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On this course, you’ll develop the knowledge and skills you need for a career in a range of industries, including cosmetics, biomaterials, surface coatings and graphic arts. As well as learning crucial research techniques, you’ll become proficient in the theory, application and analysis of polymers, fine chemicals and colorants.

You’ll be introduced to a breadth of practical research and high-level academic skills in planning, experimentation and processes in synthesis and characterisation aspects. Optional modules will give you the chance to build up specialist knowledge in areas that align with your interests and career aspirations.

Alongside this, you’ll develop a range of key skills in problem solving, information technology and communication. On graduation, you’ll be prepared to either pursue a career in your chosen industry, or to continue your research as an academic.

This programme is highly valued by the industrial partners who contribute to the course, including the Clothworkers Company and British Coatings Federation (BCF). Tom Bowtell, CEO of the BCF, said:

"One of our key aims is to ensure that the British coatings industry remains competitive in world markets. To do this, it must continue to employ staff of the highest calibre, with the right technical skills required to continually innovate. The one-year MSc Polymers, Colorants and Fine Chemicals degree course offered by the University of Leeds provides exactly the right blend of skills that the industry needs.

"The course is unique in equipping students with advanced specialist knowledge in colour and polymer science, alongside practical planning, problem-solving and research and development skills, in a department world renowned for its research in coatings technology. It is an invaluable resource, providing the high levels of training valued by our members.”

Course content

Throughout the programme, you’ll study modules covering concepts, information and techniques related to polymers, colorants and fine chemicals. You’ll also be introduced to topics from the research frontier, such as synthesis, formulation and application of advanced polymers, colorants, cosmetics, inks and coatings, fine chemicals and pharmaceuticals.

The focal point of the course is your extended research project, which accounts for 50% of your final degree. Your supervisor will help you to select a project that is right for you, in an area that interests and motivates you.

This is your chance to pursue a topic that interests you and make your own contribution to science. The project will equip you with the independent research and critical thinking skills that you will draw on throughout your future career.

Some research projects will be closely linked with our partners in industry, helping you to make new connections and develop industrial experience that will benefit your employment prospects on graduation.

Learning and teaching

Teaching methods involve a combination of lectures, tutorials, case studies, workshops and contact with relevant industries. The final stage of study is an individual extended research project which is typically carried out within a research group and may also include external industrial involvement.


Assessment is based on course work, research project performance and written exams which take place at the end of the semester in which the module is taught.

Career opportunities

There is a range of employment opportunities in areas such as fine chemicals manufacture (eg colorants, cosmetics, food additives, healthcare products etc.), polymers and polymeric additives (eg high performance plastics, biopolymers, medical implants, drugs), colour applications (eg textile dyeing and printing, inks and coatings), with companies such as:

  • Unilever
  • Proter & Gambke
  • GlaxoSmithKline
  • Clariant
  • Archroma
  • Huntsman
  • L’Oreal
  • Abbott Laboratory
  • AkzoNobel
  • Sun Chemical
  • BASF

There are also opportunities to continue on to PhD study with many projects supported by industrial partners.

Visit the Polymers, Colorants and Fine Chemicals MSc page on the University of Leeds website for more details!





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