Course options

Make sure you check on the university, college or conservatoire website for any updates about course changes as a result of COVID-19.

Course summary

This is a four-year MChem degree accredited by the Royal Society of Chemistry. You will spend the first three years developing an understanding of a broad range of modern chemistry covering organic and inorganic synthesis, physical characterisation methods, and chemistry at the interfaces with biosciences, engineering and physics. You will also gain a broad range of practical skills in synthesis, physical measurement and data analysis. In your final year you will carry out an individual research project at one of our overseas partner universities addressing a novel area of contemporary chemistry, whilst following some chemistry at the research forefront. Throughout the degree you will develop your chemical understanding, problem-solving, independence and practical skills. Graduates of this course are well-prepared for higher level study, work in the chemicals sector, and roles requiring problem-solving and numeracy skills. Chemistry is a linear, quantitative subject containing a significant volume of factual material. It is an experimental science where practical work, and development of practical skills, is important. This four-year course is delivered through a mixture of “Core” and “add-on” modules using lectures, tutorials, problem classes and laboratory practical work, culminating in a major research project in the fourth year conducted on placement at a research laboratory outside the UK, normally at a university that we have an exchange scheme in place. For the first three years of the course, you are expected to spend a minimum of one subsequent hour per hour of lecture contact on private study, reading and problem-solving using textbooks and other resources. Additional private study is directed at preparing for tutorials, workshops, writing reports of laboratory work and revision for examinations. In the four compulsory modules you will attend seven hours of lectures, two hours of tutorials or problem classes and six hours of laboratory work each week. Additionally, a third of the year’s credits are from elective modules which involve between two and six hours of lectures and laboratories each week. On this course at least half of the elective modules are in the study of an appropriate foreign language. Individual learning forms an important part of academic study. In the second and third years, you will typically attend 12 hours of lectures or workshops per week and 10 hours of laboratory work. The laboratory work in the course moves from a defined set of practical's in the first year towards a more open-ended course, providing choice and some element of project work in Year 3. The major element of the fourth year is an independent individual research project, carrying out novel chemistry research embedded within a research group in an overseas university, normally one that we have an exchange agreement with. Research is carried out under the supervision of a member of academic staff of that overseas university, and a member of Durham staff will maintain regular contact with you. You will typically work for 20 to 30 hours per week for at least 19 weeks and prepare a project report describing your findings which is assessed by Durham staff. The assessment also includes a poster and an oral presentation, training is provided in these skills. In addition, you will study for a sixth of your final year credits in a module of distance learning which is based on one of the lecture modules delivered in Durham and supported through our virtual learning environment. The independent learning skills you developed at earlier levels are enhanced by this mode of study.


Year 1 Core modules: Core Chemistry 1 provides the foundation for your future studies and covers organic, inorganic and physical chemistry. The aim is to ensure all course participants reach a common level of knowledge regardless of their pre-university studies. Practical Chemistry A and Practical Chemistry B are two modules of laboratory work. These will allow you to learn and practise the skills required to accurately and safely use chemical reactions to create target substances and concludes with project work. The Mathematical and Experimental Tools Required in Chemistry (METRiC) module builds on your pre-university mathematical skills and ensures that all students understand the vocabulary of physics and biology that interfaces with chemistry. Introduction to Materials Chemistry introduces the fundamentals of solid state and materials chemistry. An appropriate language module in preparation for your overseas placement. Finally, you will choose an optional module allowing you to tailor your learning in subjects such as mathematics, biology or the chemistry module Molecules in Action. Year 2 Core modules: Core Chemistry builds your knowledge of inorganic, physical and organic chemistry into more specialised concepts. Chemistry of the Elements focuses the principles of bonding as well as the unique chemistry of the transition metals. Structure and Reactivity of Organic Chemistry explores how the structure of molecules affects reactions. Properties of Molecules advances your understanding of physical chemistry in the areas of magnetic resonance, surface chemistry and electrochemistry. Practical Chemistry becomes more intensive with three modules, one each for Inorganic, Organic and Physical. Once again, you can personalise your studies with one optional module, including Biological Chemistry, Computational Chemistry. Year 3 Core modules: Core Chemistry takes your knowledge up to degree standard. You will also produce a research-led Chemistry Literature Perspective which will demonstrate your attained skills of literature review, data collection and critical analysis as well as literacy and presentation skills. The remainder of the course can be personalised as you can choose modules from the following sets. Examples of optional modules: Inorganic Concepts and Applications Advanced Organic Chemistry Molecules and their Interactions Materials Chemistry Advanced Computational Chemistry Computational Chemistry Advanced Biological Chemistry An appropriate language module. Year 4 Core modules: Core Chemistry D provides an advanced overview of more specialised areas of chemistry and chemical physics. This module is delivered by distance learning. The External Research Project is undertaken at an overseas university into which you will impart your experimental, analytical, theoretical and problem-solving skills through a project including laboratory or computational work, or both, and the writing of a research report. Placement You may be able to take a work placement. Find out more.

How to apply

Application codes

Course code:
Institution code:
Campus name:
Durham City
Campus code:

Points of entry

The following entry points are available for this course:

  • Year 1

Entry requirements

Qualification requirements

Our contextual offer for this programme is A level AAB (or equivalent) which includes Mathematics and Chemistry both at grade A and a grade B (or equivalent) in another subject. To find out if you’re eligible, please visit:

Please click the following link to find out more about qualification requirements for this course

English language requirements

Durham University welcomes applications from all students irrespective of background. We encourage the recruitment of academically well-qualified and highly motivated students, who are non-native speakers of English, whose full potential can be realised with a limited amount of English Language training either prior to entry or through pre-sessional and/or in-sessional courses. It is the normal expectation that candidates for admission should be able to demonstrate satisfactory English proficiency before the start of a programme of study, whether via the submission of an appropriate English language qualification or by attendance on an appropriate pre-sessional course. Acceptable evidence and levels required can be viewed by following the link provided.

English language requirements

Unistats information

Operated by the Office for Students
No data
Student satisfaction
Employment after 15 months (Most common jobs)
Go onto work and study

The student satisfaction data is from students surveyed during the Covid-19 pandemic. The number of student respondents and response rates can be important in interpreting the data – it is important to note your experience may be different from theirs. This data will be based on the subject area rather than the specific course. Read more about this data on the Discover Uni website.

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

Republic of Ireland £9250 Year 1
Channel Islands £9250 Year 1
EU £30500 Year 1
England £9250 Year 1
Northern Ireland £9250 Year 1
Scotland £9250 Year 1
Wales £9250 Year 1
International £30500 Year 1

Additional fee information

There may also be additional course costs for things like books (if you want to purchase them), field trips etc.
Chemistry (International) at Durham University - UCAS