MSc in Chemistry (by Research)

Scientist in green chemistry lab

An MSc by Research is a  Masters level course during which you carry out a research project in your specific area of interest working under the supervision of an academic member of staff alongside the rest of their research group.  Find out more about the benefits of studying for a postgraduate Chemistry research degree at York

This is not a taught course and does not require completion of specific taught modules. The MSc by Research is often a popular choice for those who wish to see if they are suited to a research programme, and can provide a valuable stepping stone to those wishing to embark on a PhD programme.

There are now UK Government Masters loans are available for MSc by Research applicants

How long will it take me to complete an MSc by Research?

12 months when taken full time, or 24 months when taken part time. The part time option is particularly suitable for those who still wish to continue working throughout their studies.

Attendance times can be agreed with your supervisor depending on the nature of the research, and your other commitments.

For both options, there is an additional three months at the end of the project for you to write up your thesis.

How will I be assessed?

You will be required to write up the results of your research project in a thesis which will be examined by at least two examiners. In some cases an oral examination by be requested, but this is at the discretion of the examiners.

Although there are no formal taught modules for an MSc by Research, all research students are still required to complete the iDTC graduate training programme

What are the entry requirements for an MSc by Research?

The standard entry requirement for the MSc by Research is a minimum of a 2:2 or overseas equivalent in a relevant subject - chemistry, or chemistry related depending on the nature of the project.

Sometimes, individual circumstances such as previous experience and relevant work experience are also taken into account and applications are welcomed from interested applicants.

Students whose first language is not English will also need to meet the English Language requirements of both the University and the UKVI.

How much will I need to pay?

You will need to pay tuition fees for 12 months of study - this would be split in half if you were doing the MSc on a part time basis.

All students would also need to cover their living expenses throughout their studies. We recommend you have at least £10,000 per year for this but this figure can vary depending on your chosen accommodation and lifestyle.

Is there any funding available to help me do an MSc by Research?

Most MSc by Research students fund their own studies but there are sometimes funding opportunities available for particular projects. The Department is pleased to offer two funded MSc by research positions for October 2020 entry.  Please see details below.  The closing date for applications is 8 January 2020.

Some students may be elgible for a UK Government Masters Loan.

Students from outside of the UK are welcome to apply for financial assistance from the Wild Fund which is held in the Department of Chemistry.

What can I do after an MSc by Research?

An MSc by Research will show potential employers that you have the motivation and commitment to complete a substantial piece of work independently. The MSc programme can enhance your technical abilitiy and chemical knowledge, as well as improve your transferable skills, making you a strong potential empoyee. Our previous MSc students have gone on to work for a variety of chemical companies as well as other industries and sectors.

Other MSc students choose to continue their studies and have successfully embarked on PhD programmes at York, around the UK and the rest of the world. The MSc programme provides a valuable insight into the demands of a PhD giving you the opportunity to see if a research programme is the right choice for you.

Funded MSc by research project for Autumn 2020: Photochemical Arylation of Enolates

The Department of Chemistry is pleased to offer a funded MSc by research project for October 2020 entry.  Funding will include full tuition fees at the UK/EU rate, a £10,000 stipend for living costs and costs of consumables. The closing date for applications is 29 February 2020.  Details of the project are included below:

Photochemical Arylation of Enolates

Supervisors: Dr Michael James and Professor Peter O'Brien

Project description:

Background: The synthesis of α‐aryl carbonyl compounds is an area of great interest to pharmaceutical science due to the widespread prevalence of this functionality in biologically active natural products and drugs. To date, this motif has primarily been prepared by the transition-metal-catalysed arylation of enolates (Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2010, 49, 676). These reactions are typically palladium-catalysed and proceed via a well-studied oxidation addition, enolate transmetallation and reductive elimination mechanistic pathway. However, the atom, energy and cost efficiency of these reactions is often impeded by the formation of unwanted by-products, harsh reaction conditions and high catalyst/ligand loadings, respectively.

Objectives, Experimental Approach & Novelty: This project will aim to circumvent these limitations by developing an alternative transition-metal-free method for the arylation of enolates. Here, it is planned to use visible light as a mild and abundant energy source to initiate radical via the photoexcitation of enolates or their corresponding charge transfer complexes. To gain insight into these reactions, detailed mechanistic studies will be performed using combined spectroscopic and computational techniques. It is then planned to demonstrate the synthetic utility of this method through the synthesis of known bioactive α‐aryl carbonyls. Finally, investigations into related anions and highly challenging stereoselective variants are also planned.

Training: All postgraduate research students receive our innovative Doctoral Training in Chemistry (iDTC): cohort-based training to support the development of scientific, transferable and employability skills. All research students take the core training package which provides both a grounding in the skills required for their research, and transferable skills to enhance employability opportunities following graduation. The student appointed to this project will receive excellent training in organic synthesis. In particular, the student will become highly proficient in the preparation, purification and characterization of small organic molecules using inert-atmosphere, photochemical and (computational) analytical techniques. The student will also have the opportunity to attend organic section problem classes and present their research at national or international meetings.

For further details please contact

How to apply

  • Applicants should submit an MSc by research application to the University of York by 8 January 2020
  • Supervisors may contact candidates either by email, telephone, web-chat or in person
  • Supervisors can nominate up to 2 candidates to be interviewed for the project
  • The interview panel will shortlist candidates for interview from all those nominated
  • Shortlisted candidates will be invited to a panel interview at the University of York
  • The awarding committee will award studentships following the panel interviews
  • Candidates will be notified of the outcome of the panel’s decision by email