Applied Chemistry

BSc (Hons)

Learn about the practical use of chemical principles whilst developing your knowledge, skills and solving problems. You will be playing an important role in society and its sustainable development.

Location: Aston University, Birmingham

Course type
Full-time
Entry requirements

BBB

Duration

3 or 4 years

UCAS code(s)

FC10

Start date

Course overview

Accredited by the Royal Society of Chemistry, our BSc in Applied Chemistry will enhance your understanding of molecules through an engaging curriculum rich in hands-on experiences. The collaboration with your peers will broaden your skills and perspective on real-world chemistry.

Our program delivers thorough practical instruction, strengthening your skillset and equipping you for the professional challenges you may face. 

bsc -chemistry-course-page-testimonial

"I am a Technician for the Sustainable Materials Innovation Hub at the University of Manchester, my applied chemistry degree from Aston provided me with lab experience, and the fundamental knowledge to take on this role."
 

Robbie Clark
BSc Applied Chemistry 
Technician

Why Applied Chemistry at Aston University?

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Accredited
Applied Chemistry is accredited by the Royal Society of Chemistry
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Gold standard teaching
Aston University was awarded Gold- the highest possible rating for Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF, 2023)
Ranked 3rd in the UK icon
Excellent teaching quality
Chemistry was ranked 3rd in the UK for teaching quality 2023 Sunday Times

Course description

BSc (Hons) Applied Chemistry

Our applied chemistry degree provides a strong chemistry foundation for industry research, enhancing scientific skills and fostering professionalism. With your developed communication and project management abilities, you'll be globally competitive.

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What we will provide
You'll enjoy extensive access to state-of-the-art labs and analytical equipment enabling you to develop practical skills vital to your future career. You will be taught by research-active academics ensuring the knowledge you have been provided is up-to-date. 

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What you will provide 
To excel in our dynamic applied chemistry program, it's crucial to demonstrate a love for practical lab work, a desire to learn, self-drive, responsiveness to feedback, problem-solving aptitude, and a keen appetite for ongoing experiential learning.

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What skills we teach
Our curriculum encompasses the essential knowledge and comprehension required for success in applied chemistry, covering practical lab skills, fundamental and enhanced chemical principles, IT proficiency, and software expertise. Collaborative group projects foster teamwork, while continual development of communication skills via poster and oral presentations is integral.
 

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Placement year
Opting for a placement year in our applied chemistry program will provide you with a  sneak peek into future career prospects, establish an industry network, and jumpstart your competitiveness in the job market post-graduation. Embracing this opportunity often leads to long-term benefits for students.

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Career prospects
Your broad grounding in the principles of applied chemistry will prepare you to enter research, development or production roles in the chemical industry or undertake postgraduate research. The general skills you will acquire will also be perfect preparation for a career in areas as diverse as scientific writing/publishing, commerce, administration, accounting, banking or the civil service.  Recent graduates have progressed to join large organisations including BT, Kodak, BP, Unilever, Solvay and AkzoNobel.
 

How you will learn

The applied chemistry degree blends lectures, tutorials, and lab work. In the final year, you'll engage in a research project, honing problem-solving skills with expert guidance. This practical experience covers various experimental techniques and is assessed through exams, project delivery, lab work, and coursework. Your final degree will be determined by your performance from the second year onward. 

As part of your extracurricular activities, you may want to consider participating in our Chemistry department's societies, dynamic social gatherings, and career workshops. These platforms offer opportunities to network with industry experts, connect with former placement students, and discover summer placement possibilities. Engaging in practical lab work and contributing to the WEST society, driven by students, enriches your university experience.
 

What you will learn

Driven by the needs of industry and individuals, our course provides you with a comprehensive understanding of key chemistry concepts and an ability to critically analyse these, alongside the opportunity to specialise in areas of applide chemistry that interest you.

First year

During your first year, you will cover the principles of applied chemistry including the concepts and theories of organic, inorganic and physical chemistry. You will explore concepts around sustainability and design whilst studying the structure, properties, and reactions of chemical compounds. This will be underpinned by relevant mathematical concepts and techniques for chemistry.

Second year

In your second year, you'll expand on your foundational knowledge from the first year, delving deeper into organic, inorganic and physical chemistry. You'll also investigate various topics surrounding biological chemistry and study chemical processes and compounds occurring within living organisms, such as DNA, enzymes, and metabolism. You will also learn about polymer chemistry where you will explore the structure, properties, reactions, and synthesis of the plastics that make up our world. 
 

Placement year

Placements will enrich your degree and knowledge, this immersive industry experience establishes connections and gains you a competitive edge for your career. Applied chemistry students have previously secured placements in a wide range of industries chemical and non-chemical. 

Final year

In your final year, you'll be immersed in the latest advancements in all core aspects of chemistry. Our optional modules will provide you with the chance to tailor your final year to match your interests. You'll also be allocated a research project where you will develop both your technical and transferable skills. 

chemical engineering

From Chemical Engineering to Procter and Gamble

BEng Chemical Engineering student Georgina talks about her placement at Procter and Gamble and her future plans

Facilities

As a applied chemistry student, you'll have access to a comprehensive range of resources. Our dedicated teaching spaces are where you'll conduct hands-on practical experiments at every stage of your degree. You'll also be equipped with advanced tools for synthesising and refining chemical compounds. In addition, we provide a suite of high-value instruments that allow you to thoroughly analyse your creations.  In your final academic year, you'll transition to our research laboratories. Here, you'll seamlessly join research teams, actively contributing to the forefront of scientific exploration.

This immersive experience empowers you to conceive and execute unique, personalised projects. Throughout this process, you'll utilise an ever-expanding collection of state-of-the-art research-grade tools and equipment.
 

Course objectives

  1. Provides a comprehensive knowledge of key chemical concepts of both the main branches of chemistry (inorganic, organic, physical) and relevant interdisciplinary sections of the subject such as polymer chemistry, biological chemistry, and analytical chemistry.
  2. Provides you with detailed knowledge and critical evaluation of topics and developments at the forefront of chemical science.
  3. Enables you to solve problems in chemical science and cognate subject areas.
  4. Enables you to have arange of practical skills, and development of their own independent investigative methodologies.
  5. Provides you with transferable and professional skills relevant to your future careers.
  6. Allows you the opportunity to obtain relevant industrial experience by providing the option of a sandwich year.
  7. Prepares you for a professional career, or for a research degree, in chemistry.

Modules

Modules and learning outcomes

Year 1 modules

In your first year you will study the following core modules:

Module TitleCredits
Mathematics for Chemists15
Sustainability, Design and Build15
Inorganic Chemistry I30
Organic Chemistry I30
Physical Chemistry I30
Total120

Year 1 outcomes 

On successful completion of the first year, you will be able to:

  • Have a basic knowledge of the key concepts of the main branches of chemistry (inorganic, organic, physical).
  • Have developed fundamental skills to support their chemistry learning, in particular use of appropriate software and mathematics.
  • Be able to work safely and appropriately in a chemistry laboratory.
  • Have a basic range of practical skills, relevant to the main branches of chemistry.
  • Be able to interpret, evaluate, and present both qualitative and quantitative data, in accordance with basic knowledge of the main branches of chemistry.
  • Be able to work effectively in a team or individually to complete tasks and assignments against a series of deadlines.
  • Communicate chemical information and data using appropriate chemical language, orally and visually

 

Year 2 modules

In your second year, you will study the following core modules:

Module TitleCredits
Organic Chemistry II30
Physical Chemistry II30
Inorganic Chemistry II15
Biological Chemistry I15
Polymer I15

You will choose one of the following optional modules:

Module TitleCredits
Introduction to Chemical and Biochemical Engineering15
Introduction to Business Management15
Molecular Cell Biology15
Environmental Chemistry I15
Total120

*Availability of any optional modules will be subject to staff availability and a minimum number of students who express an interest in studying the optional modules.

Year 2 outcomes 

On successful completion of the second year, you will be able to:

  • Have a broad knowledge of the key concepts, principles and theories of the main branches of chemistry (inorganic, organic, physical).
  • Have a basic knowledge of the key concepts and principles of relevant interdisciplinary sections of chemistry (analytical chemistry, polymer chemistry, biological chemistry).
  • Develop a broad range of practical skills, including the use of appropriate spectroscopic methods, to synthesise and characterise chemical products and measure chemical reactions.
  • Use established experimental techniques and fundamental skills to analyse and solve chemical problems.
  • Understand the significance and limitations of experimental data and observations.
  • Solve both qualitative and quantitative chemical problems of a routine nature.
  • Read and engage with scientific literature.
  • Communicate chemical information, data and arguments, and their analysis in a variety of forms and media to both specialist and non-specialist audiences.

Placement year modules

If you opt for an integrated placement year, you will spend your third year on placement. You will be fully supported throughout the process by our award-winning Careers and Placements team.

Placement Year

Module TitleCredits
Integrated Placement Year120

Placement year outcomes

On successful completion of the placement year, you will be able to:

Work placements:

  • Develop and understand their employer's business and the relevant commercial environment and their role within it.
  • Understand key aspects of health and safety, equalities legislation, sustainably and associated good practice relevant to their employer.
  • Develop new knowledge and understanding appropriate to the industrial,business or research sector related to a degree programme.
  • Communicate effectively in a variety of ways in a professional and industrial manner.

Study placements:

  • Achieve at least a pass grade in a selection of modules of their choice.
  • Appraise and analyse aspects of the culture in which they have been living.
  • Reflect on experiences leading to personal development.
  • Use a portfolio system to record experience, reflection and development

Final year modules

In your final year, you will study the following core modules:

Module TitleCredits
Final Year Research Project 30
Physical Chemistry III15
Inorganic Chemistry III15
Organic Chemistry III15
Polymer II15
Total90

You will choose two of the following optional modules:

Module TitleCredits
Biological Chemistry II15
Advances in Lipid Chemistry15
Surfaces, Nanomaterials and Catalysis15
Environmental Chemistry II15
Advances in Biomaterials Science15
Frontiers of the Periodic Table15
Renewable Technologies15
Advanced NMR Techniques15
Total120

*Availability of any optional modules will be subject to staff availability and a minimum number of students who express an interest in studying the optional modules.

Final Year Outcomes 

On successful completion of the final year, you will be able to:

  • Have a detailed knowledge of concepts and developments at the forefront of the main branches of chemistry (inorganic, organic, physical).
  • Have a broader knowledge of the key concepts of relevant interdisciplinary sections of chemistry and topics at the forefront of chemical science (e.g. polymer chemistry, biomaterials)
  • Successfully apply their detailed chemical knowledge to qualitative and quantitative chemical problems.
  • Select appropriate established experimental techniques to study problems in the main branches of chemistry as well as in more advanced topics.
  • Use the scientific literature to identify and analyse a research problem and plan a strategy for its study.
  • Work within a research group to use established practical and fundamental skills from across the chemical sciences to independently investigate an open-ended chemical research topic.
  • Understand the importance of ethics in chemistry and good research practice.
  • Effectively communicate chemical information, data and arguments, and its analysis using software where appropriate, in a variety of forms and media to both specialist and non-specialist audiences.
  • Develop their independent learning skills for their own personal development.
  • Have an understanding of careers in the chemical and related industries.

Entry requirements

  • A Levels

    BBB, to include Chemistry at Grade B (standard offer)
    BBC, to include Chemistry at Grade B (with an EPQ or Core Maths at Grade B)
    BCC, to include Chemistry at Grade B (contextual offer)

  • Contextual offers

    Aston Ready is our contextual offer scheme that could reduce your undergraduate offer by one or two grades. Assessed at the point of application, there are no additional forms to fill in.

Contextual offer criteria

  • Extended Diploma and National Extended Diploma (any subject): DDM, plus A level Chemistry at minimum Grade B.
  • National Diploma and Diploma (any subject): DM, plus an A-level Chemistry at minimum Grade B.
  • Level 3 Diploma in Advanced Manufacturing Engineering: Distinction plus A-Level Chemistry at Grade B.
  • Foundation or 90 credits Diploma (any subject): DM plus 2 A-levels including Chemistry at Grade B.
  • National Extended Certificate or Subsidiary Diploma (any subject): M plus 2 A-levels including Chemistry at Grade B.
  • Certificate/ National Certificate Level 3: Not accepted.
  • 31 points and above overall with 5, 5, 5 in Higher Level subjects including Chemistry at Higher Level.

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and the whole application is reviewed which includes previous and predicted qualifications, any experience, references and motivation. 

Access to Higher Education

Subject-related Access with at least 30 Distinctions and 15 Merits at Level 3 including at least 15 credits at Level 3 in Mathematics and 15 credits at Level 3 in Chemistry

Non-standard qualifications

Year 1 entry: We may consider applicants for year 1 entry who are undertaking a 1st year degree elsewhere. You must meet the GCSEs and A level (or equivalent) requirements as listed. In order to be considered you will need to submit a UCAS application as we do not accept direct applications and this must include an academic reference.

Year 2 entry: Please note that second year transfers are not part of the standard admissions process and is up to the discretion of the admissions team and tutor. Applications are only considered if there is space on that year of the programme. Typically, applicants for second year entry must meet the GCSEs and A level (or equivalent) requirements as listed. Alongside this you must have gained (or be expected to gain) 65% overall and 120 credits  on an equivalent programme at another recognised university. The equivalency of the programme is reviewed by the Admissions Tutor and you will be required to provide an official copy of the programme specification of this. In order to be considered you will need to submit a UCAS application as we do not accept direct applications and this must include an academic reference.

Year 3: We will not be able to consider any application for Year 3. 

T Levels are not currently accepted as an entry requirement for this course.

You may be able to access this course via our foundation programme route. 

Additionally to our Level 3 requirement, you will also need to have achieved:

Maths Grade C/4 and English Grade C/4

International students

Aston University is a diverse, close community and welcomes international students on many of our undergraduate programmes. Students from over 120 countries choose to study with us every year. Based in the centre of Birmingham, Aston is not only a great place to study, it’s also a great place to live.

Qualifications in your country

Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to provide evidence of an English language qualification.

English language requirements

International students can enter at Year 2 of this course having completed an undergraduate year one programme at the required academic level with approved teaching partners ONCAMPUS Aston or NCUK.

Aston University provides a range of opportunities for international students to join our community and study on our campus. A key part of our strategy is our relationships with teaching partners, providing multiple pathways to Aston.

Aston’s professional work placements can improve your chance of securing a graduate job. Placements give you experience, confidence and opportunities and, as an Aston student, you’ll be better prepared for your future career. One of the great things about Aston is our focus on employability. Our close links with businesses, industries and professions make this possible.

Find out more about applying

Post-study work visa

Aston University welcomed the creation of a new Graduate Immigration Route which enables international students to remain in the UK for two years after you complete your studies to find work. This new post-study work visa applies to international students completing full-time undergraduate and postgraduate courses.

Graduate Immigration Route

Fees and scholarships

Course fees

UK students
(2024/25)

Annual tuition fees:£9,250
During placement year:£1,250

International students
(2024/25)

Annual tuition fees:£21,100
During placement year:£2,500

More information on fees

For Home students: Tuition fees for UK/Home students may change in line with government policy.

For International students: The International students fee is a fixed annual fee for the duration of the Programme, except whilst on placement when a placement year fee applies.

Scholarships

At Aston University we are committed to supporting the most talented and hardworking students to achieve their potential by providing a range of scholarships to help lower tuition and living costs.

Explore our scholarships 

Assessment

For our applied chemistry degree you will primarily be assessed through on-campus exams, emphasising practical skills. You’ll write technical reports,deliver oral, recorded, and poster presentations as well as group projects. Online tests and quizzes will evaluate your knowledge.

Career prospects

Career prospects are vast and varied for applied chemistry graduates. Aside from specialised roles in research, development, formulation, and analysis in diverse companies, even finance, media, law, and communication sectors will seek your adaptable skills. Being in such high demand, graduates find opportunities as chemistry teachers too, showcasing the broad and valuable skill set acquired with this degree.

Graduation

Be part of our community

Once you have joined us at Aston University, you’ll always be part of our community, even beyond graduation.
 

Frequently Asked Questions

Why study Applied Chemistry at Aston?

If you’re interested in a career in the chemistry industry or commerce, this course will give you academic knowledge and well-developed research abilities, as well as practical skills if you choose to take a year in industry. 

How will a placement year benefit me?

We think that the knowledge you gain through your studies are best applied to real life and the most effective way to do this is by working in a company. As well as the opportunity to apply what you’ve learned, you’ll also gain invaluable communication and team skills. 

We have excellent links with industry and will help to arrange this placement for you. 

Is Birmingham a good place to study?

Our campus is based in the centre of Birmingham, the youngest major city in Europe and a great place to live, work and study.

  • Great music and entertainment with a vibrant nightlife. Bars, clubs, pubs, live music, festivals, concerts. Whatever your tastes, there's something here for everyone.
  • Fantastic food. Birmingham's diverse community means you can try anything from the famous Balti triangle, the Chinese Quarter, high street chains, halal and vegan food, and Michelin-star dining.
  • World-class shopping. The Bullring and Grand Central is a shopper's paradise. From the world's biggest Primark to luxury brands at the Mailbox.
  • Arts and culture. Museums, galleries, theatres, concerts and Birmingham's art collection is as wide as it is impressive - not to be missed.
  • Green, open spaces. One of the greenest cities in Europe, Birmingham has hundreds of publicly accessible parks and green spaces across the city.
  • Sporting action. Birmingham has some of the most exciting venues for watching or participating in sport in the UK.

Discover Birmingham

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