Chemistry - BSc (Hons)

with a Foundation Year

Do you have an interest in Chemistry but do not have the relevant scientific background? Then this course is for you. Use this one year foundation course to gain knowledge and skills in the fundamentals of arithmetic, graphical methods, analysis and reactivity needed for one of our analytical and organic chemistry degrees. Studying Chemistry at Kent offers you an extensive laboratory experience, and you'll discover how to apply chemistry to help solve real-world problems such as human health, climate change and our increased energy demand.

Overview

Our Chemistry department has 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.

Our unique programme gives you the chance to complete an individual research project in your final year, equipping you with a range of valuable skills. Upon graduation you will have acquired the practical experience, scientific knowledge and transferable skills to pursue a career in a range of fields including research and development, pharmaceutical and energy. You also benefit from our expert careers advice to give you the best possible start with a strong focus on your future career and how to get you there.

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. You will also learn skills and knowledge that you can apply to solving real world problems through modules such as "Chemistry and the Environment".

Your foundation year is designed to equip you with a wide range of skills and knowledge in the fundamentals of arithmetic, graphical methods, analysis and reactivity. You will also get the chance to learn more about University life and pick up additional skills around time management and self-study.

In the first year of our standard BSc, you are introduced 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 final year, alongside advanced modules in organic, inorganic, analytical and physical chemistry, you also complete an individual research project where you'll gain valuable skills in conducting and directing scientific research, data analysis and interpretation, problem solving and communication.

Your Degree, your way

Our degrees are not only designed to give the best possible start to your career, but they are also flexible so that you can do the best degree for you. You can opt to complete a professional placement to put into practice the skills you learnt and make valuable industry contacts, study abroad for a year or work as part of a research group doing cutting-edge work group with our four-year integrated masters, the MChem.

We also offer a foundation year, giving those without the relevant scientific background, or who don't meet the entry requirements, the knowledge and skills needed to take on any of our Chemistry degrees.

Fantastic Facilities

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 7T
  • 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).

An excellent student experience

As well as a fascinating course with great opportunities to further your career potential we work hard to give you the best possible wider student experience.

You will be part of an international scientific community of physics and astronomy, chemistry and forensic science, bioscience and medical and sport science students, as well as being able to join a range of student-led societies and groups.

As well as inspiring you to realise your potential, we are here to support this with excellent in-house student support to assist with pastoral issues and careers experts with specialist knowledge as well as Academic advisors and peer mentors to help with your studies.

Professional networks

You are encouraged to participate in conferences and professional events to build up your knowledge of the science community and enhance your professional development.

Entry requirements

You are more than your grades

At Kent we look at your circumstances as a whole before deciding whether to make you an offer to study here. Find out more about how we offer flexibility and support before and during your degree.

Entry requirements

Please contact the School for more information at study-chemistry@kent.ac.uk.  

The University will consider applications from students offering a wide range of qualifications. Some typical requirements are listed below. Students offering alternative qualifications should contact us for further advice. Please also see our general entry requirements.

If you are an international student, visit our International Student website for further information about entry requirements for your country, including details of the International Foundation Programmes. Please note that international fee-paying students who require a Student visa cannot undertake a part-time programme due to visa restrictions.

Please note that meeting the typical offer/minimum requirement does not guarantee that you will receive an offer.

  • medal-empty

    A level

    For those with a relevant science qualification our standard offer is CD - with one subject to be Chemistry or Biology. For those without a relevant science qualification, our standard offer is BB. 

  • medal-empty 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.

  • medal-empty BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma (formerly BTEC National Diploma)

    The University will consider applicants holding BTEC National Diploma and Extended National Diploma Qualifications (QCF; NQF;OCR) at 120 credits or more, on a case by case basis. Please contact us via the enquiries tab for further advice on your individual circumstances.

  • medal-empty International Baccalaureate

    34 points overall or 11 at HL including HL Chemistry or Biology at 4 or SL Chemistry or Biology at 5.

  • International Foundation Programme

    N/A

English Language Requirements

Please see our English language entry requirements web page.

Please note that if you do not meet our English language requirements, we offer a number of 'pre-sessional' courses in English for Academic Purposes. You attend these courses before starting your degree programme.

Accommodation

Your home from home

All first year students are guaranteed an offer of on-campus accommodation when applying before 31 July. You'll also have a Premium Plus Kent Sport membership included as well as many other great benefits.

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Course structure

Duration: BSc 4 years, 5 with a Sandwich Year. MChem 5 years.

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.

In the foundation year and at Stage 1, the modules listed are all compulsory. 

After successfully completing the foundation year you can transfer on to any three or four year Chemistry course. Please refer to the BSc Chemistry, BSc Chemistry with a Year in Industry or MChem Chemistry course for more information about specific modules for stages 1-4.  

Foundation year

Compulsory modules currently include

  • Arithmetic

    Calculations

    Significant figures

    Standard form

    Fractions

    Simplification of fractions

    Percentages and fractional changes

    Indices

    Logarithmic and exponential functions

  • Algebra

    Basic rules (operations and indices).

    Solving equations (substitution and order of operation).

    Changing subject of a formula

    Inverse operations

    Rules of indices

    Long division

    Expansion and Factorisation

    Quadratic equations

    Solving linear and simultaneous equations

    Partial fractions

    Binomial Theorem

    Find out more about PHYS0020

  • Graphical methods are powerful, visual tools to illustrate relationships in theories, and in experimental quantities, pertaining to physical phenomena. They involve knowledge of, and visual representation of mathematical functions frequently encountered in the physical sciences. The topics covered are expected to include:

    Graphs of functions including straight lines, quadratics, 1/x and 1/x2.

    Parametric equations for curves, including use in modelling phenomena in physical sciences.

    Coordinate geometry of lines and circles, including calculations with angles in radians.

    Trigonometric functions (sine, cosine, tangent), and reciprocal and inverse trigonometric functions.

    Formulae involving small angles, sums of angles, and products of trigonometric functions.

    Solving trigonometric equations in the context of modelling phenomena in physical sciences.

    Vectors in one, two and three dimensions, and notations for representing them.

    Algebraic operations of vector addition and multiplication by scalars.

    Use of vectors in modelling phenomena in physical sciences.

    Find out more about PHYS0022

    The mole; chemical equations; titrations; atoms and molecules; energy levels; acids and bases; orbitals; bonds; molecular shapes; spectra; bond energies, hydrogen bonding.

    Find out more about PSCI0021

    Lattice energy; polymorphism; chemical equilibrium; the Periodic Table; solubilities; transition metals; isomerism; organic chemicals; shapes of organic molecules; organic analysis; optical activity; basic reactions of organic compounds; organic problem-solving; reaction kinetics.

    Find out more about PSCI0022

    States of matter; radioactivity; real and ideal gases; water. main group inorganic chemistry; phase diagrams, ideal solutions; miscibility, electrochemistry, forensic science techniques.

    Find out more about PSCI0023

    Stage 1

    Compulsory modules currently include

    Chemistry, as one of the physical sciences, is rooted in careful observation of the natural world and experimentation. This module teaches the key skills required to work in a chemical laboratory, analysing unknown systems and synthesising new ones, and learning how to apply the theories and ideas from lecture modules to socially and industrially relevant problems.

    Find out more about CHEM3900

    This module presents a unified understanding of the structure of matter, linking physical properties to bonding and energy, and providing the tools necessary to begin to describe and analyse chemical problems. Key concepts such as mass balance and bonding (ionic, covalent, metallic, and intermolecular) are linked to analytical methods to show how these fundamental ideas can be measured and used.

    Find out more about CHEM3600

    This module will provide an initial look into chemistry and the environment, introducing important concepts such as pollution and climate change. The effects of chemical disasters will also be considered. Additionally, this module will begin to provide students with the wider skills necessary to study chemistry at university.

    Find out more about CHEM3710

    An introduction to the core Mathematical skills required within the Chemical and Forensic Sciences. These core skills will be complemented with a variety of problem-solving applications in Chemistry and Forensic Science.

    Find out more about CHEM3640

    As scientific methods and instruments advance, computers become ever more important in data analysis and acquisition. This module introduces to the concept of programming languages and their uses, and presents a practically minded course on using simple programming to solve problems relevant to chemistry, and to automate the analysis and presentation of data.

    Find out more about CHEM3910

    Organic chemistry underpins not only much of the chemistry of living things but also modern materials, dyes, medicines, and more. This module discusses the structure of organic molecules in detail, showing the shape of molecules dictates their properties, and how Nuclear Magnetic Resonance spectroscopy (NMR) can exploit this to determine the structures and thus properties of unknown molecules. Fundamental modes of reactivity of organic molecules are discussed, showing how simple mechanisms can be used to build complex and useful compounds.

    Find out more about CHEM3610

    Inorganic chemistry considers the rich and varied chemistry of all the periodic table. This module shows how the variation in bonding across the periodic table leads to predictable and useful trends in structure and properties. The fundamental properties and reactivity of the transition metals are examined in detail to show how their magnetic and spectroscopic properties may by understood and exploited, laying the groundwork for future applications.

    Find out more about CHEM3620

    This module discusses the key ideas of thermodynamics and kinetics in a chemical context. It shows how the universe may be understood in terms of the flow of energy from high to low, and how this allows not only an understanding of what transformations are possible but also how fast they will occur. These essential physical principles are then applied to real world phenomena such as batteries, showing that even the most fundamental theories have direct and important applications in the modern world.

    Find out more about CHEM3630

    Stage 2

    Compulsory modules currently include

    This module builds upon the key skills developed in the previous year, teaching new synthetic and analytical techniques, coupled with work using computational methods and analytical software to provide a deeper understanding of lecture material and how it may be applied more generally, and learning how to apply the theories and ideas from lecture modules to socially and industrially relevant problems.

    Find out more about CHEM5900

    This module will deepen your understanding 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).

    Find out more about CHEM5600

    Underpinning both modern industrial catalysis and many biological systems, the chemistry of metal-carbon bonds is both incredibly important and diverse. This module delves into the factors controlling structure, bonding, and reactivity in organometallic species across the periodic table. It teaches how the properties of organometallic systems can be understood, controlled, and applied to solve important problems in the modern world.

    Find out more about CHEM5620

    This course will introduce students to the key ideas and fundamental molecular components of biochemistry. The course will cover simple biomolecules and non-covalent interactions, building up to biological oligomers. This will lead to introductory pharmacology and pharmacokinetics, illustrated with medicinal chemistry case studies.

    Find out more about CHEM5710

    This module builds upon the key skills developed in previous laboratory modules, working towards longer and open-ended experiments designed to prepare students for research projects in stage 3.

    Find out more about CHEM5910

    In this module, you will study organic reactions and compounds encountered in organic chemistry in depth. In particular, you will look at the organic chemical reaction mechanisms (including aspects of physical organic chemistry) and the reactions of a variety of organic compounds. You will also look at strategies for synthesising target molecules. Topics may include carbon-carbon bond formation, aromatic chemistry, the kinetics of organic chemistry, and carbonyl chemistry.

    Find out more about CHEM5610

    Analytical chemistry underpins all other aspects of the discipline, and covers not only how to find out what a thing is but how to design experiments and confirm results to quantify just how confident you can be that your answer is useful. This module takes a pragmatic, applications driven approach to sample preparation, analysis, and data validation.

    Find out more about CHEM5720

    The functional properties of solids, which are widely used for their ability to conduct electricity and ions, is determined by their structure on the atomic scale. An understanding of this is vital to the development of new materials, including those required to enable the clean energy technologies of tomorrow. This module will provide you with an understanding of the structures of solids and how they’re determined. We will also explore the properties of materials, including electronic and ionic conductivity, and the role solids play in energy-related technologies.

    Find out more about CHEM5700

    Stage 3

    Compulsory modules currently include

    This module will provide students with the skills necessary to propose, develop, perform and report on a project. The emphasis on of this module will focus on not only academic projects but also on industrial requirements.

    Find out more about CHEM6900

    This module introduces key concepts and practises of supramolecular and polymer chemistry. It will focus on linking past modules to supramolecular chemistry and outline important concepts and examples of supramolecular chemistry. This will include non-covalent interactions, self-association and self-assembly with an overall emphasis on soft matter and solution-based supramolecular concepts. This module will also give an overview of fundamental concepts in polymer chemistry (synthesis, characterisation and properties) leading to a more specialised introduction to block copolymers, self-assembly and supramolecular polymer chemistry that will build upon previous course material.

    Find out more about CHEM6700

    In this module, you will study chirality; the ‘handedness’ of chemistry and how we can manipulate chemical bonds to produce enantiomerically pure molecules for the pharmaceutical and life sciences. You will also understand the formation of key medicinally relevant heterocyclic systems, and learn to logically plan a complex chemical synthesis. Topics include cycloaddition chemistry, heterocycle synthesis, asymmetric synthesis, retrosynthesis and radical chemistry.

    Find out more about CHEM6610

    Analytical chemistry underpins all other aspects of the discipline. This module discusses modern methods in data analysis and processing, Cheminformatics and “Big Data”, and describes advanced analytical methods used for analysing complex systems.

    Find out more about CHEM6720

    In this module students will undertake individual research projects. You will gain skills in conducting and directing scientific research, data analysis and interpretation, problem solving and communication of results, culminating in the writing of your dissertation.

    Find out more about CHEM6910

    Computational modelling and simulations are increasingly used in the natural sciences to complement experimental work and can be used to provide unique insight, especially when experiments are expensive, dangerous or prohibited. Here, we will introduce students to modelling and simulation approaches that a chemistry practitioner is likely to encounter in their career. Possible topics may include mesoscale modelling, classical mechanics, quantum mechanics and machine learning.

    Find out more about CHEM6730

    The electronic structure and bonding of inorganic systems is directly responsible for their physical properties and reactivity, and leads to the diverse spectroscopic and magnetic properties observed and exploited in the modern world, as well as dictating their stability. This module looks at the factors controlling these properties in small molecules and clusters, how they may be measured, and builds a fundamental understanding off these systems with a focus on understanding and solving a range of contemporary problems.

    Find out more about CHEM6600

    This module will introduce you to methods for preparing and characterising solids such as crystalline, nano- and amorphous materials. The module will also explore properties such as magnetism, dielectric and electronic behaviours which depend on the symmetry and structure of condensed matter phases.

    Find out more about CHEM6710

    Fees

    The 2022/23 annual tuition fees for Home undergraduates have not yet been set by the UK Government. As a guide only full-time tuition fees for Home undergraduates for 2021/22 entry are £9,250.

    • Home full-time TBC
    • International full-time TBC

    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.

    Additional costs

    General additional costs

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

    Funding

    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.

    Scholarships

    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 A*AA over three A levels, or the equivalent qualifications (including BTEC and IB) as specified on our scholarships pages.

    Teaching and assessment

    There are approximately eight one-hour lectures each week, 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 you must pass all modules of the foundation year in order to progress onto stage 1.

    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 and balanced foundation of chemical knowledge and practical skills.
    • Provide access to as wide a range of students as practicable.
    • Develop in students the ability to apply their knowledge and skills to the solution of chemical science problems and to be able to solve theoretical and practical problems in chemistry.
    • Impart practical skills including the knowledge, understanding and ability to assess safety in the laboratory environment.
    • Develop a range of generic 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.
    • Foster an appreciation of the importance and sustainability of the chemical sciences in an industrial, academic, economic, environmental and social context.
    • Provide students with the knowledge and skills to gain graduate-level employment or to pursue further 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.
    • 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.

    Intellectual skills

    You gain the following intellectual abilities:

    • The ability to understand essential facts, concepts, principles and theories relating to the subject and to apply this knowledge to the solution of qualitative and quantitative problems.
    • The ability to recognise and analyse problems and plan strategies for their solution by the evaluation, interpretation and synthesis of scientific information and data.
    • The ability to 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.
    • A knowledge of 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 specific hazards associated with their use and risk-assessment of such hazards.
    • The ability to carry 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 collate, interpret and explain the significance and underlying theory of experimental data, including an assessment of limits of accuracy.
    • The ability to implement research projects including competence in the design and execution of experiments.

    Transferable skills

    You gain transferable skills in the following:

    • Communication, both written and oral.
    • To be able to undertake further training of a professional nature.
    • Problem-solving in relation to qualitative and quantitative information, extending to situations where evaluations have to be made on the basis of limited information.
    • 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 online computer searches.
    • Knowledge of IT such as word-processing and spreadsheet use, data-logging and storage, internet communication.
    • Interpersonal skills, relating to the ability to interact with other people and to engage in team working within a professional environment.
    • 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.
    • Study skills required continuing professional development and professional employment.

    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

    Independent rankings

    For graduate prospects, Chemistry at the University of Kent was ranked 6th in The Complete University Guide 2022 and 6th in The Times Good University Guide 2021.

    Careers

    Your Future

    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.

    This means that our graduates are well equipped for careers across a range of fields and have gone on to work for companies such as SG Technologies Ltd., Reckitt, Concept Life Sciences, and GSK. You can read their stories, and find out about the range of support and extra opportunities available to further your career potential here

    Applications

    Start to consider your options any time and you'll be able to submit your application from September 2021.

    Visiting universities, virtually or in-person, helps you to discover the places and courses that suit you. Why not start by signing up for a Virtual Open Day at Kent.

    Use our timeline for applying to Kent to help you plan your future.

    Contact us

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    International student enquiries

    Enquire online

    T: +44 (0)1227 823254
    E: internationalstudent@kent.ac.uk

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