MSc Chemical Research

Students are provided intensive training in the methods and techniques of scientific research. Crucially this is all done ‘hands-on’, providing first-hand experience of using cutting-edge research tools. With departmental research activities spanning the whole of chemistry, including the development of new organic molecules, fundamental theoretical investigations and prediction and synthesis of new materials, students are able to undertake a project that aligns with their existing interests. This programme is also accredited by the RSC.

Below are details about this programme for 2024 to 2025. Applications for September 2024 is open now. Further information about UCL graduate programmes can be found on the UCL Graduate degrees pageThis programme is also accredited by the RSC (Royal Society of Chemistry).

MediaCentral Widget Placeholderhttps://mediacentral.ucl.ac.uk/Player/7ChGcB35

The principal component of this degree is an intensive novel research project providing 'hands-on' training in methods and techniques at the cutting edge of scientific research. The programme is particularly suitable for those wishing to embark on a research career. This programme is accredited by the Royal Society of Chemistry.


Degree Structure:

Students develop a systematic approach to devising experiments and/or computations and gain familiarity with a broad range of synthetic, analytical and spectroscopic techniques, acquiring skills for the critical analysis of their experimental and computational observations. They also broaden their knowledge of chemistry through a selection of taught courses and are able to tailor the programme to meet their personal interests.

You will undertake Chemistry modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of core literature (30 credits) and research projects (90 credits), a research and professional skills development module (15 credits) and a combination of modules depending on the theme of your research project (45 credits). The Topics in Modern Chemistry module is a flexible module, where students are able to select topics from a broad range of topics – these topics are chosen in consultation with your programme director and research advisor.

Compulsory modules:

The programme consists of the following modules:

Optional Modules: 

Students choose topics to the value of 45 credits from an extensive list of topic subjects in consultation with the programme director/research supervisor. These topics are aligned with programme aims and those of the individual research project and include topics from fundamental to applied chemistry. 

Topic areas include organic synthesis: asymmetric and biomimetic processes and the interface of chemistry with biology; inorganic/ materials chemistry: preparation and characterisation of catalysts and green chemistry; physical chemistry: fundamentals of gas and condensed phase processes and their applications and computational chemistry: ranging from data acquisition and analysis to fundamental quantum chemical calculations. Optional modules develop and may change - an illustrative selection of optional topics available is given below. 

  • Modern Characterisation Methods for Ordered / Disordered Materials 
  • X-ray Imaging and Microscopy/ Photoelectron Spectroscopy Techniques 
  • Preparation and Characterisation of Heterogeneous Catalysts/ Catalysis and Chemical Process Technology 
  • Green Chemistry, Renewable Energy Landscape and the Role of Nanomaterials 
  • Colloids and Microplastics in the Environment 
  • CO2 Capture, Storage and Utilisation 
  • Stereochemically-Controlled Synthesis/ Chiral Auxiliaries in Asymmetric Synthesis 
  • Catalytic Asymmetric Reactions 
  • Biosynthesis of Natural Products and Selected Aspects of Biocatalysis 
  • Carbohydrate Chemistry and Biomimetic and Prebiotic Chemistry 
  • Peptides, Proteins and Bioconjugation/ Nucleic Acids and Fluorescence Detection 
  • Chemical Crystallography/ NMR/ Mass Spectrometry 
  • Surface Science/ Advanced Solid State Chemistry 
  • Atmospheric Chemistry 
  • Scientific Computing and Data Analysis/ Bayesian Statistics and Maximum Entropy 
  • Data Acquisition, Processing and Analysis 
  • Monte Carlo Methods/ Approximate Methods in Quantum Mechanics 
  • Symmetry and Spectroscopy 
  • Advanced Experimental Skills 

Please note that the list of modules given here is indicative. This information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability is subject to change.

For all prospectus information: 

Full course details


We offer an excellent education with high standards of teaching in an exciting but friendly environment. We foster a community feel to the department and you will mix throughout your time here with staff, undergraduate students and researchers.

UCL Scholarships: find the currently available Studentships with the Scholarships and funding tool.

Questions & Answers: There's a lot you should ask and a lot for us to tell you in our FAQ section.

Postgraduate Taught Tutor
Dr Anna Roffey
Tel: 020 7679 5574

Programme Director
Dr Giorgio Volpe
Tel: 020 3108 3725
Email: g.volpe@ucl.ac.uk