Research Programmes

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In the Department of Chemistry we offer a range of programmes that can be taken full or part time. Research projects can be carried out in virtually any area of chemistry as long as a suitable project and supervisor can be allocated, meaning you can specialise in your own specific area of interest. You will work under the guidance of an academic supervisor who is expert in that particular field, and alongside other members of the research group including academics, post-doctoral researchers as well as fellow postgraduate students.

As a research student in the Department of Chemistry, you can expect:

  • a dedicated supervisor to help direct your research and training
  • a Thesis Advisory Panel (TAP) comprising two members of staff to monitor your progress and offer impartial advice
  • TAP meetings every six months for which you are required to prepare a report on your research
  • progress meetings with your supervisor approximately every 2 months, and more informal interactions with your supervisor on a day-to-day basis
  • training programmes designed to provide you with research, teaching and transferable skills.  This is delivered through our Innovative Doctoral Training in Chemistry Programme
  • seminar programmes from leading scientists, and opportunities to present your own research
  • A student mentor to support your transition to postgraduate research and provide collaboration and networking opportunities

Please note that there will be changes to the University's academic progression requirements for students starting from October 2016 with the introduction of annual progression points.
Further information is available on the Policy Briefing document on the University web pages

There are three different research qualifications that you can work towards on a full or part time basis. Transfer between programmes is possible subect to satisfactory performance and sufficient availablility of funding.

DegreeFull-timePart-timeWriting up periodMaximum length of thesisAssessmentFunding
MSc by Research 1 yr 2 yrs 3 months

25, 000 words

Thesis Self-funded
MPhil 2 yrs 4 yrs 12 months 60, 000 words Thesis and oral examination Self-funded
PhD 3/4 yrs 6 yrs 12 months 100, 000 words Thesis and oral examination

Self-funded or studentship

Entry requirements

The University requirement for PhD or MPhil programmes is usually a 2:1 or equivalent in a relevant subject, although other relevant experience and circumstances can also be taken into account and we are happy to consider applications from those who have taken alternative routes but have the required knowledge and experience. However, please note that funded positions are extremely competitive and only those with a 2:1 equivalent or higher are likely to be considered for financial support.  The minimum University requirement for entry onto the MSc by research programme is a lower second class degree in a relevant subject, or the equivalent overseas qualification.

For those whose first language is not English, you will be required to meet the English Language requirements of both the University and the UKBA.

Funding and costs

Research Funding

Funding for postgraduate degrees is available from various sources, these are described in detail on our Funding opportunities page. Most students who take the MSc by Research and MPhil programmes secure their own funding for their studies.  Funding is available to support some students to carry out a PhD, usually on a competitive basis.  PhD funding is made available through a number of sources and each funding body has it’s own eligibility criteria.  It is important to check whether or not you are eligible to apply for funding for the project you are interested before submitting an application to avoid disappointment.  All academic staff also offer PhD positions to those who are able to fund their own studies. Each individual project will have specific details on the funding available. a full list of PhD projects available for the forthcoming academic year is available on our website.  The costs associated with postgraduate study also include both your tuition fees and your living expenses.

Conference Funding

As part of your research degree you are encouraged to attend external conferences to present posters or presentations about your work, as well as to hear first hand about recent breakthroughs in your field from those who have made recent discoveries. For those students with external funding for their PhD, funding may be provided to support your travel and conference fees. All other Chemistry research students are allocated a Departmental conference allowance to enable you to attend external conferences.


The Department of Chemistry offers all research students the opportunity to access its state-of-the-art research facilities as required by their research.  This includes a range of NMR Spectrometers, Mass Spectrometers, Laser Spectrometers, X-Ray Diffractometers, EPR Spectrometers, Electron Microscopes, and a dedicated Crystallisation Suite.  Watch our virtual tour below to find out more.

All Chemistry research students are provided with access to dedicated research space within the Department. This includes allocated writing space with others from your research group, which is usually adjacent to your supervisor’s office to facilitate regular discussions about progress. if your project is laboratory-based, you will also have access to a fume hood or bench space in a purpose-built research laboratory. All research students have access to a communal area for discussions with other researchers.

Career development

During your time at York, you will have the opportunity to develop a wide range of skills, which will support not only your studies, but also prepare you for the world of work beyond your research degree.  The Researcher Development Team offer a wide range of training under the Research Development Framework, and the Careers Service provides a wealth of guidance and opportunities to develop the types of skills employers are looking for.

The Chemistry Department has a dedicated Employability and Diversity Officer who arranges a range of careers events for postgraduate chemists each year.  She also offers one-to-one careers advice sessions for all graduate students to support you to develop your Curriculum Vitae, complete job applications and prepare for interviews.  Your supervisor will also offer support and guidance for your career development.  

What to do next

Anyone wishing to be considered for postgraduate study must make a formal application. Prior to making an application, please read our detailed overview on How to Apply?

If you have any questions, or require any further information about postgraduate study, please contact the Chemistry Graduate Office: and we will be happy to provide advice and guidance ourselves or direct you to experts within the University who will be able to answer your specific queries.  This support is available to you throughout the application process, during your research degree at York and beyond.