Course overview

You'll be taught by academic staff from the School of Chemistry and the School of Physics and Astronomy. They will feed your curiosity and develop your approach to independent learning. You may even recognise some of our staff from the popular Periodic Videos and Sixty Symbols YouTube channels.

This course focuses on the overlap between the established disciplines of chemistry and physics. In the first year, you will study introductory chemistry, physics and mathematics modules. You will take practical chemistry classes in our teaching laboratories. In years two and three you'll develop a more specialised and deeper understanding of chemistry and physics. Some of the topics you can study include: 

  • physical chemistry
  • spectroscopy
  • magnetic resonance
  • nanotechnology
  • energetics and kinetics
  • atomic and particle physics

Our students have gone onto work in a variety of industries including chemistry, physics and pharmaceutics.

Why choose this course?


by the Institute of Physics

Optional modules

Choose from a range of optional modules that interest you

Small-group learning

Benefit from small-group tutorials that support your learning

Modern facilities

Put theory into practice in our modern labs and facilities

Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2023 entry.

UK entry requirements
A level AAB, including maths, physics and chemistry.

Please note: Applicants whose backgrounds or personal circumstances have impacted their academic performance may receive a reduced offer. Please see our contextual admissions policy for more information.

Required subjects

GCSE maths at grade 4 (C) (or equivalent), plus GCSE in English at 4 (C) or above

IB score 34 including 6 in maths at Higher Level (mathematics analysis and approaches is the only accepted stream). Plus 6, 5, in physics and chemistry in any order with both at Higher Level preferred.

A levels

  • AAB at A level including maths, physics and chemistry
  • Typical offers will vary depending on the A level subjects offered in addition to chemistry.
  • A pass is normally required in science practical tests, where these are assessed separately.


  • Mathematics at grade 4 (C) (or equivalent)
  • Plus GCSE in english at 4 (C) or above

Foundation progression options

If you don't meet our entry requirements there is the option to study the Engineering and Physical Sciences Foundation Programme. There is a course for UK students and one for EU/international students.

Mature Students

At the University of Nottingham, we have a valuable community of mature students and we appreciate their contribution to the wider student population. You can find lots of useful information on the mature students webpage.

Learning and assessment

How you will learn

Teaching methods

  • Lab sessions
  • Lectures
  • Tutorials
  • Workshops
  • Seminars
  • Computer labs

How you will be assessed

The academic year is divided into two semesters and you will complete 120 credits of study per year.

Your final degree classification will be based on marks gained for your second and subsequent years of study. Year two is worth 33% with year three worth 67%.

Assessment methods

  • Coursework
  • Lab reports
  • Research project
  • Written exam
  • Group project

Contact time and study hours

There are typically 10 lectures in addition to 8 to 10 hours of laboratory classes per week.

You will be assigned a personal tutor who will support you through your studies and help you make the most of the opportunities available at Nottingham. Your personal tutor will guide your personal and academic development, offering you help, encouragement and guidance.

Core modules are typically delivered by assistant professors, associate professors, or professors. 

Study abroad

A study abroad opportunity isn’t offered on this course. If you are interested in studying abroad, you can consider Chemistry with an International Study Year MSci.

Year in industry

A placement year isn't offered on this course. If this is something you are interested in you may want to look at Chemistry with Year in Industry MSci.

A year in industry gives you the opportunity to spend a year on placement with an industrial partner. This can help improve your employability and enables you to apply your learning to a practical setting.

Study Abroad and the Year in Industry are subject to students meeting minimum academic requirements. Opportunities may change at any time for a number of reasons, including curriculum developments, changes to arrangements with partner universities, travel restrictions or other circumstances outside of the university’s control. Every effort will be made to update information as quickly as possible should a change occur.

School of Chemistry facilities

See what it is like to study in the School of Chemistry. Take a look at our modern labs, teaching environment and research areas. Our STEM lab has capacity for 150 students. The teaching laboratory is fully equipped with cutting-edge facilities and equipment for research and teaching.


In the first year you will study introductory chemistry, physics and mathematics modules.

You will take practical chemistry classes in our teaching laboratories and a special module on data analysis and scientific computing.

Fundamental Chemistry Theory and Practical

This module shows how trends in chemical properties can be related to the structure of the Periodic Table and rationalise descriptive inorganic chemistry. 

To provide a fundamental understanding of the basics of organic chemistry, including nomenclature, molecular structure and bonding, stereochemistry and the chemical reactivity of common functional groups and reaction types through an understanding of their electronic properties. 

To provide an introduction to fundamental physical aspects of chemistry, which underpins all areas of Chemistry - emphasis will be placed on being able to apply knowledge, especially in solving problems. 

To introduce a range of chemical techniques appropriate to the study of inorganic, organic and physical chemistry at first year level, which will act as a foundation for more advanced work in subsequent years.

From Newton to Einstein

How does the world really work?

We’ll take you from Newton’s mechanics, the pinnacle of the scientific revolution and the foundation of our understanding of modern physics, right through to our current understanding of physics with Einstein’s theory of relativity and quantum mechanics.

This module will underpin your entire physics degree. It contains all the ideas and principles that form the basis of our modern world. As you’ll find out, some of these ideas are very strange indeed.

You’ll study:

  • Newton’s laws of mechanics
  • The physics of waves and oscillations
  • Electricity and magnetism
  • Quantum mechanics and the foundations of modern physics
  • Einstein’s relativity
Computing For Physical Science

You’ll receive training in basic computing techniques using Python, and will be introduced to their use in solving physical problems.

You’ll spend two hours in computer classes and a one hour lecture each week. 

Basic Mathematical Methods for Physics

This year-long module covers the mathematical background required for the majority of undergraduate-level study of physics and astronomy. It will complement the material studied in other first-year physics degree modules.

The structure of the module has been designed to ease students into the level of maths required for the early stages of your degree. 

The topics covered in this module are:

  • Complex numbers
  • Differentiation and Taylor Series representations
  • Stationary points of two-dimensional functions
  • Integration techniques for functions of single and multiple variables
  • Partial derivatives of functions of multiple variables
  • Conic sections in plane geometry
  • Fourier representation of functions and the Fourier transform
  • Matrices and eigenvalue problems
  • Solving first-order ordinary differential equations (ODEs)
  • Solving homogeneous and inhomogeneous linear constant coefficient ODEs

Optional modules

Introduction to Green Chemistry and Processing

In this module you’ll look at green chemistry in its broadest sense, covering the fundamental concepts and chemistry involved in making chemical processes cleaner and more environmentally benign.

You’ll spend one hour per week in lectures, seminars and workshops over the whole year studying this module.

Frontiers in Chemistry

This module will introduce you to selected topics at the forefront of current research in chemistry from a physical chemistry perspective.

Example topics include:

  • nanochemistry and its applications
  • energy generation and storage technologies
  • chemistry in the digital age
  • the chemistry of ions
  • the application of advanced photon sources

To provide students with a basic knowledge of the main mathematical techniques required in following a Chemistry-based course. Topics are:

  • functions of single variable
  • differential calculus of a single variable
  • integral calculus of a single variable
  • first-order ordinary differential equations
  • elementary probability and statistics
Mathematics for Chemistry 2

This module provides ancillary mathematics knowledge and skills for students majoring in chemistry-based courses.

Complex numbers are introduced and used with a study of solutions of linear second-order differential equations. Matrix algebra is developed to solve systems of equations and to study eigenvalue problems. The differential calculus of several variables is introduced. An introduction is provided to algebra of matrices and their applications in chemistry. Topics are

  • complex numbers
  • solution of second-order ODEs
  • differential calculus of several variables
  • vector algebra
  • matrix algebra
The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules. This content was last updated on Wednesday 17 August 2022.

In the second year, lectures will concentrate on physical chemistry, spectroscopy, quantum mechanics and electromagnetic fields. There are laboratory classes in both chemistry and physics.

There is a choice of optional modules, covering specialised topics such as nanotechnology and analytical chemistry.

Core modules

Core Laboratory Work

This module builds on the practical, analytical and communication skills developed in the first year and introduces experiments across the range of chemistry, based on your second year theory modules.

You’ll spend around 10 hours per week in practicals for this module. 

Intermediate Inorganic Chemistry
This module aims to survey the classical and new chemistry of the main group elements. To use group theory as a tool in the analysis of vibrational spectra in inorganic chemistry. To give a concise introduction to the organometallic chemistry of the transition metals. To use multinuclear NMR spectroscopy as a tool for the characterisation of molecules.
Energy, Spectroscopy and Solid State Chemistry

In this module you'll study  the physical principles underlying chemical phenomena, with emphasis on energy, quantum mechanics and spectroscopy. You'll also be introduced to solid-state chemistry, including the structure, characterisation, energetics and the band theory of solids.  

You’ll attend two hours of lectures each week in this module. 

The Quantum World

This module provides an introduction to the theory and elementary applications of quantum mechanics, a theory that is one of the key achievements of physics. Quantum mechanics is an elegant theoretical construct that is both beautiful and mysterious. Some of the predictions of quantum mechanics are wholly counter-intuitive and there are aspects of it that are not properly understood. Nonetheless, it has been thoroughly tested empirically for nearly a century and, wherever predictions can be made, they agree with experiment.

The notes, videos, and simulations for the first semester of The Quantum World are all publicly available and freely accessible. Check out the notes online, which include embedded links to the videos and interactive simulations.

You’ll study:

  • Quantum vs classical states
  • Fourier series and transforms: translating from position to momentum space
  • The Heisenberg uncertainty principle (particularly from a Fourier perspective)
  • The time-dependent and time-independent Schrödinger equation
  • Bound and unbound states, scattering and tunnelling
  • Wavepackets
  • The subtleties of the particle in a box
  • Operators, observables, and the thorny measurement problem
  • Matrix mechanics and Dirac notation
  • The quantum harmonic oscillator
  • Conservation and correspondence principles
  • Angular momentum
  • Stern-Gerlach experiment
  • Spin
  • Zeeman effect, Rabi oscillations
  • 2D and 3D systems
  • Degeneracies
  • Hydrogen atom and the radial Schrödinger equation
  • Entanglement and non-locality
  • ... and, of course, that ever-frustrating feline...
Classical Fields

In this module you will explore the concepts of scalar and vector fields. You will learn the mathematics of vector calculus, which give us a powerful tool for studying the properties of fields and understanding their physics.

You will then study its application in two important and contrasting areas of physics: fluid dynamics, and electromagnetism. We use examples such as water draining from a sink or wind in a tornado to provide intuitive illustrations of the application of vector calculus, which can then help us to understand the behaviour of electric and magnetic fields.

You’ll study:

  • The fundamental principles and techniques of vector calculus, and methods to visualise and calculate the properties of scalar and vector fields
  • The application of vector calculus to fluid flow problems
  • Maxwell’s equations of electrodynamics, and their applications in electrostatics, magnetic fields and electromagnetic waves.
Experimental Techniques and Instrumentation

In this module students will receive:

  • an introduction to the the basic techniques and equipment used in experimental physics
  • training in the analysis and interpretation of experimental data
  • a basic practical introduction to geometrical and physical optics
  • opportunities to observe phenomena discussed in theory modules
  • training in the skills of record keeping and writing scientific reports

Optional modules

Principles of Analytical Chemistry

You’ll be introduced to the principles of analytical chemistry, including the principal types of instrumentation used and the statistical treatment of analytical results.

You’ll attend two lectures each week studying this module.

Force and Function at the Nanoscale

We will study some of the fundamental forces at the nanoscale and look at the role of key concepts such as entropy. We will also learn how we can visualise and measure the nanoscale structures that form.

The nanoscale world is very different from our regular experience. Thermal energy pushes and pulls everything towards a state of disorder whilst nanoscale forces allow for materials to resist this and stay together. We will study some of the fundamental forces at the nanoscale and look at the role of key concepts such as entropy. We will also learn how we can visualise and measure the nanoscale structures that form.

While the forces we will study operate over distances as small as 1 nanometre we will explore how these concepts are responsible for phenomena in our everyday world we often don’t even think about:

  • Why is a droplet spherical?
  • What is going on when you scramble an egg?
  • How can a gecko walk across a perfectly smooth ceiling?
  • Why do you use soap when you wash?
  • Why don’t oil and water mix?
Sustainable Chemistry

This module covers material related to developing a more sustainable approach to chemistry. You will learn what constitutes sustainable chemistry, the significance of new technologies such as synthetic biology, and recognise the problems in achieving sustainability.

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules. This content was last updated on

You will study advanced modules in core physics and chemistry.

A final research project will apply your theoretical, computational and experimental techniques to an area of your choice.

Core modules

Chemical Bonding and Reactivity

To provide a fundamental understanding of molecular structure and of the requirements for reactivity.

To introduce modern electronic structure theory and demonstrate how it can be applied to determine properties such as molecular structure, spectroscopy and reactivity.

Solids, Interfaces and Surfaces

This course aims to teach the relationship between structure and properties of solids, structure of Solids and characterisation.

It aims to teach a general introduction to Interfaces and Surfaces.

Fourier Methods

Knowledge of waves and oscillations is needed to understand many physical phenomena. In this module you’ll learn some very useful mathematical tools (Fourier methods) for describing them.

Knowledge of waves and oscillations is needed to understand many physical phenomena. In this module you’ll learn some very useful mathematical tools (Fourier methods) for describing them.

You’ll study:

  • what Fourier methods are and what are their interesting properties
  • how to characterise periodic and non-periodic functions
  • how to solve optical diffraction problem
  • how Fourier methods help in solving differential equations
Atoms, Photons and Fundamental Particles

This module will introduce students to the physics of atoms, nuclei and the fundamental constituents of matter and their interactions. The module will also develop the quantum mechanical description of these.

Topics to be covered are:

  • Approximation techniques first order perturbation theory, degeneracies, second order perturbation theory, transition rates, time-dependent perturbation theory, Fermi's golden rule
  • Particle Physics protons and neutrons, antiparticles, particle accelerators and scattering experiments, conservation laws, neutrinos, leptons, baryons and hadrons, the quark model and the strong interaction, weak interactions, standard model
  • Introduction to atomic physics review of simple model of hydrogen atom, Fermi statistics and Pauli principle, aufbau principle, hydrogenic atoms, exchange, fine structure and hyperfine interactions, dipole interaction, selection rules and transition rates
  • Lasers optical polarization and photons, optical cavities, population inversions, Bose statistics and stimulated emission, Einstein A and B coefficients
  • Nuclear Physics Radioactivity, decay processes, alpha, beta and gamma emission, detectors, stability curves and binding energies, nuclear fission, fusion, liquid drop and shell models.
Introduction to Solid State Physics

Solid state physics underpins almost every technological development around us, from solar cells and LEDs to silicon chips and mobile phones.

The aim of this module is to introduce to you the fundamental topics in solid state physics. We start by looking at why atoms and molecules come together to form a crystal structure. We then follow the electronic structure of these through to interesting electronic, thermal and magnetic properties that we can harness to make devices.

You’ll study:

  • Why atoms and molecules come together to form crystal structures
  • The description of crystal structures, reciprocal lattices, diffraction and Brillouin zones
  • Nearly-free electron model – Bloch's theorem, band gaps from electron Bragg scattering and effective masses
  • Band theory, Fermi surfaces, qualitative picture of transport, metals, insulators and semiconductors
  • Semiconductors – doping, inhomogeneous semiconductors, basic description of pn junction
  • Phonons normal modes of ionic lattice, quantization, Debye theory of heat capacities, acoustic and optical phonons
  • Optical properties of solids absorption and reflection of light by metals, Brewster angle, dielectric constants, plasma oscillations
  • Magnetism – Landau diamagnetism, paramagnetism, exchange interactions, Ferromagnetism, antiferromagnetism, neutron scattering, dipolar interactions and domain formation, magnetic technology
Physics Project

You’ll carry out a project within the areas of chemical and molecular physics, which may be experimental or theoretical in nature.

Spending around two hours per week in lectures and tutorials, you’ll work in pairs to plan your project under the guidance of a project supervisor.

Advanced Laboratory Techniques

This course aims to teach advanced experimental techniques in chemistry.

To provide experience in the recording, analysis and reporting of physical data.

To put into practice the methods of accessing, assessing and critically appraising the chemical literature.

Chemistry and Molecular Physics Literature and Communication Skills

You’ll undertake a literature review on a selected topic in the area of chemistry and molecular physics, presenting your work as a written report.

You’ll also develop your communication skills through group work, presentations and writing for the general public.

You’ll spend around two hours per week in workshops for this module. 

Optional modules

Structure Determination Methods

A general introduction to lasers, including laser radiation and its properties will be given.

A number of current laser spectroscopic methods will be reviewed, which allow the determination of vibrational frequencies and structures.

Examples will cover ground and excited state neutral molecules, radicals and complexes, as well as cations of these.

An introduction to modern diffraction methods will be given, involving neutrons, electrons and X-rays.

Applications will cover solids (crystalline and amorphous), liquids and gases.

Throughout, there will be extensive examples from the research literature.

Bioinorganic and Metal Coordination Chemistry

The aim of this module is to provide you with an understanding of coordination chemistry in the context of macrocyclic, supramolecular and bioinorganic chemistry and its applications in metal extraction and synthesis.

You will gain an appreciation of the importance of metals in biological systems, and be able to explain the relationship between the structure of the active centres of metallo-proteins and enzymes and their biological functions.

The module is assessed by a two-hour written exam.

This module aims to provide a framework for understanding the action of heterogeneous catalysts in terms of adsorption/desorption processes and for understanding catalyst promotion in terms of chemical and structural phenomenon and also describes a wide variety of homogeneous catalytic processes based on organo-transition metal chemistry.
Topics in Inorganic Chemistry
This module covers inorganic mechanisms and the overarching fundamental principles of greener and sustainable chemistry as applied to processes, inorganic reaction mechanisms, and discussion on the theme of greener and sustainable chemistry
The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules. This content was last updated on

Fees and funding

UK students

Per year

International students

To be confirmed in 2022*
Keep checking back for more information

*For full details including fees for part-time students and reduced fees during your time studying abroad or on placement (where applicable), see our fees page.

If you are a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, you may be asked to complete a fee status questionnaire and your answers will be assessed using guidance issued by the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) .

Additional costs

All students will need at least one device to approve security access requests via Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). We also recommend students have a suitable laptop to work both on and off-campus. For more information, please check the equipment advice.

As a student on this course, you should factor some additional costs into your budget alongside your tuition fees and living expenses, including:

  • scientific calculator
  • model kit (optional)

You should be able to access most of the books you’ll need through our libraries, though you may wish to purchase your own copies.

Due to our commitment to sustainability, we don’t print lecture notes but these are available digitally. You will be given £5 worth of printer credits a year. You are welcome to buy more credits if you need them. It costs 4p to print one black and white page.

Personal laptops are not compulsory as we have computer labs that are open 24 hours a day but you may want to consider one if you wish to work at home.

Scholarships and bursaries

The University of Nottingham offers a wide range of bursaries and scholarships. These funds can provide you with an additional source of non-repayable financial help.

Home students*

Over one third of our UK students receive our means-tested core bursary, worth up to £1,000 a year. Full details can be found on our financial support pages.

* A 'home' student is one who meets certain UK residence criteria. These are the same criteria as apply to eligibility for home funding from Student Finance.

International students

We offer a range of international undergraduate scholarships for high-achieving international scholars who can put their Nottingham degree to great use in their careers.

International scholarships


Our graduates can find roles in the pharmaceutical, chemical, food and drink, and energy sectors. This course will develop your skills in practical and theoretical chemistry, data-analysis and problem-solving. These skills are also valuable for careers in finance, education and the media.

Recent graduate destinations include:

  • Boots
  • Cancer Research
  • GlaxoSmithKline
  • HSBC
  • NHS
  • Unilever

Many students continue their studies in chemistry or a related discipline working towards a PhD degree. Read our chemistry alumni profiles to see what careers some of our recent graduates have gone into.

Average starting salary and career progression

86% of undergraduates from the School of Chemistry secured graduate level employment or further study within 15 months of graduation. The average annual salary for these graduates was £25,121.*

  • Data from UoN graduates, 2017-2019. HESA Graduate Outcomes. Sample sizes vary.

Studying for a degree at the University of Nottingham will provide you with the type of skills and experiences that will prove invaluable in any career, whichever direction you decide to take.

Throughout your time with us, our Careers and Employability Service can work with you to improve your employability skills even further; assisting with job or course applications, searching for appropriate work experience placements and hosting events to bring you closer to a wide range of prospective employers.

Have a look at our careers page for an overview of all the employability support and opportunities that we provide to current students.

The University of Nottingham is consistently named as one of the most targeted universities by Britain’s leading graduate employers (Ranked in the top ten in The Graduate Market in 2013-2020, High Fliers Research).

Institute of Physics

The Institute of Physics accredits bachelor and integrated masters degree programmes for the purposes of the professional award of Chartered Physicist. Chartered Physicist requires an IOP accredited degree followed by an appropriate period of experience during which professional skills are acquired. 

An accredited bachelor degree partially fulfils the academic requirement for Chartered Physicist status. Further study to masters level, or equivalent work-based experience, is required to achieve Chartered Physicist.

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Important information

This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.