Taught course

Chemical Research

University of Reading · Department of Chemistry

Entry requirements

Normally at least a lower second class honours degree in chemistry (or equivalent from a university outside the UK). Motivated applicants with a degree in other subject areas may be considered for entry. Although the usual route to PhD is by direct entry, it is possible for MSc students to transfer to a PhD.

Months of entry

January, September

Course content

As a graduate from chemistry or a related discipline, you can use this research degree to train in practical and theoretical research within your specialist area of chemistry with guidance from an experienced researcher.

The main component of this course is a one-year research project. In addition to this, you will also take two taught modules in subjects that complement your project. Taught modules take the form of lectures, while you will receive individual supervision on your research project with regular one-to-one meetings with your supervisor.

A major focus of the course will be on practical methods and in developing and perfecting your research methods and skills. To this end, you will receive hands-on training using instrumentation in our state-of-the-art Chemical Anaylysis Facility, which features NRM, X-ray diffraction, mass spectrometry, thermal analysis, electron microscopy and molecular spectroscopy.

Industrial collaboration is one of our key strengths, and our research groups have worked on projects with a number of major organisations. We therefore have strong links with international companies including AstraZeneca, BP, Cytec, DuPont, GlaxoSmithKline, Henkel, Johnson Matthey, Pfizer, Proctor & Gamble, Syngenta and Unilever.

Our research-active members of academic staff are available to supervise MSc research projects in the following areas:

Chemistry for life and the environment

Research addresses major current challenges in the development of new diagnostic and therapeutic materials for healthcare. Specifically, our cutting-edge research is leading to understanding of protein misfolding diseases such as Alzheimer’s, and developing state-of-the-art analytical techniques to identify cancer biomarkers. In another strand of our work, we aim to improve the understanding of key atmospheric processes that substantially impact on climate change, with specialisations in the areas of ozonolysis of volatile organic compounds and aerosol formation.

Materials chemistry

Research spans the broad areas of polymer chemistry, surface chemistry, computational chemistry and solid-state inorganic chemistry. Fields of particular importance include materials for sustainable energy applications, especially ionic polymer membranes for fuel cells and hydrogen production, and thermoelectric inorganic materials for recovering energy from waste heat. The Materials Chemistry Group is prominent in the development of polymers and nanocomposites that can self-heal in response to mechanical damage, and also in the synthesis and structural analysis of inorganic networks that show negative thermal expansion effects.

Molecular chemistry

Emphasis largely centres on the development of new synthetic methodologies for the synthesis of natural products. However, unnatural products with applications ranging from peptide construction technology to ligands for nuclear waste remediation are becoming increasingly common targets. Techniques such as spectroelectrochemistry, photochemical methodology, or applications of ultra-high pressure chemistry, are central to the work of several groups in the section who rely greatly upon the specialist research equipment available within the Chemical Analysis Facility.

Qualification and course duration


part time
24 months
full time
12 months

Course contact details

Global Recruitment Team