Best UK Universities For Chemistry – Where To Study in 2024?

Welcome to our guide on the top UK universities for chemistry, featuring institutions like the University of Edinburgh, University of Bath, Imperial College London, University of St Andrews, and University of Manchester. These universities are known for their academic excellence and cutting-edge research, providing students with a vibrant environment for learning and innovation. Join us as we highlight what makes these institutions stand out in the field of chemistry, offering aspiring chemists an exceptional educational experience.

best chemistry universities in uk

Table of Contents

Why Study Chemistry in the UK?

Studying chemistry in the UK presents a compelling proposition due to its globally esteemed universities and their commitment to excellence in scientific education. The diverse range of chemistry programmes allows students to tailor their studies to specific interests, while strong links with industry foster real-world experience and enhance employability. Additionally, the multicultural environment, proficiency in the English language, and the cultural richness of the UK contribute to a holistic educational experience, preparing students for successful careers in the global scientific community.

Furthermore, a UK chemistry degree holds international recognition and prestige, opening doors to career opportunities worldwide. The post-study work opportunities in the UK enable graduates to gain practical experience and build a professional network, further augmenting their potential for success in the competitive field of chemistry. In essence, studying chemistry in the UK not only ensures a top-tier education but also provides a culturally enriching experience and a solid foundation for a flourishing career in the dynamic and ever-evolving realm of scientific discovery.

Top Chemistry Universities in the UK

Here are the best universities for chemistry degrees in the UK entering 2024 using the latest QS World University Rankings. 

  • The University of Edinburgh
  • University of Bath
  • Imperial College London
  • University of St Andrews
  • University of Manchester

1. The University of Edinburgh Chemistry Review

The University of Edinburgh is renowned for its strong emphasis on research and academic excellence in chemistry. The School of Chemistry provides state-of-the-art facilities for both undergraduate and postgraduate students. Research areas include synthetic chemistry, chemical biology, and materials chemistry. The university’s commitment to cutting-edge research and teaching makes it a top choice for aspiring chemists.

The standard entry requirements are:

  • SQA Highers: AAAB by end of S5 or AAAA by end of S6. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.
  • A Levels: AAA – ABB.
  • IB: 37 points with 666 at HL – 32 points with 555 at HL.

2. University of Bath Chemistry Review

University of Bath boasts a vibrant and dynamic Department of Chemistry known for its innovative research and teaching methodologies. The department focuses on interdisciplinary collaborations, with research spanning areas such as medicinal chemistry, nanotechnology, and sustainable chemical technologies. Bath’s strong industry links also provide students with valuable opportunities for internships and placements. Moreover, Bath was top 10 in three national league tables for 2023 and chemistry was top 10 in the Complete University Guide 2023.

3. Imperial College London Chemistry Review

Imperial College London consistently ranks among the top institutions globally, and its Department of Chemistry is no exception. Known for its world-class faculty and research facilities, Imperial College emphasises applied chemistry, with strengths in areas such as chemical biology, catalysis, and materials chemistry. Students benefit from exposure to cutting-edge research and collaboration with industry partners.

The minimum entry standard for admission to the programme requires prospective students to attain AAA in their A-levels. This grade should specifically include an A in Chemistry, an A in Mathematics, and an A in a third subject, with preferences given to Biology, Economics, Further Mathematics, or Physics.

4. University of St Andrews Chemistry Review

University of St Andrews has a prestigious School of Chemistry with a rich history in scientific discovery. St Andrews places a strong emphasis on both teaching and research, offering students a well-rounded education. The school’s research covers a broad spectrum, including organic chemistry, biochemistry, and environmental chemistry. St Andrews’ close-knit academic community and picturesque campus further enhance the student experience.

The School offers a wide range of undergraduate degrees in Chemistry:

  • Chemistry BSc (Hons)
  • Chemistry MChem (Hons)
  • Chemical Sciences BSc (Hons) 
  • Chemistry with Medicinal Chemistry BSc (Hons)
  • Chemistry with Medicinal Chemistry MChem (Hons)
  • Materials Chemistry BSc (Hons)
  • Materials Chemistry MChem (Hons)
  • Sustainable Development BSc (Hons)
  • Sustainable Development MA (Hons)

5. University of Manchester Chemistry Review

University of Manchester’s School of Chemistry is known for its world-class research and contributions to the field. With a diverse and vibrant research environment, students have the opportunity to engage in cutting-edge projects across various disciplines, including analytical chemistry, materials science, and theoretical chemistry. Manchester’s strong ties with industry and collaborative research initiatives make it a hub for aspiring chemists.

University of Manchester offers extensive library and online services to help you get the most out of your studies. In addition, their modern teaching laboratories are equipped with a wide range of specialist facilities including:

  • State-of-the-art synthetic labs for project work.
  • Dedicated NMR spectrometer for exclusive use by undergraduates.
  • A suite of dedicated analytical instrumentation.
  • The undergraduate teaching labs also have 3 HPLC and one HPLC-MS instruments to help you learn the fundamentals and applications of measurement and of separation science.
  • Ten spectrophotometers and a suite of infra-red spectrometers for measuring solids, liquids and gases.

Chemistry University Rankings in the UK

Here is the latest list of the best universities for chemistry in the UK as we enter 2024:

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

How are the Rankings Measured?

The ranking methodology includes several key indicators, such as teaching quality, research output and reputation, industry connections and engagement, international diversity, and citations. These indicators help evaluate the academic environment, resources, faculty expertise, and global impact of relevant institutions. The rankings also consider factors like student satisfaction, graduate employability, and the influence and reach of research conducted by the universities.

Factors to Consider in Choosing a Chemistry Programme

When choosing a chemistry programme, consider key factors such as the curriculum’s breadth and faculty expertise, emphasising practical laboratory experiences. Evaluate the availability of resources and modern facilities, along with the programme’s reputation, accreditation, and industry connections for internships. Look for flexibility in specialisations and assess the university’s overall standing, considering location and financial considerations. A balanced assessment of these factors ensures a well-rounded educational experience aligned with your academic and career objectives in the field of chemistry.

Career Opportunities for Chemistry Graduates

Chemistry graduates enjoy diverse and rewarding career opportunities across various industries. In research and development, they contribute to scientific discoveries, innovations, and advancements, working in sectors such as pharmaceuticals, materials science, and environmental science. Many graduates pursue careers in the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries, engaging in drug development, quality control, and analytical chemistry.

The chemical manufacturing sector offers opportunities in production, process optimisation, and quality assurance. Environmental agencies and consultancy firms seek chemistry graduates for roles related to environmental monitoring, pollution control, and sustainability. Additionally, careers in forensic science, food and beverage industries, and science education are common paths for chemistry graduates. With the increasing emphasis on technology, data analysis, and artificial intelligence, chemistry graduates are also sought after in fields like data science, analytics, and technology development. Overall, the versatility of a chemistry degree opens doors to a wide array of professions, making graduates well-equipped for dynamic and impactful careers.

Dissertation Topics for Chemistry

  • Synthesis and Characterisation of Novel Organic Compounds with Potential Medicinal Applications
  • Development of Sustainable and Green Synthetic Methods in Organic Chemistry
  • Exploring Coordination Chemistry: Design and Study of Transition Metal Complexes
  • Applications of Inorganic Materials in Catalysis and Energy Storage
  • Structural and Functional Studies of [Specific Biomolecule or Enzyme]

Frequently Asked Questions about UK Chemistry Universities

Chemistry will open the doors to countless careers, both in the lab and out of it, and people who have studied chemistry are employed in many sectors, including medicine research, manufacturing, and education. Common career choices for chemistry students are: analytical chemist.

  • Research Chemist.
  • Analytical Chemist.
  • Forensic Specialist.
  • Chemical Engineer.
  • Quality Assurance Specialist.
  • Food Safety Officer.
  • Toxicologist.
  • Pharmacologist.
It’s a field that combines many hard and soft skills, and a strong work ethic is a must-have. With that said, chemistry doesn’t have to be impossible. If you make a solid plan and take advantage of all available resources, you can succeed in chemistry—just as you would in any other major.
Ultimately, having a chemistry degree enhances your reasoning and problem solving skills, which prepares you for careers in diverse fields including: forensics, pharmaceutical development, medical research, nanotechnology, homeland security, and many others.

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