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Your undergraduate studies in the Chemical Sciences will include at least some of the sub-disciplines listed below. In reality, these sub-disciplines integrate to support and enhance each other, and there are no clear boundaries delineating them. Your exposure to these fields during your undergraduate years will help you determine which interest you most. If you decide to continue with postgraduate studies in Chemistry, you may select one or more of these fields to specialise in:
  • Organic Chemistry is the study of the reactions of carbon-based compounds, their structure, reactions and synthesis. We study organic chemistry because just about all of the molecules that make life possible, such as proteins, enzymes, vitamins, lipids, carbohydrates and nucleic acids, contain carbon; thus, the chemical reactions that take place in living systems are organic reactions.
  • Inorganic Chemistry is the branch of chemistry concerned with compounds of elements other than carbon; their structure, properties, reactions and synthesis. Inorganic materials have mainly non-biological origins and find application in every aspect of the chemical industry, including catalysis, materials science, pigments, surfactants, coatings, medicine, fuel, and agriculture. Inorganic and organic chemistry overlap significantly in the sub-discipline of organometallic chemistry.
  • Analytical chemistry is the study of the separation, identification, and quantification of the chemical components of natural and artificial materials. Analytical chemistry is also focused on improvements in experimental design, chemometrics, and the creation of new measurement tools to provide better chemical information. Analytical chemistry has applications in forensics, bioanalysis, clinical analysis, environmental analysis, and materials analysis.
  • Physical chemistry is the study of macroscopic, atomic, subatomic, and particulate phenomena in chemical systems in terms of laws and concepts of physics. It applies the principles, practices and concepts of physics such as motion, energy, force, time, thermodynamics, quantum chemistry, statistical mechanics and dynamics.
  • Environmental chemistry is the scientific study of the chemical and biochemical phenomena that occur in natural places. It can be defined as the study of the sources, reactions, transport, effects, and fates of chemical species in the air, soil, and water environments as well as the effect of human activity on these. Environmental chemistry is an interdisciplinary science that includes atmospheric, aquatic and soil chemistry, as well as heavily relying on analytical chemistry and being related to environmental and other areas of science.
  • Applied Chemistry is the application of chemistry knowledge to new and existing challenges related to the production and transformation of matter and energy.


How is the Chemical Sciences programme taught?
The Chemistry Department is fully invested in providing the best possible learning environment for our students.

Upon completion of the programme you should be able to:

  • Apply chemical concepts and principles to engage with real-world phenomena or examples;
  • Conduct scientific investigations, including the collection, handling and interpretation of experimental data;
  • Conduct research using the library, the web and other sources of information;
  • Use the internet and computer-based word-processing, spreadsheet, and presentation software to complete tasks;
  • Recognise the relationship of chemistry to society, technology and the environment;
  • See chemistry as discipline in a wider context;
  • Present a clear, well-structured oral presentation and well-structured practical reports; and
  • Work productively in co-operative learning groups.
Peer assisted learning in which students are facilitated by senior (mostly post-graduate) students feature strongly in the department, and serves a dual purpose: using learning peer facilitators ensures greater personal attention for undergraduate students, whilst at the same time developing the professional potential of the senior student, in terms of teaching and other marketable skills.

Undergraduate Brochure