School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences

BSc (Hons) Chemistry

Chemists plays a vital role in tackling key societal challenges, including sustainability, health, energy and protecting the environment. To ensure our graduates can apply their chemistry, our course places problem solving, communication, and project management at the core of what we do. Taught by world-class researchers, our students gain both the academic knowledge and practical laboratory skills needed to be a professional chemist in a wide range of careers.

Work and learn in our ISO 9001 certified laboratories, our unique offer to undergraduates to train in a regulated professional laboratory environment. Chemistry at Plymouth is ranked 14th in the Guardian University Guide 2021: top in the UK for ‘satisfied with feedback’, 2nd in both ‘satisfied with teaching’ and the ‘value-added score’, and 6th on ‘satisfied with the course’

Scholarships for outstanding applicants

The School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences’ scholarship scheme recognises and rewards students joining our degree courses who have demonstrated outstanding academic achievement.

Scholarships of £1,000 will be awarded to the two applicants in chemistry who achieve the highest grades in their A level or equivalent exams. The scholarship will be awarded during their first year of study at the University of Plymouth.

Guardian University Guide 2021 league tables

  • Chemistry ranked 14th out of 53 in the Guardian University Guide 2021 league tables. 
  • Chemistry came top in ‘satisfied with feedback’.
  • Joint 2nd in both ‘satisfied with teaching’ and the ‘value-added score’.
  • 6th on ‘satisfied with the course’.

Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2022*

The University of Plymouth has been named among the top 5% of universities globally in 2022 for its contribution to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals*, in particular, work on marine issues and on climate change. In the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, sustainability is at the heart of our research and teaching. From sustainable cities, affordable and clean energy, to climate policy, biodiversity, and natural hazards, our academic staff work with partners locally and overseas to help understand, communicate and solve fundamental and pressing sustainability challenges.

Find out more in our press release

Shutterstock: Crystals of water ice under the microscope with a magnification of 80 times and in polarised light.

Key features

  • Benefit from outstanding teaching - 96% of our students were overall satisfied with the quality of the course; 96% said that staff made the subject interesting; and 93% agreed that staff were good at explaining things.*
  • Equip yourself for successful employment in a competitive job market – our focus on practical, professional skills means you graduate primed to enter the workplace.
  • Benefit from award-winning teaching in small groups and be inspired by staff who are world-leading researchers.
  • Hone your practical problem solving skills in our newly-refurbished laboratories, kitted out with the latest analytical instrumentation.
  • Our tutorial system ensures that you receive the support and guidance you need to reach your full potential.
  • 70% of assessment is based on coursework.
  • Experience chemistry in the real world and boost your employability by taking a placement, work-based project in your final year, or working alongside PhD and post-doctoral researchers in our high specification laboratories.
  • Graduate with in-demand skills for a range of career paths, from research and development in the pharmaceutical industry and lab-based roles in the food and energy industries, to positions in the science, engineering, healthcare, environmental or technology sectors.
  • Accredited by the Royal Society of Chemistry, the professional body representing chemistry in the UK.

Course details
  • Year 1

  • In your first year, you’ll take part in workshops, lectures, tutorials and practical sessions, providing you with the essential skills and knowledge for a degree in chemistry. You’ll learn about core chemical principles and chemical problem solving, as well as IT and laboratory techniques. You’ll begin developing personal and professional skills to boost your employability in the science workplace. 

    Core modules

    • Practice of Chemistry (CHM1011)

      This module introduces fundamental theoretical concepts and practical skills needed for degree level chemistry. It provides introductory training in practical techniques, embedding core chemical concepts and a robust foundation for good laboratory practice and scientific communication.

    • Solving Chemical Problems (CHM1014)

      This module introduces the application of fundamental theoretical chemical concepts and practical skills to well-defined chemical problems. It provides a basic introduction to research informed teaching via a series of research applications workshops, and starts to build employability with careers workshops.

    • Inorganic Chemistry (CHM1017)

      This module provides an introduction to fundamental theoretical concepts and practical skills in inorganic chemistry. It also provides training in fundamental practical techniques and good laboratory practice.

    • Mathematical and Computational Chemistry (CHM1018)

      This module provides an introduction to fundamental IT skills, using both standard Microsoft Office software and more specialist programmes, whilst also providing training in fundamental mathematical techniques. All examples are drawn from chemistry and are thus in context.

    • Organic Chemistry (CHM1019)

      This module provides an introduction to fundamental theoretical concepts and practical skills in organic chemistry. It also provides training in fundamental practical techniques and good laboratory practice.

    • Physical Chemistry (CHM1020)

      This module provides an introduction to fundamental theoretical concepts in physical chemistry, practical techniques of experimentation, data acquisition and interpretation and good laboratory practice.

  • Year 2

  • Building on the theoretical and practical areas covered in your first year, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of organic, inorganic, physical and analytical chemistry. You’ll be trained in the use of advanced instrumentation and develop the skills and knowledge to tackle chemical problems in real-life contexts; laying the foundations for more extended projects. You’ll continue your personal and professional development, gaining problem solving and teamwork skills essential to the workplace.

    Core modules

    • Inorganic Chemistry (CHM2011)

      This module builds on the fundamental theoretical concepts and practical skills in inorganic chemistry that were initiated during Stage 1. It also provides further training in practical techniques related to the lecture material and good laboratory practice.

    • Organic Chemistry (CHM2012)

      This module builds on the fundamental theoretical concepts and practical skills in organic chemistry that were initiated during Stage 1. It also provides further training in good laboratory practice and practical techniques of synthesis and structural elucidation in organic chemistry, related to the lecture, workshop and tutorial material.

    • Physical Chemistry (CHM2013)

      This module builds on the theory and practical skills introduced in Stage 1. It concerns the way molecules behave: quantum mechanically, statistically, thermodynamically, electrochemically and as colloids and on surfaces. It is underpinned by mathematics and illustrated by practical exercises.

    • Analytical Chemistry 1 (CHM2014)

      This module introduces the fundamental theoretical concepts in analytical chemistry. It also provides further training in problem solving and teamwork.

    • Analytical Chemistry 2 (CHM2015)

      This module introduces practical laboratory skills in analytical chemistry and instrumental analysis. It also provides further training in task management, teamwork and information and data management.

    • Research Skills (CHM2016)

      This module will develop research and professional skills within the context of chemical problems, including a business challenge, and prepare students for modules CHM3011 and CHM3012.

    Optional modules

    • Preparation for the Chemical Industry Work Placement (APIE218)

      This module is designed to assist students in their search and preparation for a work placement and careers. It is aimed at students who would like to undertake the work placement to enhance both programme specific and employment-related skills during Stage 3 and preparation for future careers.

  • Optional placement year

  • Optional modules

    • Placement in Chemistry (APIE318)

      This module provides an opportunity for professional training of at least 6 months in the chemistry sector, with an approved company or host organisation between Stages 2 and 4. While on placement, students will gain experience of how chemistry is used in the workplace, be able to apply and develop their chemical knowledge and expertise, and acquire additional skills relevant to the position and more generally.

  • Final year

  • Studying chemistry at an advanced level, you’ll explore contemporary chemical issues and focus on developing your skills to a professional standard. You’ll hone your practical skills and project management know-how by planning and undertaking a project with an internationally recognised research group, working with the latest instrumentation and paving your way for successful entry into your profession. There’s also an opportunity to experience a work-based learning placement within the industry.

    Core modules

    • Advanced Analytical Techniques (CHM3013)

      This series of practical sessions (with supporting lectures) provides a theoretical and practical understanding of the operation and applications of modern instrumental analytical techniques. Emphasis is given to hands on experience of a range of modern instrumental techniques and their application to industrial, environmental, clinical and forensic samples.

    • Advanced Inorganic Chemistry (CHM3014)

      Students will apply knowledge and understanding to the solution of unfamiliar chemical problems in selected areas of inorganic chemistry. Emphasis will be placed on designing an experimental approach and relating key concepts from all four main branches of chemistry in a variety of contexts, both theoretical and practical in nature.

    • Advanced Organic Chemistry (CHM3015)

      Students will apply knowledge and understanding to the solution of unfamiliar chemical problems in selected areas of organic chemistry. Emphasis will be placed on applying key concepts in a variety of contexts, both theoretical and practical in nature.

    • Advanced Physical Chemistry (CHM3016)

      Advanced theoretical and practical concepts in physical chemistry and materials characterisation techniques.

    Optional modules

    • Chemistry Project (CHM3011)

      A research project, normally involving laboratory work, but which may also include fieldwork, on a topic relevant to the degree programme. Both independent research and collaborative team-work is linked to the development of skills appropriate to the management of the project and entry and success in the professional workplace.

    • Chemistry Project incorporating Work Based Learning (CHM3012)

      A work-based project, involving a Summer placement (minimum normally 6 weeks) on a topic relevant to the degree programme. Independent work is linked to the development of skills appropriate to the management of the project, the Summer placement, and entry and success in the professional workplace.

Every undergraduate taught course has a detailed programme specification document describing the course aims, the course structure, the teaching and learning methods, the learning outcomes and the rules of assessment.

The following programme specification represents the latest course structure and may be subject to change:

BSc Chemistry Programme Specification 6177

The modules shown for this course are those currently being studied by our students, or are proposed new modules. Please note that programme structures and individual modules are subject to amendment from time to time as part of the University’s curriculum enrichment programme and in line with changes in the University’s policies and requirements.

In light of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the changeable nature of the situation and any updates to government guidance, we may need to make further, last minute adjustments to how we deliver our teaching and learning on some or all of our programmes, at any time during the academic year. We want to reassure you that even if we do have to adjust the way in which we teach our programmes, we will be working to maintain the quality of the student learning experience and learning outcomes at all times.
Entry requirements

UCAS tariff

104 - 112

A level
A typical offer will be 104-112 points, minimum 3 A levels to include a grade C in chemistry. General studies is excluded.

BTEC RQF National Extended Diploma/QCF Extended Diploma
DMM – science related including chemistry units.  
BTEC National Diploma modules
If you hold a BTEC qualification it is vital that you provide our admissions team with details of the exact modules you have studied as part of the BTEC. Without this information we may be unable to process your application quickly and you could experience significant delays in the progress of your application to study with us. Please explicitly state the full list of modules within your qualification at the time of application.              

International Baccalaureate
26–27 overall to include grade 4 at higher level chemistry.

If you are an international student and not studying English within IB, you must have IELTS: 6.0 overall with 5.5 in all elements.

Access to HE Diploma
Pass an Access to HE Diploma with 33 level 3 credits at merit and/or distinction, which must include 15 level 3 credits in chemistry with merit. The remaining units should come from science related units. Suitable Diplomas might include science/combined studies/natural sciences/nursing. 

T level
Merit: Science pathway, which must include Laboratory Sciences as the occupational specialism.

English language requirements.

We welcome applicants with international qualifications. To view other accepted qualifications please refer to our tariff glossary.

Fees, costs and funding

The UK is no longer part of the European Union. EU applicants should refer to our Brexit information to understand the implications.

New Student 2022-2023 2023-2024
Home £9,250 £9,250
International £14,600 £16,300
Part time (Home) £770 £770
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per 10 credits. Please note that fees are reviewed on an annual basis. Fees and the conditions that apply to them shown in the prospectus are correct at the time of going to print. Fees shown on the web are the most up to date but are still subject to change in exceptional circumstances. More information about fees and funding.

Undergraduate scholarships for international students

To reward outstanding achievement the University of Plymouth offers scholarship schemes to help towards funding your studies.

Find out whether you are eligible and how you can apply

Additional costs

This course is delivered by the Faculty of Science and Engineering and more details of any additional costs associated with the faculty's courses are listed on the following page: Additional fieldwork and equipment costs.

How to apply
All applications for undergraduate courses are made through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). 

UCAS will ask for the information contained in the box at the top of this course page including the UCAS course code and the institution code. 

To apply for this course and for more information about submitting an application including application deadline dates, please visit the UCAS website.

Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office via our how to apply webpage or email

Biogeochemistry Research Centre

Researching the environmental behaviour, fate and impact of nutrients, metals and pharmaceuticals in terrestrial, atmospheric and aquatic systems.

The Biogeochemistry Research Centre comprises expert researchers and instrumentation, with acknowledged international leaders in organic geochemistry and environmental analytical chemistry and a strong focus on marine science and current and past ecosystems and climates.

Find out more about the Biogeochemistry Research Centre

Scientists working with a University of Plymouth team on sea ice in the Arctic (credit: Simon Belt/University of Plymouth)

Meet our graduates

Academic staff

*Royal Society of Chemistry accreditation