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Department of Chemistry University of Oxford


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The University of Oxford's Department of Chemistry tops the subject ranking for Chemistry in the Guardian's University Guide 2013. The Guide is based on the things students care most about when they are choosing a course.


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Chemistry at Oxford is a four year course leading to the degree of M. Chem. (with honours). The course provides a high level education in the subject with sufficient flexibility to enable students to specialise in the areas of greatest interest to them and also to venture into overlapping scientific disciplines.

Click to download the MChem Chemistry Prospectus (PDF)

The key features are:

A very broadly based first year course designed to provide a solid foundation for the subsequent three years. In addition to the traditional areas of Inorganic, Organic and Physical Chemistry, it includes coverage of Biological Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics for Chemistry.

The second year covers much of the core material for the Chemistry course with opportunities to diversify into other areas via optional supplementary subjects. Topics available include the History and Philosophy of Science, and a modern language as well as topics closer to Chemistry. The three examinations taken in the Summer, Part IA, cover material primarily from the first two years and count 15% towards the final degree.

The third year continues coverage of core material but also offers a choice of more specialised Options (a choice of 3 from 16) which cover a wide range of topics, some relating to research interests in the Department. Part IB examinations are taken at the end of the year and comprise 6 general papers relating to accumulated core material and one paper covering all the Options. These examinations count 50% towards the final degree.

The practical course is an integral part of the first three years. Practicals are assessed throughout the course, and the second and third year practical assessments count 10% towards the final degree.

The fourth year is spent entirely on a research project, working with a supervisor chosen by the student. A thesis is submitted for assessment at the end of the year, and the evaluation incorporated in the final degree result. This project counts 25% towards the final degree.