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:
Modelling the structures, stabilities, properties and chemistry of nitrocellulose
Publication date: 9 February 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.
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.
2 PhD positions in Organic and Biological Chemistry
Publication date: 15 December 2014
Dr Matthew W. Powner, Organic and Biological Chemistry (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Modelling Drug-resistance mutations and patient specific drug treatment for anti-cancer targets
Publication date: 25 November 2014
Applications are invited from suitably qualified candidates for this three-year EPSRC funded position. The PhD studentship will be based in the Department of Chemistry at UCL, supervised by Professor Peter Coveney from the Centre for Computational Science, and co-supervised by Prof Francesco Gervasio from the Department of Chemistry and the Institute of Structural and Molecular Biology.
The emergence of drug resistance is a major problem in developing targeted therapies for cancer as we move toward the era of personalised medicine. The main goal of our research is to use state-of-the-art modelling and simulation to understand the effect of drug-resistance caused by mutations at the molecular level in protein kinases, a protein family involved in cancer onset and progression. The in-depth knowledge acquired by the student will be used to help developing better kinase inhibitors and patient specific anti-cancer treatments. The groups of Prof Coveney and Prof Gervasio specialize in the development and application of atomistic molecular dynamics simulations and free energy calculations to bio-molecular systems. Our work will be facilitated by access we have to supercomputers within UK, throughout Europe and USA, providing the student with experience of distributed, high performance computating.
This is a very exciting opportunity for a student with a strong chemistry, bio-physics, physics, engineering or computer science background to tackle the complexity arising in this fascinating area of biology and biomedicine. The minimum requirement is a first class or upper second class honours degree (MSci, MEng) or equivalent. Prior experience of experimental biology is not necessary.
Applications, including a full and up to date CV, together with the names and addresses (email and physical) of two academic referees should be sent as soon as possible to Prof P V Coveney, email email@example.com to whom informal inquiries may also be made.
The deadline for applications is 5 p.m. on Wednesday December 10th. Only UK resident students are eligible to apply.
Publication date: 9 October 2014
PhD in Bioinspired Nanoscience at University College London
A fully funded PhD studentship is available within the UCL Department of Chemistry to work under the supervision of Dr. Giorgio Volpe and Prof. Giuseppe Battaglia on the experimental study and development of novel nanosystems capable of autonomous movement to localise, pick up, and deliver nanoscopic objects. This project is relevant for several applications ranging from catalysis and energy conversion to bioremediation, chemical sensing and drug delivery.
‘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.
Search UCL News
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.