BSc Chemical Physics

UEA Clearing 0300 300 7994
From the materials we make, to the medicines we take, chemistry shapes our interactions with the world around us. So understanding how chemicals interact at a molecular level is not only fascinating, it’s also of critical importance.

This course is for you if you possess an inherent curiosity about the world around you, are fascinated by the way chemicals interact and have a desire to understand their impact on every aspect of our lives, from our health and wellbeing to our economy.

Overview

We have been teaching Chemical Physics at UEA for almost 50 years; today some of the most adventurous scientific activity can be found in this field.

Exciting and intellectually challenging, our BSc degree will introduce you to topics across the full scope of the subject, such as the fabrication and properties of nanoparticles, laser systems and their applications, microsensors, computational modelling and photonics.

You will benefit from our interdisciplinary and coherent approach, which brings together chemistry, physics and mathematics.

We are a leading centre for chemistry research in the UK, with 98% of our research ranked as world-leading or internationally excellent in the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014). The School of Chemistry’s research themes are light and energy, the chemistry of materials and catalysis, and the chemistry of life processes. These themes influence and run throughout our taught programmes, ensuring you learn at the forefront of research in the field.

Course Structure

Over the course you will cover topics across the full scope of chemical physics, as well as developing the transferable skills required of professional scientists.

Year 1

You will study a range of modules, covering topics including: physics, basic organic, inorganic and physical chemistry, quantum mechanics and be introduced to laboratory based work.

Year 2

Your second year will consist of laboratory work, including a specialised laboratory module on chemical physics. You’ll also explore core chemistry topics and have additional lectures in mathematics and theoretical chemistry.

Year 3

In your final year you’ll undertake an extended research project alongside further modules in advanced topics in chemistry. Your project could be a computational or laboratory project, typically a research project focusing on one of the key areas of modern chemical physics, such as laser interactions, surface chemistry, light harvesting and smart materials. For this you will spend time in a research group, usually working alongside postgraduate students and postdoctoral researchers. Your research project will not only build up your research skills, therefore improving your employment prospects, it is also an enjoyable and stimulating experience, and can lead to publication in a scientific journal.

You’ll also take further modules in physical chemistry and analytical chemistry, and well as choosing additional optional modules.

Teaching and Learning

Teaching

Your teaching will consist of lectures, small group seminars, workshops and practical sessions. Some lectures and practicals may have a flipped approach to learning where you will be expected to read and carry out specific tasks prior to attending.

Independent study

Throughout your degree you will have the opportunity for independent study for both coursework and exams. You’ll also use of your independent study skills during your research project.

Assessment

We will test your learning through a variety of methods to reflect the range of learning outcomes. These include practical reports, data handling, project work, dissertations, course tests and examinations.

Optional Study abroad or Placement Year

We also offer MChem Chemical Physics with a Year Abroad if you are interested in undertaking a year overseas.

We also offer MChem Chemical Physics with a Year in Industry where students spend their third year in industry, gaining hands-on experience in the workplace.  

After the course

After graduation you could go on to further study. You’ll also be ready for a range of careers in chemistry and its related disciplines. Beyond the physical sciences, the analytical and numerical skills you’ll develop will open doors to a wide range of jobs requiring analytical insight.

You could go on to work in the UK chemical industry, teaching, government or local authority establishments, research organisations, hospitals or water authorities. Alternatively, you could become one of the many graduates who go on to further study with an MSc, PhD or PGCE.

We work with UEA’s Careers Service to offer you support at every stage of your course, from choosing a career through to applying for graduate jobs.

Career destinations

Examples of careers that you could enter include;

  • Chemical industry
  • Research Scientist
  • Data Analyst
  • Academic
  • Teacher

Course related costs

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

Course Modules 2018/9

Students must study the following modules for 120 credits:

Name Code Credits

BONDING, STRUCTURE and PERIODICITY

After a shared introduction to chemical bonding, atomic and molecular structure and chemical principles, this module will provide you with an introduction to the structures, properties and reactivities of molecules and ionic solids. The first few lectures of this module are integrated with the module 'Chemistry of Carbon Based Compounds'. The course is supported and illustrated by the bonding, structure and periodicity experiments of the first year practical modules, Chemistry Laboratory A or Research Skills in Biochemistry. 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 Chemistry module.

CHE-4301Y

20

CHEMISTRY LABORATORY

You will be laboratory based to cover experimental aspects of the 'core' chemistry courses; Chemistry of Carbon-based Compounds, Bonding, Structure and Periodicity, Light, Atoms and Materials and Analytical Chemistry. You will use spreadsheets for analysing and presenting data, which is also covered in this module.

CHE-4001Y

20

CHEMISTRY OF CARBON-BASED COMPOUNDS

After a shared introduction to atomic structure and periodicity, you will be introduced to the concepts of bonding and hybridisation, conjugation and aromaticity, the mechanistic description of organic reactions, the organic functional groups, the shapes of molecules and stereochemical issues including the concepts of enantiomers, diastereoisomers and racemates.

CHE-4101Y

20

ELECTROMAGNETISM, OPTICS, RELATIVITY AND QUANTUM MECHANICS

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, aspect of chemical physics, basic quantum mechanics and special relativity. The module will involve both lectures and workshops, where you will develop analytical thinking and problem solving skills. The module may be taken by any science students who wish to study physics beyond A Level.

PHY-4001Y

20

LIGHT, ATOMS AND MOLECULES

This module will introduce you 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 that you'll discuss 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. You will discuss three main topics: (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'.

CHE-4202Y

20

MATHEMATICS FOR SCIENTISTS A

You will cover differentiation, integration, vectors, partial differentiation, ordinary differential equations, further integrals, power series expansions, complex numbers and statistical methods as part of this module. 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 those across the Faculty of Science that provide a solid undergraduate mathematical training. The follow-on modules are Mathematics for Scientists B and C.

ENV-4015Y

20

Students must study the following modules for 120 credits:

Name Code Credits

HEAT, ATOMS AND MOLECULES

Exploring fundamental aspects of thermodynamics and condensed matter physics, you'll be introduced to ideas about the electronic structure based on the free-electron Sommerfeld and band theories, along with the concept of phonons and their contribution to the heat capacity of a solid. You'll consider the structure, bonding and properties of solids, in particular electronic conductivity and magnetism, as well as atomic structure and atomic spectroscopy, and Entropy in terms of a macroscopic Carnot cycle and the statistical approach. Two important distributions of particles will be treated; Bose-Einstein and Fermi-Dirac. Changes of state, 1st and 2nd order phase transitions and the Clausius-Clapeyron equation will be described.

PHY-5001Y

20

INORGANIC CHEMISTRY

In this module, you'll study the structure, bonding and reactivity patterns of inorganic compounds. This module is a prerequisite for the 3rd level inorganic course Inorganic Compounds: Structure and Functions. You'll cover the electronic structure, spectroscopic and magnetic properties of transition metal complexes (ligand field theory), the chemistry of main group clusters, polymers and oligomers, the structures and reactivities of main group and transition metal organometallics, and the application of spectroscopic methods (primarily NMR, MS and IR) to inorganic compounds. You'll have laboratory classes linked to the lecture topics and so you will need to have completed either of the level 4 practical modules, Chemistry Laboratory (A) or Research Skills in Biochemistry.

CHE-5301B

20

MATERIALS AND POLYMER CHEMISTRY

Specialist materials dominate the modern world, and it is our ability as chemists to control their properties. Understanding and controlling these material properties is the central theme of this module. You will learn about two key classes of material: polymers and inorganic solids. You'll gain a firm grounding in the specialist methods used to characterise these materials. This will enable you to appreciate the unique properties of these materials, and how they can be controlled. In the practical element of the module, you'll gain skills in synthesising and characterising polymers and inorganic solids. In the polymers thread, you'll begin by gaining an appreciation of the role they play in society and why they are unique. You'll then encounter methods we can use to understand the properties of polymers, and how we can control them. You'll also explore the wide range of mechanisms that can be used to make organic polymers. In the thread focussed on inorganic materials, you'll explore the ionic model for inorganic solids, before gaining an appreciation of the synthesis and characterisation methods that allow access to these materials. You'll then explore the variety of properties that solids can exhibit, including semiconduction and magnetism. This lecture-based content is complemented by the practical component of the course, where you'll gain hands-on experience in both synthesis and characterisation.

CHE-5350Y

20

ORGANIC CHEMISTRY

This course builds on Chemistry of Carbon-based Compounds (the first year organic chemistry course). You will cover four main topics. 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.

CHE-5101A

20

PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY I

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, quantum mechanics, the thermodynamics of solutions and chemical kinetics of complex reactions. The module includes laboratory work. Due to the laboratory-based content on this module, you must have completed at least one Level 4 module containing laboratory work.

CHE-5201Y

20

QUANTUM THEORY AND SYMMETRY

You'll cover 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.

CHE-5250Y

20

Students must study the following modules for 60 credits:

Name Code Credits

CHEMICAL PHYSICS - PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY

You will study 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.

CHE-6250Y

20

INORGANIC COMPOUNDS: STRUCTURE AND FUNCTION

You will focus 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 electronic and magnetic properties. Via a series of problem-solving workshops, interspersed with lectures, you'll explore the structure and bonding in these compounds, as well as their applications in synthesis.

CHE-6301Y

20

PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY II

The module covers a selection of advanced topics in Physical Chemistry including statistical thermodynamics, reaction mechanisms and theories of reaction rates, photochemistry, electrochemistry and diffraction techniques.

CHE-6201Y

20

Students will select 20 - 40 credits from the following modules:

One of CHE-6001Y or CHE-6002Y MUST be taken (ie is Compulsory). Students who achieve a year aggregate of at least 50% in Year 2 are expected to take CHE-6001Y, those who do not achieve 50% must take CHE-6002Y.

Name Code Credits

LITERATURE-BASED PROJECT

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

CHE-6002Y

20

RESEARCH PROJECT

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

CHE-6001Y

40

Students will select 20 - 40 credits from the following modules:

Name Code Credits

ENERGY MATERIALS

This module is designed to provide you 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.

CHE-6350Y

20

ORGANIC COMPOUNDS: SYNTHESIS AND PROPERTIES

You will cover 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 various types of pericyclic reactions and understanding the stereochemistry displayed by an analysis of frontier orbitals. 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 physical organic chemistry and includes aspects of radical chemistry. The final topic is the synthesis of chiral non-racemic compounds, and describes the use of chiral pool compounds and methods for the amplification of chiral information, including asymmettric reductions and oxidations.

CHE-6101Y

20

Disclaimer

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.

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Entry Requirements

  • A Level BBB including Chemistry and Mathematics. All science A levels must include a pass in the practical element.
  • International Baccalaureate 31 points including HL5 Chemistry and HL5 Mathematics. If no GCSE equivalent is held, offer will include Mathematics and English requirements.
  • Scottish Advanced Highers CCC including Advanced Higher Level Chemistry and Mathematics. A combination of Advanced Highers and Highers may be acceptable.
  • Irish Leaving Certificate 2 subjects at H2, 4 subjects at H3 including Chemistry and Mathematics at Higher Level.
  • Access Course Pass Access to HE Diploma with Merit in 45 credits at Level 3, including 12 credits in Chemistry and 12 credits in Mathematics.
  • BTEC DDM in relevant subject. Excluding Public Services. BTEC Extended Diploma in Applied Science, or Applied Science (Medical Science) preferred. BTEC and A Level combinations are considered - please contact us.
  • European Baccalaureate 70% overall, to include 70% in Chemistry and Mathematics.

Entry Requirement

You are required to have English Language and Mathematics at a minimum of Grade C/4 or above at GCSE.

Applicants with Access or BTEC qualifications who receive an offer will also be asked to complete a chemistry test at the University during the Summer. Information concerning the content of the chemistry test will be made available to such applicants.

General Studies and Critical Thinking are not accepted. 

UEA recognises that some students take a mixture of International Baccalaureate IB or International Baccalaureate Career-related Programme IBCP study rather than the full diploma, taking Higher levels in addition to A levels and/or BTEC qualifications. At UEA we do consider a combination of qualifications for entry, provided a minimum of three qualifications are taken at a higher level. In addition, some degree programmes require specific subjects at a higher level.

Students for whom English is a Foreign language

We welcome applications from students from all academic backgrounds. We require evidence of proficiency in English (including speaking, listening, reading and writing) at the following level:

  • IELTS: 6.5 overall (minimum 6.0 in any component)

We will also accept a number of other English language qualifications. Please click here for further information.

INTO University of East Anglia 

If you do not meet the academic and/or English language requirements for this course, our partner INTO UEA offers guaranteed progression on to this undergraduate degree upon successful completion of a foundation programme:

INTO UEA also offer a variety of English language programmes which are designed to help you develop the English skills necessary for successful undergraduate study:

 

Interviews

The majority of candidates will not be called for an interview and a decision will be made via UCAS Track. However, for some students an interview will be requested. You may be called for an interview to help the School of Study, and you, understand if the course is the right choice for you.  The interview will cover topics such as your current studies, reasons for choosing the course and your personal interests and extra-curricular activities.  Where an interview is required the Admissions Service will contact you directly to arrange a convenient time.

 

Gap Year

We welcome applications from students who have already taken or intend to take a gap year.  We believe that a year between school and university can be of substantial benefit. You are advised to indicate your reason for wishing to defer entry and to contact admissions@uea.ac.uk directly to discuss this further.

Intakes

The School's annual intake is in September of each year.

Fees and Funding

Undergraduate University Fees and Financial Support

Tuition Fees

Information on tuition fees can be found here:

UK students

EU Students

Overseas Students

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. 

The University of East Anglia offers a range of Scholarships; please click the link for eligibility, details of how to apply and closing dates.

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
Email: admissions@uea.ac.uk

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

    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:
    admissions@uea.ac.uk or
    telephone +44 (0)1603 591515