Graduate Diploma Chemical Sciences

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Graduate Diploma


What happens when you get in the way of irresistible attraction? Energy. UEA Chemists have placed hydrogen atoms between attracted molecules and produced power in the process.

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Key facts

(2014 Research Excellence Framework)

The Graduate Diploma in Chemical Sciences gives you the chance to expand on your Undergraduate degree and broaden your knowledge of Chemistry.

It’s designed for students whose first degree does not fulfil the requirements for direct entry to further graduate study, such as an MSc or PhD programme in Chemistry, but who want to receive additional training in the subject.

Through a mixture of lectures, lab training and individual research you’ll undertake a bespoke programme that’s tailored to your particular Chemistry background to ensure you get the knowledge and skills you need to excel. The School of Chemistry was ranked 4th in the UK for the quality of its research output (REF 2014), so you’ll be taught by some of the best researchers in the country.


Chemical scientists are increasingly in demand in many industries, including the chemical, pharmaceutical, agricultural, environmental, electronics and aerospace sectors.

Chemistry underpins research and development in areas where the demands of contemporary research are such that training up to and beyond honours degree level is becoming increasingly necessary. The Graduate Diploma in Chemical Sciences is designed for students whose first degree does not fulfil the requirements for direct entry to further graduate study, such as an MSc or PhD programme in Chemistry.

The Graduate diploma course comprises a combination of lecture, laboratory and project modules. The modules available are drawn from the School’s extensive undergraduate teaching programme. The course content is tailored individually for you to build on your previous chemistry background in order to prepare you for further graduate study. You will have the opportunity to study organic, inorganic, physical, analytical, and biological chemistry modules within the School of Chemistry which has a long-standing tradition of training graduate students. The Graduate Diploma will also provide you with a wealth of transferable skills, meaning you will be well equipped to enter directly into a career if further graduate study is not for you. You will acquire excellent skills and training in problem solving, numeracy, communication, creativity, team working, time management and data analysis.

Course Structure: The programme is 45 weeks long. Students take typically five to six tested general and advanced level lecture courses (some with associated practical training) and often join one of the internationally recognised research teams in the School to undertake an original research project.

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Course Modules

Students must study the following modules for credits:

Name Code Credits

Students will select 120 credits from the following modules:

Name Code Credits


This module explores the structural, kinetic and thermodynamic properties of biological systems and the methodologies used to define them. Using predominantly examples from protein biochemistry, these topics will be discussed within three major themes: 1) Binding, activation and transfer in biological systems, 2) Enzyme catalysis, and 3) Macromolecular size, shape and structure determination. The concluding lectures will explore protein disorder, folding and structure to illustrate how biophysicists integrate concepts and methods from each of these themes when addressing a specific research topic.




The module will consist of topics covering important areas of modern physical chemistry and chemical physics. The material will blend together experimental and theoretical aspects of photonics, condensed phase dynamics in molecular and macromolecular fluids and quantum and classical simulations.




Following on from CHE-4701Y, where the emphasis was on collection of evidence, this module introduces more in-depth forensic chemistry, looking at the way evidence gathered at a crime scene may be analysed in the laboratory. The module will deepen the knowledge of forensic statistics and cover basic detection and recovery techniques for body fluids; dna analysis; fingerprint development and recovery; advanced microscopy and spectroscopy and their application to fibres including the theory and practical application of infra-red and raman spectroscopy, paint and other particulates; the use of elemental analysis in forensic science including atomic absorption spectroscopy; and questioned document examination including counterfeiting.




The module describes the structure, bonding and reactivity patterns of inorganic compounds. The aspects covered are set out in the content summary. The module is a prerequisite for the 3rd level inorganic course CHE-6301B. Further details will be provided in the course information booklet.




This module concentrates on two important themes in contemporary inorganic chemistry: (i) the role of transition metals in homogeneous catalysis (ii) the correlation between the structures of transition metal complexes and their physical properties, specifically electronic and magnetic properties. The structure and bonding in these compounds will be discussed as well as applications in materials chemistry and synthesis. There will be a series of problem-solving workshops interspersed with the lectures. As each of the three lecturers completes their material, there will be a formative course test of short questions in exam format.




The module covers the theory and practical application of some key instrumental techniques for chemical analysis. Molecular spectroscopy, chromatography and electroanalytical techniques are the important instrumental methods included. Laboratory practicals using these techniques will reinforce material covered in the lecture programme.




A supervised literature-based project available only to students registered for the BSc programme.




An introduction to the basic principles of polymer synthesis is presented, together with a discussion of their physical properties. Speciality polymers are discussed. Materials chemistry is developed further with the introduction of inorganic structures and the concept of ferroelectric properties together with powder x-ray diffraction as applied to cubic crystals. Ion conductivity and basic band theory are also discussed. Semiconductivity is introduced and related to the band description of these materials. A series of practical experiments in polymer and materials chemistry supports this module and are designed to improve and enhance laboratory skills through experiments, which cover important topics in modern chemistry.




This module introduces medicinal chemistry using chemical principles established during the first year. The series of lectures covers a wide range of topics central to medicinal chemistry. Topics discussed include an Introduction to Drug Development, Proteins as Drug Targets, Revision Organic Chemistry, Targeting DNA with Antitumour Drugs, Targeting DNA-Associated Processes, Fatty Acid and Polyketide Natural Products.




Quantum mechanics, one of the key scientific ideas of the 20th century, has had a wide impact in chemistry. In the first part of the module you will be introduced to the language and methods of quantum mechanics. In the second part, the close relation between spectroscopic measurements of small molecules and quantum theory will be discussed. Further methods of spectroscopy will then be introduced, beginning with the most widely used of all techniques in structure determination, NMR spectroscopy. This will be followed by a discussion of molecular electronic spectra which are widely used in chemical analysis.




This course builds on CHE - 4101Y (the first year organic chemistry course). Four main topics are covered. The first "Aromaticity" includes benzenoid and hetero-aromatic systems. The second major topic is the organic chemistry of carbonyl compounds. Spectroscopic characterisation of organic compounds is reviewed and the final major topic is "Stereochemistry and Mechanisms". This covers conformational aspects of acyclic and cyclic compounds. Stereoelectronic effects, Neighbouring Group Participation (NGP), Baldwin's rules, Cram's rule and cycloaddition reactions are then discussed.




This module covers several key topics required to plan the synthesis of organic compounds, and to understand the properties displayed by organic compounds. The first topic is on synthesis planning, strategy and analysis, supported by a study of further important oxidation and reduction reactions. The second topic is on the synthesis of chiral non-racemic compounds, and describes the use of chiral pool compounds and methods for the amplification of chiral information. The third topic is on the use of organometallic compounds in synthesis with a particular emphasis on the use of transition metal based catalysts. The fourth topic is on the various types of pericyclic reactions and understanding the stereochemistry displayed by an analysis of frontier orbitals. The final topic is on physical organic chemistry and includes aspects of radical chemistry.




The module covers a number of areas of modern physical chemistry which are essential to a proper understanding of the behaviour of chemical systems. These include the second Law of thermodynamics and entropy, the thermodynamics of solutions, chemical kinetics, surface chemistry and catalysis. The module includes laboratory work. Due to the laboratory-based content on this module students must have completed at least one level 4 module containing laboratory work.




The module covers fundamental material in Physical Chemistry including statistical thermodynamics, plus specialist topics such as lasers and photochemistry, diffraction methods, interfacial kinetics and dynamic electrochemistry.




The structural basis of the function of many proteins has been elucidated and this, together with the ready availability of chemical and biochemical techniques for altering proteins in a controlled way, has led to the application of proteins in a wide variety of chemical processes. These include their use as industrial catalysts and medicines, in organic syntheses and in the development of new materials. Central to the module is the link between the structures of proteins and their biochemical and physical properties. Included are discussions of protein structure, and an introduction to the methods employed to determine protein structures by X-ray crystallography. Acknowledging the importance of metal ions to protein function, the chemical principles of protein-metal interactions and spectroscopic techniques for studying protein metal centres are also covered. Relevant methods from bioinformatics and computational biomolecular modelling are introduced as tools for rational protein engineering. In the second half of the module, lectures progress to explain the experimental techniques by which the properties of proteins can be altered, through to the design and production of completely novel proteins and of synthetic protein mimics.




This course covers the foundation and basics of quantum theory and symmetry, starting with features of the quantum world and including elements of quantum chemistry, group theory, computer-based methods for calculating molecular wavefunctions, quantum information, and the quantum nature of light. The subject matter paves the way for applications to a variety of chemical and physical systems - in particular, processes and properties involving the electronic structure of atoms and molecules.




A supervised research project available only to students registered for the BSc programme.




The aim of this module is to provide an overview of important classes of organic natural product and pharmaceutical compounds. The biosynthetic origins and or the natural product synthesis of some of these entities are also, in some cases, explained in terms of classic organic chemistry, arrow pushing, all of which is presented alongside the properties of perinent examples. The module examines examples of biogenesis, chemical synthesis as well as the biological action of selected natural products and pharmaceutically active compounds. More specifically the chemistry associated with natural products that contain important bioactive motifs will be discussed. The roles of coenzymes in the mevalonate and methylerythritol pathways that generate the "isoprene" building blocks for terpenes and steroids, are outlined as well as the significance of substrate folding in the action of terpene synthases and the enzymes that produce steroids. The historical development and applications of multicomponent reactions as well as the use of microfluidics (flow and continuous), microwave and biphasic chemical synthesis. Finally target molecule synthesis associated with natural product synthesis and the chemistry associated with organosulfur, organosilicon and organoselenium chemistry is discussed in the context of natural product synthesis.




Whilst the University will make every effort to offer the modules listed, changes may sometimes be made arising from the annual monitoring, review and update of modules and regular (five-yearly) review of course programmes. Where this activity leads to significant (but not minor) changes to programmes and their constituent modules, there will normally be prior consultation of students and others. It is also possible that the University may not be able to offer a module for reasons outside of its control, such as the illness of a member of staff or sabbatical leave. Where this is the case, the University will endeavour to inform students.

Entry Requirements

  • Degree Subject This programme is open to students with a first degree (or equivalent) in Chemistry or an appropriate, related joint discipline.

Entry Requirement

This programme is open to students with an honours degree (or equivalent) in a science subject.

Students for whom English is a Foreign language

We welcome applications from students whose first language is not English. To ensure such students benefit from postgraduate study, we require evidence of proficiency in English. Our usual entry requirements are as follows:

  • IELTS: 6.5 (minimum 6.0 in all components)
  • PTE (Pearson): 62 (minimum 55 in all components)

Test dates should be within two years of the course start date.

Other tests, including Cambridge English exams and the Trinity Integrated Skills in English are also accepted by the university. The full list of accepted tests can be found here: Accepted English Language Tests

INTO UEA also run pre-sessional courses which can be taken prior to the start of your course. For further information and to see if you qualify please contact

Fees and Funding

Tuition Fees for 2017/18

  • Home/EU: £7,300
  • Overseas: £18,200

How to Apply

Applications for Postgraduate Taught programmes at the University of East Anglia should be made directly to the University.

You can apply online, or by downloading the application form.

Further Information

To request further information & to be kept up to date with news & events please use our online enquiry form.

If you would like to discuss your individual circumstances prior to applying please do contact us:

Postgraduate Admissions Office
Tel: +44 (0)1603 591515

International candidates are also encouraged to access the International Students section of our website.

    Next Steps

    We can’t wait to hear from you. Just pop any questions about this course into the form below and our enquiries team will answer as soon as they can.

    Admissions enquiries: or
    telephone +44 (0)1603 591515