Chemistry PhD

Chemistry PhD

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.

Programme Structure

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 EPSRCBBSRC 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.

Fees and Funding

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.

Application Procedure

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.

Deadline for Application

Application for PhD studentships can be made at any time of the year. Currently available projects can be found in the Available Projects tab.

Available Projects

PhD vacancies currently available in the department are shown below:

Archive of Chemistry PhD Vacancies News Viewer

<< 2014 Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec 2016 >>

PhD in Material Nanoscience at University College London

Publication date:

PhD in Material Nanoscience at University College London

Institution: University College London

Dept/School/Faculty: Department of Chemistry

PhD Supervisor: Dr. Giorgio Volpe and Prof. Ivan Parkin

Application Deadline: 30th of April 2015

Funding Availability: Funded PhD Project (UK National Only)

PhD in Material Nanoscience at University College London

PhD in Material 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. Ivan Parkin on the experimental study of evaporation processes of biologically active liquids on novel materials with controllable wetting properties and performances. This project is fundamentally relevant for the design of novel materials for many biological, medical and technological applications.

The successful applicant should have or expect to achieve a Masters-level degree (1st or 2:1) in a relevant subject, e.g. Physics, Materials Science, Chemistry or Engineering, and an interest in working at the interface between materials science and biophysics. Previous experimental experience in nanotechnology, nanofabrication or photonics is desirable but not essential, as training will be provided.

To apply, please email an up-to-date CV to Dr. Giorgio Volpe ( who may also be approached for informal enquires. Ideal starting date: October 2015. Please note that due to funding restrictions only UK national students are eligible for this studentship.

A 4-year EngD studentship on modelling defects in SiC

Publication date:

[broken image]

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 chemist’s approach to solving biological problems

Publication date:

[broken image]
There is a clear need for Organic Chemists to contribute to the field of Biology through the conduit of Chemical Biology. A PhD position is available to work with Dr Vijay Chudasama to aid in providing significant steps in this direction by: (i) the creation of therapeutics generated by site-specific protein modification; and (ii) to provide Optogenetic tools for the manipulation of ion channels (and thus neurons). Both projects will be based on using core synthetic organic chemistry to deliver entities that will meet these needs.
[image reference is broken]
In the area of site-selective protein modification, we are at the centre of developing a ground-breaking technology based on the insertion of small molecules bearing reactive handles into native disulfide bonds and cysteines. Our strategy has been well received in the literature (e.g. Nature Commun., 2015, Accepted; Chem. Commun., 2015, Accepted; Org. Biomol. Chem., 2015, Accepted; Bioconjugate Chem., 2014, 25, 611; Org. Biomol. Chem., 2014, 12, 557; Chem. Commun., 2013, 49, 8187; Org. Biomol. Chem., 2013, 11, 2408; Chem. Commun., 2011, 47, 8781) and we hope to continue to publish greatly in this area. With our experience, interesting challenges in the modification of certain peptides and proteins have arisen. There is an opportunity to contribute to this area and make a significant impact to the field of Chemical Biology.
In the area of Optogenetics, in collaboration with Prof. Trevor Smart (UCL) and Dr Liam Browne (Harvard), we are applying a strategy that allows control of ion channel opening and closing. The method is based on bridging a small organic molecule bearing an azo-dye handle across mutated ion channels and then using appropriate wavelengths of light to manipulate the opening and closing of the channel through cis-trans isomerism of the azo linkage (Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 2014, 111, 521). There is significant scope in this project for application to various important channels to control neuronal activity both in vitro and in vivo.
There are also recent openings in the area of polymersome construction for the purpose of creating artificial vesicles that are stable in blood, efficient at entering into cells and enable delivery of cargo. In collaboration with Prof. Battaglia (UCL), we have made great strides and there are significant opportunities to expand on recent promising results. Finally, opportunities may also arise to work in the area of targeted DNA nanopore delivery with Dr Stefan Howorka (UCL).
The student will gain valuable research expertise during the course of this project, making them well qualified for future employment in either an academic or industrial setting. This project will provide a thorough training in synthetic organic chemistry and chemical biology, as well as in a series of transferable skills. The student will also be given plenty of opportunity to be creative.


I am looking to recruit a highly motivated and ambitious organic chemist with an excellent background in synthetic organic chemistry and an interest in chemical biology. Experience in chemical biology is not a pre-requisite as this project has synthetic organic chemistry at its core and extensive training in chemical biology will be provided. The project will involve various spectroscopic and analytical techniques such as NMR, MS, IR, LC-MS, SDS-PAGE and MALDI-TOF; thus proving the student with an excellent training in a variety of techniques.

Application Details

Applicants should have (or expect to gain) at least a 2(i) MSci/MChem degree in Chemistry. Applicants should apply via UCL’s online application system Further information on the project can be obtained from Dr Vijay Chudasama (

A 3.5-year PhD Studentship in modelling the effect of pathogenic mutations on the behaviour of regulatory domains

Publication date:

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:

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:

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.

<< 2014 Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec 2016 >>

Further Information

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.

Information Request

Please fill in the information below; (*) are required fields.

First Name (*)
Last Name (*)
Address (*)
Postcode (*)
Country (*)
Email (*)
Additional Information