Master of Chemistry (MChem)
4 years full-time
27 September 2021
Department of Study
Department of Chemistry
Location of Study
University of Warwick
Chemistry is central to solving some of the most pressing problems facing humanity, including climate change, renewable energy, and eliminating hunger and disease. The analytical, numerical and logical reasoning skills that our courses develop mean that our graduates are in great demand across the entire spectrum of employment.
By branching into medicinal chemistry you will apply your knowledge to the discovery, design and synthesis of new drugs for clinical use. This degree provides a solid foundation in chemistry coupled with specialist knowledge in advanced medicinal chemistry/biochemistry. Specialist modules will explore the process of medicinal drug discovery, starting from the initial concept of a new product, to the discovery stage, clinical trials, scale-up and production. You can explore the biochemistry of these processes, and how this leads to medical breakthroughs. In addition to research-led teaching from top academics in their field, you will benefit from external lectures given by pharmaceutical industry leaders.
The four-year Master’s (MChem) course includes an additional Extended Lab in your third year and one extra module in your fourth year. Your fourth year research project will be based on your specialism, and you can expect to be working on drug discovery of novel antibiotic, anticancer or anti-inflammatory compounds through organic synthesis or natural product isolation. Once you’re here, you can apply to transfer onto a variant of this degree, either with industrial placement or with international placement.
RSC accreditation is subject to appropriate choice of options in Years Two to Four.
We offer a high degree of flexibility, allowing you to transfer between Chemistry degree course at any time in the first two years as you develop your interests and future plans. What’s more, you may receive a dual offer on application so can enter on a BSc route if you don’t do as well as you hoped in your examinations and then transfer to an MChem later if you meet the progression requirement. (Please note, all course transfers for overseas students are subject to UK visa regulations.)
You will study a range of core modules in Years One and Two which provide a solid foundation in the subject.
In Year Three there are four core modules across all aspects of Chemistry, and extended laboratory work, giving you a broad and deep understanding of the subject. You will also use your experience of the themes and topics from Years One and Two to choose optional modules to tailor your degree to suit your interests. At this stage you could find out how Chemistry is tackling the energy crisis, explore scientific writing, examine case studies in drug discovery or discover how polymer synthesis can be used to design drug delivery systems.
In Year Four you will complete an individual investigative project on a topic that reflects your passion (worth 50% of the year’s mark) in collaboration with one of our academics, and you can select optional modules to support your research or broaden your knowledge.
How will I learn?
Lectures are the main way that the content and theory is delivered and all students taking a module attend the lectures at the same time. In Years One and Two lectures are supported by tutorials with small groups of approximately six to seven students. These sessions are integrated with lectures to reinforce key concepts. Workshops typically run in groups of 20-40 students and allow you to work with your peers to problem-solve with on-hand assistance from academic and teaching staff. Practical classes in our modern teaching laboratory classes are an integral part of any Chemistry student’s life, giving you the opportunity to put theory into practice.
You should expect to attend around ten lectures per week, one tutorial or workshop a week, and spend five to ten hours on supervised practical (mainly laboratory and computing) work. For each one-hour lecture, you should expect to put in a further one to two hours of private study.
How will I be assessed?
You will be assessed via a combination of examinations and coursework such as laboratory reports, presentations, posters and essays to monitor your progress and provide you with regular feedback. A minimum of 25% of each year’s grade is generated from coursework. Your research project will contribute 50% towards your final year grade and will be appraised by a combination of assessments which may include a dissertation, presentation and viva. The final degree classification is determined by Year One (5%), Year Two (20%), Year Three (30%) and Year Four (45%).
Our programmes offer a range of options to work and/or study abroad for three, six or 12 months, for example at a pharmaceutical company or at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia.
Students in Chemistry are also supported through our Department of Student Opportunity to gain experience during vacation periods in other industry sectors including teaching, finance, data science, law, consultancy, marketing and IT/technology. We also have an Undergraduate Research Support Scheme which allows undergraduate students to work on an academic research project in Chemistry or another department during the summer vacation.
Three to six month industrial or academic placements may be taken in industry between April and September in Year Three. Should you choose this option there will be the usual lectures, tutorials and workshops at Warwick during the first two terms, and you will sit your exams in March. The placement replaces the laboratory classes that the students at Warwick take during the summer term. Funding support is available either via the Erasmus scheme (for European placements) or from the department (for overseas placements, for which ERASMUS funding is not available). During the placement, you must complete a 5000-word report which is submitted at the beginning of Year Four. A poster based on your project work should also be produced; a poster presentation session will be held during the first term of Year Four. The supervisor at the host university or industry will write a report assessing you on your attendance, enthusiasm and commitment. These three components make up the final grade for the placement, worth around 25% of the year, which counts towards the final degree result. The words ’with Professional Experience’ are added to the degree title.
12 month industrial placement with integrated distance learning (via transfer to MChem with Industrial Placement) replaces Year Three of study and aims to provide students in developing a range of interactive skills, as well as gaining professional experience in an industrial environment. The actual day-to-day running of the placement will be defined by the industrial supervisor but will be designed to be of maximum benefit to both you and the company, ensuring that your professional development will encompass as wide a variety of experience as possible in the context of the placement. During the placement, you will follow three modules studied by distance learning. You must also complete project work that is assessed by a written literature review, and an oral presentation about your project, followed by an interview during the first term of Year Four. The industrial supervisor will write a report assessing the your on your attendance, enthusiasm and commitment. These components make up the final grade for the placement, worth 75% of the year, which count towards the final degree result. The words ‘with Industrial Training’ are added to the degree title.
It is also possible to carry out a 12 month industrial 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. Placement opportunities are available as advertised by UK/worldwide industry. Industrial placements in Europe qualify for ERASMUS support. These options are assessed and therefore will contribute as a formal part of your degree.
General entry requirements
- AAA to include Chemistry and one of the following: Mathematics, Further Mathematics, Physics, Biology, Geology, Statistics or Computer Science
- You must also achieve a pass in the science practical assessment (if applicable).
- 38 to include 6 in Higher Level Chemistry and 5 in a second science subject at Higher Level (either Biology, Physics, Mathematics ‘Analysis and Approaches’, Mathematics ‘Applications and Interpretation’, or Computer Science)
- We welcome applications from students taking BTECs alongside A level Chemistry
We welcome applications from students with other internationally recognised qualifications.
Contextual data and differential offers
Warwick may make differential offers to students in a number of circumstances. These include students participating in the Realising Opportunities programme, or who meet two of the contextual data criteria. Differential offers will be one or two grades below Warwick’s standard offer (to a minimum of BBB).
Warwick International Foundation Programme (IFP)
All students who successfully complete the Warwick IFP and apply to Warwick through UCAS will receive a guaranteed conditional offer for a related undergraduate programme (selected courses only).
Taking a gap year
Applications for deferred entry welcomed.
We do not typically interview applicants. Offers are made based on your UCAS form which includes predicted and actual grades, your personal statement and school reference.
Introduction to Inorganic Chemistry
You will begin your studies by gaining a solid understanding of chemical bonding and interatomic interactions, and how they determine the structure and reactivity of inorganic compounds. You will later apply your understanding to the chemistry of transition metal complexes, Bronsted and Lewis acidity, and the redox properties of main group compounds. You will examine fundamental aspects of crystal field theory, and develop your practical skills in using the models studied in light of their industrial applications and use in materials science.
Introduction to Organic Chemistry
You will start this foundation module by acquiring a sure grasp of the structures, properties and reactions of organic molecules. You will expand your knowledge of different types of compounds, discover methods for creating molecules, and be able to describe bonding in organic compounds to predict the reactivity of molecules. You will apply your understanding to the synthesis and chemistry of key functional groups and to the structure, properties and reactivities of biologically important molecules and organic macromolecules.
Introduction to Physical Chemistry
You will develop your understanding of core concepts in physical chemistry: quantum mechanics, kinetics, thermodynamics and spectroscopy. You will learn how the laws of quantum mechanics can be used to predict the properties of atoms and molecules, how the kinetic rate laws of multistep chemical processes emerge from elementary reaction steps, how thermodynamics can be used to predict the properties of gases, and how light interacts with matter.
Practical and Professional Chemistry Skills I
You can study the theory of chemistry, but the laboratory is where science comes alive. You will put your chemistry knowledge to work with experiments that familiarise you with scientific instrumentation and data collection, and conduct analyses using databases and software. Later, you will use these techniques to create compounds, investigate concepts and prove theories. You will also have opportunities to combine established techniques, equipping you with the understanding and practical competence needed to develop your own research methods and problem-solving techniques.
Practical and Professional Chemistry Skills II
In this module, you will experience more hands-on investigation, synthesis and analysis as the skills you have developed allow you to conduct more complicated multistep syntheses, learn advanced techniques and take more control and ownership of your work. By the end, you will be able to plan experiments, set up and monitor instrumentation and record your results, and characterise and assess reactions using spectroscopy alongside other sophisticated techniques. You will also learn to process and present your results in statistical, graphical and written form.
Selective Organic Synthesis
Having already developed a foundation understanding of organic chemistry you will now broaden your knowledge of the range of synthetic routes available to design molecules. You will examine a variety of methods for forming different bond types and functional groups and consider the factors influencing the choice of reagents and reaction conditions. You will use your knowledge to form your own strategies to design organic synthesis routes to target molecules.
Mechanistic and Biological Chemistry
In this module you will look at the features of organic molecules that affect the reactions that they can undergo. You will develop the ability to use structures and information about rates to predict reactions and identify the mechanisms of organic reactions. You will use your knowledge of the structures and reactivity of small molecules and apply these to the Chemistry of carbohydrates, proteins and enzymes. During the module you will also gain an understanding of the drug discovery process.
Transition Metal Chemistry
You will develop a formal understanding of bonding in transition metal complexes, as a platform for understanding the reactivity and spectroscopy of such complexes, and acquire a systematic knowledge of organometallic chemistry through exploring some of the conceptual links between organic and inorganic. You will be able to analyse the successes and limitations of different methods and demonstrate your understanding of the eighteen electron rule and its exceptions.
Materials and Polymers
Materials and Polymers are used in all applications from functional to structural applications. They turn molecules into useful devices and items, or are extended arrays of connected atoms that have unique properties as solids. This module will give you an understanding of how materials can be made and how they can be characterised. This will let you appreciate how materials can be designed for use in energy, healthcare, electronics, personal care and other applications.
Electrons in Molecules and Solids
You will develop in-depth knowledge of symmetry and group theory and its role in molecular structure and bonding, and interpretation of electronic and vibrational spectra. You will develop an understanding of how photo-excited molecules undergo relaxation through radiative and non-radiative decay processes. You will be introduced to the fundamental concepts of solid state chemistry that relates to crystal structure, chemical bonding in solids and the electronic properties of solids. This will enable you to determine how quantum and statistical mechanics applied to solid materials can be used to derive various condensed matter properties, including electrical conduction and opto-electronic characteristics.
Statistical Mechanics and Electrochemistry
In this module you will study and then bring together concepts from electrochemistry and statistical mechanics. You will be able to make connections between these two fields, thus unravelling why things in chemistry are the way they are - with important reverberations across biochemistry (e.g. nerve signalling, vision) and materials science (e.g. design of novel materials, such as nanowires and nanoparticles). You will be able to apply the theoretical foundations of the physical chemistry to systems of practical relevance such as ionic species in aqueous solutions (think table salt dissolved in water!).
Advanced Organic Chemistry and Laboratory
You will gain the necessary advanced knowledge to allow you to understand and apply empirical rules and models related to the reactions of organic molecules, complex pericyclic reactions, intramolecular cyclisation processes, rearrangement reactions of reactive intermediates, and reactions creating new stereogenic centres by either substrate, reagent or catalyst control.
Advanced Inorganic Chemistry and Laboratory
This advanced module will provide the background required to understand the issues affecting industrial catalytic reactions. You will study the application of organometallic chemistry and physical chemistry (particularly kinetics), drawing together aspects of this work developed in year 2 and extending your understanding to the types of reactions and catalysis used widely in chemical industries, such as those concerned with petrochemicals, polymers, fine chemicals and pharmaceuticals.
Advanced Physical Chemistry and Laboratory
You will be given an introduction to two advanced topics in physical chemistry: interfacial chemistry and molecular modelling. You will study a range of surface and interfacial processes, including both solid and liquid interfaces, and learn about advanced experimental methods for characterising them. You will learn the basic concepts in molecular dynamics simulations, including periodic boundaries, integration algorithms and thermodynamic ensembles. A significant aspect of this module is to demonstrate the importance of surface processes in chemistry and the borders of chemical engineering, biomedical science, materials science and physics. As well as standard lectures, these aims will be supported by experimental laboratory sessions which have an emphasis on designing and implementing experiments.
Advanced Analytical Chemistry
You will focus on the theoretical and practical aspects of instrumental analytical techniques, including data generation, acquisition, interpretation, instrumentation and state-of-the-art applications. You will consider the specific techniques of chromatography, mass spectrometry and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy in both lecture and workshop environments. As part of your studies, you will learn to test hypotheses, use databases and software independently, analyse your findings and improve your ability to communicate these in written form.
Through the presentation of case studies by major pharmaceutical companies, you will learn to understand and articulate current advances in drug design, development and discovery, including the techniques used to support each of these. You will gain important transferable skills, including effective teamwork and the presentation of a topic related to drug discovery in oral and written form.
You will build on your previous practical chemistry work by choosing two further optional practical modules. Your studies will see you using a range of resources to design synthetic and measurement experiments, and performing advanced synthetic techniques such as column chromatography, manipulation of air-sensitive compounds and emulsion polymerisation. You will complete this module with a poster presentation on a piece of published research work.
Advanced Medicinal and Biological Chemistry
You will deepen your understanding of current research in medicinal chemistry, and develop your ability to evaluate published literature, using your knowledge of organic, mechanistic and medicinal chemistry. You will be encouraged to be original in applying your knowledge to the solution of research problems. You will learn to communicate your findings in discussion, presentation and writing, and have substantial opportunities to work independently on a specific research topic, such as molecular mechanisms of action, of drugs targeting ribosomal machinery, cholesterol biosynthesis, or the principles and methods of drug discovery.
Research Project and Methodology
You will carry out an extended research project under the supervision of an academic in an area reflecting your interests. You will become competent in original research practice, including evaluating literature, designing practical or computational experiments, analysing and assessing your results and drawing conclusions to set against the current field. You will learn to present your findings in discussion and debate, and to complete report-writing to a high standard.
Examples of Year Three/Four optional modules/options for current students:
- Extended Lab
- Molecular Structure and Dynamics
- Bioorganic Chemistry
- Polymer and Colloid Science
- Advanced Coordination and Bio-Inorganic Chemistry
- Secondary School Teaching
- Innovation 101
Additional course costs
There may be costs associated with other items or services such as academic texts, course notes, and trips associated with your course. Students who choose to complete a work placement or study abroad will pay reduced tuition fees for their third year.
We believe there should be no barrier to talent. That's why we are committed to offering a scholarship that makes it easier for gifted, ambitious international learners to pursue their academic interests at one of the UK's most prestigious universities. This new scheme will offer international fee-paying students 250 tuition fee discounts ranging from full fees to awards of £13,000 to £2,000 for the full duration of your Undergraduate degree course.
Graduates from these courses have gone on to work for employers including:
- Ovo Energy
- Public Health England
- Royal Society of Chemistry
- Vertex Pharmaceuticals
They have pursued roles such as:
- Business and financial project management professionals
- Chemical scientists
- Laboratory technicians
- Management consultants and business analysts
- Sales accounts
- Business development managers
Helping you find the right career
Our department has a dedicated professionally qualified Senior Careers Consultant to support you. They offer impartial advice and guidance, together with workshops and events throughout the year. Previous examples of workshops and events include:
- Careers in Science
- Career Options with Chemistry
- Warwick careers fairs throughout the year
- Graduate Jobs and Further Study Options - Making decisions for Chemistry students
- Finding experience to boost your CV for Chemistry students
- Synthesise Your Career Year One Employability Module
- SME Careers Events – e.g. British Coatings Federation Careers Evening
- Career Options with Chemistry Presentation and Networking Evening
"What I enjoy the most about studying Chemistry is that it's the perfect balance between theory and hands-on practice. You can really get to see how what you’ve learnt about in lectures translates in the labs. Lecturers also tend to give more and more examples based on what’s being done in the industry so you can grasp how those concepts affect the world around you and it gives an idea of what you could be doing later on in life.
I think that the department of Chemistry is one of the best-run, most efficient and supportive departments at Warwick. If you have any administrative question the undergraduate office can always provide answers and if you’re struggling with the material the lecturers are always helpful. They're all ready to help you out after a lecture, in tutorials, via email, or if you stop by their office.
The best advice I can give to other students is to go and talk to your lecturers because you'll always end up getting more out of the material.”
Maëlys | MChem Chemistry with Medicinal Chemistry with International Placement graduate
This information is applicable for 2021 entry. Given the interval between the publication of courses and enrolment, some of the information may change. It is important to check our website before you apply. Please read our terms and conditions to find out more.