Our small group teaching involves case studies and other exercises which develop your ability to work as a member of a team, on activities involving planning and decision-making.
These also give you practice in presentation skills, both through the production of posters, and through giving talks in which you justify decisions and the reasoning behind them. Such skills, which are invaluable in career terms, are tested in presentations during the course.
For example, in Year 1 all of our students take part in a 1-day business game called The Happening. During the day our eight college groups compete with each other in a business game rooted in issues relating to demanding chemical synthesis in a commercial setting.
Also, all of our students carry out a group exercise in Year 2. The exercises have been developed in collaboration with chemical companies such as BP, ICI and Unilever.
For example, through collaboration with process chemists at Sigma-Aldrich, we have introduced an exercise based on developing cleaner production routes to the medicine Ibruprofen. Students also research the biological properties of this medicine and strategies for effective marketing of the product.
An important aspect of learning is the opportunity to see things for yourself. For much of the course this can be done in the Department of Chemistry, but in the case of options relating to industrial chemistry we arrange for you to visit industrial companies, see the operations described in lectures being carried out, and talk to plant managers.
Similarly, options in environmental chemistry involve visits and excursions, such as a day visit to Whitby to examine coastal exposure of Jurassic sediments.