Research course


University of Birmingham · School of Chemistry
PhDMSc by research

Entry requirements

Candidates applying from the UK for entry into the School of Chemistry as a postgraduate student should possess, or should expect to obtain, a First Class or Upper Second Class Honours degree in Chemistry or in another subject appropriate to the proposed field of study. Candidates applying from outside the UK should possess, or should expect to obtain, a degree at a level equivalent to a First Class or Upper Second Class Honours degree in the UK system; this degree should be in Chemistry or in another subject appropriate to the proposed field of study.

Months of entry

January, December, November, October, September, June, May, April, March, February

Course content

Please consult the School of Chemistry website and decide the area of Chemistry in which you want to work, and with which member(s) of staff (see Research interests below) or within which research theme. You can then approach staff members directly, or alternatively contact Norihan Taib, the School Postgraduate Admissions Secretary (see contact details above), who will be happy to provide advice about the admissions process and help put you in touch with members of staff who have similar research interests to your own.
Over the last four years, expenditure of over £2 million has allowed the School of Chemistry to purchase new instrumentation and refurbish and redevelop its facilities for research and teaching. This has been accompanied by the creation of several new staff positions. This increased research strength has been recognised by the research councils, who have given substantial support for research in the School in the last few years. With the facilities and opportunities available to our researchers, we can make real contributions to tackling the scientific challenges that face chemists today.
Research in the School is divided into four research units; examples of specific research topics are given below each unit heading and unit leader.
Biomolecular, Supramolecular and Nanoscale Chemistry
Unit Leader: Dr Zoe Pikramenou
Molecular and biomolecular recognition; supramolecular architectures; nanoparticles; self assembly and self organisation; liquid crystals; bioinorganic systems; light and redox sensitive sensors; photophysics and photochemistry; peptide design; DNA recognition motifs; luminescent labels; metallo-drugs and imaging agents; molecular imaging.
Molecular Synthesis and Catalysis
Unit Leader: Dr Paul Davies
Asymmetric synthesis; carbohydrates; cascade reactions; catalyst design; functional molecules; lipids; molecular design and diversity; natural products; organic reaction mechanisms; peptides; reactive intermediates; reaction design; organocatalysis; organometallic chemistry; sustainable chemistry; synthetic organic chemistry; transition-metal mediated reactions and catalysis.
Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
Unit Leader: Dr Graham Worth
Atmospheric chemistry; bio-nanotechnology; chemical reaction dynamics; clusters and nanoparticles; computational and theoretical chemistry; electrochemistry; gas-phase molecular chemistry; magnetic resonance imaging; photoelectron and ultraviolet spectroscopy; simulation and modelling; surface and interfacial chemistry; X-ray spectroscopy.
Solid State Chemistry
Unit Leader: Dr Peter Slater
Fuel cell and Li ion battery materials; biomaterials; functional materials; heterogeneous catalysis; high-pressure chemistry; hybrid organic-inorganic materials; hydrogen storage and separation; magnetic materials; nanoparticles and nanowires; organic materials; polymorphism; superconductors; structural chemistry; thermoelectric materials; nuclear waste encapsulation materials; zeolites.

Department specialisms

Materials chemistry; Molecular processes and theory; Molecular synthesis and chemical biology. First, we recommend you consult our website and decide the area of Chemistry in which you want to work, and with which member of staff.

Information for international students

The school currently attracts its young researchers from 28 different countries. Many have sponsorship / fellowships from their own countries.

Fees and funding

UK students
£4,121 FT - £2,061 PT
International students
£17,910 FT

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Qualification and course duration


full time
36 months
part time
72 months

MSc by research

part time
24 months
full time
12 months

Course contact details

Postgraduate enquiry service
0121 414 5005