MChem Chemical Physics with a Year in Industry


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Key facts

(Guardian, 2016)


The School of Chemistry prides itself on research excellence across its spectrum of activities, from synthetic chemistry and drug discovery to spectroscopy and analytical and biophysical chemistry, as confirmed by successive Research Assessment Exercises.

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Key facts

(2014 Research Excellence Framework)

Recognised by the Institute of Physics, this interdisciplinary degree brings together chemistry, physics and mathematics to create a challenging and exciting programme of study, incorporating a year in industry. Chemistry at UEA has a prestigious reputation – in the most recent Research Excellence Framework 2014 we ranked 4th in the UK for research outputs. It is this cutting-edge research in chemical sciences which underpins the teaching of the course, ensuring your learning is at the forefront of scientific thought.

This integrated four-year degree will give you a deep understanding of topics like nanoparticles, laser systems and their applications, microsensors, computational modelling and photonics. You will develop your practical expertise in lab classes, which will introduce you to many pieces of complex instrumentation and specialist equipment. Your third year will be spent on an industrial placement, so you will graduate with invaluable experience and industry links.


This programme offers you the opportunity to take an industrial placement at the start of year 3. Completion of a Year in Industry programme will ensure you graduate with relevant work experience, putting you one step ahead of other students.

We offer a distinctive and integrated approach to Chemical Physics by delivering the chemistry and physics teaching for this degree programme within a single department. As an internationally recognized centre of interdisciplinary research, the School provides a richly research-led context for state of the art teaching.

Chemical Physics has been an integral part of, and a major research theme in, the School since its foundation. All who teach on this degree course are professional research-active chemists and physicists. During your studies, you will acquire a broad understanding of molecular science with an increasing focus on its interface with physics. Modules include core chemistry, which runs alongside an extensive grounding in appropriate mathematical techniques and relevant physics - ranging from atomic interactions right through to relativity.

Course Structure

Chemical Physics is an exciting and intellectually challenging area and you will be introduced to topics that reflect its full scope, such as the fabrication and properties of nanoparticles, laser systems and their applications, microsensors, computational modelling and photonics.

Year 1
First year modules include mathematics for scientists, an introduction to laboratory-based work and special topics in chemical physics, as well as modules in basic organic, inorganic, physical chemistry and quantum mechanics.

Year 2
The second year consists of teaching in the core chemistry topics, laboratory work, including a specialised laboratory module on chemical physics, and additional lectures in mathematics and theoretical chemistry.

Year 3 (Year in Industry)
You will spend your third year on industrial placement. Throughout the work placement, you keep in contact with staff members at UEA, one of whom will visit you at least once during the year. In addition to a detailed final report on the work undertaken you will also complete a distance learning module assessed by coursework and short course tests.

Year 4
In your fourth year, you will study a range of advanced Chemistry modules such as Protein Engineering and Forensic Analysis and Interpretation, as well as completing a year-long research project.


Year in Industry

Completion of a Year in Industry programme will ensure you graduate with relevant work experience, putting you one step ahead of other students. This exciting degree programme provides you with this opportunity.

There is no greater asset in today’s competitive job market than relevant work experience. A Year in Industry will give you first-hand knowledge of not only the mechanics of how your chosen field operates but it will also greatly improve your chances of progressing within that sector as you seal valuable contacts and insight. These courses will also enhance your studies as theory is transformed into reality in a context governed by very real, time and financial constraints.

Our Industrial Links

A wide range of companies participate in this scheme, including: GlaxoSmithKline, AstraZeneca, Novartis, Infineum, Xennia, Napp and British Sugar to name but a few. Students are engaged in a large range of projects: in organic synthesis and pharmaceuticals, analysis, physical chemistry, materials chemistry and environmental and forensic chemistry.

Financial Benefits

A big attraction to this type of course, apart from the enhanced career prospects, is that students will pay much reduced tuition fees for that year (see fees and funding tab). There is also a realistic chance of being paid by the placement provider during the year which is a great way to help fund your continued studies. For the latest on financial arrangements for our Year in Industry students please visit the UEA Finance webpage.

How it Works

The Year in Industry degree programmes are four years in length with the work placement taking place during your third year. They are a minimum of nine months full-time employment and a maximum of 14 months.

Throughout the work placement, you keep in close contact with an assigned mentor at UEA who will also visit you at least once during the year. You keep a regularly updated work diary, so that your mentor will be able to ensure you are fulfilling all of the necessary learning objectives. Some introductory sessions are provided prior to commencing the work placement to help you gain the most from your year in industry, and you will enroll on a Work Based Learning module during you final year back at UEA.

We expect students to seek their own work placements and in the first two weeks of your second year you will be asked to write a curriculum vitae and to apply to a range of companies. Not only will this ensure that you work within your preferred field of chemistry, it will also provide you with the essential job-hunting skills you will require after graduation. We will, of course, offer our guidance whilst students are identifying and negotiating placement opportunities.

Please note that we cannot guarantee any student a work placement as this decision rests with potential employers and students will be expected to source these placements themselves. The Faculty of Science will provide support for students trying to obtain a placement in preparation for the year in Industry placements and students are expected to make use of any help offered within the Faculty/School as well as the Careers Centre.

If you were unable to secure a work placement by the end of your second year you will have the option to apply to be transferred onto the equivalent three-year degree programme without a Year in Industry.

“I have secured an industrial placement as a medicinal chemist at the pharmaceutical company Novartis for next year. During this year I will earn a decent salary as well as complete distance learning modules which count towards my MChem. This year should help me decide which area of research I would like to work in once graduating, or if I would prefer to do a PhD first. It will also look excellent on my CV, as I will have a year of experience in an industrial environment, learning some of the essential skills needed for the work place.”

Helen Newson
MChem Biological and Medicinal Chemistry with a Year in Industry

View our Year in Industry brochure.

Course Modules

Students must study the following modules for 120 credits:

Name Code Credits


After an introduction to chemical bonding (taught jointly with CHE-4101Y), atomic and molecular structure and chemical principles, this module will provide an introduction to the structures, properties and reactivities of molecules and ionic solids. The latter part of the course will concentrate more on fundamental aspects of inorganic chemistry. Emphasis will be placed on the relationships between chemical bonding and the structures and properties of molecules. This module is the prerequisite for the 2nd year inorganic module CHE-5301B. The first few lectures of this module are integrated with CHE-4101Y. The course is supported and illustrated by the bonding, structrure and periodicity experiments of the first year practical modules, CHE-4001Y and CHE-4602Y.




This is a laboratory based module covering experimental aspects of the "core" chemistry courses CHE-4101Y (Chemistry of Carbon-based Compounds CCC), CHE-4301Y (Bonding, Structure and Periodicity BSP) and CHE-4202Y (Light, Atoms and Materials LAM). A component on Analytical Chemistry is also included. The use of spreadsheets for analyzing and presenting data is covered in the LAM section of the course.




After a shared introduction to atomic structure and periodicity (taught jointly with CHE-4301Y), 4101Y introduces the concepts of # and # bonding and hybridisation, conjugation and aromaticity, the mechanistic description of organic reactions, the organic functional groups, the shapes of molecules and the stereochemistry of reactions (enantiomers and diastereoisomers, SN1/SN2 and E1/E2 reactions, and epoxidation and 1,2-difunctionalisation of alkenes). These principles are then elucidated in a series of topics: Enolate, Claisen, Mannich reactions, and the Strecker amino acid synthesis; the electrophilic substitution reactions of aromatic compounds, and the addition reactions of alkenes, and the chemistry of polar multiple bonds. Organic synthesis and spectroscopy are discussed, with a survey of methods to synthesise alkanes, alkenes, alkynes, alcohols, alkyl halides, ethers, amines and carboxylic acids, and the use of IR, UV and NMR spectroscopy and mass spectrometry to identify the products.




This module introduces students to the major areas of classical physical chemistry: chemical kinetics, chemical thermodynamics, electrolyte solutions and electrochemistry as well as spectroscopy. Chemical kinetics will consider the kinetic theory of gasses and then rate processes, and in particular with the rates of chemical reactions taking place either in the gas phase or in solution. The appropriate theoretical basis for understanding rate measurements will be developed during the course, which will include considerations of the order of reaction, the Arrhenius equation and determination of rate constants. Thermodynamics deals with energy relationships in large assemblies, that is those systems which contain sufficient numbers of molecules for 'bulk' properties to be exhibited and which, are in a state of equilibrium. Properties discussed will include the heat content or enthalpy (H), heat capacity (Cp, Cv), internal energy (U), heat and work. The First Law of Thermodynamics will be introduced and its significance explained in the context of chemical reactions. It is very important that chemists have an understanding of the behaviour of ions in solution, which includes conductivity and ionic mobility. The interaction of radiation with matter is termed spectroscopy. Three main topics will be discussed: (i) ultraviolet/visible (UV / Vis) spectroscopy, in which electrons are moved from one orbital to another orbital; (ii) infrared (vibrational) spectroscopy, a technique which provides chemists with important information on the variety of bond types that a molecule can possess; (iii) nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR), which allow chemists to identify 'molecular skeletons'.




THIS MODULE CANNOT BE TAKEN WITH ENV-4014Y OR ENV-4013Y. This module is designed for students with maths A2 level (grade C or above) or IB SL (grade 4 or above). It is also for students transferring from the SCI Foundation year who have taken MTHB0002B Basic Mathematics II. It covers differentiation, integration, vectors, partial differentiation, ordinary differential equations, further integrals, power series expansions, complex numbers and statistical methods. In addition to the theoretical background there is an emphasis on applied examples. Previous knowledge of calculus is assumed. This module is the first in a series of three maths modules for students across the Faculty of Science that provide a solid undergraduate mathematical training. The follow-on modules are Mathematics for Scientists B and C.




This module gives an introduction to important topics in physics, with particular, but not exclusive, relevance to chemical and molecular physics. Areas covered include optics, electrostatics and magnetism, and special relativity. The module may be taken by any science students who wish to study physics beyond A-Level.



Students must study the following modules for 120 credits:

Name Code Credits


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.




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.




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.




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.




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.



Students must study the following modules for 120 credits:

Name Code Credits


This module is only available to MChem students on their year in industry and to FF41 students attending the FIU in Miami during the second semester. Students will study core level 3 chemistry through a series of distance learning assignments. It provides, through distance learning, the essential material from the third year chemical sciences syllabus. Study of this material will equip the student for further study at M level in all major sub-disciplines of Chemistry. It is a pre-requisite for entry to the level M units for students on industrial placement degrees.




Students will be evaluated against the goals of their work during industrial placement. This assessment will be made by the UEA supervisor in consultation with the industrial supervisor(s). This module is only available to MChem students on their year in industry.




Students will prepare a report and presentation covering agreed aspects of their industrial placement work. The presentation will typically be given at UEA following the students' return. This module is only available to MChem students on their year in industry.



Students must study the following modules for 100 credits:

Name Code Credits


This 20-credit module is classed as a taught postgraduate module; it can be flexible in some aspects of assessment and aims to present material that is not necessarily covered in standard textbooks. The contents in seminar series are not assessed in the final exam. The module provides M level coverage in selected topics of nanochemistry and physical chemistry and follows on from the respective 3rd year modules. The material will be presented in two lecture blocks, covering (i) advanced synthesis of nanomaterials and related considerations, functionalization and characterizations, single molecule methods in biophysical chemistry, and nanoparticles in nanomedicine; (ii) physical chemistry and reaction kinetics, molecular photophysics and spectroscopy.




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. It will include elements of independent reading on advanced topics to be presented in seminars.




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



Students will select 20 credits from the following modules:

Name Code Credits


This module is designed to provide students with an understanding of the developing landscape and challenges in the broad area of energy generation and transduction. It has a particular emphasis on the science that underpins emerging technologies related to the hydrogen economy, photovoltaics and biological or solar fuels. Necessarily it encompasses cross-discipline aspects of chemistry, physics materials and biological science with the students gaining knowledge of how these disciplines interplay in the design and construction of new devices for energy harvesting and utilisation.




This 20-credit module is an option for all final year M level students. It is classed as a taught postgraduate module; this implies that it can be flexible in some aspects of assessment and aims to present material that is not necessarily covered in standard textbooks. The module provides M level coverage in selected topics of inorganic chemistry and builds upon the prerequisite Level 6 module CHE-6301Y. The material will be presented in three lecture blocks, covering (i) homogeneous catalysis, focussing on dehydrocoupling and stereoselective alkene polymerisation(ii) frustrated Lewis pairs and their applications in catalysis and (iii) recent advances in gold chemistry




This is a 20-credit module for final year MChem The module provides advanced level coverage in selected topics of organic chemistry. Topics will include Asymmetric synthesis and catalysis, mechanism in organic chemistry and supramolecular chemistry. Lectures will be seminar-style.




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

Fees and Funding

Undergraduate University Fees and Financial Support: Home and EU Students

Tuition Fees

Please see our webpage for further information on the current amount of tuition fees payable for Home and EU students and for details of the support available.

Scholarships and Bursaries

We are committed to ensuring that costs do not act as a barrier to those aspiring to come to a world leading university and have developed a funding package to reward those with excellent qualifications and assist those from lower income backgrounds. 

Home/EU - The University of East Anglia offers a range of Bursaries and Scholarships.  To check if you are eligible please visit 


Undergraduate University Fees and Financial Support: International Students

Tuition Fees

Please see our webpage for further information on the current amount of tuition fees payable for International Students.


We offer a range of Scholarships for International Students – please see our website for further information.



How to Apply

Applications need to be made via the Universities Colleges and Admissions Services (UCAS), using the UCAS Apply option.

UCAS Apply is a secure online application system that allows you to apply for full-time Undergraduate courses at universities and colleges in the United Kingdom. It is made up of different sections that you need to complete. Your application does not have to be completed all at once. The system allows you to leave a section partially completed so you can return to it later and add to or edit any information you have entered. Once your application is complete, it must be sent to UCAS so that they can process it and send it to your chosen universities and colleges.

The UCAS code name and number for the University of East Anglia is EANGL E14.

Further Information

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

Undergraduate Admissions Service
Tel: +44 (0)1603 591515

Please click here to register your details via our Online Enquiry Form.

International candidates are also actively encouraged to access the University's International section of our website.

    Next Steps

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