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MChem (Hons) Chemistry, Green Principles and Sustainable Processes with a Year Abroad

Get an international perspective on the theory and practice of clean and sustainable chemical production.

2018/19 entry

UCAS code


Institution code



4 years full-time (plus optional placement year)

Typical offer

AAA*/AAB (full entry requirements)

Start date

September 2018 (term dates)

UK/EU fees

£9,250 per year (2018/19)

International fees

£20,910 per year (2018/19)

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Chemistry is often referred to as the 'central science'. It covers topics as diverse as quantum mechanics and the study of atomic particles, to the molecular nature of biological systems and the Human Genome Project.

This degree will give you a strong grounding in fundamental chemistry. You'll also develop specialist knowledge of green chemistry, which is increasingly important in industry as regulations tighten and chemical resources become harder to find.


Royal Society of Chemistry

This course is accredited by the Royal Society of Chemistry, assuring the quality of our teaching. This course meets the academic criteria for Chartered Chemist (CChem) status.

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Course highlights

  • Raw materials and life cycle assessment
  • Benefits of green chemistry to human health
  • Catalytic methods in asymmetric synthesis
  • Technological challenges in process development
  • Structure, function and action of biocatalysts
  • Biofuels and fuel cells
My favourite thing this term has been the MChem Mini-Project, which is carried out in labs. We’re looking for ways to be greener and kind to our Earth and make our processes more sustainable, with the focus on food waste. My partner and I are currently finding what we can get out of pomegranates.
Elspeth, 3rd Year student, MChem Chemistry. Read more on Elspeth's blog.

Year abroad

Spend a year working on a research project at one of our partner universities in countries all over the world.

Flexible course structure

Tailor your course to your interests with our wide range of option modules.

Course content

Each year you'll take a range of core modules which cover the basic principles of chemistry. Alongside these you'll take specialist modules which focus on green principles and sustainable processes. There are plenty of opportunities to see the exciting contributions chemistry can make in the modern world.

We aim to break down the artificial barriers between different branches of chemistry, helping you to understand chemistry as a unified discipline with common underlying principles.

Our chemistry courses are designed to be flexible, so you can transfer between MChem and BSc courses at any time during the first two years. The title of your final degree will depend on the modules you take from Year 2 onwards.

Study abroad

You'll spend Year 4 at an overseas university. On top of this there are opportunities to take part in International Study Centres and Summer Schools or apply for funding to help with independent summer projects.

Year 1

You will take a set of core modules, each of which integrates the major areas of Chemistry: organic, inorganic, physical, theoretical, analytical and biological.

The Autumn term introduces themes of structure and bonding, and chemical change and reactivity, with practical courses complementing the lectures.

The Spring and Summer terms are divided into two interdisciplinary modules that introduce key chemical principles in the areas of spectroscopic analysis, bonding and chemical change, and chemical reactivity and mechanisms.

You will carry out experiments in analytical and physical chemistry, and a two-week integrated chemistry project as an introduction to research.

Core modules

Core 1: Fundamentals of Chemistry will help you make the transition from A level studies to university chemistry, and provide a strong foundation on which to build further learning. You will develop your understanding of core chemical principles of analysis, organic, inorganic and physical chemistry. (30 credits)

Core 2: Chemical Properties & Analysis explores concepts including chemical analysis and properties of compounds. You'll cover subjects including Kinetics, Alkenes and Alkynes, and Transition Metals. (30 credits)

Core 3: Molecules & Reactions provides core knowledge of chemical reactions, mechanisms and properties. You'll learn about topics including Aromatic Chemistry, Main Group Chemistry and Macromolecules. (30 credits)

Year 1 Practical Chemistry introduces you to practical laboratory work at degree level. You'll learn basic laboratory skills, and develop these over the course of the year through experimental exercises. (20 credits)

Skills for Chemists ensures your fluency in a number of key disciplines related to chemistry. You'll learn essential skills in mathematics, physics and biology, and professional competencies which will support your chemistry modules. (10 credits)

Academic integrity module

In addition to the above you will also need to complete our online Academic Integrity module.

Year 2

A significant proportion of your second year is made up of core Chemistry modules and practical work which is common to all our Chemistry courses. Your specialist module Green Chemistry & Sustainable Manufacturing introduces the search for ‘cleaner’ processes of chemical production, with a focus on the future of industry.

Core modules

Core 4a: Molecules in Action introduces more advanced concepts in chemistry through a blend of lectures, tutorials and workshops. You'll develop an increasingly sophisticated understanding of a range of topics. (20 credits)

Core 4b: Theory, Analysis and Mechanisms covers some advanced theory of molecular structure and reactivity. It will help you to develop essential skills in laboratory work, data analysis, mathematics and communication. (20 credits)

Core 5: Reactivity explores chemical reactions, reactivity and analysis. You'll learn more about inorganic, physical and analytical chemistry at an intermediate level. (30 credits)

Core 6: Spectroscopy and Chemistry will develop your understanding of advanced spectroscopy and concepts in heteroaromatic chemistry and catalysis. (30 credits)

Green Chemistry & Sustainable Manufacturing considers a range of factors to take into account when designing more sustainable chemical products and processes for the future. (20 credits)

Year 3

You will continue your studies through a series of core modules in advanced inorganic, organic and physical chemistry. The specialist module Catalysis with Green Technologies explores the importance of catalysis as a tool for green chemistry.

You will also choose two option modules, to complement your core learning or branch out into new areas of chemistry.

Core modules

  • Core 7: Advanced Concepts (20 credits)
  • Core 8: Synthesis & Structures (20 credits)
  • Core 9: Compounds & Materials (20 credits)
  • Advanced Practical Research Training (20 credits)
  • Catalysis with Green Technologies (20 credits)

Option modules

Choose one of the following option modules:

Choose one of the following option modules:

Year 4

You'll spend your final year working on a research project at one of our overseas partner universities.

You will have a personal supervisor at your host institution, and regular contact - including a visit - from a supervisor at York.

Core modules

Research project (90 credits)
Literature review (10 credits)

You will carry out a research project related to green chemistry. Recent projects have investigated:

  • Biobased chemicals, processes and materials 
  • Microwave chemistry 
  • Heterogeneous catalysis 
  • Novel biocatalysts

Taught component (20 credits)

Alongside your project work you will have a taught component which varies according to the university you attend. For example, you could take Advanced Chemistry, an open learning module exploring topics at the frontiers of science, based on cutting edge research carried out at York and taught in collaboration with experts who are closely involved.

Please note, modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff.

Learning by design

Every course at York has been designed to provide clear and ambitious learning outcomes. These learning outcomes give you an understanding of what you will be able to do at the end of the course. We develop each course by designing modules that grow your abilities towards the learning outcomes and help you to explain what you can offer to employers. Find out more about our approach to teaching and learning.

Students who complete this course will be able to:

  • demonstrate learning and problem solving skills through the acquisition and application of a broad range of fundamental and advanced chemical principles and knowledge.
  • apply fundamental and advanced chemical principles and knowledge to the in-depth study of chemical science specialisms, relating to green chemistry principles and sustainable technology, and the solution of problems at the forefront of the subject.
  • design and safely conduct chemical experiments through an effective risk assessment. Accurately document and record experiments to enable the effective synthesis of complex chemical compounds and advanced analysis of physical measurements, of both a quantitative and qualitative nature.
  • interpret experimental data by using mathematical skills, advanced chemical knowledge, information technology and scientific conventions.
  • effectively articulate scientific principles, experimental results and research findings in a way that is accessible to a variety of audiences through written, oral and other formats.
  • independently plan, design and conduct an extended, open-ended investigative research project to extend knowledge and understanding at the forefront of the chemical sciences in an area related to green chemistry principles and sustainable technology.
  • demonstrate employability skills such as teamworking, commercial awareness, self-management and creativity and be equipped to work in a professional manner in their future careers consistent with the expectations of a research chemist in academic, governmental or commercial positions.
I found the events run by ChemSoc, my course society, a really great place to bond with my fellow chemists. Having the connection to the other year groups meant there were always people to turn to for advice and help if we needed it. I found it really united us and gave me so much confidence!
Giuseppina, 2nd Year student, MChem Chemistry. Read more on Giuseppina's blog.

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees

UK/EU International
£9,250 £20,910

UK/EU or international fees? The level of fee that you will be asked to pay depends on whether you're classed as a UK, EU or international student.

Fees for subsequent years

  • UK/EU: further increases within the government fee cap will apply in subsequent academic years. We will notify you of any increase as soon as we can.
  • International: fees for international students are subject to annual increases. Increases are currently capped at 2% per annum.

More information

For more information about tuition fees, any reduced fees for study abroad and work placement years, scholarships, tuition fee loans, maintenance loans and living costs see undergraduate fees and funding.


We offer a number of scholarships to help cover tuition fees and living costs.

Home/EU students

International students

Departmental funding

Living costs

You can use our living costs guide to help plan your budget. It covers accommodation costs and estimated social costs.

95% overall student satisfaction

National Student Survey 2017

Ranked 2nd in the UK for Chemistry

Guardian university league tables 2018

Emphasis on small group teaching

“Students from all backgrounds achieve consistently outstanding outcomes”

The TEF Panel, Office for Students, June 2018

Our Gold Teaching Excellence Framework award demonstrates our commitment to the delivery of consistently outstanding teaching and learning for our students.

Teaching and assessment

You’ll work with world‐leading academics who’ll challenge you to think independently and excel in all that you do. Our approach to teaching will provide you with the knowledge, opportunities, and support you need to grow and succeed in a global workplace. Find out more about our approach to teaching and learning.

Teaching format


Lectures range from the traditional 'chalk and talk' to the use of digital presentations. Where possible we include demonstrations and encourage audience participation through chemical quizzes and voting. 

The size of lectures varies from 200 students to as few as 5 for some option modules. All teaching is done by our academic staff - many of whom are at the forefront of their fields and will discuss the latest developments in their area.


Tutorials are our smallest group teaching sessions and are usually one hour in length. Up to five students join a college tutor who is a specialist in the subject. Tutorials develop a wide range of skills including:

  • problem-solving
  • essay writing
  • presentation skills

Tutorials help to reinforce topics covered in lectures, and offer an opportunity to discuss aspects of the subject which interest you and ask about any problems encountered in your reading.


Up to 25 chemists in the same teaching college are divided into small groups to work through problem sheets, usually over one or two hours. 

Laboratory work

Practical chemistry complements your theoretical studies and constitutes most of the continuously-assessed parts of your degree.

A wide variety of experiments are carried out, from the synthesis of target compounds to a crime-scene investigation using forensic methodology. You will gain experience in handling and interpreting experimental data, and discover how principles taught in lectures can be put to use.

As the course progresses, you have an increasing range of choice in the experiments you do. In the summer term of the first year you will do the 'Chemistry of a Night Out' practical where you will plan and carry out experiments as part of a team.

Overall workload

As a guide, students on this course typically spend their time as follows:

Year 1Year 2Year 3Year 4
Lectures and seminars456 hours480 hours396 hours0 hours
Placement0 hours0 hours0 hours1104 hours

The figures above are based on data from 2016/17.

The rest of your time on the course will be spent on independent study. This may include preparation for lectures and seminars, follow-up work, wider reading, practice completion of assessment tasks, or revision.

Everyone learns at a different rate, so the number of hours will vary from person to person. In UK higher education the expectation is that full-time students will spend 1200 hours a year learning.

Teaching location

You will be based in the Department of Chemistry on Campus West, where most of your teaching will take place.

Course location

Our beautiful green campus offers a student-friendly setting in which to live and study, within easy reach of the action in the city centre. It's easy to get around campus - everything is within walking or pedalling distance, or you can always use the fast and frequent bus service.

Assessment and feedback

You'll be assessed in a number of different ways, depending on the modules you study. Forms of assessment include:

  • examinations
  • practical work
  • assessed workshops
  • presentations

We pride ourselves on delivering useful written and verbal feedback to all of our students. Whenever you complete an assessment, you will receive feedback on its good and bad points, and guidance on how you can improve further.

You'll also receive feedback on assignments which don't count towards your final grade, helping you to understand your strengths and identify areas for improvement.

Percentage of the course typically assessed by coursework and exams

Year 1Year 2Year 3Year 4
Written exams70%70%64%8%
Practical exams17%15%17%45%

The figures above are based on data from 2016/17.

Careers and skills

Although the majority of our graduates progress to become scientists, the analytical and transferable skills which constitute part of our degrees are recognised as suitable training for a wide range of careers.

About 40 graduates per year stay in the Department or join other universities to work for higher degrees. Most are involved in collaborative research projects, many with chemical companies.

Career opportunities

  • Innovative medicines graduate
  • Fuels technology chemist
  • Production chemist engineer
  • Products research scientist
  • Business services graduate
  • Auditor

Transferable skills

  • Team working
  • Self management
  • Application of IT and numeracy
  • Problem solving
  • Communication and literacy
  • Business and customer awareness
York is a fantastic place to study chemistry and we consistently place highly in league tables.
Josie, 2nd Year student, MChem Chemistry with a Year Abroad

Entry requirements

Qualification Grade
A levels

Offers are typically based on three subjects at A level, one of which must be Chemistry.

  • AAB, including A in Chemistry, plus two other sciences/mathematics
  • AAA, including A in Chemistry, plus one other science/mathematics
  • AAA*, including A in Chemistry, plus an A or B grade in a science/mathematics at AS level

We accept the following A levels as science/mathematics:

  • Biology
  • Electronics
  • Further mathematics
  • Geology
  • Mathematics
  • Physics

We do not accept General Studies.

We may also make offers based on UCAS Tariff points, for example, if you are taking two subjects at A level (one of which would have to be Chemistry) and two AS level subjects.

GCSEs If you're planning to spend your final year in Europe you should have a GCSE in a relevant language at grade 5/6 (B).
Access to Higher Education Diploma Access courses are offered by local further education (FE) colleges, and most can be completed in one year, or over two years on a part-time or evening-only basis. You will need to make sure that the particular Access course you are considering is appropriate, and syllabuses must contain a significant portion of chemistry and mathematics. The Access tutors at your College would be able to confirm that this is the case. Applications will be considered on an individual basis.
BTEC BTEC National Extended Diploma with DDD in relevant units, and an additional A level or equivalent qualification in Chemistry.
Cambridge Pre-U Pass the diploma in principal subjects with:
  • D3/D3/M2 including Chemistry, plus two other sciences/mathematics
  • D3/D3/D3 including Chemistry, plus one other science/mathematics
European Baccalaureate 80% overall, including a minimum grade of 85% in Chemistry
International Baccalaureate
  • 35 points, including grade 6 in Higher level Chemistry and another science/mathematics at Higher level
  • 36 points, including grade 6 in Higher level Chemistry and grade 6 in at least one Standard level science/mathematics
    Irish leaving Certificate H2,H2,H2,H2,H2,H3​ - H2,H2,H2,H2,H3,H3​ including Chemistry and a second science/mathematics
    Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers AA/AB at Advanced Higher level, including A in Chemistry and another science/mathematics
    AAAAA/AAAAB at Higher level in a suitable range of subjects
    Other qualifications

    Overseas qualifications

    English language

    If English is not your native language you must provide evidence of your English language ability:

    • IELTS: 6.5, with a minimum of 5.5 in each component
    • Pearson: 61, with a minimum of 51 in each component
    • CAE and CPE (taken from January 2015): 176, with a minimum of 162 each component
    • TOEFL: 87 overall, with a minimum of 17 in Listening, 18 in Reading, 20 in Speaking, 17 in Writing
    • Trinity ISE III: Merit in all components

    See more detailed information on the University's English language requirements.


    To apply to York, you will need to complete an online application via UCAS (the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service).

    We consider all applications on their own merits so the exact nature of offers can vary to match individual cases. For example, offers will be influenced by:

    • the content of your UCAS application and personal statement
    • any extenuating circumstances

    If you're based in the UK we will require you to visit the Department before making you an offer.

    Next steps

    Contact us

    Get in touch if you have any questions

    Professor Andy Parsons

    Learn more

    Department of Chemistry

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