MSc Advanced Organic Chemistry

Full Time
Degree of Master of Science

Key facts

4th in the UK for Research Output in Chemistry (Research Excellence Framework 2014 Times Higher Analysis)

Key facts

(Research Excellence Framework 2014 Times Higher Analysis)

Get ready to be at the forefront of organic chemistry today. Underpinning research and development in many areas of the chemical industry, organic chemistry couldn’t be more important. In fact, it’s the central discipline that drives innovation across many diverse areas of the science and technology industry – from forensics to food, pharmaceuticals to energy.

You’re already a chemist, but you know that advanced level training is becoming increasingly important in your field. As well as strengthening your broader chemistry knowledge, you’re excited about specialising in this fascinating area – studying subjects such as stereochemistry, medicinal chemistry, organometallics and spectroscopy.

This is exactly the kind of high-level training that’s so sought after by employers in the chemical industry, as well as top academic institutions working on fundamental research. So this course will be the next step on your journey towards a fulfilling and fascinating scientific career. 


Building on your undergraduate training in chemistry, this MSc allows you to gain a deeper understanding of the subject, whilst developing advanced knowledge in aspects of organic chemistry.

Whether you’re a chemistry graduate who wants to specialise, or you have a degree in combined science with a chemistry component, this course is designed to take your knowledge to the next level.

You can expect to reach the frontiers of knowledge in key aspects of your subject, including organic reaction mechanisms, spectroscopy, and synthetic strategy. You’ll learn through advanced lectures, seminars and laboratory classes – which are specifically tailored to the needs of the pharmaceutical, agrochemical, speciality and fine organic chemicals industries.

Importantly, you’ll also complete an in-depth laboratory research project, which allows you to work closely with our pioneering, award-winning academics on a topic of your choice. Through this you’ll showcase all your skills and learning – as well as bringing new original thought and research to bear on your topic.

You’ll graduate with high level specialised skills and knowledge in organic chemistry, ready to embark on a career in the industry or progression to PhD level study.

Course Structure

During this course, you will take general and advanced level lecture courses alongside problem solving seminars.

We specifically select subject areas to enhance your training on techniques and knowledge that are in high demand by the pharmaceutical, agrochemical, speciality and fine organic chemicals industries.

Subjects include: synthesis, asymmetric target oriented synthesis, spectroscopy, organometallic chemistry, stereochemistry and catalysis.

There’s also a large laboratory component of the course, which runs throughout the working year. You’ll start with an eight-week programme of advanced laboratory exercises and experiments designed to provide a realistic training in experimental chemistry by building on basic preparative skills.

Following this you’ll work on a research project, which will be assessed through a written dissertation and oral examination. Some examples of recent dissertation titles include:

  • Gold catalysed syntheses of complex heterocylic systems.
  • Enzymes in synthesis.
  • Extending the utility of palladium in cross-coupling reactions.
  • Discotic triphenylene liquid crystals.
  • New organic materials based on phthalocyanines and porphyrins.

Teaching and Learning

You’ll learn from experienced lecturers and research group leaders alongside students studying integrated Master’s courses and postgraduate researchers in organic chemistry.

During your laboratory training you’ll benefit from direct supervision from experienced researchers and faculty supervisors. Your supervisors will also lead your seminars and direct the research project (dissertation) element of your course and independent study.

Alongside your formal teaching you’ll join an organic chemistry research group led by supervisors. This will give you the chance to develop your research training and fully integrate into the graduate student community.  

Your class sizes will vary – we usually have 30-40 students in combined lectures and around 8-15 in our workshops and graduate problem classes.


A key part of the assessment for this course will be your original research project. You’ll get support throughout your research from an experienced supervisor, who will also guide you in preparing your final dissertation and presentation.

Alongside this you’ll hand in periodic coursework to help us assess your understanding of lecture material, and write short reports to help us assess your laboratory training.

You’ll get written feedback on your work as well as direct feedback sessions with your faculty leader to give you the chance to ask questions and agree areas to focus on.

After the course

You will graduate with all the skills you need to start an exciting career in the chemical industry – or you may choose to take your studies even further with a PhD in organic chemistry.

We’re proud of our past graduates’ superb record of achievement – with careers in a wide range of industrial and academic positions.

Career destinations

Examples of careers that you could enter include:

  • Further research (PhD)
  • Chemical industry (research and development)
  • Teaching

Course related costs

Please see Additional Course Fees for details of course-related costs.

Course Modules 2020/1

Students must study the following modules for 180 credits:

Name Code Credits


Extensive research project. Students join one of the active research groups to perform an original research project in a topical area of organic chemistry. The work is summarised in a dissertation.




A series of advanced laboratory experiments will be performed.




This module comprises lectures and seminars on advanced topics in organic chemistry. Topics include synthesis and synthesis planning, physical organic chemistry, spectroscopic characterisation of organic compounds, organometallics and catalysis.




Skills related to presenting research results to a specialist audience.




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. In some cases optional modules can have limited places available and so you may be asked to make additional module choices in the event you do not gain a place on your first choice. Where this is the case, the University will endeavour to inform students.

Further Reading

Entry Requirements

  • Degree Subject This programme is open to students with a good Bachelors degree in Chemistry or an appropriate, related joint discipline (depending on content).

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 5.5 in all components)
  • PTE (Pearson): 58 (minimum 42 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 the academic year 2020/21 are:

  • UK/EU Students: £10,350 (full time)
  • International Students: £22,300 (full time)


Living Expenses

We estimate living expenses at £1,015 per month.


A variety of Scholarships may be offered to UK/EU and International students. Scholarships are normally awarded to students on the basis of academic merit and are usually for the duration of the period of study. Please click here for more detailed information about funding for prospective students.

How to Apply

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

To apply please use our online application form.

Further Information

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