Chemical Sustainability MSc

London, Stratford (UCL East)

Taught at UCL East, this programme combines multidisciplinary teaching with sustainable  and green chemistry research, preparing students for a range of careers within industry, public sector, and academia.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2024/25)
Overseas tuition fees (2024/25)
1 calendar year
Programme starts
September 2024
Applications accepted
Applicants who require a visa: 16 Oct 2023 – 28 Jun 2024
Applications close at 5pm UK time

Applications open

Applicants who do not require a visa: 16 Oct 2023 – 30 Aug 2024
Applications close at 5pm UK time

Applications open

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.

The English language level for this programme is: Level 1

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.

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

Equivalent qualifications

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. Please note that the equivalency will correspond to the broad UK degree classification stated on this page (e.g. upper second-class). Where a specific overall percentage is required in the UK qualification, the international equivalency will be higher than that stated below. Please contact Graduate Admissions should you require further advice.

About this degree

The programme is part of UCL East’s Manufacturing Futures Lab (MFL), an innovative facility and multidisciplinary research hub to underpin the end-to-end production of new products, such as fine chemicals, active pharmaceutical ingredients, and new materials, in ways that are smarter, faster, environmentally friendly and, overall, more sustainable.

This degree involves a cutting-edge research project under the supervision of a member of staff at UCL East. Students will initially learn about different aspects of chemical sustainability via a number of taught and practical modules. They will then progress to the laboratory where they will work on an independent research project putting into practice the core experimental skills and foundational knowledge taught in terms 1-2.

The programme provides an outstanding multidisciplinary training in chemical and biological molecular assembly using methods that have low-environmental impact, use innovative sustainable resources and are energy efficient. 

One of the main features of the Chemical Sustainability MSc is the substantial research project focusing on sustainable/green chemistry or chemical biotechnology, which will cover a six-month period after completing a literature review and plan on the proposed project. This is a major component of the programme and it will involve an intensive research project providing 'hands-on' extended training in methods and techniques and the development of new concepts at the forefront of scientific research. A unique feature of the project will be its interdisciplinary approach, for example embracing not just chemistry but identifying green synthetic methods via interdisciplinary research approaches.

Who this course is for

This programme is suitable for graduates from various chemical disciplines (chemistry, biochemistry, pharmaceutical chemistry, synthetic biology) with an interest in sustainability and wishing to enhance their research and practical skills and aiming for a research degree and/or academic career. This programme is also suitable for those working in industry wishing to expand their research experience as well as those in employment seeking continuing professional development.

What this course will give you

This programe is part of the Manufacturing Futures Lab (MFL) at UCL East. A unique space where the students of this programme can learn and work alongside researchers in green and sustainable chemistry, biochemical, chemical and mechanical engineering as well as industry professionals to develop novel chemicals and pharmaceutical products manufactured via sustainable approaches, impacting a range of sectors.

UCL Chemistry is among the top departments in the UK for this subject area: UCL is consistently placed in the global top 20 across a wide range of university rankings - and is currently 4th in the UK in the QS World University Rankings 2023 for Chemistry..

Students benefit from an interdisciplinary research project sustainable chemistry or chemical biotechnology and modules covering a wide rang of selected chemical topics, such as biosynthesis of natural products, synthesis of proteins and peptides, asymmetric synthesis and advanced catalysis.

The foundation of your career

Graduates will be equipped for varied employment in industry (pharmaceutical, chemical, manufacturing) and the public sector: chemical sustainability knowledge has a broad range of applications in many sectors, ranging from chemical production to the recycling industries and public policy development.


This programme is designed to provide first-hand experience of research at the cutting-edge of chemical sustainability and is particularly suitable for those wishing to embark on a career within academia or the chemical production and waste industries

Examples of future employment may include: research chemists and biotechnologists working on the development of sustainable and environmentally friendly routes for the molecular assembly of drugs, materials, biofuels and bio-based products; recycling experts with expertise in recycling strategies; sustainability policy – with chemical expertise to contribute strategies; Chemistry teaching; Chemistry analyst across the chemical production and waste industries.


You will have opportunities to visit the Royal Society of Chemistry and the Royal Society (both situated in central London), to attend public lectures and meetings given by eminent national and international scientists. The student run ‘Chemical Physical society’ which is the oldest student-run chemical society also holds weekly social events and scientific discussions and seminars on a variety of topical chemical and physical aspects. In addition, there are many scientific events offering networking opportunities organised by several societies across UCL, ranging from Life Science to Data Science.

Teaching and learning

The programme's core curriculum is delivered through a blended mixture of lectures, problem-based workshops, individual and group online activities, and lab classes. You will be expected to supplement material provided by lecturers with your own independent-learning and research, by reading around the subject and by engaging with wider activities in new sustainable synthesis, for example by attending seminars. There is also a focus on practical problem-based learning and group-based workshops.

Compulsory modules:

  • Core Concepts in Chemical Sustainability

This module will comprise of important concepts in the area of chemical sustainability split into 3 key topics (green chemistry, biocatalysis and synthetic biology, biomass and industrial processes), highlighting key contemporary concepts.

  • Chemical Sustainability Research Skills

This practical research module is intended to be a ‘chemistry and biotechnology bootcamp’ to acquire skills and techniques in green chemistry, molecular biology and biocatalysis, and synthetic biology scale up.

  • Literature Project

The literature project is intended to be linked to the research project and a thorough literature survey.

  • Transferable skills for scientists

This module aims to prepare Master’s students for their research projects and more widely for ‘life as a professional chemist’. It incorporates specific research skills as well as other transferable skills. The course is designed to meet UCL goals of a ‘Connected Curriculum’ in developing research-led teaching.

  • Topics in Modern Chemistry

This module comprises of a series of topics drawn from the entire breadth of chemistry, highlighting contemporary research areas within the department of Chemistry

  • Advanced Research Project: Sustainable Chemistry

This 90-credit module aims to provide extensive first-hand practical experience of research techniques and strategies in chemical sustainability.

The programme's core curriculum is assessed through a range of methods that typically include individual coursework, lab demonstrations and reports, individual projects with associated presentations and dissertation reports as well as oral assessments. Students are also given time to revise and work through their assessed work with opportunities for individual and group feedback.

Assessment methods vary according to modules and are designed to enable students to demonstrate learning over time.

On average it is expected that a student spends 150 hours studying for each 15-credit module. This includes teaching time, private study and coursework. Modules are usually taught in weekly sessions which could be face-to-face or blended with online material.


A core compulsory taught module will be delivered through lectures, on-line activities (seminars), reading and problem classes (workshops) on chemical and biological sustainable synthesis incorporating the principles of green chemistry, catalysis and renewable resources as well as applications of biocatalysis and synthetic biology together with industrial processes and bioprocesses.

This will be accompanied by a core practical research skills module covering chemical techniques and fundamental biosciences and biotechnology to prepare students for their interdisciplinary research projects. This is intended to be a ‘chemistry and biotechnology bootcamp’, whereby students with differing levels of experimental chemistry experience will acquire skills and techniques that will develop their personal sense of research proficiency and support confidence building in conducting their own interdisciplinary practical experiments.

A further taught module will allow the students to specialise in selected chemical topics such as biosynthesis of natural products, synthesis of proteins and peptides, asymmetric synthesis and advanced catalysis.

The programme is designed over 12 months including 180 credits. Students will follow a number of interconnected core modules divided into Terms 1, 2 and 3.

In Term 1, students take the taught modules Core Concepts in Chemical Sustainability (15 credits, CHEM0087) and Topics in Modern Chemistry (15 credits, CHEM0077). In addition to these, a Transferable Skills module (15 credits, CHEM0072) for scientists, which runs through the 3 terms, starts in Term 1. Finally, students take a Literature Project (30 credits, CHEM0040) which leads into an advanced research project in chemical sustainability.

In Term 2, students complete the Literature Project and continue with the module in Transferable Skills for scientists. Students take a Chemical Sustainability Research Skills (15 credits, CHEM0085) covering chemical techniques and fundamental biosciences to prepare them for the research project. Students start the module Advanced Research Project: Sustainable Chemistry (90 credits, CHEM0086) which is the major component of the degree programme.

In Term 3, the module in Transferable Skills is completed. Students continue the module Advanced Research Project: Sustainable Chemistry which will be completed in the summer period.

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 are subject to change. Modules that are in use for the current academic year are linked for further information. Where no link is present, further information is not yet available.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits. Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded an MSc in Chemical Sustainability.


Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support and Wellbeing team.

Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time
Tuition fees (2024/25) £15,100
Tuition fees (2024/25) £37,500

Additional costs

There are no additional costs for this programme.

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

Funding your studies

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

Brown Family Bursary

Value: £15,000 (1 year)
Criteria Based on both academic merit and financial need
Eligibility: UK

UCL East London Scholarship

Value: Tuition fees plus £15,700 stipend ()
Criteria Based on financial need
Eligibility: UK

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.

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 Application fees.

Please note that you may submit applications for a maximum of two graduate programmes (or one application for the Law LLM) in any application cycle.

Choose your programme

Please read the Application Guidance before proceeding with your application.

Year of entry: 2024-2025

Got questions? Get in touch

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