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Undergraduate research


Student research opportunities are integrated into Chemistry degree programmes at all levels.

In year 1 you will undertake an open-ended investigations as part of the teaching lab programme. You will be supported in every step of this experience and will receive the necessary fundamental lab skills training. Outside of lab programme your modules contain skills components that will help advance your academic and industry research skills.

In year 2 your lab programme will include numerous research-based experiments and more scope for exploring what interests you about Chemistry the most. This involves real world context and aspects of interdisciplinarity to help you connect and apply your learning to solving pressing global challenges.

In year 3, lab experiments will be open ended in nature and lead you into new aspects of real-world scientific research such as experimental design and planning. You will be introduced to a problem (e.g., can we build a dye-sensitised solar cell using the natural dyes extracted from berries, and how can we maximise device performance?), and design your very own research mini-project and an experiment capable of solving this problem.

And finally, in year 4 you will put all of your training into practice and join Chemistry's departmental research culture, by undertaking a 60 CAT project within a research group supervised by a member of academic staff.

Scroll through the rest of this page to find out more about departmental research opportunities and check out Warwick's Student Research Hub for more University wide opportunities and funding.

If you have any questions, please speak to your personal tutor or contact Director of Student Experience, Dr Bo Kelestyn.

In the curriculum: BSc

3 Months International Placement

To find out more about placements, our industry and overseas university partners visit Placements & Internships web page.

12 month Intercalated Year (BSc or MChem)

It is also possible to carry out a 12 month placement via an ‘Intercalated Year’. The placement should involve working for a company, institution, or organisation related to chemistry, allowing students to gain valuable professional experience, without formally counting towards the final degree result. The words ‘with Intercalated Year’ are added to the degree title.

Poster Presentations

Chemistry students have an opportunity to present and showcase their research in the format of poster presentations as part of Year 2 & 3 Lab Modules. This is an excellent opportunity for students to develop and practice science communication skills. Poster presentations are a major component of international conferences and symposia and this event is in line with the requirements for such events.

The aim is to produce a poster which summarises recent developments in a particular, well-defined, area of contemporary research. Unlike essays, which depend on long descriptive sections, the emphasis in a poster should be placed on the graphical illustration of the subject. An academic poster supervisor will advise on reading material and what facilities are available for preparing the posters.

The assessment will be carried out by a panel of members of academic staff and research fellows who will judge each poster during the session. You will be expected to answer questions on the content of the poster, and all members of the department will be invited to attend.

Students' impact

There are plenty of opportunities for students to shape their own learning through independent research, as well as contribute towards ongoing departmental research in a similar way to our Doctoral Researchers and Research Fellows. A recent example is two of our third year students generating new data during their lab experiments that has been fed into CSD Communications:
  • Leandro V. Carrilho, Adrian B. Chaplin CCDC 976155: Experimental Crystal Structure Determination, 2017, DOI: 10.5517/ccdc.csd.cc11rrwf
  • Nathanael Hsueh, Adrian B. Chaplin CCDC 976156: Experimental Crystal Structure Determination, 2017, DOI: 10.5517/ccdc.csd.cc11rrxg

In the curriculum: MChem

20 Week Project

In their final year, students complete an individual project on a topic of their choice (worth 50% of the year’s mark and assessed by a combination of a written report, oral interview and presentation) in collaboration with an academic. Students can select optional modules to support their choice of research project.

It is an opportunity to engage with the departmental research culture and work on one of the research themes in Chemistry at Warwick. As part of this research experience students get to work with our state of the art equipment. The instrumental and workshop facilities are superb, supervised by expert research and technical staff.

Examples of past MChem Projects that led to publication include:

12 Months Industrial Placement

3 Months International Placement

Via the International Placements scheme, Chemistry students can undertake a research project in selected academic institutions overseas. These include several European destinations as well as Monash University and NTU in Australia and Singapore, respectively. This scheme offers an excellent opportunity to engage with diverse research context around the globe, widening the students’ expertise and skills as well as enriching their CVs. With around 30 students taking part in International Placements in the past few years, this scheme is gaining a lot of momentum, featuring research projects that range from biochemistry to computational physical chemistry.

    To find out more about placements, our industry and overseas university partners visit Placements & Internships web page.

    Extra-curricular research opportunities

    Summer Projects

    MChem students can do a degree with international placement - this involves 3-6 months in a research lab in an overseas institution and replaces term 3 of their third year.

    • URSS

    We encourage all students to take part in paid research internships through the Undergraduate Research Support Scheme (URSS). These projects are entirely optional taken in the summer holiday, provide a wonderful student research experience.

    • ERASMUS/IAESTE Placements

    Industrial placement opportunities are available worldwide. These take place during the summer break for a typical period of 3 months and qualify for ERASMUS support if carried out in Europe. They are organised either directly with industry, or through the IAESTE exchange network.

    The department is happy to advise you on any of the above vacation opportunities.

    Student Publications

    Student research as part of BSc, MChem and URSS in the department can lead to publications. This is an extremely valuable addition to any student's CV wishing to pursue further research or industrial career in the field. We encourage all students to participate in International Conference of Undergraduate Research (ICUR), which takes place every year in September; British Conference of Undergraduate Research (BCUR) with funds available to support your participation; and the Reinvention: International Journal of Undergraduate Research.

    ICUR 2019 presenter Grace Mapstone says the following about her experience:

    Presenting at ICUR was a great opportunity to showcase the research I had done through URSS. As the presentation is for an interdisciplinary audience, it forces you to take a step back and really understand the topic to ensure you can present in a way that is accessible to everyone. Taking part in Compass (a seminar program leading up to the conference) allowed me to connect with other people presenting from all around the world and learn from their experiences and research.

    12 month Intercalated Year (BSc or MChem)

    It is also possible to carry out a 12 month placement via an ‘Intercalated Year’. The placement should involve working for a company, institution, or organisation related to chemistry, allowing students to gain valuable professional experience, without formally counting towards the final degree result. The words ‘with Intercalated Year’ are added to the degree title.


    Annual Conference On Research in Natural Sciences (ACORNS) is a conference organised by Warwick ChemSoc aimed at encouraging sixth formers to explore the sciences. The event ultimately aims to help students decide whether further study in a science would be in their best interests. A series of lectures presented by academics alongside the chance to engage with current students is designed to provide a snapshot of life at university. Alumni will be available to talk to sixth formers about their experience of completing a science degree as well as their possible career prospectives.

    ChemSoc Outreach

    Warwick ChemSoc’s very own Outreach team delivers fun science demonstrations and workshops to schools and youth clubs in the local community. Through active participation, this student-led voluntary project aims to inspire the next generation of scientists and provides a taste of what STEM subjects have to offer. Whether they’re exploring states of matter through dry ice, constructing lemon batteries to make an LED light up, or even providing talks on life at The University studying Chemistry, the volunteers have such a positive impact. The programme comprises a range of activities and talks to suit all ages, from primary to sixth form, with a focus on enhancing learning opportunities!

    Student blogging

    Chemistry's student bloggers frequently post about their experience and advice about engaging in student research opportunities as well as student life in the department and at Warwick more broadly. Find out more about Manpreet's fascination with her polymer URSS project and get an insight into what Shaumica' first week of computational URSS experience was like.

    Examples of departmental student research projects

    URSS Projects (2019)

    1. Caroline Akamune - Synthesis of inhibitors of bacterial polyprenyl/ dolichyl phosphomannose synthase enzymes.
    2. Ilyas Ali - A novel approach using molecular dynamics to elucidate the mechanism by which DMSO permeates human skin.
    3. Aiste Andriulyte - Chemical probing of terpene biosynthesis.
    4. Emily Brogden - Sustainable Hybrid Alkyd Resins made by Pickering Emulsion Polymerization.
    5. Callum Bullock - Exploring the biosynthetic potential of epoxyketone synthases.
    6. Michelle (Hei Man) Chan - Seeking safer sunscreens - shining new light on the next generation of UV-A/UV-B absorbers.
    7. Jade Clarke - Block copolymers containing aggregated induced emission (AIE) groups for nanomedicine.
    8. Kofi Coke - Crystallisation in confinement.
    9. Jack Dalton - Nature Inspired Sunscreens.
    10. Shipei Fang - Carbohydrate functionalised sensors as a tool to evaluate important pathogen-cell interactions.
    11. James Gardner - Developing a research and teaching software for quantum chemical reaction dynamics.
    12. Gabby Han - Cylic peptide / polymer conjugates for drug delivery applications.
    13. Casey Ho - Modelling the Human Skin Barrier.
    14. Samuel Hutchins-Daff - Molecular analysis of novel lignin-degrading enzymes.
    15. Manpreet Kaur - Combating single use plastics.
    16. Vaclav Krupicka - Specific and quantitative analysis of post-translational modifications and structure of histones using native top-down Mass Spectrometry approach on a high resolution 12T FTICR Mass Spectrometer.
    17. Andrew Lacey - Application of new computational methods to study pollutant gas reactions on nanoparticles.
    18. Grace Mapstone - The effect of different isomers of guest molecules on binding inside a cage structure.
    19. Harry Merrifield - Optimising drugs for blood-brain barrier penetration.
    20. Ellen Michael - Harnessing Additive Kernels to Advance Drug Discovery and Design via Machine Learning.
    21. Bart Payne - Sequencing conjugated polymers by scanning tunnelling microscopy.
    22. Damien Pentecost - Lignin Degradation.
    23. Charlotte Qian - Mapping the cavitation free energy of branched alkanes.
    24. Jamie Rolinski - An investigation into the viscoelastic dynamic properties of coacervates and their link with plant communication pathways.
    25. Shaumica Saravanabavan - Computational prediction of X-Ray photoemission and photoabsorption (XPS/XAS) signatures of donor-acceptor polymers in modern organic electronics and organic photovoltaics.
    26. Josh Swindell - Synthesis and characterisation of cyclic-peptide-polymer conjugates using polymers similar to poly(2-ethyl-2-oxazoline) for use in drug delivery systems.
    27. Georgie Taylor - A deeper understanding of petroleum and the environment: interaction between crude oil and soil.
    28. Sam Tucker - Towards the elucidation of a polyketide biosynthetic pathway in Rhodococcus.
    29. Yinuo Wang - Testing of enzyme inhibitors for translocase MraY on the bacterial peptidoglycan biosynthesis pathway.

    ICUR Presenters (2019)

    1. Michelle Duong
    2. Gabrielle Yoonsae Han
    3. Grace Mapstone
    4. Jessica Smith

    Research opportunities for postgraduate taught students

    Chemistry Masters courses offer in depth training in a wide range of areas that are linked directly to cutting edge research in the chemistry industry. As part of this training each student will have an opportunity to immerse themselves in a real research project, supervised by Warwick's Chemistry renowned academics. A number of Taught Masters Programmes culminates with a 20-weeks project in our world-leading research groups:

    For more information visit Chemistry PGT page our download our Taught Masters Programmes brochure.