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  • Study Type

    Full time & Part time available

  • Subject Areas


  • Start Date

    September, January

  • Course Duration

    Full Time: 12 months | Part Time: 24 months

  • Course Type

    MSc, PgDip

  • Course Fees


  • Last Updated

    25 March 2019

The MSc Chemical Research programme prepares you for a career in research and development or for a PhD, as you gain specialist and theoretical knowledge in your chosen area of chemistry.

As a graduate from chemistry or a related discipline, you can use this research degree to train in practical and theoretical research within your specialist area of chemistry with guidance from an experienced researcher.

The main component of this course is a one-year research project. In addition to this, you will also take two taught modules in subjects that complement your project. Taught modules take the form of lectures, while you will receive individual supervision on your research project with regular one-to-one meetings with your supervisor.

A major focus of the course will be on practical methods and in developing and perfecting your research methods and skills. To this end, you will receive hands-on training using instrumentation in our state-of-the-art Chemical Anaylysis Facility, which features NRM, X-ray diffraction, mass spectrometry, thermal analysis, electron microscopy and molecular spectroscopy.

Industrial collaboration is one of our key strengths, and our research groups have worked on projects with a number of major organisations. We therefore have strong links with international companies including AstraZeneca, BP, Cytec, DuPont, GlaxoSmithKline, Henkel, Johnson Matthey, Pfizer, Proctor & Gamble, Syngenta and Unilever.

Our research-active members of academic staff are available to supervise MSc research projects in the following areas.

Chemistry for life and the environment

Research addresses major current challenges in the development of new diagnostic and therapeutic materials for healthcare. Specifically, our cutting-edge research is leading to understanding of protein misfolding diseases such as Alzheimer’s, and developing state-of-the-art analytical techniques to identify cancer biomarkers. In another strand of our work, we aim to improve the understanding of key atmospheric processes that substantially impact on climate change, with specialisations in the areas of ozonolysis of volatile organic compounds and aerosol formation.

Materials chemistry

Research spans the broad areas of polymer chemistry, surface chemistry, computational chemistry and solid-state inorganic chemistry. Fields of particular importance include materials for sustainable energy applications, especially ionic polymer membranes for fuel cells and hydrogen production, and thermoelectric inorganic materials for recovering energy from waste heat. The Materials Chemistry Group is prominent in the development of polymers and nanocomposites that can self-heal in response to mechanical damage, and also in the synthesis and structural analysis of inorganic networks that show negative thermal expansion effects.

Molecular chemistry

Emphasis largely centres on the development of new synthetic methodologies for the synthesis of natural products. However, unnatural products with applications ranging from peptide construction technology to ligands for nuclear waste remediation are becoming increasingly common targets. Techniques such as spectroelectrochemistry, photochemical methodology, or applications of ultra-high pressure chemistry, are central to the work of several groups in the section who rely greatly upon the specialist research equipment available within the Chemical Analysis Facility.

Finally, it is possible to choose instead of the MSc programme, the PGDip course.

What will you study?

Mandatory modules

  • MSc chemistry research project
  • Postgraduate chemistry research methods and skills

Optional modules

  • Advanced organic chemistry
  • Advanced topics in physical chemistry
  • Functional inorganic materials
  • Chemistry in industry and professional skills
  • Current topics in chemical research

(Modules from other Schools can also be included by agreement with the other Schools)

Please note that all modules are subject to change. Please see our modules disclaimer for more information.

What career can you have?

You will acquire a number of valuable transferable skills relating to organisation and time management, communication, information handling, numeracy, problem solving and team working. Many of our graduates from this degree course go on to pursue a career in Research and Development.

Visit the Chemical Research MSc page on the University of Reading website for more details!