UCL Graduate degrees


Chemical Research MSc

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.

Key information

Programme starts

September 2021

Modes and duration

Full time: 1 year

Application dates

Visa nationals
Open: 9 November 2020
Close: 31 May 2021
Non-visa nationals
Open: 9 November 2020
Close: 30 July 2021
Applications may close earlier if all places on the programme are filled.

Tuition fees (2021/22)

£12,500 (FT)
£31,200 (FT)

Note on fees: The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Students website: ucl.ac.uk/students/fees.


This programme is accredited by the RSC and successful completion will count towards eligibility for Chartered Chemist status for students with an appropriate Bachelor's level qualification in Chemistry.

Location: London, Bloomsbury

Entry requirements

A minimum of an upper second-class Bachelor's degree in a relevant discipline from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard.

English language requirements

If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency.

The English language level for this programme is: Standard

Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English

UCL Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English courses are for international students who are aiming to study for a postgraduate degree at UCL. The courses will develop your academic English and academic skills required to succeed at postgraduate level. International Preparation Courses

Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.

International students

Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.

International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below.

Select your country:

About this degree

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) and a transferable skills for scientists module (15 credits). Additionally, students take topics of their choosing in Modern Chemistry together with an advanced experimental skills module depending on their project and in consultation with the programme director/ research advisor (45 credits).

Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded a MSc in Chemical Research.

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.

Compulsory modules

All students undertake a literature project (30 credits) and a research dissertation (90 credits), which are linked. In addition students take a module (15 credits) to develop their research and professional skills.

  • Literature Project
  • Research Project
  • Transferable Skills for Scientists

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


All students undertake an independent research project which features an oral examination and culminates in submission of an extended dissertation (90 credits).

Teaching and learning

The programme is delivered through a combination of online and face to face lectures, seminars, tutorials, laboratory classes and research supervision. Assessment is through the dissertation, written online examinations and coursework, a written literature survey, and an oral examination. All students will be expected to attend research seminars relevant to their broad research interest.

Additional costs

For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.


Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble accessable.co.uk. Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support & Wellbeing team.


Students can be self-funded or find sponsorship from funding agencies such as research councils, the UCL scholarships and funding pages, the European Union, industry or charities.

There are a number of Graduate School Scholarships available.

Scholarships relevant to this department are displayed below.

Commonwealth Shared Scholarship Scheme (CSSS)

Applications for this scholarship are now closed for 2021/22
Full fees, flights, stipend, and other allowances (1 year)
Based on both academic merit and financial need

For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.


This MSc is designed to provide first-hand experience of research at the cutting-edge of chemistry and is particularly suitable for those wishing to embark on an academic career (i.e. doctoral research) in this area, although the research and critical thinking skills developed will be equally valuable in a commercial environment.


The MSc will equip students with an in depth knowledge of cutting edge chemistry as part of their research. This will help develop skills of analytical thinking, problem solving, data analysis and communication all of which are valuable to prospective employers.

Why study this degree at UCL?

With departmental research interests and activities spanning the whole spectrum of chemistry, including 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.

Students develop crucial first-hand experience in scientific methods, techniques for reporting science and using leading-edge research tools, as well as further essential skills for a research career.


This programme is accredited by the RSC and successful completion will count towards eligibility for Chartered Chemist status for students with an appropriate Bachelor's level qualification in Chemistry.

Department: Chemistry

Application and next steps


Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. Those applying for scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants) should take note of application deadlines.

This programme requires two references. Further information regarding references can be found in our How to apply section.

There is an application processing fee for this programme of £90 for online applications and £115 for paper applications. Further information can be found at: ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate/taught/application.

Who can apply?

The programme is suitable for students wishing to progress to a research degree in chemistry or those seeking to acquire research skills which are valued in a commercial environment.

Application deadlines

Visa nationals
31 May 2021
Non-visa nationals
30 July 2021

Applicants can select the research projects in Computational, Inorganic, Organic or Physical Chemistry. In the application cover letter students are asked to indicate which area(s) of chemistry they are interested in studying, clearly indicating why they chose this particular area, and indicating (at least) three academic members of staff they are interested in working with.

Note: for applicants holding a UCL Chemistry Bachelor's degree, the choice of a Master’s programme must not include one which requires modules previously studied at UCL - contact the Programme Director before applying.

For more information see our Applications page.

Apply now

What are we looking for?

When we assess your application we would like to learn:

  • why you want to study Chemical Research at graduate level. Please tell us what has led you to research. What were the enjoyable or difficult aspects of your undergraduate projects? Do you have much experience in laboratory work or computing? What are the skills you most need to acquire?
  • why you want to study an MSc in Chemical Research at UCL. UCL's Chemical Research degree is heavily research oriented (50% in terms of credits). Tell us how you will make the most of this opportunity?
  • how your academic background meets the demands of a challenging programme: Most applicants for this programme have a first degree in Chemistry. How well did it prepare you for research? What skills do you want to acquire that will help you in a research career?
  • how you anticipate that your future career might proceed.

Together with essential academic requirements, the personal statement is your opportunity to illustrate whether your reasons for applying to this programme match what the programme will deliver.

UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.

Page last modified on 28 August 2021