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PhD in Chemistry
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The PhD is offered by the Department of Chemistry as a full or part-time period of research and introduces students to research skills and specialist knowledge.
Please note: part-time study may not always be viable and will be considered on a case-by-case basis, so please discuss this option with your proposed supervisor before making an application for this mode of study. There are attendance requirements and part-time students will need to live close enough to Cambridge to fulfil these.
Students are integrated into the research culture of the Department by joining a research group, supervised by one of our academic staff, in one of the following areas of chemistry:
Life is the chemistry that goes on inside every one of us. We seek to understand this chemistry, both the physical processes occurring at the molecular level and the chemical reactions, and we also seek to control the chemistry as a way to treat diseases. Biological Chemistry at Cambridge comprises several research groups with additional contributions from many more. The major themes are biological polymers, proteins and nucleic acids - how they interact with each other and with small molecules. How do proteins fold to a defined structure and why do they sometimes not fold properly but aggregate causing neurodegenerative diseases? How do proteins catalyse the reactions that they do and can we make small molecules that inhibit these processes? What structures can nucleic acids adopt? How can we detect and what is the role of modifications of individual nucleotides? How can we target medicinally active compounds to where they are needed in the body? By addressing these questions, we seek to improve human health and the treatment of diseases.
The technological devices we depend on, from aeroplanes to mobile phones, rely upon ever-increasing structural complexity for their function. Designing complex materials for these devices through the art of chemical synthesis brings challenges and opportunities.
Members of the Materials RIG invent new materials in view of potential applications. Modern materials chemistry is a wide ranging topic and includes surfaces, interfaces, polymers, nanoparticles and nanoporous materials, self assembly, and biomaterials, with applications relevant to oil recovery and separation, catalysis, photovoltaics, fuel cells and batteries, crystallisation and pharmaceutical formulation, gas sorption, energy, functional materials, biocompatible materials, computer memory, and sensors.
Physical and Atmospheric Chemistry
Physical Chemistry at Cambridge has two broad but overlapping aims. One is to understand the properties of molecular systems in terms of physical principles. This work underpins many developing technological applications that affect us all, such as nanotechnology, sensors and molecular medicine. The other is atmospheric chemistry where the interactions between chemical composition, climate and health are studied using a range of computer modelling and experiment-based approaches. Together these two areas form a richly interdisciplinary subject spanning the full range of scientific methodologies: experimental, theoretical and computational. It is a research area with something for everyone.
Synthetic research at the University of Cambridge is focused on the development of innovative new methods to make and use molecules of function. Our interests range from the innovative catalytic strategies to make small molecules, to supramolecular assemblies or the total synthesis of biologically important compounds and natural products. Our research is diverse, pioneering and internationally leading. The dynamic environment created by the research groups working at the cutting edge of the field, makes postgraduate research at Cambridge the best place for outstanding and motivated students.
Research in Theoretical Chemistry covers a wide range of lengths and timescales, including the active development of new theoretical and computational tools. The applications include high-resolution spectroscopy, atomic and molecular clusters, biophysics, surface science, and condensed matter, complementing experimental research in the Department.
We develop new tools for quantum and classical simulations, informatics, and investigate molecules using descriptions that range from atomic detail to coarse-grained models of mesoscopic matter. This work often begins with analytical theory, which is developed into new computer programs, applied to molecules and materials of contemporary interest, and ultimately compared with experiment.
Educational aims of the PhD programme:
- give students with relevant experience at the master's level the opportunity to carry out focused research in the discipline under close supervision;
- give students the opportunity to acquire or develop skills and expertise relevant to their research interests;
- provide all students with relevant and useful researcher development training opportunities to broaden their horizons and properly equip them for the opportunity which they seek following their PhD studies.
By the end of the programme, students will have
- a comprehensive understanding of techniques, and a thorough knowledge of the literature, applicable to their own research;
- demonstrated originality in the application of knowledge, together with a practical understanding of how research and enquiry are used to create and interpret knowledge in their field;
- shown abilities in the critical evaluation of current research, research techniques and methodologies;
- demonstrated some self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems, and acted autonomously in the planning and implementation of research; and
- taken up relevant and highly useful researcher development training opportunities to develop skills and attributes for their desired future career.
Students currently studying for a relevant Master's degree at the University of Cambridge will normally need to obtain a pass in order to be eligible to continue onto the PhD in Chemistry.
The Postgraduate Virtual Open Day usually takes place at the end of October. It’s a great opportunity to ask questions to admissions staff and academics, explore the Colleges virtually, and to find out more about courses, the application process and funding opportunities. Visit the Postgraduate Open Day page for more details.
See further the Postgraduate Admissions Events pages for other events relating to Postgraduate study, including study fairs, visits and international events.
The Department of Chemistry hosts a virtual open day for prospective postgraduate students comprising online laboratory tours, a chance to meet with current students and academic staff, and an opportunity to talk to professional services staff about the application process.
3-4 years full-time, 4-7 years part-time, doctor of philosophy, department of chemistry, course - related enquiries, application - related enquiries, course on department website, dates and deadlines:, lent 2024 (closed).
Some courses can close early. See the Deadlines page for guidance on when to apply.
Michaelmas 2024, easter 2025, funding deadlines.
These deadlines apply to applications for courses starting in Michaelmas 2024, Lent 2025 and Easter 2025.
- Automated Chemical Synthesis Enabled by Digital Molecular Technologies (EPSRC CDT) PhD
- Chemistry MPhil
- Planetary Science and Life in the Universe MPhil
- Micro and Nanotechnology Enterprise MPhil
- Computational Methods for Materials Science CDT PhD
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Chemical biology (research).
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Professor Wender discusses chemistry with his graduate students.
Doctoral study in chemistry at Stanford University prepares students for research and teaching careers with diverse emphases in basic, life, medical, physical, energy, materials, and environmental sciences.
The department of chemistry offers opportunities for graduate study spanning contemporary subfields, including theoretical, organic, inorganic, physical, biophysical and biomedical chemistry and more. much of the research defies easy classification along traditional divisions; cross-disciplinary collaborations with stanford's many vibrant research departments and institutes is among factors distinguishing this world-class graduate program..
The Department of Chemistry is committed to providing academic advising in support of graduate student scholarly and professional development. This advising relationship entails collaborative and sustained engagement with mutual respect by both the adviser and advisee.
- The adviser is expected to meet at least monthly with the graduate student to discuss on-going research.
- There should be a yearly independent development plan (IDP) meeting between the graduate student and adviser. Topics include research progress, expectations for completion of PhD, areas for both the student and adviser to improve in their joint research effort.
- A research adviser should provide timely feedback on manuscripts and thesis chapters.
- Graduate students are active contributors to the advising relationship, proactively seeking academic and professional guidance and taking responsibility for informing themselves of policies and degree requirements for their graduate program.
- If there is a significant issue concerning the graduate student’s progress in research, the adviser must communicate this to the student and to the Graduate Studies Committee in writing. This feedback should include the issues, what needs to be done to overcome these issues and by when.
Academic advising by Stanford faculty is a critical component of all graduate students' education and additional resources can be found in the Policies and Best Practices for Advising Relationships at Stanford and the Guidelines for Faculty-Student Advising at Stanford .
Learn more about the program through the links below, and by exploring the research interests of the Chemistry Faculty and Courtesy Faculty .
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Chemistry PhD Program
The University of Pennsylvania is an internationally renowned research institution that attracts the best students from the United States and around the globe. The Graduate Program is designed for students who wish to earn a Ph.D. in Chemistry while undertaking cutting edge research. The program provides students with the necessary theoretical background and hands-on training to become independent and highly successful scientists. Graduate students achieve mastery of advanced chemistry topics through courses in different subdisciplines. Broad exposure to current research also occurs via four weekly departmental seminar programs and many interdisciplinary, university-wide lecture series.
Currently, faculty, students, and postdoctoral associates in Chemistry work in the fields of bioinorganic chemistry, bioorganic chemistry, chemical biology, biophysical chemistry, bioinformatics, materials science, laser chemistry, health related chemistry, structural and dynamical studies of biological systems, X-ray scattering/diffraction, NMR spectroscopy, applications of computing and computer graphics, as well as investigations of chemical communication and hormone-receptor interactions. Many research groups combine different techniques to explore frontier areas, such as nanomaterials applied to biology, photoactive biomolecules, and single-molecule imaging. Novel synthetic procedures are under constant development for targets ranging from super-emissive nanoparticles to highly specialized drug molecules and giant dendrimers, which are being explored, for example, as drug-delivery systems. The Research Facilities in the Department of Chemistry provide a strong technology base to enable the highest level of innovation. Graduate students are a driving, integral force at Penn Chemistry.
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Chemistry PhD opportunities
If you love chemistry, you might like to think about doing advanced research into an area you are especially interested in and study for a chemistry PhD. The Department of Chemistry offers a wide range of chemistry PhD projects to students living in the UK, EU or further afield.
What is a chemistry PhD?
A chemistry PhD is a postgraduate research degree, normally done after an undergraduate degree. It gives you the opportunity to do some advanced independent research, in close collaboration with a supervisor, into an area of chemistry that interests you.
What PhD projects are available?
We have a small number of PhD projects with guaranteed funding for UK students.
There are a wide range of projects for students who can fund their own studies.
Click on the link below to find details of the PhD projects available:
Find a PhD
Why do a chemistry PhD?
You can gain a huge sense of achievement from completing and writing up an in-depth piece of research. It will also provide you with a tool for a range of careers. Read what some of our PhD students say about their studies .
How long is a chemistry PhD?
A chemistry PhD will take you three to four years to complete. Most students write up and submit a thesis within a year of completing their lab based research. Most funded PhDs start on 1st October. Externally funded projects may become available throughout the year.
How will I pay for a chemistry PhD?
Funding is available for some projects and we offer a small number of scholarships to outstanding students. If you can fund your own studies or you have been awarded a scholarship from your own country, you can work with a prospective supervisor to find a mutually suitable project. Click here to see a full list of academic staff research interests .
I'd like to apply for a PhD
If you'd like to apply for a PhD with us, you'll need to submit a formal application. Follow this link for further guidance and instructions on how to do this.
We are committed to gender equality in higher education through the Athena SWAN charter. In fact we were the first department in the UK to achieve a coveted gold Athena SWAN award. Read more on our Equality and Diversity webpages.
If you have any questions, or require any further information about postgraduate study here with us in the Department of Chemistry, please do not hesitate to contact us .
Department of Chemistry University of York , Heslington , York , YO10 5DD , UK Tel: work +44 (0)1904 322511
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- Postgraduate study
Research opportunities A-Z
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Chemistry PhD/MPhil/MSc (Research)
Our research groups are involved in projects across a wide range of traditional subjects such as synthesis, catalysis and spectroscopy, This research ultimately leads to discoveries in new molecular magnets, plasmonics, battery technology, medical imaging agents and applications for 3D printing.
We provide a truly dynamic research environment. At any time we have about 40 academic staff, 120 research students and 40 research assistants and fellows, all working in close collaboration with industry in the UK and internationally.
We host a range of RCUK and industrially-funded research projects, and several research fellowships.
We are a member of ScotCHEM that brings together seven universities in Scotland. ScotCHEM is committed to excellence and to providing the highest quality postgraduate education and researcher experience. The umbrella structure of ScotCHEM encompasses West CHEM, a dynamic research environment which links the chemistry research schools of the Universities of Glasgow and Strathclyde.
The School of Chemistry is proud to have been awarded an Athena SWAN Bronze award in November 2014, which was renewed in April 2019.
Our research encompasses traditional organic, inorganic and physical chemistry and is organised into the following research groupings:
- Chemical Biology and Precision Synthesis
- Chemical Photonics
- Complex Chemistry
- Energy Conversion and Storage
- Heterogeneous Catalysis
- Supramolecular, Electronic and Magnetic Systems
Illustrative research topics
- Homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysis
- Computational theory
- Sensing, imaging and diagnostics
- Oxidative stress and cancer
- Anti- microbial, viral and parasitic drugs
- Synthetic biology
- Synthetic methodology and total synthesis of natural products
- Inorganic biology
- Synthetic systems and hybrid devices
- Ultrafast chemical physics
- Photonics and metamaterials
- Solid-state NMR
- Photochemistry and chemical dynamics
- Visualisation and manipulation of chemical structures
- Microporous solids
- Single molecule magnets
- Sustainable energy and hydrogen storage materials
- Conjugated and non-conjugated polymer synthesis, photovoltaics.
2.1 Honours degree or equivalent
Applicants should submit:
- Transcripts/degree certificate
- Two references
- Name of potential Supervisor
English language requirements
For applicants whose first language is not English, the University sets a minimum English Language proficiency level.
International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic module (not General Training)
- 6.5 with no subtests under 6.0
- Tests must have been taken within 2 years 5 months of start date. Applicants must meet the overall and subtest requirements using a single test.
Common equivalent English language qualifications accepted for entry to this programme:
Toefl (ibt, my best or athome).
- 79; with Reading 13; Listening 12; Speaking 18;Writing 21
- Tests must have been taken within 2 years 5 months of start date. Applicants must meet the overall and subtest requirements , this includes TOEFL mybest.
Pearsons PTE Academic
- 59 with minimum 59 in all subtests
Cambridge Proficiency in English (CPE) and Cambridge Advanced English (CAE)
- 176 overall, no subtest less than 169
Oxford English Test
- Oxford ELLT 7
- R&L: OIDI level no less than 6 with Reading: 21-24 Listening: 15-17
- W&S: OIDI level no less than 6
Trinity College Tests
Integrated Skills in English II & III & IV: ISEII Distinction with Distinction in all sub-tests.
University of Glasgow Pre-sessional courses
Tests are accepted for 2 years following date of successful completion.
Alternatives to English Language qualification
- students must have studied for a minimum of 2 years at Undergraduate level, or 9 months at Master's level, and must have complete their degree in that majority-English speaking country and within the last 6 years
- students must have completed their final two years study in that majority-English speaking country and within the last 6 years
For international students, the Home Office has confirmed that the University can choose to use these tests to make its own assessment of English language ability for visa applications to degree level programmes. The University is also able to accept UKVI approved Secure English Language Tests (SELT) but we do not require a specific UKVI SELT for degree level programmes. We therefore still accept any of the English tests listed for admission to this programme.
The University of Glasgow accepts evidence of the required language level from the English for Academic Study Unit Pre-sessional courses. We also consider other BALEAP accredited pre-sessional courses:
- School of Modern Languages and Cultures: English for Academic Study
- BALEAP guide to accredited courses
Fees and funding
- UK: To be confirmed by UKRI [23/24 fee was £4,712]
- International & EU: £30,240
Prices are based on the annual fee for full-time study. Fees for part-time study are half the full-time fee.
Irish nationals who are living in the Common Travel Area of the UK, EU nationals with settled or pre-settled status, and Internationals with Indefinite Leave to remain status can also qualify for home fee status.
- Fee status and policies
We offer a 20% discount to our alumni on all Postgraduate Research and full Postgraduate Taught Masters programmes. This includes University of Glasgow graduates and those who have completed Junior Year Abroad, Exchange programme or International Summer School with us. The discount is applied at registration for students who are not in receipt of another discount or scholarship funded by the University. No additional application is required.
Possible additional fees
- Re-submission by a research student £540
- Submission for a higher degree by published work £1,355
- Submission of thesis after deadline lapsed £350
- Submission by staff in receipt of staff scholarship £790
Depending on the nature of the research project, some students will be expected to pay a bench fee (also known as research support costs) to cover additional costs. The exact amount will be provided in the offer letter.
- View a full list of our current scholarships
You will be part of a Graduate School which provides the highest level of support to its students.
The overall aim of our Graduate School is to provide a world-leading environment for students which is intellectually stimulating, encourages them to contribute to culture, society and the economy and enables them to become leaders in a global environment.
We have a diverse community of over 750 students from more than 50 countries who work in innovative and transformative disciplinary and interdisciplinary fields. An important part of our work is to bring our students together and to ensure they consider themselves an important part of the University’s academic community.
Being part of our Graduate School community will be of huge advantage to you in your studies and beyond and we offer students a number of benefits in addition to exceptional teaching and supervision, including:
- A wide-ranging and responsive research student training programme which enables you to enhance your skills and successfully complete your studies.
- Mobility scholarships of up to £4000 to enable you to undertake work in collaboration with an international partner.
- A diverse programme of activities which will ensure you feel part of the wider-research community (including our biannual science slam event).
- A residential trip for all new research students.
- The opportunity to engage with industry-partners through training, placements and events.
- Professionally accredited programmes.
- Unique Masters programmes run in collaboration with other organisations.
- State-of-the-art facilities including the James Watt Nanofabrication Centre and the Kelvin Nanocharacterisation Centre .
- Highly-rated support for international students.
Over the last five years, we have helped over 600 students to complete their research studies and our students have gone on to take up prestigious posts in industries across the world.
Email: [email protected]
How to apply
Identify potential supervisors.
All Postgraduate Research Students are allocated a supervisor who will act as the main source of academic support and research mentoring. You may want to identify a potential supervisor and contact them to discuss your research proposal before you apply. Please note, even if you have spoken to an academic staff member about your proposal you still need to submit an online application form.
You can find relevant academic staff members with our staff research interests search .
Gather your documents
Before applying please make sure you gather the following supporting documentation:
- Final or current degree transcripts including grades (and an official translation, if needed) – scanned copy in colour of the original document.
- Degree certificates (and an official translation, if needed): scanned copy in colour of the original document.
- Two references on headed paper and signed by the referee. One must be academic, the other can be academic or professional. References may be uploaded as part of the application form or you may enter your referees contact details on the application form. We will then email your referee and notify you when we receive the reference. We can also accept confidential references direct to [email protected] , from the referee’s university or business email account.
- If you have any questions about your application before you apply: email [email protected]
- If you have any questions after you have submitted your application: contact our Admissions team
- Any references may be submitted by email to: [email protected]
- Advice on visa, immigrations and the Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) can be found at 'Apply for a visa outside the UK or come to the UK as an EU / EEA national'
The Department of Chemistry occupies research laboratories Britannia House on Guy’s Campus, with state-of-the art analytical and spectroscopic facilities close at hand and further analytical and synthetic facilities at the Waterloo and St Thomas’ Hospital campuses.
Chemistry research spans the Faculties of Natural & Mathematical Sciences, and Life Sciences & Medicine, and broadly ranges from computational and physical chemistry to chemical biology, medical imaging and materials science. Additional strengths are in analytical chemistry and spectroscopy, metallochemistry, nanoparticle chemistry and biology and drug discovery.
Chemistry is also a major component in a number of prestigious Centres based at King’s such as the Cancer Research UK/EPSRC Cancer Imaging Centre, Wellcome/EPSRC Medical Engineering Centre, and BHF Centre of Excellence.
Current number of academic staff: 15 academic staff and a number of affiliate academic staff across the College.
Head of group: Prof Martin Ulmschneider
Students are encouraged to begin their research in October so as to attend the introductory courses, but students can also register at a further three registration points during the academic cycle (October, February & June).
- Cytochrome P450–catalyzed L-tryptophan nitration in thaxtomin phytotoxin biosynthesis
- Dynamics of a bacterial multidrug ABC transporter in the inward- and outward-facing conformations
- Dopamine receptor D3 regulates endocytic sorting by a Prazosin-sensitive interaction with the coatomer COPI
- Stabilization of a Protein Nano-cage through the Plugging of a Protein-Protein Interfacial Water Pocket
- Preferred Conformers of Proteinogenic Glutamic Acid
Current research areas
For information about the exciting research in the chemistry department please see our research pages: https://www.kcl.ac.uk/chemistry/research
King's Health Partners, including Guy’s and St Thomas', King’s College Hospital and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trusts; Crick Institute.
- How to apply
- Fees or Funding
For funding opportunities please explore these pages:
- List of funding opportunities
- External funding opportunities for International students
- King’s-China Scholarship Council PhD Scholarship programme (K-CSC)
UK Tuition Fees 2023/24
Full-time tuition fees: £6,540 per year
Part-time tuition fees: £3,270 per year
International Tuition Fees 2023/24
Full-time tuition fees: £28,260 per year
Part-time tuition fees: £14,130 per year
UK Tuition Fees 2024/25
Full-time tuition fees: £6,936 per year
Part-time tuition fees: £3,468 per year
International Tuition Fees 2024/25
Full-time tuition fees: £30,240 per year
Part-time tuition fees: £15,120 per year
These tuition fees may be subject to additional increases in subsequent years of study, in line with King's terms and conditions.
- Study environment
Research in the Department of Chemistry is based in Britannia House (a pharmaceutical industry grade research facility). In addition to labs equipped for synthetic chemistry, biochemistry and tissue culture, individual research groups have specialist kit (e.g. laser excitation and microwave spectroscopy) as well as access to King’s excellent core research facilities:
- Centre of Excellence for Mass Spectrometry
- Centre for Biomolecular Spectroscopy
- Nikon Imaging Centre
- NMR Facility
- Liquid Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry/Mass Spectrometry (LC/MS/MS)
- Radiochemistry facilities and medical imaging
Postgraduate students are encouraged to mix with other scientists, both fellow students and beyond, at events varying from Departmental seminars to international conferences. These offer you the chance to present and discuss your work at many levels make valuable network connections.
The nature of the research in the Department of Chemistry is highly cross-disciplinary and making contacts and exchanging ideas form a core part of this approach to science.
Research projects may be co-supervised by staff from different Research Divisions and Departments to support collaboration and application of chemical innovation especially in medicine and biology.
- Entry requirements
- Research groups
Research at the Aldous Group focuses on thermoelectrochemistry and biomass utilisation.
Our research focuses on understanding and exploiting the natural product biosynthesis, from the conditions under which biosynthetic pathways are expressed to elucidating the mechanisms of the enzymes involved, in pursuit of novel compounds and biocatalysts.
The Booth group works at the interface of Chemistry and Biology to elucidate the mechanisms by which proteins fold, assemble and communicate within biological membranes.
The Borysik group use native mass spectrometry (MS) ion mobility MS and hydrogen-deuterium exchange MS to study the conformations and dynamics of important biomolecules in order to understand their function.
Research in the Brogan Group aims to develop new enzyme-based biotechnologies to help us move to a more sustainable, renewable, economy.
The Cobb Group has developed a number of new asymmetric reactions, mainly focusing on the chemistry of the nitro or sulfone groups.
Find out about research in the Diez-Perez Group.
The Eggert Group uses chemical and cell biology approaches to study cytokinesis at the process, pathway, protein and metabolite levels.
Graeme Hogarth is an inorganic chemist with a broad range of interests focused on molecular transition metal chemistry.
The Isaacson group uses biophysical techniques, with a focus on NMR spectroscopy, to determine macromolecular structure and interactions of molecules relevant to health and disease.
Research in the Müller lab focuses on using synthetic protein chemistry to elucidate how proteins are controlled by post-translational modifications.
The Musgrave Group looks into Metallopolymers and Metal-Metal Bonding
Eamonn Reading's group focuses on understanding structure-dynamics-function relationships of membrane proteins
The Sanz group looks at how biomolecular conformation plays a fundamental role in biological processes such as molecular recognition.
The Ulmschneider group studies how peptides and proteins interact with cellular membranes and carry out their biological functions.
The Wallace Group builds artificial mimics of cell membranes; both to improve our understanding of membrane biology, and to engineer new devices inspired by biology.
For more information regarding our courses please contact us using the details below
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