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MRes Chemistry

Course Description

Our international reputation for research excellence marks us out as a leader in the field of chemistry, and recent investments in staff and state-of-the-art laboratories reflect the University's commitment to this most fundamental of disciplines.


You will have access to our main Chemistry Research Laboratory which has undergone a ~£2 million refurbishment and also benefit from our suite of state-of-the-art instruments including ICP-MS, NMR spectrometers, Raman microscopes, powder XRD, LC-MS and GC-MS.


Our Chemistry MRes is for you if you hold a first degree in Chemistry (or a related discipline) and wish to undergo further training in the aspects of the subject that interest you most, with the prospect of enrolling on a PhD programme or enhancing your future career within industry.

With an increase in the number of undergraduate degrees offering the MChem qualification, our Chemistry MRes allows BSc graduates to study for an enhanced qualification with a view to better employment prospects. Our MRes qualification is also a convenient entry point into the UK academic system for overseas students. Many of our MRes graduates go on to successfully complete a PhD either at Surrey or another university.

Our academics are at the forefront of their field, having recently discovered the power of amino acids to fight strokes (http://www.surrey.ac.uk/features/researchers-identify-amino-acids-power-combat-strokes-and-heart-failure), and a new method for calculating the thermal breakdown temperature of nanocomposites (http://www.surrey.ac.uk/features/nanocomposites-breakthrough-paves-way-more-efficient-industrial-design).

Why not discover more about our MRes Chemistry in our video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fkgKs1JmctY#t=53), and read about the experiences of past students who studied the subject (http://www.surrey.ac.uk/features/my-surrey-experience-%E2%80%93-zhanet-zaharieva-mres-chemistry)?

Module overview

Our Chemistry MRes is heavily research-based, with 75 per cent of the 180 total credits for the degree gained during an Extended Research Project. The remaining 25 per cent of credits are collected through a taught component (three taught modules, each around 30-45 contact hours and 105-120 self-study hours).

Compulsory modules -

Management, Communication and IT Skills:

This module introduces students to scientific report writing, giving oral presentations, using online databases of scientific publications and maintaining a reference database, advanced data analysis, scientific ethics, searching for and writing patents, project management, and the importance of maintaining a professional development portfolio. This module, one of the contributing factors to making Surrey number one in the UK for graduate employment, is compulsory for all postgraduate students on taught master’s programmes in the Department of Chemistry.

Extended Research Project:

Normally, the Research Project is expected to occupy the time when students are not at lectures or studying for the taught modules. It is carried out within the Department’s research laboratories. In certain cases, it may be possible to carry out the project work at other locations.

Project themes will be offered by academic members of staff to align with their research interests. Under exceptional circumstances project topics may be suggested by the student. The projects will cover a wide range of topics in Chemistry and will be allocated, according to student preference, during the first week of the programme.

Non-EU students on the MRes programme must arrange their project well in advance of their arrival in the UK, so that an ATAS statement can be arranged in a timely manner to avoid delays in obtaining UK entry clearance.

Advanced Research Projects are offered in the following subject areas:

- Advanced inorganic materials
- Computational chemistry
- Nanoscience
- Catalysis and surface chemistry
- Synthetic organic chemistry
- Fuel cells and energy materials
- Advanced forensic techniques

Optional modules (choose two) -

Advanced Topics in Physical Chemistry:

This module includes topics such as: applied kinetics; green chemistry; advanced catalysts; molecular interactions; advanced statistical mechanics; electrochemistry; atomic spectroscopy; and photochemistry.

Advanced Topics in Organic Chemistry:

You will develop an understanding of advanced methods of organic synthesis and be able to suggest methods of synthesis of target compounds using reactions and concepts acquired in earlier years.

Advanced Topics in Inorganic Chemistry:

This module includes topics such as: advanced organometallics; metal complexes as heterogeneous catalysis; the chemistry of the f-block; inorganic rings, chains and cages; and bioinorganic chemistry.

Advanced Medicinal Chemistry:

This module will give you sufficient knowledge of drug discovery, design and development to be able to contribute to the medicinal chemistry side of a multidisciplinary drug discovery team in your future career. On successful completion, as well as an understanding of drug targets, classes of therapeutics, assays and molecular properties, you will be able to suggest and critically appreciate alterations to molecules to affect activity, selectivity and pharmacokinetics. Also covered are current topics at the research frontier such as biological imaging, polymer therapeutics and gene therapy.

Advanced Methods in Forensics:

This module will allow you to examine the scope and background of forensic investigation of biological material and give a detailed account of techniques used in advanced biomedical analysis.

To consider a range of novel developmental methods in forensic science and their potential to add to the toolbox for forensic investigators. On completion you will be able to give an account of drugs, poisons and forensic toxicology and show an in-depth understanding of the role played by forensic toxicology in forensic investigation.

Advanced Spectroscopy:

This module will cover the methods used to characterise organic compounds at research level. These include IR, UV-Vis, Raman and advanced NMR spectroscopy. On successful completion of this module, you will have the necessary skills in spectrum analysis to assign structures to molecules.

Biomolecules and Medicinal Chemistry

Advanced Polymer Materials and Nanotechnology

Teaching and assessment

The MRes programme consists of three taught modules run during the University’s two semesters. Each module will be timetabled for between two to four contact hours per week on average consisting of a mixture of lectures, workshops and tutorials.

Assessment of the taught modules is by a mixture of coursework and written examination. The balance varies from module to module. Assessment in some modules is based entirely on workshops, practical classes and coursework (ie, there is no examination element).

The project is assessed by a supervisor’s report and examination of a dissertation produced by the student, based on the project. The examination of the dissertation will include a viva voce (oral examination). The pass mark is 50 per cent for the project and for the taught modules.

Top-rated research

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 and analytical. The Department has attracted more than £4.5 million of research income in the last three years.

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.

Spotlight on the Materials Chemistry Group

Much of the world-leading research that is conducted in the Department of Chemistry specialises in the design, development, characterisation and application of advanced inorganic and polymeric materials.

Themes being pursued include: the investigation of electrolyte and electrode materials (polymers and ceramics) for clean energy production and storage in novel electrochemical devices; catalysts for the removal of environmental pollutants; the rational tailoring for purpose (and in-depth investigation) of metal organic framework materials, polymers and polymer synthesis, surfaces and interfaces, and composite and hybrid materials computer simulation of materials and molecular dynamics.

Local facilities include thermal and rheological methods, X-ray crystallography, solid-state electrochemistry and gas flow apparatus for studies of sorption and catalysis. Local, national and international facilities (for example, for neutron scattering and for computational chemistry) are used as necessary. Projects are commonly collaborative with industry and with overseas universities and research centres.

Several members of the Department are also members of the Surrey Materials Institute (SMI), an interdisciplinary research institute fostering collaboration between materials chemists, physicists and engineers.


This qualification can be used to support applications for MRSC and CChem grade memberships of the Royal Society of Chemistry (http://www.rsc.org/).


Our Admissions Policy (http://www.surrey.ac.uk/apply/policies/postgraduate-admissions-policy) provides the basis for admissions practice across the University and gives a framework for how we encourage, consider applications and admit students.

Further information for applicants - http://www.surrey.ac.uk/apply/postgraduate

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

(Student Profile)

Zhanet Zaharieva

4468.jpg "I’m originally from Bulgaria, and decided to move to Surrey to study an MRes in Chemistry because I liked the emphasis put on the practical application of science.

Surrey’s campus is lovely and its Department of Chemistry is a great place to develop your knowledge, and to get the results that you want. It was difficult for me at the beginning, adjusting to a new environment and atmosphere, as I wasn’t used to working in a lab from 9am - 5pm; but the transition was easy as people were so friendly.

I was able to use many facilities at the University. The labs and equipment enabled me to analyse my samples with XRD, UV-Vis, TEM, SEM, TGA, DMA, FTIR and Raman – which was amazing, because I could generate so many results for my dissertation, involving an investigation of a novel approach to the fabrication of photocatalytically active chitosan-titania composite fibres for the removal of organic contaminants in water. The results obtained from my project are described in a manuscript in preparation for publication.

My lecturers taught me about really interesting aspects to chemistry, and the modules covered everything I wanted to explore on the programme. I took polymer chemistry and a spectroscopy class for instance – the spectroscopy lecture was directly related to my analysis, whilst the polymer session was highly relevant to my experiments.

I’ll always remember how friendly the Department of Chemistry was, and how helpful my supervisors were. They really enabled me to achieve my goals. I was more than welcome to ask questions, meet with them and whenever I needed something they were there to assist.

Coming to Surrey to study the subject was a great experience for me, and I feel much more confident now. Surrey helped me to achieve great goals and to continue with my future research. I was very lucky with my programme and with my supervisors. I’m looking forward to starting my PhD in Materials Science at the University of Oxford soon.

To anyone considering Surrey’s MRes Chemistry, I’d say this: anything is possible if you put your mind to it. You just have to work very hard but you can get amazing results."

(Student Profile)

Professor Dulcie Mulholland; Head of Department of Chemistry

"The Department of Chemistry welcomes postgraduate students from all over the world. We provide a supportive environment for your research and a researcher development programme to develop your skills. Research students have access to state-of-the-art laboratories and computational facilities, a wide range of excellent instrumentation and inspirational supervisors."


Discounts for Surrey graduates - No. of awards TBC

If you are a self-funded UK, EU or international student who has studied for an undergraduate degree at the University of Surrey campus in Guildford, you could be eligible for a ten per cent discount on our taught postgraduate Masters programme fees. This scheme is for applicable to Postgraduate Taught entry students only and is reviewed annually.Students who graduated in 2013 are eligible, as well as alumni from previous years, on receipt of evidence of the award from Surrey and where we can identify that you actually studied in Guildford. Students from SII-DUFE are eligible for this scheme.Associated Institution students are not eligible. Not available to modular self-pacing students.

Value of Scholarship(s)

10% tuition fee discount


Self-funded UK, EU or international student who has studied for an undergraduate degree at the University of Surrey campus in Guildford

Application Procedure

If you have any enquiries regarding this matter please contact the Student Fees and Funding Office on [email protected]


GREAT Surrey Scholarships India - 6 Awards

Funded by the University and the UK government’s GREAT Britain campaign, up to six scholarships worth £5,000 (paid in the form of a fee discount) are being offered on postgraduate taught courses from the following subjects:- Chemical and Process Engineering
- Chemistry
- Civil and Environmental Engineering
- Computer Science
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering
- Environment and Sustainability
- Mathematics
- Mechanical Engineering Sciences
- PhysicsWHO CAN APPLY?You can apply for a GREAT Surrey Scholarship if:- You hold a high first-class degree from an Indian university (the minimum requirement is 65 per cent from a prestigious university or 70 per cent from a regional university).
- You hold an offer from Surrey to study any MSc course within the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences, as listed above (you must hold an offer before submitting an application for a scholarship)

Value of Scholarship(s)



The GREAT Scholarship – India programme is aimed at high-calibre Indian students who want to study for a postgraduate programme in engineering.

Application Procedure

To apply, you will need to complete the online form - http://www.surrey.ac.uk/content/great-scholarships-india-2016

Further Information


Entry Requirements

A minimum 2.2 honours degree (or equivalent) in Chemistry or a related discipline. Selection is based upon a candidate’s application, references and may include an informal interview if required.

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