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Course content

With an increase in the number of undergraduate degrees offering the MChem qualification, our Chemistry MRes allows BSc graduates to become equally competitive by studying for an enhanced qualification that will set them apart throughout their career.

Our MRes qualification is also a convenient entry point into the UK academic system for overseas students, and many of our MRes graduates go on to successfully complete a PhD.

Our academics are at the forefront of their field, having recently discovered a method for the rapid detection of drugs from a fingerprint; and a naturally sourced, environmentally safe chemical for the treatment of an important agricultural pathogen.

Programme structure

This programme is studied full-time over one academic year. It consists of three taught modules and a research project, which contributes 75 per cent of the final credits to the degree and includes the laboratory based research, library work, COSHH, record keeping and writing the dissertation.

We would normally expect the laboratory based part of the project to be, on average, two to three full days per week during the teaching semesters and five days per week during non-teaching times (for example, over the Christmas, Easter and summer breaks).

Example module listing

The following modules are indicative, reflecting the information available at the time of publication. Please note that not all modules described are compulsory and may be subject to teaching availability and/or student demand.

Educational aims of the programme

  • The aim of the MRes is training in the more laboratory-based aspects of chemical research
  • The objectives and learning outcomes/skills are that the student will be able to: assess, plan, carry out, analyse, interpret and disseminate (all with appropriate training and supervision) a significant piece of chemistry research to an extent that results in a satisfactory assessment of a dissertation and viva
  • In addition, competence in related (non-laboratory based) aspects of research training will be assessed via examination (formal exam and/or coursework) of lecture/workshop-based modules
  • A knowledge of discipline-related aspects of professional training including data analysis, literature searching and reporting and presentation techniques

Programme learning outcomes

The programme provides opportunities for students to develop and demonstrate knowledge and understanding, skills, qualities and other attributes in the following areas:

Knowledge and understanding

  • Knowledge and understanding of the scientific method
  • Knowledge and understanding of research ethos and strategy
  • Knowledge and understanding of advanced communication skills
  • Knowledge and understanding of reporting of technical concepts
  • Knowledge and understanding of critical analysis
  • Knowledge and understanding of advanced aspects of chemistry including subjects at the frontiers of the discipline
  • Knowledge and understanding of advanced principles in a research led area of chemistry
  • Knowledge and understanding of Health and Safety legislation
  • Knowledge and understanding of statistics for data analysis
  • Knowledge and understanding of the principles of experimental design

Intellectual / cognitive skills

  • The ability to plan and carry out an advance research project
  • The ability to analyse and solve problems of technical nature under consideration of various constraints
  • The ability to make effective and efficient decisions in an environment of conflicting interests
  • The ability to think strategically
  • The ability to synthesise and critically evaluate the work of others
  • The ability to apply fundamental knowledge to investigate new and emerging technologies
  • The ability to self-reflect to improve behaviour

Professional practical skills

  • Assessment of the research literature
  • Risk assess experiments / procedures
  • Design and set up experiments using the most appropriate methods
  • Carry out laboratory work safely
  • Deal safely with unexpected events / results
  • Apply prior knowledge to new situations

Key / transferable skills

  • Planning
  • Organisation
  • Independent working
  • Apply prior knowledge to unfamiliar problem
  • Using initiative
  • Time-management
  • Personal development planning
  • Use of word processor, spreadsheet, presentation, graphical software packages
  • Management of data
  • Effective literature / patent searching


The Chemistry programme is run within the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences and the cross-faculty Surrey Materials Institute (SMI). Staff in the Department of Chemistry have expertise which includes all aspects of chemistry:

  • Inorganic
  • Medicinal
  • Physical
  • Physical organic
  • Materials
  • Polymers
  • Nanotechnology
  • Analytical

You will receive a thorough education in advanced aspects of chemistry, but also undertake independent research via a project, guided by a dedicated and experienced supervisor.

Projects are available across a range of topics in chemistry, and may extend into areas of biology, forensics or materials science. Past MRes students have continued to further (PhD) education and to posts in research in industry.

Global opportunities

We often give our students the opportunity to acquire international experience during their degrees by taking advantage of our exchange agreements with overseas universities.

In addition to the hugely enjoyable and satisfying experience, time spent abroad adds a distinctive element to your CV.

Visit the Chemistry MRes page on the University of Surrey website for more details!






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