Chemistry with a Professional Placement - BSc (Hons)

Studying Chemistry 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. Opting to add a year working in industry to your BSc gives you the chance to gain invaluable workplace experience and apply your academic skills in a practical context.

Overview

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 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.

Placement year

Your placement year takes place between your second and final years of study. Spending a year working in industry, you gain invaluable workplace experience and can also assess a particular career path to see if it is for you. We can offer help and advice in finding a placement. This greatly enhances your CV and gives you the opportunity to apply your academic skills in a practical context. If your work placement goes well, you may be offered a job after graduation.

It is also possible to take this degree as a three-year BSc. For details see our Chemistry programme.

MChem programme

You also have the option of doing a four-year MChem programme and working as part of a research group doing cutting-edge work. For details, see Chemistry - MChem.

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 microscope (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.

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.

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.

  • medal-empty

    A level

    BBB including Chemistry or Biology

  • medal-empty GCSE

    Mathematics grade C

  • 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/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.

  • medal-empty International Baccalaureate

    34 points overall or 14 at HL including Chemistry 5 at HL or HL Biology at 6 and Mathematics 4 at HL or SL

  • International Foundation Programme

    N/A

English Language Requirements

Please see our English language entry requirements web page.

If you need to improve your English language standard as a condition of your offer, you can attend one of our pre-sessional courses in English for Academic Purposes before starting your degree programme. You attend these courses before starting your degree programme.

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Course structure

Duration: 4 years full-time

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

You take all compulsory modules.

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

You take all compulsory modules.

Compulsory modules currently include

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 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

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

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

Year in industry

After successfully completing stage 1 at your first attempt, with an average pass mark of at least 60%, you have the opportunity to spend a year in industry between Stages 2 and 3. We give advice and guidance on finding a placement.

Please note that acceptance onto the course is not a guarantee of a placement. The responsibility of finding a placement is on the student, with help and support from the department. If you cannot find a placement, you will be required to change your registration for the equivalent BSc programme without the Year in Industry option.

Compulsory modules currently include

Students spend a year (minimum 9 months) working in an industrial or commercial setting, applying and enhancing the skills and techniques they have developed and studied in the earlier stages of their degree programme. The work they do is entirely under the direction of their industrial supervisor, but support is provided via a dedicated Placement Support Officer within the School. This support includes ensuring that the work they are being expected to do is such that they can meet the learning outcomes of the module.

Find out more about PS591

Students spend a year (minimum 9 months) working in an industrial or commercial setting, applying and enhancing the skills and techniques they have developed and studied in the earlier stages of their degree programme.

The report required for this module should provide evidence of the subject specific and generic learning outcomes, and of reflection by the student on them as an independent learner.

Find out more about PS592

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 2021/22 annual tuition fees for this programme are:

  • Home full-time £9250
  • EU full-time £15400
  • International full-time £20500

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.

Fees for Year in Industry

Fees for Home undergraduates are £1,385.

Fees for Year Abroad

Fees for Home undergraduates are £1,385.

Students studying abroad for less than one academic year will pay full fees according to their fee status. 

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.

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

Search scholarships

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. The year in industry mark also counts towards your final degree result.

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

Please note that there are degree thresholds at stage 1 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.
  • Widen access to as broad a range of students as practicable.
  • Develop students’ ability to apply their knowledge and skills to the solution of chemical science problems.
  • Develop students’ ability to apply their chemical knowledge and skills to the solution of theoretical and practical problems in chemistry.
  • Teach students a wide range of practical skills including a knowledge, understanding and ability to assess safety in the laboratory environment.
  • Teach students the appropriate generic skills that will be 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.
  • 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 skillsfor students to proceed to graduate employment or to further their studies.
  • Further develop students’ work-related skills and provide experience of a workplace culture through the opportunity to spend a year in industry.

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.
  • Appreciate developments at the forefront of some areas of chemical science.

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 this 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.
  • Use computational methods for the practical application of theory and to use IT and data-processing skills to search for, assess and interpret chemical information and data.
  • Skills in essay writing and presenting scientific material and arguments clearly and correctly, in writing and orally, to a range of audiences and communicate complex scientific argument to a lay audience.

Subject-specific skills

You gain subject-specific skills in the following:

  • Safe handling of chemical materials, taking into account their physical and chemical properties, including any specific hazards associated with their use and risk assessment.
  • 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 and the operation of standard analytical instruments employed in the chemical sciences.
  • Collate, interpret and explain the significance and underlying theory of experimental data, including an assessment of limits of accuracy.
  • Use experimental data to inform future work.
  • 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, written and oral.
  • The ability to undertake further training of a professional nature.
  • Problem-solving, relating to qualitative and quantitative information, extending to situations where evaluations have to be made on the basis of limited information.
  • Numeracy and computational abilities, including such aspects as error analysis, order-of-magnitude estimations, correct use of units and modes of data presentation.
  • Information-retrieval, in relation to primary and secondary information sources, including online computer searches.
  • IT abilities, such as word-processing and spreadsheet use, data-logging and storage, and internet communication.
  • Interpersonal skills, the ability to interact with other people and to engage in team working within a professional environment.
  • Time-management and organisation, as evidenced by the ability to plan and implement efficient and effective modes of working.
  • To be able to continue your professional development and employment.
  • The ability to function effectively in an industrial or commercial environment through a Year in Industry.

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

Chemistry at Kent scored 90% overall in The Complete University Guide 2021.

For graduate prospects, Chemistry at Kent was ranked 5th in The Guardian University Guide 2021 and 6th in The Times Good University Guide 2021.

Careers

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 experience you have gained in your placement year will be attractive to employers, putting you in a good position as you look for full-time employment.

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.

Apply for this course

If you are from the UK or Ireland, you must apply for this course through UCAS. If you are not from the UK or Ireland, you can choose to apply through UCAS or directly on our website.

Find out more about how to apply

All applicants

Apply through UCAS

International applicants

Apply now to Kent

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International student enquiries

Enquire online

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

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