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Open Day Chemistry Ambassadors 

F Block labs

Our Chemistry undergraduate ambassadors will be joining our online Open Days in July - they are looking forward to meeting you and chatting with you about studying Chemistry at York and life at the University of York. 

Take a look at their profiles to find out about their experiences of studying Chemistry at York.

Mae, Year 2

Mae, Year 2

MChem with a Year in Industry

Before coming to Uni, I wasn’t sure whether I’d made the right choice. Now, having been in the Chemistry Department for two years, I know I definitely chose the right thing!

Both the Department and the College made me feel so welcome and encouraged me to get involved with everything, from joining societies and clubs (like ChemSoc and College Committee) to helping out on Open Days with the Chemistry Department.

The work we do in labs also complements the teaching in lectures, so we get to see the Chemistry we learn about in action, which helps massively with understanding what we are learning.

Mae

My favourite thing about the department here in York is how fantastic the Lab work is!

During Sixth form, we never really did much lab work, as we didn’t have the equipment, which I thought would put me at a disadvantage compared to everyone else. However, this was not the case, as we were all put through the same training and practice right from the start, developing new practical skills I didn’t know I needed.

Mae Year 2 Mchem

Outside of chemistry, I joined the Alcuin College Committee, as I felt like the college system was such an important way of getting involved and getting a sense of college spirit.

Working as the LGBT+ Wellbeing officer in my first year, and the Vice President of Sport in my second year, we helped to make events for the college and helped to plan out the next year's freshers week.

As well as this, I also became the Captain of Alcuin Women’s football team, which took the college spirit to another level.

Currently, I’m helping facilitate the MOOC course, Exploring Everyday Chemistry, which is an online course free for anyone to join.

I actually completed the course myself back in 2018, while waiting for my A level results, and found it a nice way to transition between A Level work and Uni work, so I would definitely recommend it for anyone bored in the Summer Holidays!

Alastair, Year 2

Alastair, Year 2

BSc

Chemistry at York has been a fantastic experience. The Department has always been incredibly supportive to its students, giving us all the help we need to work at our highest level.

Alastair profile image 2 

From when first I arrived I knew I'd made the right choice. Teaching is always excellent, and what we learn is always consolidated by small group exercises, either with workshops or tutorials so that we can easily discuss the finer points of difficult concepts.

As well as theory, the practical side of Chemistry is covered. With the use of instruments such as GC, UV/Vis spectroscopy, NMR and IR-spectroscopy encouraged in the first term of the degree, I felt that I was definitely set up to comfortably transition from University to a job in research if that's what I wanted, as practical skills are emphasised as greatly important.

The range of skills we are taught is broad, as group exercises that focus on presentation and research being instituted in the first and second years of the degree.

Chemistry definitely is a busy degree, however I always had time to enjoy non-course bits. I ended up taking on roles on the committees of two different clubs in my first year, taking part in socials several times each week and even joined in with Roses, which I really recommend you watch if you can't join in.

York has never been slow or one-note and I've had a great two years here so far. I know you'll have a great time here and you've made the right choice applying to study here.

Imogen, Year 1

Imogen, Year 1

BSc

After seeing the Chemistry Department at York, I knew that York was where I could see myself studying.

Imogen profile 1

The lab facilities are modern with an instrumentation room for students to use which I found interesting, as I have always enjoyed analytical Chemistry.

On the open day I remember current students talking me through some of the experiments carried out and I loved the real-life context each experiment had such as isolating the capsaicin in chillies or determining what the Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API) was in different tablets.

Practicals like this give you an idea of possible careers for the future and allow you to see the real-life implications of the Chemistry you are taught.

My favourite practical was the Integrated Chemistry Practical (ICP) where you work in groups to analyse the contents of a night out. This practical course allowed me to develop my teamwork skills as well as my ability to present information, as you are required to make a poster and do a verbal presentation as part of this course, which will be invaluable for future years of my degree and my career.

Attending a university where the lecturers are passionate and care about their subject was of high importance to me and at York, I have not been disappointed

Imogen

Each lecture course is delivered by an academic member of staff related to that field so their passion for the content is clear. It also means that they can talk to you about areas of their own research so you can learn about current developments in Chemistry.

A good way to see this passion is through the free online course Exploring Everyday Chemistry that is run by Professor Andy Parsons. Through this you can learn about organic Chemistry in everyday life and see the lecture style of Professor Andy Parsons who runs a lecture course in your first year.

The Chemistry Department allows students to apply for many bursaries each year as well as research placements over the summer holidays.

I was fortunate enough to be awarded the Chemistry Review Bursary where I am paid to write articles for the national magazine Chemistry Review which is edited at the University of York. 

In addition to Chemistry work there are also plenty of societies and sports teams to get involved with. I joined the Baking Society early on and have enjoyed being able to spend every Saturday baking and then having baked goods to enjoy for the following week.

Chemistry also has its own society, ChemSoc, which runs many events, my favourite was the formal held in January. It was a great way to celebrate the end of exams and was held at the train museum in York which provided a beautiful setting.

Caitlin, Year 1

Caitlin, Year 1

MChem with a Year in Industry

Most importantly, I found the range of content taught very interesting and I'm looking forward to starting Year 2

Caitlin

After having a positive experience completing the Exploring Everyday Chemistry MOOC by the University of York, I strongly considered the University.

Caitlin profile 2

The college system in Chemistry also provided support through college mentors, alongside my own personal supervisor and in labs there’s always plenty of people on hand to guide you or answer any questions. Being part of Pauling college for chemistry and living in Alcuin College quickly made meeting a range of new people and making friends stress free. On arriving to the visit day, the admission team, lecturers and students were incredibly welcoming, and coupled with the amazing lab facilities consolidated my appreciation for York.

There’s plenty of 'give it a go' sessions throughout the year which I found enjoyable to try something new. Outside of chemistry (although there are great ChemSoc events) I tried out a range of societies from Roller Skating to Art.

Overall, I now feel part of the York community both in Chemistry and on campus.

Nour, Year 1

Nour, Year 1

MChem with a Year in Industry

It felt like the staff genuinely cared about each and every one of their applicants.

Nour

It was the visit day at York that made me decide to study there. Although I had great uncertainties, the staff made me feel at ease.

The visit day was very personalised, and the welcome package I received contained examples of activities available at York that I had listed an interest in in my personal statement

Having completed my first year at York, I can confirm that that holds true throughout the degree.

Although I was scared about the step up from A-levels, there were sufficient welcome talks to help me get settled in.

In addition to lectures, the University offers tutorials which are small study groups at the end of each lecture module to ensure that everyone has understood everything.

To add to that, the first year at York doesn’t count towards your final degree grade, which also made me feel less anxious about everything as I had time to get used to university and discover what works for me.

Nour profile 1

Something else I love about York is that all lectures are recorded so I can re-watch them if ever I am confused or need to revise. Lecturers also make it clear that they are happy to help at any time if I have any questions.

On matters relating both to personal and Chemistry uncertainties, my supervisor was always there to guide me in the right direction.

We have also had many events that focus on careers and employability, a memorable one of which was ‘The Happening’.

This focused on our transferable skills when working at an industrial company. I was the Manager of my chemistry college group and it helped me work on my delegating, communicating, and presentation skills.

Outside of the department there is much to explore. York has over 200 societies. I personally enjoyed partaking in Fencing, Art, Chemistry, and the Islamic Society. I enjoyed them so much that I am now chemistry vice president and the social media officer for Islamic society!

The societies also helped me meet many great people and make friends.

All in all the experience has been a positive one and I look forward to completing my degree!

Jack, Year 1

Jack, Year 1

MChem with a Year in Industry

Ever since UCAS applications, I was very excited to move out and study a subject at a higher level. Obviously moving to university is a huge change, but rest assured, moving to and spending a year in York has been much easier than I first anticipated.

Jack profile 1

The move-in and Freshers week was made seamless with the help of second and third year contacts (or STYCs), who help you carry your abundance of items on the first day, and help you get around during the week. They were helpful enough that I decided to become one myself next year!

Something I was a bit nervous about was the step-up in content difficulty. This transition is made much easier, as in addition to there being a tutorial or workshop for each lecture series, each student is assigned a mentor from the upper years who is also available to answer questions.

Introductory maths, physics and biology is also a significant part of first year, so you are supported regardless of your A Level choices.

Jack

An important thing to remember that I have discovered in my year at York, is that the more difficult topics can end up being the most interesting!

This course is fairly high contact - especially with a full lab day each week - which has actually given me a lot of motivation to get busy with my studies.

While there may be more deadlines than for some other courses, it is by no means overwhelming considering the vast amount of support in the Department.

Life at York in general has been a great experience. The college system and proximity to other flats makes it easy to meet new people, which is a huge part of University life.

Some people might worry about lectures being very anonymous and may guess that it’s difficult to make friends on your course. However, the use of a teaching college system means you spend your workshops and tutorials with the same groups of people, and get to know a chunk of the year fairly well.

Jodie, Year 1

Jodie, Year 1

BSc

When I visited the department for both an open day and a post-offer visit day, the staff and students were extremely friendly and welcoming, and their enthusiasm made me really excited to join the department and study Chemistry at a higher level.

I was really impressed by the teaching lab facilities, which are very well equipped and are a great place to develop practical skills.

Jodie

Although labs can be stressful, they are always rewarding, and help put some of the lecture content into context. The lab demonstrators are all very friendly and approachable so you never feel like you’re asking a silly question! Working in the lab also provides a great opportunity to get to know people - I quickly made friends with my lab partner and we’re still really close.

While the transition in Chemistry content from A-level to university may seem daunting, you should meet lots of familiar material, especially in term one, which makes the gap much less scary! Indeed, the combination of workshops and tutorials, along with lectures ensure you always have people to ask for help and guidance.

In particular, I think the college system within the department is a great idea and really makes York stand out, as you see the same faces regularly and get to know a smaller group of students; this makes the very large course size less intimidating.

Outside of the Chemistry department, there’s a vast range of student societies to get involved in, and I really recommend this - I’m in the Fringe (metal and alternative music society) where I have made lots of friends, and am now part of the committee.

I have really enjoyed my first year studying Chemistry at the University of York and am really excited for my second year - I thoroughly recommend the experience!