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MSc Chemistry

Course Description

Research degrees may be undertaken in the three main areas of research interest in the Laboratory. The growing number of academic staff are supported in their research by the technical staff and post-doctoral research fellows.

We make every attempt to allocate you to a supervisor directly in your field of interest, consistent with available funding and staff loading. When you apply, please give specific indications of your research interest – including, where appropriate, the member(s) of staff you wish to work with – and whether you are applying for a studentship or propose to be self-funded.

Visit the website https://www.kent.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/18/chemistry

About The School of Physical Sciences

The School offers postgraduate students the opportunity to participate in groundbreaking science in the realms of physics, chemistry, forensics and astronomy. With strong international reputations, our staff provide plausible ideas, well-designed projects, research training and enthusiasm within a stimulating environment. Recent investment in modern laboratory equipment and computational facilities accelerates the research.

The School maintains a focus on progress to ensure each student is able to compete with their peers in their chosen field. We carefully nurture the skills, abilities and motivation of our students which are vital elements in our research activity. We offer higher degree programmes in chemistry and physics (including specialisations in forensics, astronomy and space science) by research. We also offer taught programmes in Forensic Science, studied over one year full-time, and a two-year European-style Master’s in Physics.

Our principal research covers a wide variety of topics within physics, astronomy and chemistry, ranging from specifically theoretical work on surfaces and interfaces, through mainstream experimental condensed matter physics, astrobiology, space science and astrophysics, to applied areas such as biomedical imaging, forensic imaging and space vehicle protection. We scored highly in the most recent Research Assessment Exercise, with 25% of our research ranked as “world-leading” and our Functional Materials Research Group ranked 2nd nationally in the Metallurgy and Materials discipline.

Research areas

- Applied Optics Group (AOG):

Optical sensors
This activity largely covers research into the fundamental properties of guided wave interferometers, and their application in fields ranging from monitoring bridge structures to diagnostic procedures in medicine.

Biomedical imaging/Optical coherence tomography (OCT)
OCT is a relatively new technique which can provide very high-resolution images of tissue, and which has a major application in imaging the human eye. We are investigating different time domain and spectral domain OCT configurations.

The Group is developing systems in collaboration with a variety of different national and international institutions to extend the OCT capabilities from systems dedicated to eye imaging to systems for endoscopy, imaging skin and tooth caries. Distinctively, the OCT systems developed at Kent can provide both transverse and longitudinal images from the tissue, along with a confocal image, useful in associating the easy to interpret en-face view with the more traditional OCT cross section views.

The Group also conducts research on coherence gated wavefront sensors and multiple path interferometry, that extend the hardware technology of OCT to imaging with reduced aberrations and to sensing applications of optical time domain reflectometry.

- Forensic Imaging Group (FIG):

The research of the forensic imaging team is primarily applied, focusing on mathematical and computational techniques and employing a wide variety of image processing and analysis methods for applications in modern forensic science. The Group has attracted approximately £850,000 of research funding in the last five years, from several academic, industrial and commercial organisations in the UK and the US. The Group also collaborates closely with the Forensic Psychology Group of the Open University.

Current active research projects include:

- the development of high-quality, fast facial composite systems based on evolutionary algorithms and statistical models of human facial appearance

- interactive, evolutionary search methods and evolutionary design

- statistically rigorous ageing of photo-quality images of the human face (for tracing and identifying missing persons)

- real and pseudo 3D models for modelling and analysis of the human face

- generating ‘mathematically fair’ virtual line-ups for suspect identification.

- Functional Materials Group (FMG):
The research in FMG is concerned with synthesis and characterisation of functional materials, as exemplified by materials with useful optical, catalytic, or electronic properties, and with an
emerging theme in biomaterials. The Group also uses computer modelling studies to augment
experimental work. The research covers the following main areas:

- Amorphous and nanostructured solids
- Soft functional material
- Theory and modelling of materials

- Centre for Astrophysics and Planetary Science (CAPS):
The group’s research focuses on observational and modelling programmes in star formation, planetary science and early solar system bodies, galactic astronomy and astrobiology. We gain data from the largest telescopes in the world and in space, such as ESO’s Very Large Telescope, the New Technology Telescope, the Spitzer Space Telescope and the Herschel Space Observatory. We also use our in-house facilities which include a two-stage light gas gun for impact studies.

Staff are involved in a wide range of international collaborative research projects. Areas of particular interest include: star formation, extragalactic astronomy, solar system science and instrumentation development.


All programmes in the School of Physical Sciences equip you with the tools you need to conduct research, solve problems, communicate effectively and transfer skills to the workplace, which means our graduates are always in high demand. Our links with industry not only provide you with the opportunity to gain work experience during your degree, but also equip you with the general and specialist skills and knowledge needed to succeed in the workplace.

Typical employment destinations for graduates from the physics programmes include power companies, aerospace, defence, optoelectronics and medical industries. Typical employment destinations for graduates from our forensic science and chemistry programmes include government agencies, consultancies, emergency services, laboratories, research or academia.

Find out how to apply here - https://www.kent.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/apply/

Visit the MSc Chemistry page on the University of Kent website for more details!

Entry Requirements

A first or second class honours degree in Physics or Chemistry. We will also consider applicants with degrees in computer science, electronics, biochemistry or other closely related disciplines.

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