility and make decisions in complex and unpredictable situations.
    • Independent learning ability required for continuing professional development.


    Graduate destinations

    The chemical industry is central to the world economy, which means chemistry graduates have a wide range of employment options open to them. Kent science graduates have an excellent employment record with recent graduates going into areas including:

    • research and development
    • contract laboratories
    • material and pharmaceutical industries
    • the oil industry.

    Career-enhancing skills

    You graduate with an excellent grounding in scientific knowledge and extensive laboratory experience. In addition, you also develop the key transferable skills sought by employers, such as:

    • excellent communication skills
    • work independently or as part of a team
    • the ability to solve problems and think analytically
    • time management.

    You can also enhance your degree studies by signing up for one of our Kent Extra activities, such as learning a language or volunteering.

    Help finding a job

    The University has a friendly Careers and Employability Service which can give you advice on how to:

    • apply for jobs
    • write a good CV
    • perform well in interviews.

    Entry requirements

    Choosing Kent as your firm choice for this programme could result in a lower tariff offer than those listed below. Please contact the School for more information at  

    Home/EU students

    The University will consider applications from students offering a wide range of qualifications. Typical requirements are listed below. Students offering alternative qualifications should contact us for further advice. 

    It is not possible to offer places to all students who meet this typical offer/minimum requirement.

    New GCSE grades

    If you’ve taken exams under the new GCSE grading system, please see our conversion table to convert your GCSE grades.

    Qualification Typical offer/minimum requirement
    A level

    ABB including B in Chemistry, including the practical endorsement of any science qualifications taken


    C in Mathematics

    Access to HE Diploma

    The University will not necessarily make conditional offers to all Access candidates but will continue to assess them on an individual basis. 

    If we make you an offer, you will need to obtain/pass the overall Access to Higher Education Diploma and may also be required to obtain a proportion of the total level 3 credits and/or credits in particular subjects at merit grade or above.

    BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma (formerly BTEC National Diploma)

    The University will consider applicants holding/studying BTEC Extended National Diploma Qualifications (QCF; NQF;OCR) in a relevant Science subject at 180 credits or more, on a case by case basis. Please contact us via the enquiries tab for further advice on your individual circumstances.

    International Baccalaureate

    34 points overall or 16 at HL including Chemistry 5 at HL and Mathematics 4 at HL or SL

    International students

    The University welcomes applications from international students. Our international recruitment team can guide you on entry requirements. See our International Student website for further information about entry requirements for your country.

    If you need to increase your level of science ready for undergraduate study, we offer a Foundation Year programme which can help boost your previous scientific experience.

    Meet our staff in your country

    For more advice about applying to Kent, you can meet our staff at a range of international events.

    English Language Requirements

    Please see our English language entry requirements web page.

    Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of 'pre-sessional' courses in English for Academic Purposes. You attend these courses before starting your degree programme. 

    General entry requirements

    Please also see our general entry requirements.


    The 2019/20 annual tuition fees for this programme are:

    UK/EU Overseas
    Full-time £9250 £19000

    For details of when and how to pay fees and charges, please see our Student Finance Guide.

    For students continuing on this programme, fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.* 

    Your fee status

    The University will assess your fee status as part of the application process. If you are uncertain about your fee status you may wish to seek advice from UKCISA before applying.

    General additional costs

    Find out more about accommodation and living costs, plus general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent.


    University funding

    Kent offers generous financial support schemes to assist eligible undergraduate students during their studies. See our funding page for more details. 

    Government funding

    You may be eligible for government finance to help pay for the costs of studying. See the Government's student finance website.


    General scholarships

    Scholarships are available for excellence in academic performance, sport and music and are awarded on merit. For further information on the range of awards available and to make an application see our scholarships website.

    The Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence

    At Kent we recognise, encourage and reward excellence. We have created the Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence. 

    The scholarship will be awarded to any applicant who achieves a minimum of AAA over three A levels, or the equivalent qualifications (including BTEC and IB) as specified on our scholarships pages

    The scholarship is also extended to those who achieve AAB at A level (or specified equivalents) where one of the subjects is either mathematics or a modern foreign language. Please review the eligibility criteria.

    The Key Information Set (KIS) data is compiled by UNISTATS and draws from a variety of sources which includes the National Student Survey and the Higher Education Statistical Agency. The data for assessment and contact hours is compiled from the most populous modules (to the total of 120 credits for an academic session) for this particular degree programme. 

    Depending on module selection, there may be some variation between the KIS data and an individual's experience. For further information on how the KIS data is compiled please see the UNISTATS website.

    If you have any queries about a particular programme, please contact