Excellent teaching and research expertise, outstanding student outcomes

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The University of Aberdeen attracts students from across the globe — for many good reasons. For Sean Beats, it was their teaching and research excellence. He enjoyed the  mixture of topics taught in this five-year Master of Chemistry (MChem) programme, which covered the main branches of chemistry at all levels (inorganic, organic, analytical and physical chemistry) which took place not just in lectures, but in practical lab sessions as well.

“The MChem degree allowed me to undertake a research placement for a semester in Barcelona,” he adds. “This was an amazing opportunity on a personal level and allowed me to work in a leading biomaterials research institute. We were also able to publish the results in a scientific journal which was very satisfying.”

Today, after finishing his teaching qualification, Beats is a chemistry teacher at Fraserburgh Academy. “I am thoroughly enjoying my career thus far!” he says.

Many satisfied and successful graduates emerge from this department ranked seventh in the UK and top in Scotland (The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022), first in Scotland for overall student satisfaction (National Student Survey 2021), and first in Scotland for World-Leading Research Impact (REF 2014).

That’s not all. The department has over 200 years of teaching and research experience. Programmes include real-life experience of industrially relevant projects. Facilities are cutting-edge, such as the new multidisciplinary science building housing teaching spaces for Chemistry, Biological Sciences, Life Sciences and Medicine, and the Geosciences.

Add caring faculty members who pride themselves on nurturing students to reach their fullest potential, and you can see why the University of Aberdeen graduates are replete with a range of knowledge, skills, and attributes that prepare them for employment in the 21st century.

Below are the undergraduate and postgraduate degrees made them the success stories they are today:

BSc (Hons) Chemistry

Ideal for those seeking the traditional route to a Chemistry qualification, this programme accredited with the Royal Society of Chemistry covers the main areas of analytical, inorganic, organic, and physical chemistry. In levels 1 and 2, you will study courses other than Chemistry such as other science subjects or languages. In later years, you will be taught by international experts in cutting-edge research topics as well as staff involved with industry research collaborations, and companies developed from within the department (e.g. TauRx Therapeutics, GyreOx Ltd.).

Master of Chemistry

To join this five-year MChem programme accredited with the Royal Society of Chemistry, you will require excellent second-upper honours results in the third year of your BSc degree. Upon completion, you will be en route to the professional qualification of Chartered Chemist.

In the final (fifth) year, students can opt for a research project placement in an area of specialisation at a European partner university, industrial laboratory or department research group. This will enhance research and transferable skills, expanding your future career opportunities in areas such as drug development, environmental protection, food chemistry, petroleum chemistry, forensic science and materials development.

MSc Advanced Energy Materials – Energy Generation and Storage Technology

This one-year programme covers current and emerging technologies which will enable graduates to transition our energy landscape and live sustainably. Students will gain a high level of understanding in the areas of electrochemical conversion devices (such as battery and fuel cell technology), carbon capture technologies and the hydrogen economy. Circular economy approaches and current sustainable innovations will also be covered.

Lecture content comes to life in practical laboratory exercises, ranging from building operational photovoltaic devices to experimental electrochemical techniques, as well as computer-based workshops on the modelling of battery systems and solid-state electrolyte materials. Students will also undertake an individual research project requiring literature review, project design, experimental activities, data processing and interpretation and reporting of results.

MSc Analytical Chemistry

If you seek to specialise in advanced modern analytical methodology and work in the pharmaceutical industry, environmental institutions, research institutes and also new emerging energy sectors, this is the programme for you.

This MSc provides a detailed overview of NMR and elemental and molecular mass spectrometry — which allow the identification and quantification of small biomolecules in complex mixtures at trace level — among others. An important component of this programme is advanced research projects that let students use industry standard analytical equipment.

Aberdeen is also the town where modern chromatography was invented (Synge, Nobel Prize 1952), and where Frederick Soddy published the discovery of a new element, protactinium (Nobel Prize 1921).

MSc Industrial Pharmaceutical Chemistry – from Laboratory to Market

This one-year degree allows students to learn about key processes involved in developing marketed products, including scale-up, product formulation and clinical trials. It was designed to meet the urgent need for graduates who can develop new drugs from the lab bench to the market place.

Students can expect a highly experiential education. The MSc includes guest lectures, site visits, and opportunities for industry-supported projects — after all, the UK is a world leader in medical research and innovation and the biopharmaceutical industry is one of the largest sectors in the UK for high-value jobs. The programme was built on the university’s direct experience gained from TauRx Therapeutics, a spin-out company from the University of Aberdeen, which has become a world leader in Alzheimer’s disease research, as well.

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