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Durham University

UCAS Code: F105 | Master of Chemistry (with Honours) - MChem (H)

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About this course

Course option


Full-time | 2024



The chemistry department at Durham is one of the leading departments in the UK and within the Top 100 across the world. When you choose to study for a MChem degree you will join a dynamic and focused learning community that is home to multiple research institutes, a range of first-class facilities and experts with close links to industry. Current developments in both research and industry are used to bring theoretical learning to life.

Chemistry degrees at Durham offer a high level of flexibility. The MChem contains the same core curriculum in Years 1 and 2 as our other chemistry degrees and you can switch to one of the other degrees up to the end of the second year.

You will build strong foundations in inorganic, organic and physical chemistry and learn practical skills in our modern teaching laboratories. In your third year, you will continue to learn the core aspects of modern chemistry, and start to focus on the concepts and skills required in research. Your final year is built around a research project embedded within a research group.

You will learn how chemistry is the central science with learning interfaces with biosciences, earth sciences, engineering, physics and astronomy. You will be exposed to cutting-edge analytical techniques and learn how they can be used to assist research and tackle global issues. Graduates are ready to either move straight into employment in a wide range of industries or advance into further studies and scientific research.


Year 1
Core modules:
Core Chemistry 1 provides the foundation for your future studies and covers organic, inorganic and physical chemistry.

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 you understand the vocabulary of physics and biology that interfaces with chemistry.

Introduction to Materials Chemistry introduces the fundamentals of solid state and materials chemistry.

Finally, you will choose some optional modules allowing you to tailor your learning in subjects such as mathematics, biology, languages 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 or 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.

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.
Year 4
Core modules:
Core Chemistry provides an advanced overview of more specialised areas of chemistry and chemical physics.

Chemistry Research Project into which you will impart your experimental, analytical, theoretical and problem-solving skills through a capstone project including laboratory or computational work, or both, and the writing of a research report with the potential for publication.

You will also choose one module in preparation for your research project:

Advanced Research Concepts in Chemistry
Advanced Computational Chemical Physics
You may be able to take a work placement. Find out more.

The Uni

Course locations:

College allocation pending

Durham City



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What students say

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How do students rate their degree experience?

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Teaching and learning

Staff make the subject interesting
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Ideas and concepts are explored in-depth
Opportunities to apply what I've learned

Assessment and feedback

Feedback on work has been timely
Feedback on work has been helpful
Staff are contactable when needed
Good advice available when making study choices

Resources and organisation

Library resources
IT resources
Course specific equipment and facilities
Course is well organised and has run smoothly

Student voice

Staff value students' opinions
Feel part of a community on my course

Who studies this subject and how do they get on?

UK students
International students
Male students
Female students
2:1 or above
First year drop out rate

Most popular A-Levels studied (and grade achieved)


After graduation

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What are graduates doing after six months?

This is what graduates told us they were doing (and earning), shortly after completing their course. We've crunched the numbers to show you if these immediate prospects are high, medium or low, compared to those studying this subject/s at other universities.

Average annual salary
Employed or in further education
Employed in a role where degree was essential or beneficial

Top job areas of graduates

Business, research and administrative professionals
Natural and social science professionals
Business, finance and related associate professionals

Chemistry graduates are in demand from a wide range of industries, from the food, oil, chemicals and pharmaceuticals to consultancy, technical analysis and teaching. They're also prized by business and finance employers for their research and data handling skills — anywhere there is research and data to be explained, you can find chemistry grads. If you want a career in research, you need a doctorate, so start planning now if you fancy one of these exciting and challenging jobs - but good students can usually get grants to take a doctorate, so don't worry about the financing if you think you have what it takes. The recession wasn’t too kind to chemists, particularly in the pharmaceutical industry (one of the key employers for chemists), but things are getting back to normal for this flexible group and it's one of the few degrees that is bucking the current trend and increasing graduate numbers.

What about your long term prospects?

Looking further ahead, below is a rough guide for what graduates went on to earn.


The graph shows median earnings of graduates who achieved a degree in this subject area one, three and five years after graduating from here.







Note: this data only looks at employees (and not those who are self-employed or also studying) and covers a broad sample of graduates and the various paths they've taken, which might not always be a direct result of their degree.

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This is the percentage of final-year students at this university who were "definitely" or "mostly" satisfied with their course. We've analysed this figure against other universities so you can see whether this is high, medium or low.

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You can use this to get an idea of who you might share a lecture with and how they progressed in this subject, here. It's also worth comparing typical A-level subjects and grades students achieved with the current course entry requirements; similarities or differences here could indicate how flexible (or not) a university might be.

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Post-six month graduation stats:

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It offers a snapshot of what grads went on to do six months later, what they were earning on average, and whether they felt their degree helped them obtain a 'graduate role'. We calculate a mean rating to indicate if this is high, medium or low compared to other universities.

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Graduate field commentary:

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The Longitudinal Educational Outcomes dataset combines HRMC earnings data with student records from the Higher Education Statistics Agency.

While there are lots of factors at play when it comes to your future earnings, use this as a rough timeline of what graduates in this subject area were earning on average one, three and five years later. Can you see a steady increase in salary, or did grads need some experience under their belt before seeing a nice bump up in their pay packet?

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