A PhD is a chance to make an original contribution to science as an individual. You will have a chance to learn about the basic principles underlying your science, and put into practice all that theory you learnt as an undergraduate.
The 3-year Chemistry PhD programme is focused on a major piece of original research. You will study under the direct supervision of a member of staff, who is an expert in his or her area of specialisation.
For more information, please see the tabs below.
Studying for a PhD in Chemistry is one of the most exciting things you will do in your scientific career, as you will have the opportunity to pursue novel research on an individual basis. UCL offers PhD studies in all branches of Chemistry. To find an area of research that interests you, look at the individual academic staff pages. You can also look at the full list of available projects in the available projects tab.
Most students will start in late September, although studentships become available at other times during the year.
Students are monitored at regular intervals throughout the period of their PhD. Towards the end of their first year (June) each student writes a short report. The student's second supervisor reads the report and conducts a mini-viva (interview) with the student. This provides the student with valuable insights into how to work towards their thesis, as well as establishing whether the student has the motivation and ability to complete a thesis.
In their second year, all students produce and present a poster outlining the research work already completed. In addition students write a more in-depth report detailing their progress to date. This report is assessed by a small panel who decide whether the students progress is suitable to progress to completion of their PhD.
In the final year, it is hoped that students will be able to design, initiate and pursue their own investigations without extensive supervision. Students are expected to have begun writing their thesis before the end of the third year of study.
A thesis must be submitted four years from the start date of the PhD, and will be examined in a viva voce examination shortly after submission.
Although working for a higher degree involves considerable specialization on the part of the student, it is a policy of the department to ensure that a student's broader chemical background and general transferable skills are developed. In addition to work associated directly with the research project, students are also expected to attend an appropriate set of courses to develop their knowledge and skills based on the UCL Graduate School Research Student Log.
How To Apply
Information on the application procedure is included below.
Eligibility requirements vary depending on the source of funding for the PhD. A large number of PhD studentships in the UCL Chemistry Department are funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Countil or Natural Environment Research Council and full details are available on the EPSRC, BBSRC and NERC websites.
Candidates should have or expect to gain a 2(i) or first class MSci or MChem degree (or an equivalent qualification), or a 2(i) or first class BSc degree and 12 months relevant experience.
Project funding includes a stipend of approximately £15000 (tax free) per annum and covers the University fees at the standard UK rate. EPSRC, BBSRC and NERC funding is only available to home students.
Funding may also be provided through the European Union, by charitable awards and scholarships or via an industrial sponsor and will be provided at similar rates to those provided via the research councils.
UCL offers some scholarships for graduate studies, the details of which can be found on the UCL graduate scholarships pages.
All applicants must apply online.
You will first be required to register and create an account. Once registered please follow on the on-screen instructions.
When searching for the correct programme please select “MPhil/PhD Chemistry”.
Under “Name(s) of Proposed Supervisors” please enter “PhD Programme”
You will need to provide details of your referees as part of the online application. The system will contact your referees using these details. Please note: your application will not be processed until both your referees have submitted their references. You can use the on-line system to check whether your references have been submitted or to send your referees a reminder.
Application for PhD studentships can be made at any time of the year. Currently available projects can be found in the Available Projects tab.
PhD vacancies currently available in the department are shown below:
Liquid-microjet photoelectron spectroscopy of photoactive protein chromophores
Publication date: 19 May 2015
A fully-funded 3-year PhD studentship is available to work with Professor Helen Fielding (UCL Department of Chemistry) and Professor Georg Held (Diamond Light Source).
Tuning the properties and production of structurally novel inorganic nanoparticles
Publication date: 13 May 2015
funding for a three year PhD project, starting this September, is available for
a talented student (expected to obtain a first in either chemistry or physics).
The DTA student’s principle supervisors will be Drs. S.M. Woodley (SMW) and
M.A. Zwijnenburg (MAZ), both of whom are based within UCL Chemistry, and
together have over a hundred research papers (work based on both development
and application of theory in computational chemistry and physics of materials).
Although this is a computational project, it is part of a new collaboration
with Prof. Richard Palmer, an experimental physicist at the University of
Birmingham (UoB). The aim of the collaboration is to develop methods of
preparing small (0.5-2 nm) size-selected inorganic nanoparticles, deposit them
on a support and characterise their properties. The DTA student would initially
learn to employ both in-house and other internationally leading software to
predict the structure and properties of nanoparticles. This is an excellent
opportunity to join a successful group and to contribute to the internationally
leading research at UCL. More details on the collaboration are provided below.
Exploration of super resolution microscopy for catalyst characterisation
Publication date: 24 April 2015
The latter part of 2014 saw the awarding of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry to Betzig, Hell and Moerner for the development of super-resolution light microscopy. However, as with nearly all microscopy techniques the main focus to date has been the study of biological samples and has therefore rarely been employed to image inorganic materials despite the obvious potential benefits which may enable a better understanding of material’s chemico-physical properties. In this project we will explore the potential of super-resolution light microscopy to allow us to evaluate or ‘chemically image’ catalytic materials under dynamic conditions to obtain insight into structure-activity relationships at ‘high’ resolution (at the nm – µm scale). Central to the success of this project is the close proximity of the collaborating partners, including UCL@UK Catalysis Hub, Johnson Matthey Plc@UK Catalysis Hub and the STFC Central Laser Facility all of which are based at the Research Complex@Harwell on the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus where the project will be based.
Publication date: 21 April 2015
|4-year PhD studentship: Pd-Catalysed Synthesis of Functionalised Chiral Saturated Heterocycles||Dr Tom Sheppard|
Publication date: 21 April 2015
|3-year PhD studentship: Investigating the pre-biotic origin of proteins||Dr Tom Sheppard|
Modelling the structures, stabilities, properties and chemistry of nitrocellulose
Publication date: 15 April 2015
A 3-year PhD studentship is available in the UCL Chemistry Department to work with Professor Nora de Leeuw and project partners AWE on a computer simulation project to gain atomic-level insight into the physico-chemical properties of the complex energetic polymer nitrocellulose. The project will focus in particular on the chemical reactions involved in the initial polymerisation of the monomeric structure, the (partial) nitration of the cellulose, and the degradation processes. The project will require the application of both electronic structure techniques and classical molecular dynamics simulations to model the reaction pathways and mechanisms as well as the 3-dimensional material.
Reactions of H, O, N atoms with molecules on astrochemically relevant surfaces
Publication date: 15 April 2015
A fully-funded STFC PhD studentship in Laboratory Astrochemistry is available at UCL in the group of Professor Stephen Price. The proposal was funded as part of a successful consortium proposal in Laboratory Astrochemistry with the University of Sussex (Professor Wendy Brown) and Heriot-Watt University (Professor Martin McCoustra).
A 4-year EngD studentship on modelling defects in SiC
Publication date: 18 March 2015
Semiconductor comprised of silicon (Si) and carbon (C). It is widely used for producing microelectronic devices and growing graphene layers. Other applications include car brakes, car clutches and ceramic plates in bulletproof vests. Defects in SiC and its interfaces with SiO2 determine the performance and reliability of microelectronic devices and can be used for quantum computation.
A 3.5-year PhD Studentship in modelling the effect of pathogenic mutations on the behaviour of regulatory domains
Publication date: 12 March 2015
Supervisors: Professor Francesco Gervasio (UCL), Prof. Marius Sudol (NUS and ASTAR, Singapore)
A 4-year EngD studentship in Synthesis and Surface Characterisations of Novel 2D Layered Materials
Publication date: 2 March 2015
Supervisor: Professor Z. Xiao Guo Department of Chemistry, UCL
A 4-year EngD studentship is available within the Centre for Doctoral training in Molecular Modelling and Materials Simulation, UCL to work with Professor Z. Xiao Guo on synthesis and surface characterisations of novel 2D layered materials. The studentship is co-sponsored by Keysight Technologies UK Ltd. The start date is September 2015.
A 3.5-year PhD studentship in Low-Dimensional Nanostructures for Energy Storage
Publication date: 2 March 2015
Supervisors: Professor Z. Xiao Guo (UCL, UK) and Dr. Yun Zong (ASTAR IMRE, Singapore)
Applications are invited for a 3.5-year PhD studentship offered jointly by the M3S CDT in the Faculty of Mathematical and Physical Sciences, UCL and the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore. The studentship will commence in September 2015.
A 3.5-year PhD Studentship in Self-assemble Multifunctional Nanomotors for Intelligent Active Delivery of Drugs
Publication date: 9 February 2015
Supervisors: Dr. Tung Chun Lee Department of Chemistry, UCL, Dr. Xian Jun Loh (A*STAR IMRE, Singapore)
A 3-year PhD Studentship in Statistical Regularisation
Publication date: 9 February 2015
Start Date: September 2015
Applications are invited for a PhD funding opportunity offered jointly by the Faculty of Mathematical and Physical Sciences, UCL and the Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (JAIST). The studentship will commence in September 2015 and is based both at JAIST and the UCL Department of Statistical Science.
Selective side-chain activation in native peptides and proteins
Publication date: 28 January 2015
23 January 2015
A PhD position is available working with Dr. D. Macmillan in the area of site-selective peptide side-chain activation.
‘Potassium Alkoxides in Transition Metal Free Synthesis and Catalysis’
Publication date: 3 March 2014
A PhD position is available working with Dr. J. D. Wilden on the development of organic reactions promoted by group 1 alkoxides.
Scanning Probe Microscopy Studies of a Model Au–Ceria Catalyst
Publication date: 17 February 2014
3 Year PhD Studentship: Scanning Probe Microscopy Studies of a Model Au–Ceria Catalyst
Supervisors: Prof. Geoff Thornton (UCL), Prof. Masahiko Tomitori, Dr. Akira Sasahara (JAIST, Japan)
2 x PhD projects in the London Centre for Nanotechnology and Chemistry Department of University College London
Publication date: 29 January 2014
Two PhD positions are available in Prof. Angelos Michaelides’ ICE research group in the London Centre for Nanotechnology and Department of Chemistry. The theoretical/simulation projects are aimed at applying and developing computer simulation approaches to better understand the formation of ice.
Regeneration of Hydrogen Storage Materials
Publication date: 13 January 2014
Title: EPSRC CASE PhD Studentship
Atomic scale imaging and local spectroscopy of CeO2 - Prof Geoff Thornton
Publication date: 3 December 2013
London Centre for Nanotechnology
University College London
Summary: Applications are invited for a 4-year PhD studentship. The aim of this project is to provide an understanding of the chemical physics of single-crystalline CeO2 in relation to hydrogen production.
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Information on all aspects of studying at UCL as a postgraduate can be found on the UCL graduate study page.
For any further information regarding the Chemistry PhD please contact the postgraduate tutor by completing the following form, outlining your request using the Additional Information box.