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.
As a foundation year student, you are a full member of the University and can take part in all student activities.
Our degree programme
This programme is for students whose academic qualifications are not appropriate for direct entry on to Stage 1 of our BSc programmes. It is also suitable for those who are returning to study following a period in work where they may have gained relevant experience but do not have traditional academic qualifications.
In your foundation year, you study chemistry and mathematics and take part in practical classes. On successful completion of your foundation year, you will have reached a standard above A level and so be fully equipped to tackle any of the BSc or MChem degree courses.
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.
In the first year of the BSc, your 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 final year, alongside compulsory modules you can choose to take a module focusing on DNA analysis or fires and explosions. You also complete research project in computational chemistry, solid-state chemistry or synthetic (organic) chemistry.
Chemistry student Celine Lauchlan explains what studying at the University of Kent is like.
It is possible to add a placement year to the BSc and gain valuable work experience. For details, see Chemistry with a Year in Industry.
You also have the option of progressing on to a four-year MChem programme and working as part of a research group doing cutting-edge work. For details, see Chemistry - MChem.
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).
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.
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.
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.
|Compulsory modules currently include||Credits|
PH020 - Algebra and Arithmetic
Simplification of fractions
Percentages and fractional changes
Logarithmic and exponential functions
Basic rules (operations and indices).
Solving equations (substitution and order of operation).
Changing subject of a formula
Rules of indices
Expansion and Factorisation
Solving linear and simultaneous equations
Binomial TheoremView full module details
PH022 - Graphical Methods for Physical Scientists
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.View full module details
PS021 - Molecules and Analysis
The mole; chemical equations; titrations; atoms and molecules; energy levels; acids and bases; orbitals; bonds; molecular shapes; spectra; bond energies, hydrogen bonding.View full module details
PS022 - Chemical Reactivity
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.View full module details
PS023 - Properties of Matter
States of matter; radioactivity; real and ideal gases; water. main group inorganic chemistry; phase diagrams, ideal solutions; miscibility, electrochemistry, forensic science techniques.View full module details
|Compulsory modules currently include||Credits|
CH308 - Molecules Matter & Energy
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.View full module details
CH309 - Fundamental Organic Chemistry for Physical Scientists
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.View full module details
CH314 - Introduction to Biochemistry and Drug Chemistry
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.View full module details
CH315 - Disasters
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.View full module details
CH316 - Computing Skills
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.View full module details
CH320 - Chemical Reactions
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).View full module details
CH382 - Chemical Skills
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.)View full module details
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
All applications for the Foundation Year will be considered individually, however evidence of previous level 3 (i.e. A level, BTEC, etc.) relevant scientific study is required.
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|
|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 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.
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.
However, please note that international fee-paying students cannot undertake a part-time programme due to visa restrictions.
If you need to increase your level of qualification ready for undergraduate study, we offer a number of International Foundation Programmes.
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 2020/21 annual tuition fees for this programme are:
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
Kent offers generous financial support schemes to assist eligible undergraduate students during their studies. See our funding page for more details.
You may be eligible for government finance to help pay for the costs of studying. See the Government's student finance website.
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.