Study Chemistry: A Comprehensive Subject Guide

Dive into the realm of atoms, molecules, and reactions, and unlock the secrets of matter and the periodic table. Whether you’re a beginner or looking to deepen your knowledge, this guide is your key to understanding the fascinating world of chemistry.


Table of Contents

What is Chemistry?

Chemistry is the science that helps us understand what everything around us is made of and how it behaves. It’s like a giant puzzle that reveals the secrets of matter—tiny particles called atoms, their combinations into molecules, and the way they change during chemical reactions. Chemistry’s periodic table sorts elements by their unique characteristics, offering a map to navigate this world.

But it’s not just about atoms and tables; it’s about real-world applications. Chemistry powers medicine, industry, and environmental science. It lets us create new materials, discover life-saving drugs, and understand pollution. Beyond that, chemistry unveils the beauty in everyday things, from the colours in a rainbow to the scents in a flower.

So, chemistry is the key to unlocking the mysteries of the stuff that makes up our world and how it all works together. It’s a window into both the practical and the beautiful aspects of the universe.

Why Study Chemistry?

Studying chemistry offers numerous compelling reasons:

  1. Understanding the World: Chemistry allows us to comprehend the composition of everything around us, from the air we breathe to the food we eat. It answers fundamental questions about the nature of matter and how substances interact.

  2. Problem Solving: Chemistry equips you with critical problem-solving skills. It teaches you to analyse complex situations, make informed decisions, and find creative solutions to real-world challenges.

  3. Scientific Literacy: A basic understanding of chemistry is essential for being scientifically literate. It enables you to engage in informed discussions about important topics like climate change, health, and technology.

  4. Innovation and Technology: Chemistry is at the heart of innovation and technological advancement. It drives developments in materials science, pharmaceuticals, energy, and more.

  5. Environmental Awareness: With growing environmental concerns, chemistry plays a vital role in finding sustainable solutions, such as developing clean energy sources and mitigating pollution.

  6. Healthcare Advancements: Chemistry is integral to the development of life-saving drugs, medical treatments, and diagnostic tools. It contributes to improving global health outcomes.

Best Universities for Chemistry in the UK

Here is a list of the top UK universities in this field according to the latest QS World University Rankings:

RankUniversity Name
1University of Cambridge
2University of Oxford
3Imperial College London
4University of St Andrews
5Durham University
6The University of Edinburgh
7University of York
8University of Bristol
9University of Bath
10University of Southampton
11University of Birmingham
12University of Strathclyde
13University of Warwick
14University of Manchester
15University of Glasgow
16University of Surrey
17UCL (University College London)
18Loughborough University
19Swansea University
20Newcastle University
21University of Sheffield
22University of Nottingham
23University of East Anglia UEA
24University of Leeds
25Keele University
26Queen's University Belfast
27University of Liverpool
28University of Sussex
29Lancaster University
30King's College London, University of London
31Northumbria University, Newcastle
32Cardiff University
33Aston University, Birmingham
34Queen Mary University of London
35University of Lincoln
36University of Aberdeen
37University of Plymouth
38University of Hull
39University of South Wales
40University of Reading
41Heriot-Watt University
42University of Leicester
43University of Kent
44University of Salford
45University of Central Lancashire
46Manchester Metropolitan University
47University of Greenwich
48Sheffield Hallam University
49University of Huddersfield
50Nottingham Trent University
51Teesside University, Middlesbrough
52University of Bradford
53University of East London
54De Montfort University
55Kingston University

Entry Requirements for a Chemistry Degree

Entry requirements for a chemistry degree in the UK can vary depending on the university and the specific programme, but there are some common guidelines and prerequisites to keep in mind.

Here are the typical entry requirements for a chemistry degree in the UK:

  1. Academic Qualifications:

    • A-levels or equivalent qualifications are usually required. Chemistry A-level is often a prerequisite for studying chemistry at the undergraduate level.
    • Typical offers may require A-levels in chemistry and two other science or math subjects, although requirements can vary.
    • International Baccalaureate (IB) or other equivalent qualifications are also accepted by many universities.

  2. A-level Subject Requirements:

    • Chemistry A-level is typically mandatory for most chemistry programmes.
    • Some universities may have specific subject requirements, such as mathematics or physics at A-level.

  3. Grades:

    • Entry requirements are usually stated in terms of A-level grades or UCAS tariff points. These requirements vary between universities and can range from AAB to AAA or higher.

Jobs for Chemistry Graduates

Here are the career prospects for graduates in this field:

  • Chemist/Research Scientist
  • Analytical Chemist
  • Biochemist
  • Chemical Engineer
  • Pharmaceutical Scientist
  • Forensic Scientist
  • Environmental Scientist
  • Materials Scientist
  • Quality Control Analyst
  • Food Scientist
  • Pharmacologist
  • Toxicologist
  • Water Quality Analyst
  • Laboratory Technician
  • Science Teacher/Professor

Salary for Chemistry Graduates

Check out the average salary for graduates in this field: 

Low skilled: £19,000

Medium-skilled: £21,500

High-skilled: £25,600


Topics for Chemistry Dissertation

Below, we present a diverse array of research areas, each offering an opportunity to delve into the complexities of Chemistry and make a significant contribution to its advancement:

  1. Organic Chemistry: Investigate the synthesis and properties of carbon-based compounds, essential for drug discovery, materials science, and understanding chemical reactions in living organisms.

  2. Inorganic Chemistry: Explore the properties and behavior of inorganic compounds, including metals and minerals, with applications in catalysis, materials, and environmental chemistry.

  3. Physical Chemistry: Study the fundamental principles governing chemical processes, including thermodynamics, quantum mechanics, and kinetics, to understand reaction mechanisms and energy changes.

  4. Analytical Chemistry: Develop advanced techniques and instruments for detecting and quantifying chemical compounds, crucial for environmental monitoring, pharmaceuticals, and forensic analysis.

  5. Biochemistry: Investigate the chemical processes within living organisms, including DNA replication, protein structure, and metabolic pathways, with implications for medicine and biotechnology.

  6. Medicinal Chemistry: Design and synthesise new compounds with therapeutic properties, aiming to discover drugs for various diseases, including cancer and infectious diseases.

  7. Materials Science: Explore the properties and applications of advanced materials, such as nanomaterials, polymers, and superconductors, for technologies like electronics and renewable energy.

  8. Environmental Chemistry: Study the chemistry of pollutants, their impact on ecosystems, and develop sustainable solutions for air and water quality, waste management, and climate change mitigation.

  9. Catalysis: Investigate catalysts that enhance the speed and efficiency of chemical reactions, crucial for industrial processes and clean energy production.

  10. Theoretical and Computational Chemistry: Use computer simulations and mathematical models to predict chemical behavior, aiding in drug design, materials discovery, and understanding molecular interactions.

  11. Green Chemistry: Focus on sustainable and environmentally friendly approaches to chemical processes, minimising waste and reducing the ecological footprint of chemical industries.

  12. Astrochemistry: Study the chemistry of celestial objects and the interstellar medium, shedding light on the origins of life and the universe’s chemical evolution.

  13. Food Chemistry: Explore the chemical composition, properties, and safety of food products, contributing to food quality, safety, and nutrition.

  14. Forensic Chemistry: Apply chemical analysis techniques to solve crimes, identify substances, and analyse evidence in criminal investigations.

How Much Does it Cost to Study in the UK

One of the most important things to consider is how much the degree is going to cost. Here is a general guide for 2023/2024:

  • For home students in England, universities can charge up to a maximum of £9,250 per year for an undergraduate degree.
  • In Wales, institutions can charge up to £9,000 for home students. However, Welsh students can apply for a fee grant to cover some of the cost of their tuition fees. This grant is currently not repayable or income-assessed.
  • Northern Irish universities will charge up to £4,275 for home students and may charge up to £9,250 for students from elsewhere in the UK.
  • Scotland does not charge home students fees at the undergraduate level; however, students from England, Wales, or Northern Ireland are expected to pay up to £9,250 per year. International students from outside of the UK will pay significantly more to study in Scotland.
  • International students can expect to pay between £10,000 and £26,000 annually for lecture-based undergraduate degrees at universities across the UK. An undergraduate medical degree can cost overseas students up to £58,600 per year. As for postgraduate degrees, the average cost is estimated to be around £17,109 per year.
Besides the tuition fees, there are also several other cost considerations such as food, accommodation, phone bills, books, social life, memberships, and others. Remember to check out our free student budget calculator

Other Subjects to Consider

Given that you are interested in this subject area, you might also want to consider the following options: 

  • Biology
  • Physics
  • Mathematics 
  • Environmental Science
  • Computer Science
  • Engineering
  • Business or Management
  • Materials Science and Engineering
  • Medicine 
  • Forensic Science
  • Environmental Policy or Law
  • Education

Frequently Asked Questions

Consider your interests, passions, and career goals. Research various degree programmes and their content to see which aligns best with your aspirations.

While earning potential is important, it’s also crucial to select a degree that you’re passionate about and suits your skills. A balance between your interests and potential career prospects is ideal.

Location can impact your overall university experience. Consider factors like cost of living, proximity to industry hubs, and personal preferences.

Evaluate tuition fees, available scholarships, and potential for part-time work. Create a budget to ensure you can manage your finances during your studies.

Consider combining your passions with practical skills. For example, if you love art but want job security, explore fields like graphic design or digital marketing.

Apply To A UK University Today!

Speak to us today for free application assistance and education advice. Our expert consultants are more than happy to help!

Subscribe For Our FREE Insider UK Study Advice

Apply To Your Favourite UK University Today!

Speak to us today for free application assistance and education advice. Our expert consultants are more than happy to help!

Scroll to Top