Masters degrees in Structural Chemistry equip postgraduates with the skills to analyse and determine the function and structure of chemicals and chemical compounds.
Courses range from taught MSc degrees, to research-based MRes and MPhil programmes. Entry requirements normally include an appropriate undergraduate degree such as Chemistry or Chemical Engineering.
You will specialise in the analysis and arrangement of atoms within various organic and synthetic molecules, and the chemical bonds which hold atoms together. Practical training is offered in molecular modelling theory and techniques, such as writing structural formulae. Other training includes electromagnetic analysis (spectroscopy) and chemometrics (measuring chemical data).
In understanding the structure of various molecules within chemicals, Structural Chemists are involved with wide-ranging research which aids the day-to-day needs of human life. From assessing the efficiency of pesticides, to developing the latest drugs to cure disease, the possibilities of applying these technical skills are far-reaching.
Traditional roles include frontline development of new synthetic and chemically modified organic bonds. This includes lab work, chemical engineering and product design and manufacture. Your expertise would also make you suitable for legislative positions and consultancy in a range of industries.
Pursuing a research degree at the School of Chemistry could be one of the best experiences of your life.
In addition to gaining research skills, making friends, meeting eminent researchers and being part of the research community, a research degree will help you to develop invaluable transferable skills which you can apply to academic life or a variety of professions outside of academia.
The Chemistry/Biology Interface
This is a broad area, with particular strengths in the areas of protein structure and function, mechanistic enzymology, proteomics, peptide and protein synthesis, protein folding, recombinant and synthetic DNA methodology, biologically targeted synthesis and the application of high throughput and combinatorial approaches. We also focus on biophysical chemistry, the development and application of physicochemical techniques to biological systems. This includes mass spectrometry, advanced spectroscopy and microscopy, as applied to proteins, enzymes, DNA, membranes and biosensors.
Experimental & Theoretical Chemical Physics
This is the fundamental study of molecular properties and processes. Areas of expertise include probing molecular structure in the gas phase, clusters and nanoparticles, the development and application of physicochemical techniques such as mass spectoscropy to molecular systems and the EaStCHEM surface science group, who study complex molecules on surfaces, probing the structure property-relationships employed in heterogeneous catalysis. A major feature is in Silico Scotland, a world-class research computing facility.
This research area encompasses the synthesis and characterisation of organic and inorganic compounds, including those with application in homogeneous catalysis, nanotechnology, coordination chemistry, ligand design and supramolecular chemistry, asymmetric catalysis, heterocyclic chemistry and the development of synthetic methods and strategies leading to the synthesis of biologically important molecules (including drug discovery). The development of innovative synthetic and characterisation methodologies (particularly in structural chemistry) is a key feature, and we specialise in structural chemistry at extremely high pressures.
The EaStCHEM Materials group is one of the largest in the UK. Areas of strength include the design, synthesis and characterisation of functional (for example magnetic, superconducting and electronic) materials; strongly correlated electronic materials, battery and fuel cell materials and devices, porous solids, fundamental and applied electrochemistry polymer microarray technologies and technique development for materials and nanomaterials analysis.
Students attend regular research talks, visiting speaker symposia, an annual residential meeting in the Scottish Highlands, and lecture courses on specialised techniques and safety. Students are encouraged to participate in transferable skills and computing courses, public awareness of science activities, undergraduate teaching and to represent the School at national and international conferences.
Our facilities are among the best in the world, offering an outstanding range of capabilities. You’ll be working in recently refurbished laboratories that meet the highest possible standards, packed with state-of-the-art equipment for both analysis and synthesis.
For NMR in the solution and solid state, we have 10 spectrometers at field strengths from 200-800 MHz; mass spectrometry utilises EI, ESI, APCI, MALDI and FAB instrumentation, including LC and GC interfaces. New combinatorial chemistry laboratories, equipped with a modern fermentation unit, are available. We have excellent facilities for the synthesis and characterisation of bio-molecules, including advanced mass spectrometry and NMR stopped-flow spectrometers, EPR, HPLC, FPLC, AA.
World-class facilities are available for small molecule and macromolecular X-ray diffraction, utilising both single crystal and powder methods. Application of diffraction methods at high pressures is a particular strength, and we enjoy strong links to central facilities for neutron, muon and synchrotron science in the UK and further afield. We are one of the world's leading centres for gas-phase electron diffraction.
Also available are instruments for magnetic and electronic characterisation of materials (SQUID), electron microscopy (SEM, TEM), force-probe microscopy, high-resolution FTRaman and FT-IR, XPS and thermal analysis. We have also recently installed a new 1,000- tonne pressure chamber, to be used for the synthesis of materials at high pressures and temperatures. Fluorescence spectroscopy and microscopy instruments are available within the COSMIC Centre. Dedicated computational infrastructure is available, and we benefit from close links with the Edinburgh Parallel Computing Centre.
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.
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.
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
Intellectual / cognitive skills
Professional practical skills
Key / transferable skills
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:
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.
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.
2-year master's programme provides thorough knowledge and skills in the areas of laboratory and technological measurements, testing and chemical analysis methods, quality systems, metrology and related economic and legal aspects. Studies are carried out in the “Physicum” and “Chemicum” buildings in Tartu – among the top research and education facilities in Northern Europe.