MChem Chemistry with a Year Abroad

Key facts

This course satisfies the academic requirements for Chartered Chemist (CChem) and Chartered Scientist (CSci).

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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)


Find out what it’s really like to study Chemistry at UEA!

Wednesday 25th October 2017 9:30 – 16:00

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Gain the academic training needed to become a professional chemist, whilst enhancing your university experience with a year studying abroad. 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.

Accredited by the Royal Society of Chemistry, this integrated four-year course provides you with an advanced knowledge of chemistry. You will benefit from substantial lab-based teaching to develop your practical skills. In the final years of your degree, you will tailor your study to specialise in the areas which reflect your interests and undertake an individual research project. Your third year will be spent abroad, studying at one of our many partner universities in North America.


This four year degree offers you the opportunity to spend a year in North America. Going to a university in another country will allow you to experience other cultures and by studying in other chemistry departments, you will broaden your academic and personal horizons.

Chemistry helps shape the world around us, from the materials we use to the medicines we take. Understanding how chemicals interact at a molecular level is both fascinating and of critical importance to the well-being of an individual and the economy as a whole. This is the chemistry degree to choose if you intend to be a professional chemist.

Our Chemistry MChem is accredited by the Royal Society of Chemistry, demonstrating the high quality of our course. This four-year degree programme is a aimed at giving you a broad understanding of chemistry at an advanced level, with the opportunity to explore in depth specialised areas through optional modules.

Course Structure

In each of the years based at UEA you will study core inorganic, organic and physical chemistry, with practical experiments in associated laboratories. Training in laboratory skills is emphasised because chemistry has a strong practical component, whether it is in the synthesis of new compounds, characterisation of these compounds by spectroscopic methods or studying their properties.

Year 1
The first year of the chemistry programmes will develop your scientific skills – building upon your A level subject knowledge in chemistry but will also include areas such as mathematics and physics for those students who have not taken A levels in these subjects.

Year 2
You will study topics in organic and physical chemistry, together with molecular structure and energy levels, extending your knowledge in the core areas of chemistry and honing your practical skills.

Year 3 (Year Abroad)
You will spend your third year abroad studying at another university. We have a number of reciprocal exchange arrangements in the United States of America and Canada. Those currently involved in the exchange programme are the Universities of British Columbia (Vancouver) and Calgary (Alberta) in Canada and the universities of California, Illinois, Massachusetts and Colorado in the USA.

Year 4
The fourth and final year of the MChem involves an extended research project, which could be a computational or a laboratory project, and further modules in advanced topics in chemistry. For the project you will spend time in a research group, usually working alongside postgraduate students and doctoral researchers. The research project will not only build up your research skills, therefore improving your employment prospects, but it is also an enjoyable and stimulating experience, frequently leading to publication in a scientific journal.

Study Abroad

With our Chemistry, Biological and Medicinal Chemistry and Chemical Physics degree programmes, we offer you the option of spending a year abroad in North America.

Going to a university in another country will allow you to experience other cultures and by studying in other chemistry departments, you will broaden your academic and personal horizons.

We now have over 30 years experience of offering degrees with a year abroad and it has proved very popular with UEA students. Most students find the experience rewarding and enjoyable. The school also hosts a number of exchange students each year enjoying their study in Norwich.

To take a year abroad, students must maintain a good standard of academic performance during the first two years of the degree programme. In placing you at your overseas university we take into account your field of interest and do our best to place you at the university of your choice. The costs involved to you include transport to and from your overseas destination and living costs, including medical insurance.

North America

We have a number of reciprocal exchange arrangements in the United States of America and Canada. We are always reviewing the universities we have exchanges with. Those currently involved in the exchange programme are the Universities of British Columbia (Vancouver) and Calgary (Alberta) in Canada and the universities of California, Illinois, Massachusetts and Colorado in the USA.

Students on a North American exchange programme will be expected to pay 15% of their annual tuition fee to UEA during their year abroad and we will pay the North American university.

Course Modules 2017/8

Students must study the following modules for 100 credits:

Name Code Credits


After a shared introduction to chemical bonding 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 Chemistry module. 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, structrure and periodicity experiments of the first year practical modules, Chemistry Laboratory A or Research Skills in Biochemistry.




This is a laboratory based module covering experimental aspects of the 'core' chemistry courses Chemistry of Carbon-based Compounds), Bonding, Structure and Periodicity and Light, Atoms and Materials. A component on Analytical Chemistry is also included. The use of spreadsheets for analysing and presenting data is covered in this module.




This module introduces the concepts of #and # bonding and hybridisation. 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. After a shared introduction to atomic structure and periodicity this module 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.




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'.




Mathematical skills relevant to the understanding of chemical concepts; statistics as applied to experimental chemistry; error propagation in physical chemistry and physical principles through applied mathematics. The module also contains a broadly based series of lectures on science, coupled with activities based upon them. The twin objectives for this part of the module are to provide a contextual backdrop for the more focused studies in other concurrent and subsequent degree courses, and to engage students as participants in researching and presenting related information.



Students will select 20 credits from the following modules:

Name Code Credits


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.




This module covers the history of forensic science, forensic collection and recovery methods, anti-contamination precautions, microscopy, glass refractive index, introduction to pattern recognition including footwear; introduction to Drugs analysis; forensic statistics and QA chain of custody issues. The second half Introduces the student to the fundamentals of DNA and biotechnology essential for an understanding of forensic technologies. Topics covered include: nucleic acid/chromosome structure, replication, mutation and repair; concepts of genetic inheritance; DNA manipulation and visualisation; DNA sequencing; DNA profiling. Teaching and learning is through lectures, practicals and mentor groups using problem based learning. In the first semester the students will be split into investigative teams and asked to investigate a hypothetical criminal case with simulated evidence material which they will have to analyse, providing them with the taught basic science and developing problem-solving skills. They will further investigate the "case" through discussions in the mentor groups to decide whether or not the evidence supports the prosecution or defence scenarios and then present their report to an audience of fellow students. In the second semester students will be introduced to the basics of genetics and the chemistry behind the extraction, amplification and analysis of DNA.This will be placed in a forensic context through using the critical thinking approach developed in the first semester. Students will gain practical skills in the examination of crime scenes; the collection of evidence; and the extraction, analysis and handling of DNA samples.




This module 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.



Students must study the following modules for 60 credits:

Name Code Credits


The module describes the structure, bonding and reactivity patterns of inorganic compounds, and is a prerequisite for the 3rd level inorganic course Inorganic Compounds: Structure and Functions. It covers 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. The module contains laboratory classes linked to the lecture topics and for this reason students must have completed either of the level 4 practical modules, Chemistry Laboratory (A) or Practical and Quantative Skills in Chemistry.




This course builds on Chemistry of Carbon-based Compounds (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 and chemical kinetics of complex reactions. 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.



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

Please ensure that your chosen modules from each Option Range do not have the same Sub-Slot code, as this will generate timetable clashes. NOTE: To YR1 MChem and BSc Chem students - CHE-5150Y and CHE-5601Y can be selected together this year. CHE-5201Y and PHY-5001Y can also be taken together.

Name Code Credits


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.




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.



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

Name Code Credits


Atmospheric chemistry and global change are in the news: Stratospheric ozone depletion, acid rain, greenhouse gases, and global scale air pollution are among the most significant environmental problems of our age. Chemical composition and transformations underlie these issues, and drive many important atmospheric processes. This module covers the fundamental chemical principles and processes in the atmosphere from the Earth's surface to the stratosphere, and considers current issues of atmospheric chemical change through a series of lectures, problem-solving classes, seminars, experimental and computing labs as well as a field trip to UEA's own atmospheric observatory in Weybourne/North Norfolk.




This module explores two major themes using predominantly examples from protein biochemistry, specifically, 1) thermodynamic and kinetic properties of biological systems, and, 2) methodologies used to define these properties. Topics that will be discussed in the first theme include binding, activation, transfer and catalysis. Topics in the second theme will include optical spectroscopies, mass spectrometry, electrophoresis and chromatography. Lecture and seminar materials are complemented by laboratory practicals.




Following on from Forensic Chemistry- Collection and Comparison , 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 will 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.




Fundamental aspects of thermodynamics and condensed matter physics will be covered. Ideas about the electronic structure based on the free-electron Sommerfeld and band theories will be introduced along with the concept of phonons and their contribution to the heat capacity of a solid. Entropy will be considered 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 descibed.




This module is the second in a series of three mathematical modules for students across the Faculty of Science. It covers vector calculus (used in the study of vector fields in subjects such as fluid dynamics and electromagnetism), time series and spectral analysis (a highly adaptable and useful mathematical technique in many science fields, including data analysis), and fluid dynamics (which has applications to the circulation of the atmosphere, ocean, interior of the Earth, chemical engineering, and biology). There is a continuing emphasis on applied examples.




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.




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


Students undertake a full academic year of approved study at a specified university in the USA or Canada. The US and Canadian systems work typically on 3 credits per module (6 for some double credit modules), and the year abroad will be valued at between 24 and 30 credits, depending on the final choice of modules taken. You will be required to take at least 3 credits of each of the core subjects (physical, inorganic and organic), as well as 3 credits per semester of labs, or equivalent. The remaining credits are elective and you are advised to discuss these with your advisor or the course director. The choice of subjects must be discussed with the course director prior to you leaving for North America. The marks awarded at the host institution will be converted to UEA marks Marks for the modules taken at the host institution and your overall average for the year abroad will count towards your final classification. All assessments taken at overseas institutions are classified as "Coursework" even though some of the exercises may be examinations. This is because the examinations held at overseas institutions are not done under supervision of the UEA.



Students must study the following modules for 60 credits:

Name Code Credits


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



Students will select 60 credits from the following modules:

Name Code Credits


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.




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.




Air pollution is one of the most significant environmental problems of the 21st century, with serious implications for human health and mortality, ecosystem and infrastructure damage, and climate change. This module will look at what state-of-the-art methods used to measure and monitor air pollutants at urban, regional and global scales, and how these measurements are interpreted using a variety of numerical models and graphical tools.




This module concerns important concepts and methods that are widely employed in Biochemistry, Biological and Biophysical Chemistry, Chemical Biology and Medicinal Chemistry. There are two main areas upon which this module focuses: The first focusses on biological systems covering key areas such as the role of metal-containing proteins, electron transfer - metalloproteins; biocatalysis, membrane proteins, including transport across biological membranes, glycobiology and modern developments in chemical biology. The second part of the module develops further the understanding of key characterisation tools used in chemical and structural biology. It develops the spectroscopic/structural theme covered in the B.Sc. course by providing an in depth, specialist view of key biophysical methods at the forefront of research in biological chemistry. These include (i) high resolution crystallographic techniques and x-ray spectroscopic techniques (eg SAXS, SANS, EXAFS and XANES) (ii) magnetic resonance techniques (both advanced nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) methods); (iii) advanced optical techniques (eg MCD and Mossbauer), (iv) Computational approaches (eg molecular dynamics) for structure determination and structure-function studies as well as understanding and determining protein-protein and protein-ligand interactions.




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.

Entry Requirements

  • A Level AAB to include Chemistry and one other science or Mathematics. Science A-levels must include a pass in the practical element.
  • International Baccalaureate 33 points to include HL 6 in Chemistry and one other science or Mathematics. If no GCSE equivalent is held, offer will include Mathematics and English requirements.
  • Scottish Highers Only accepted in combination with Scottish Advanced Highers.
  • Scottish Advanced Highers BCC to include Chemistry and one other science or Mathematics. A combination of Advanced Highers and Highers may be acceptable.
  • Irish Leaving Certificate AAAABB or 4 subjects at H1 and 2 at H2 to include Higher Level Chemistry and one other science or Mathematics.
  • Access Course Pass the Access to HE Diploma with Distinction in 36 credits at Level 3 and Merit in 9 credits at Level 3, to include 12 credits of Chemistry and 12 credits of a second science or Mathematics. Science pathway required.
  • BTEC DDD in a science related subject. Excluding Public Services. Applied Science and Applied Science (Medical Science) preferred. BTEC and A-level combinations are considered - please contact us.
  • European Baccalaureate 80% overall to include at least 85% and 70% from Chemistry and one other science or Mathematics.

Entry Requirement

GCSE Requirements:  GCSE English Language grade 4 and GCSE Mathematics grade 5 or GCSE English Language grade C and GCSE Mathematics grade B.

General Studies and Critical Thinking are not accepted.

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.

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 progression on to this undergraduate degree upon successful completion of a foundation programme and an interview. Depending on your interests and your qualifications you can take a variety of routes to this degree:

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:



The majority of candidates will not be called for an interview. However, for some students an interview will be requested. These are normally quite informal and generally cover topics such as your current studies, reasons for choosing the course and your personal interests and extra-curricular activities.


Gap Year

We welcome applications from students who have already taken or intend to take a gap year, believing 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 may wish to contact the appropriate Admissions Office directly to discuss this further..

Special Entry Requirements

You are also required to have achieved a GCSE Grade B in the language of your chosen country if studying in Europe.


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

Alternative Qualifications

We encourage you to apply if you have alternative qualifications equivalent to our stated entry requirements. Please contact us for further information.


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

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: or
    telephone +44 (0)1603 591515