Chemistry - BSc (Hons)
with a Foundation Year

Tackle global challenges such as developing renewable energy and biomaterials, and combating chemical warfare. Whether you're looking for a change of career, or may not have the scientific background or entry requirements for a degree in Chemistry, our Foundation Year offers the opportunity to fill any knowledge gaps and build your confidence.

Overview

This programme is designed for students who do not meet the requirements for direct entry to Stage 1 of our degree courses, and is an excellent conversion course for applicants who have shown academic ability in non-science subjects.

Our distinctive programme includes a set of ‘chemistry in context’ modules where you can apply your knowledge to specific case studies, as well as the opportunity to work with our leading research teams on your own project.

Reasons to study Chemistry with a Foundation Year at Kent

  • Our foundation year offers you the flexibility to progress to degrees across our Division of Natural Sciences. You may choose a degree in Chemistry, but equally you could opt for a degree within Forensic Science, Biosciences or Sport and Exercise Sciences.
  • There may also be an opportunity to progress to a four-year MChem programme that includes a final-year research project.
  • Fantastic industry-standard facilities, including a Raman spectrometer, two scanning electron microscopes (SEM), gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS), high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) system.
  • Study a wide range of modules from core chemistry concepts to how it can help build a better world with an introduction to chemistry and the environment.
  • Discover opportunities to spend a year on a professional placement, gaining valuable work experience, or spend a year studying abroad.
  • Take a final-year research project which can help prepare you for further study including PhD.
  • 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.
  • Join ChemSoc, the Chemistry Society for all budding chemists, and take part in a range of social and career-focused talks and activities.
  • For graduate prospects, Chemistry at Kent was ranked 5th in The Guardian University Guide 2022.

What you'll learn

In your foundation year, you study compulsory modules in biology, chemistry and scientific methods, plus a choice of optional modules. On successful completion of the foundation year, you will have reached a standard above A level and so be fully equipped to tackle a BSc degree course.

In the first year of your degree, you’ll develop a broad base on which chemistry is founded, before further developing your knowledge of organic, inorganic and physical chemistry and your practical laboratory skills in year two.

In your final year, alongside advanced modules in organic, inorganic, analytical and physical chemistry, you complete an individual research project with one of our research groups.

See the modules you'll study

Year abroad

Expand your horizons and tailor your degree to suit you with a year abroad, where you'll study at one of our partner institutions for a year. Studying abroad can help you grow in confidence, enhance your employability, plus you'll make friends in the country you're studying in and meet other adventurous students from around the world.

Professional placement

Alternatively, it's possible to work for a year in industry on our Chemistry with a Professional Placement course.

Integrated Master's

You can also undertake cutting-edge work as part of a research group with our four-year integrated Master's, the MChem.

Featured video

Watch to find out why you should study at Kent.

Accreditation

Our BSc (Hons) Chemistry is fully accredited by the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC).

Flexible tariff

Make Kent your firm choice – The Kent Guarantee

We understand that applying for university can be stressful, especially when you are also studying for exams. Choose Kent as your firm choice on UCAS and we will guarantee you a place, even if you narrowly miss your offer (for example, by 1 A Level grade)*.

*exceptions apply. Please note that we are unable to offer The Kent Guarantee to those who have already been given a reduced or contextual offer.

Entry requirements

The University will consider applications from students offering a wide range of qualifications. All applications are assessed on an individual basis but some of our typical requirements are listed below. Students offering qualifications not listed are welcome to contact our Admissions Team for further advice. Please also see our general entry requirements.

  • medal-empty

    A level

    For those with a relevant science qualification our standard offer is CD with one of these 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 welcomes applications from Access to Higher Education Diploma candidates for consideration. A typical offer may require you to obtain a proportion of Level 3 credits in relevant subjects at merit grade or above.

  • medal-empty BTEC Nationals

    The University will consider applicants holding BTEC National Qualifications (QCF; NQF; OCR).

  • medal-empty International Baccalaureate

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

  • medal-empty International Foundation Programme

    N/A

  • medal-empty T level

    The University will consider applicants holding T level qualifications in subjects closely aligned to the course.

Please contact the School for more information at studynats@kent.ac.uk.

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.

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.

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Course structure

Duration: BSc 4 years, 5 years 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

This module will introduce students to the fundamental components of life. Students will be introduced to the function of key cellular components and their organisation in prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells. Through the study of cellular processes, students will develop an appreciation and understanding of the key biological processes underpinning living organisms.

This module will cover chemical concepts and principles. Through lectures and workshops, student will learn about atoms and states of matter, valence and bonding, basic chemical reactions, molecular shapes and isomerism, writing chemical equations and thermodynamics. The application of these principles in chemistry, forensic science, biological and exercise science will be explored in workshops, illustrating their fundamental importance in the natural sciences.

This module will provide a fundamental academic framework the support students in the study of Natural Sciences. The curriculum will address the study of science in a higher education environment and support students in the transition to university. Within the context of the Natural Science subjects, students will undertake laboratory investigations, developing skills and confidence in experimental work. Student will also learn how to find and evaluate information relevant to scientific investigation and use key software packages and databases to do so. The module will provide training in the use of mathematics to develop skills and confidence in numeracy, mathematical and statistical evaluation and graphical presentation of quantitative information.

This module draws together different strands of biological, chemical, physiological and human sciences to explore how scientific investigations can address major global challenges. Practical experimental work involving equipment used in research investigations, creative and critical thinking workshops, and guided group work will explore the role of the natural sciences in addressing some of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The module will provide insight into the degree pathways available after completion of the foundation year.

Optional modules may include

This module will build upon fundamental biological principles and processes and place them in the context of key human physiological systems. The function of human tissues will be explained and discussed. The module will explore key principles of genetic inheritance and the drivers of genetic variation. These key areas will provide the foundations for exploring homeostasis in humans, the maintenance of health and the onset of disease.

This module will introduce students to the scientific applications of fundamental sport and exercise sciences topics. This will include anatomy and physiology, as applied to sport, exercise and physical activity; the musculoskeletal system; biomechanics of human movements; psychology in sport and exercise; and how physical fitness, or components of fitness, are assessed in an objective and scientific way.

This module will cover chemical concepts and principles. Through lectures and workshops, student will learn about how chemical reactions occur and the fundamentals and uses of common transformations. This will be accompanied by an introduction to the methods by which these can be studied. The application of these concepts and techniques in chemistry, forensic science, biological and exercise science will be explored in workshops, illustrating their fundamental importance in the natural sciences.

Stage 1

Compulsory modules currently include

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stage 2

Compulsory modules currently include

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chemistry, as one of the physical sciences, is rooted in careful observation of the natural world and experimentation. 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

Stage 3

Compulsory modules currently include

In this module you will be introduced to a variety of modern techniques used to understand the structure, properties and potential applications of materials. An illustrative list of potential analytical techniques covered include: atomic emission/absorption spectrometry, high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), mass spectrometry and optical microscopy, electron microscopy.

Find out more about CHEM6040

During this module students will choose a research project from one of four areas: Computational Chemistry, Solid-State Chemistry, Synthetic (Organic) Chemistry, or Chemical Pedagogy. They will then independently plan and execute their experiments, simulations (computational chemistry) or pedagogical research with guidance from an academic supervisor. The module provides framework research training.

Find out more about CHEM6200

'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 for a wide range of applications. The synthesis of functional inorganic solid is also introduced, including conventional solid-state synthesis, the use of intercalation and high-pressure synthesis to prepare novel materials and how solid-state materials can be synthesised at lower temperatures via solution-based methods. You will also synthesise several functional inorganic solids and nanomaterials in our chemistry laboratory.

Find out more about CHEM6220

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.

Find out more about CHEM6230

A key component to chemical education is the exposure to more advanced aspects of chirality, and chemical transformations towards the synthesis of organic 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.

Find out more about CHEM6240

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).

Find out more about PSCI6040

Optional modules may include

This module covers a range of core chemical science that relates to fire and explosive events. The applied investigation of such events is also discussed to give students a wider appreciation of previous case studies and the complexities of post-fire and post-blast investigations.

Find out more about PSCI6010

This module comprises a range of contemporary topics covering methods of analysis and the interpretational issues associated with forensic DNA profiling. The materials take students through the evolution of forensic DNA processes and the practical issues of sample collection, processing and storage, DNA theory and practical DNA processing. Students will appreciate the difficulties associated with mixed samples and the statistical interpretation associated with both single source and mixture interpretation. The module draws upon the latest materials published by the Forensic Science Regulator and the latest quality and legal standards associated with DNA profiling. The module is contextualised throughout using a range of contemporary case studies.

Find out more about PSCI6370

Fees

The 2023/24 annual tuition fees for this course are:

  • Home full-time £9250
  • EU full-time £16400
  • International full-time £21900

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

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

Funding

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

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.

We have a range of subject-specific awards and scholarships for academic, sporting and musical achievement.

Search scholarships

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.

Independent rankings

For graduate prospects, Chemistry at Kent was ranked 5th in The Guardian University Guide 2022.

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

Apply for Chemistry with a Foundation Year - BSc (Hons)

UCAS application cycle for 2023 is open. You can search courses and apply via the UCAS website.

Our Open Days are a great way to discover more about the courses and get a feel for where you'll be studying. Along with campus tours, online chats and virtual events there are lots of other ways to visit us.

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Enquire online

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

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