Course structure and content
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The Department of Chemistry offers a number of three-, four- and five-year courses. The flexibility of our courses lets you follow your own path, whether that's through a year abroad, in industry or research, combining your studies with languages or management, or the enormous variety of modules inspired by our research.
Three-year course (180 ECTS)
- BSc Chemistry (UCAS code F100)
Four-year courses (240 ECTS)
- BSc Chemistry with Management (F1NF)
- MSci Chemistry (F103)
- MSci Chemistry with Medicinal Chemistry (F124)
- MSci Chemistry with Research Abroad (F104)
- MSci Chemistry with Molecular Physics (F1F3)
Five-year courses (300 ECTS)
- BSc Chemistry with Management and a Year in Industry (FN11)
- MSci Chemistry with a Year in Industry (F105)
- MSci Chemistry with Medicinal Chemistry and a Year in Industry (F125)
- MSci Chemistry with Research Abroad and a Year in Industry (F101)
- MSci Chemistry with Molecular Physics and a Year in Industry (F1FH)
Degree programmes are either single Honours or joint Honours types. Single Honours programmes are either Master in Science (MSci), or Bachelor of Science (BSc). Joint Honours programmes are all BSc and are given in conjunction with the Business School.
Our individual degree programmes range in duration from 3 to 5 years.
View Imperial's online prospectus to find information on all courses offered at undergraduate level in chemistry.
You can also view programme specifications for our courses online.
As all of our degree programmes share the same core Chemistry modules/structure in years 1-2, it is possible to transfer between the different degree programmes after you have started your studies at the College, subject to approval.
There are some pre-requisites involved for certain transfers (e.g. taking certain modules). Additional entry requirements may also apply, such as proficiency in a relevant modern language for the Research Abroad placement (F104, F101), or A-Level Physics for the “MSci Chemistry with Molecular Physics” programmes (F1F3, F1FH). Therefore, students should only apply to one degree course within the Department - there is no advantage in applying to more than one.
Language classes in 10 modern languages are available across a range of levels, to students on all degree programmes. Depending on the degree programme, these may be taken for degree-credit, extra-credit or non-credit. These are offered by the Centre for Languages, Culture and Communication through the Horizons department.
Students registered on a Research Abroad programme (F101, F104), intending to take a placement in France, Germany, Spain or Switzerland, must take the relevant language option through Horizons (French, German, Spanish). These students will have additional classes to develop their technical and scientific language. This academic placement encompasses approx. 8 months of study at an overseas partner university.
Links with overseas partners
Our F104 and F101 degree courses entail ~8 months of study at an overseas partner University.
Links with industry and employers
Imperial College works closely with employers and industry, including Industrial Advisory Panels, to design undergraduate courses which provide graduates with technical knowledge, expertise and transferable skills and to encourage students to take internships and placements.
View our Competence Standards (PDF) for all BSc & MSci Chemistry Degree Programmes.
Experimentation is fundamental to scientific endeavour and laboratory courses are where you learn how to be a practising scientist. You will develop technical skills, build and learn about instrumentation, synthesise new compounds and make experimental measurements and assess their quality. You will also apply the scientific method in conducting investigations, beginning in term 1 of year 1.
The Practical Chemistry modules deliver your training in practical chemistry and how to be a chemist and experimental scientist. Various lab courses - run by lab coordinators - make up the modules.
The laboratories and computer rooms are open for 6-12 hours (years 1 and 2) or approx. 25 hours (year 3) in lab weeks. This time is ample to complete the lab work, including keeping records, and for many labs there are scheduled pre-lab and post-lab sessions. It is also expected that you do some work outside the scheduled time to prepare for the practical work, and to analyse your results and prepare assignments.
- to bring your lab coat and safety specs with you whenever you come to the laboratories: no PPE, no entry
- labs are not a test! You are there to learn, and demonstrators and technicians are there to help you: ask for help when you need it
Since 2019–2020, the new curriculum has de-emphasised the traditional distinction between Inorganic, Organic and Physical chemistry. In years 1 and 2 all students follow the core chemistry syllabus, with the opportunity to specialise through your choice of elective courses in years 3 and 4. Module summaries found in Blackboard course folders give students a great deal of information about the course content.
During the first and second year, students must select to study one ancillary subject which is not a core Chemistry module.
All Year 1 and 2 Chemistry students, irrespective of their exact degree programme, must take an ancillary subject for credit. The ancillaries offered generally constitute around 50-60 teaching contact hours spread across the Autumn and Spring terms and have associated exams (typically at the start of the summer term) and/or coursework. Modules offered by Horizons, may span one or two terms. Further details are normally issued during induction at Welcome Week, and online for each ancillary course.
For students taking one of our "MSci Chemistry with..." degree programmes, the relevant ancillary forms a core/compulsory part of the programme. There may be further requirements associated with the choice of ancillary subject.
Horizons modules may be taken for credit (as an ancillary), or for extra credit (e.g. in addition to Medicinal Chemistry or Maths and Physics for Chemists). Ancillary modules offered by the Business School (available in Year 2, and in Year 3 in some cases) may be taken for credit, but cannot be taken for extra credit, and are not available for those on BSc Chemistry with Management programmes (F1NF, FN11).
Personal Tutor sessions are scheduled from the start of the 1st year (during week 1) and at regular points throughout your degree. These provide an opportunity for students to discuss their developing interests, module options, examination performance and placement opportunities. The personal tutor also plays a pastoral role, providing support if you are facing challenges in your studies. They can help you address time-management, revision skills or other issues you may have too.
Students will often be proactive in seeking support, and we encourage students to ask questions of their lecturers and tutors. They may contact their personal tutor, a year tutor, our Student Experience Officer or the Senior Tutor or the DUGS. Feedback on academic and student support and welfare is gathered by student year reps and is discussed at the Student Experience Committee.
The Department is committed to the maintenance of small group Academic Tutorials. Students are allocated into groups of around 6 to 8 and are assigned three tutors.
Three academic tutorials are held every 2 weeks, each aligned with one of the main branches of chemistry: Inorganic, Organic and Physical, supporting our interdisciplinary modules. These are provided for the first two years of study, providing a continuity of learning and ensuring integration of material.
In tutorials, students can deepen their understanding of subject matter delivered in the lectures and practice applying their knowledge and problem-solving. They also provide an opportunity to cover difficult concepts from more than one perspective, fitting best with the individual needs of the students. The tutorial offers a regular student feedback mechanism and a supportive group of peers to work with.
Written exams are held in January and either May or June each year. For each question the 1st marker provides a paragraph summarising the cohort’s performance on that question. This is uploaded to Blackboard as soon as the provisional grades are posted.
The Registry is responsible for processing and releasing formal exam results. These final number grades are usually released after the end of the academic year in July. Your exam results can then be viewed on My Imperial.