Our frequently asked questions are grouped under the following headings:
In making the choice between BSc (3-Year) and MChem (4-Year), you need to consider how useful the additional MChem year will be in preparing you for your likely career, and whether it provides experiences and challenges that will be interesting and worthwhile.
Students who take the MChem courses are generally aiming for a scientific career, whereas students taking the BSc may be interested in a variety of possibilities, for example teaching.
Our course is designed to be flexible, so that you can transfer between MChem and BSc courses at any time during the first two years.
In a typical week, the number of contact hours with chemistry staff is around 21 to 22. Your timetable will include practical work in the lab, lectures, tutorials and workshops.
Weekly tutorials (4 to 5 students) and workshops (up to 25 students), organised on a college basis, are used to support the material covered in the lecture courses.
A minimum of five staff in your college will arrange your tutorial and workshop programme, and guide your work throughout the 3 or 4 years of your course. This continuity of teaching and the small size of the groups (normally 4 or 5 students) make it easier for you to get to know your tutors, and you are welcome to seek help from them whenever you need it.
Practical work is spread over two days in Years 1-2 and labs are typically open for up to 7.5 hours per week.
At the beginning of the course, you will carry out a range of synthesis experiments, guided by academic staff and postgraduates, and there is an emphasis on teaching you fundamental practical skills and building up your confidence in the lab.
As the course progresses, you have an increasing range of choice in the experiments you do, and these also become more open-ended.
Prescription safety specs have to be obtained outside the department and must conform to the standard used for safety specs EN166F, or higher.
Prescription safety specs are available through most opticians. However, as they must fit well and give good coverage, it is strongly advised that frames are tried before purchasing safety specs.
The Bolle range have proved acceptable in the past. (The opticians in Boots on Coney Street, York carry the Bolle frames).
Students are typically assessed through end-of-module examinations and continuous assessment, such as practical work and/or coursework.
For some modules, presentations are assessed.
Students who fail modules have the opportunity to take resit examinations.
View more detailed information on our assessment and feedback.
We pride ourselves on delivering useful written and verbal feedback to all of our students.
Whenever you complete and hand-in a written piece of work, you will receive feedback on its good and bad points, and guidance on how you can improve further.
In some cases, this work will be assessed towards your degree mark (eg examinations, practical work and assessed workshops), whereas in other cases the work, and feedback on it, is primarily intended to assist your own personal development (eg for tutorials and workshops, each week, written work is marked and returned giving our students prompt feedback on performance and understanding)
View more detailed information on assessment and feedback.
The Board of Studies in Chemistry is responsible for monitoring the progress of all of our students. However, at the beginning of your degree, you will be assigned a supervisor who will be a member of academic staff within the Department of Chemistry.
View more detailed information on personal supervison.
Yes, some of our second, third and fourth year Chemistry undergraduates provide informal help and support to students throughout their first year of university.
The mentors offer help and advice to our first year students on a range of social issues, as well as a range of issues relating to their course.
The Department also has a student-run Chemical Society (ChemSoc) that organises a programme of social events for its members to meet away from lectures and labs.
A small number of students may transfer between courses, both to and from Chemistry (perhaps up to 4% of students will make some change), but the number of Chemistry students who fail and/or drop out of the university is very small indeed – typically, around 4.5% each year.
Our student feedback regularly places us among the top Chemistry departments in the UK for teaching according to the National Student Survey (NSS).
Normally about 45 per cent of our chemistry undergraduates are women.
We were the first Department in the UK to achieve the Athena Swan Gold award for commitment to women in science and this was renewed for a further 3 years in October 2015 making us the longest held recipient of the Gold Award on record.
Yes. You can sign up for an MChem course where you spend Year 4 at an overseas university.
Students applying for a year in France, Germany, Italy or Spain are generally required to have a minimum of GCSE grade B in an appropriate European language.
The University, through the “Languages for All” programme, provides further language training and this is free of charge to Chemistry students who register for our "Year in Europe" courses.
York also has exchange schemes with the USA for students on the standard degree courses - there is one with the University of California, for example - though these are usually very popular and a place is not guaranteed.
You apply for these exchanges when you are already at York.
If you apply for our MChem year abroad course through UCAS then you will have the highest priority when it comes to assigning places to one of our overseas partner universities.
In recent years, this has meant that essentially all students who apply through UCAS for the year abroad course have been assigned a placement abroad.
In terms of hurdles, all of our MChem students need to achieve a minimum of 55% at the end of year 2 in order to progress. As we give preference to students who apply through UCAS for our year abroad course, we do not allocate overseas places for these students on the basis of their course marks.
York has a highly successful and supportive programme of student volunteering in schools (YSIS).
BSc students interested in teaching also have the opportunity to do a research project in local schools.
Employers value the training in logical thought, and numerical and communications skills that you will receive through a chemistry degree.
Major employers of chemists include pharmaceutical companies, agrochemical companies, oil companies and the makers of detergents, paints, dyes, cosmetics and explosives, but the diversity of employment is endless.
The Royal of Society of Chemistry (RSC) provides lots of information on the various career paths open to chemists.
We will write to you in September to tell you what happens during the first few days of the course.
Information will also be available on the web - see our Stepping up to chemistry site and we will send you details on how to access our 'Preparing to Study Chemistry at York' VLE site.
We consider all applications on their own merits and therefore the exact nature of offers can vary to match individual cases.
For A level students, offers are typically based on three subjects at A level, one of which must be Chemistry.
Grades are in the region A*AA to AAB.
For International Baccalaureate students, offers are usually based on a minimum score of 35 points overall, including grade 6 in Chemistry and another science/Mathematics at Higher Level.
View a complete list of our entry requirements
Maths is a very useful subject to help support some of the quantitative topics in a chemistry degree course.
However, we do not require students to have A level maths.
In Year 1, we provide a maths skills course (taught by Chemistry staff) to support those students who have not taken Maths beyond GCSE (or equivalent).
The Department of Chemistry is unique at York in that Chemistry students are taught in college groups for the small-group teaching sessions (weekly tutorials and workshops).
Each student is assigned a chemistry teaching college with typically 25 first year students in each college, our teaching colleges are:
You can apply for accommodation online and you will be guided through the process by our Accommodation Office.
View the Accommodation Office webpages for further details
No, not at all. All applications receive equal treatment, irrespective of educational background or geographical location.
We welcome students from all sorts of backgrounds and with a wide range of experience, and consider every application on its own merits.
The University of York is committed to a programme of widening access to higher education.
We consider all applications on their own merits and each year we make a number of offers to students applying for medicine.
We recognise that students who apply for medicine will need to focus their UCAS personal statement on their interests in medicine, so we ask that these students submit a separate personal statement (to reflect their Chemistry interests) directly to the Department of Chemistry (please contact Katrina Sayer, firstname.lastname@example.org for further details).
If selected for interview, this will be an opportunity for us to discuss your level of commitment to Chemistry.
Normally, we will contact an applicant within 2 to 3 days of receiving their UCAS application.
Please see our visit day page for further applicant information for entry 2019/20.
For applicants who are based in the UK and whose application meets our selection criteria, we require you to visit the Department before considering you for an offer.
This is because we believe the visit day experience is extremely important in helping to decide which university you ultimately choose to attend.
Take a look at our visit day pages for further information on our pre-offer and post-offer visit days which we run between October and March in the Department of Chemistry.
Each year we receive a number of applications from students who are planning to re-sit examinations.
This will not affect your application in any negative way and we would like to reassure you that we do make offers to students in this category.
A significant number of our students defer entry for a year to enable them to travel or earn some money before beginning their degrees. We welcome such applications, and find that many students benefit enormously from this experience, which is sometimes - but not always - in an area connected with their future studies.
We encourage students to talk about their plans for their gap year in their UCAS personal statements.
When you apply through UCAS you should indicate that you want to defer your entry for a year. Then, if you make the grades we ask for, we will hold a place open for you for a year. Note that you cannot normally apply to defer for more than one year.
The Department of Chemistry encourages applications from students over 21 including those who have completed a suitable Access or Foundation course.
Syllabuses must contain a significant portion of Chemistry, other sciences and Mathematics: applications will be considered on an individual basis.
You are encouraged to contact the Admissions Tutor in Chemistry prior to making an application.
If overseas applicants have not had all their school teaching in English we usually ask them to obtain a grade of 6.5 in IELTS (or equivalent) with a minimum of 5.5 in each component. We would make that requirement part of any conditional offer.
This is usually not possible. For example, the A level examination in Chinese is aimed at people learning the language.
So we do not include A level Chinese in offers that we make to native Chinese speakers.
Yes, although the syllabuses must contain a significant portion of Chemistry and other science subjects: applications will be considered on an individual basis. You are encouraged to contact the Admissions Tutor in Chemistry prior to making an application.
Yes. We'll consider, in principle, any type of qualifications, which include material equivalent to the Chemistry A-level core, together with evidence of school-leaving achievement across a wider range of subjects.
You are encouraged to contact the Admissions Tutor in Chemistry prior to making an application.
If you have completed the first year of a comparable degree at another university, we would normally consider a request to transfer into the second year of a BSc or MChem course.
If you have completed the first two years of a comparable degree, then we can consider a request to transfer into the third year of an MChem course. Your formal application must be made through UCAS.
If you have extenuating personal circumstances and if there are pressing reasons why you need to be in York, then we will always be prepared to consider you.
View information on the University's undergraduate tuition fees. You will not have to pay your tuition fees when you are at university.
You can take out a fee loan each year through Student Finance Direct, and begin to repay the total cost of the fees after you graduate. The DirectGov site contains lots of detailed and useful information on student loans.
Please see full details of the University's bursaries and scholarships for home and EU undergraduates.
Yes, each year the Department of Chemistry offers departmental and industrial sponsorships for all BSc and MChem Chemistry students.
All of our Chemistry students are provided with a Teaching Package, free of charge, which includes:
Yes, as well as the University International Office Scholarships for overseas students, the Department of Chemistry offers departmental and industrial sponsorships for all BSc and MChem Chemistry students and scholarships for overseas students.
All of our Chemistry students are provided with a Teaching Package, free of charge.