Natural Sciences degrees


Physical Chemistry

Stream Representative

Dr Jeremy Cockcroft: j.k.cockcroft@ucl.ac.uk


Physical Chemistry is concerned with understanding the structure and property of matter and the factors that govern the rates and pathway of chemical reactions. Students following this stream will learn the fundamental theories behind spectroscopy, kinetics, quantum mechanics, thermodynamics and statistical mechanics, electrochemistry, solid structures and surface processes. 


Students who complete this stream will understand:

  • the laws governing the transformation of energy that takes place during chemical reactions and when matter changes state
  • the electronic structure of atoms and molecules and the arrangement of electrons occupying defined quantised energy levels
  • how electromagnetic radiation is absorbed or emitted by atoms or molecules, and the relationships between this spectroscopic information and the structure
  • the theory and approaches required to analyse the rate of chemical change and to determine the mechanisms for a reaction
  • how to make physical measurements and how to analyse this data to determine physical properties, such as bond lengths, and rate and enthalpies of reaction
Year 1

All Physical Chemistry stream students take:

and must pick 15 credits from:

Year 2

All Physical Chemistry stream students must take:

and may take 0 -15 credits of (depending on their option in year 1):

Year 3

All Physical Chemistry stream students must take:

If students major in Physical Chemistry they take:

Students majoring take 15 - 30 credits and students minoring take 0 - 15 credits of the following:

Year 4

All students majoring in Physical Chemistry take:

Students majoring take 15 - 45 credits and students minoring take 0 - 30 credits of the following:

The Physical Chemistry stream combines with: