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Best uni for chemistry
Reply 1
Having completed my foundation programme at Queen Mary, University of London, and spent seven months at the University of Exeter, I now study Chemistry and Physics at the University of Aberdeen.

Each of those three is different. Exeter surely is a weird place for chemistry, as you can read it only for a joint degree with biology (biochemistry/medicinial chemistry). Teaching quality was poor there in inorganic, yet may have changed/improved meanwhile. Exeter is a nice uni sports- and countrysidewise, some students tend to be a trifle posh, yet many Asian peers compensate for this. Nonetheless, I would discourage anyone wishing to grasp chemistry more than just superficially to study there.

I completed two foundation level chemistry modules at Queen Mary, and lecturers (as in physics and maths) were really fantastic and greatly caring about students' understanding everything thoroughly. If you search for a vibrant city campus-institution with a great research reputation, go for it. You will not be disappointed (getting an A in all your modules will require industrious work but you will obtain it in any module).

Aberdeen is definitely an invaluable gem - not only for Scottish (and - at least before Brexit - EU) students. You start nicely with two modules on general chemistry in the first year alongside countless non-chemistry options - like two modules in general physics (which are greatly inspiring, too) and three of the four level-one core modules in maths (algebra, calculus 1+2) plus, for instance, a cell biology module called 'The Cell'. At level two, you will complete four modules in chemistry (analytical, organic, physical, inorganic) and choose 4 outside options (e.g. 'Dynamical Phenomena' (waves and oscillations) and 'Relativity & Quantum Physics' in physics, 'Molecular Biology of the Gene' and 'Energy of Life' in biochemistry, etc.). At level three, you will dive into a double module (30 credits) in each of organic, physical and inorganic as well as one module in analytical chemistry; 'Mathematical Methods in Physic's may serve as a perfect complement - and your eighth module in that year.

Levels four and five supply ample opportunity for attending classes on special research-led topics and project work. The study abroad programme (one semester or - preferably - a whole year) will allow you to gain international experience without increasing the over degree length and qualify for one of the generous Turing scholarships.

The main advantage of chemistry at Aberdeen are the lecturers, who really care about each student and want all of us to achieve excellent grades (favourably A1 to A3), the small class size (generally true for all physical sciences modules) and the excellent network your lecturers will have established to boost your employability. Mind, however, that Aberdeen focusses primarily on analytical and organic chemistry due to its (former) being the 'petroleum capital of Europe'. There are still excellent student tutor programmes generously funded by BP.

Finally, the weather and the countryside are.... well, it's Scotland. You are going to miss the sun and the intense green of the rich and fertile English countryside (Scotland is barren) - rest assured - but there are cheap Easyjet and Ryanair flights to Spain in Winter if you want to escape for a week or two after Christmas. 😅😃
(edited 11 months ago)
Reply 2
Thank you for this response - has anyone done Chemistry at Lincoln? It was second for chemistry in one of the guardian league tables - I’d never heard of it,
Original post by Elle888
Best uni for chemistry

Hi @Elle888,

I'm currently a second-year chemistry student at Lancaster University so can give you some opinions about the course here at Lancaster :smile:

I actually picked Lancaster because when I came to visit on an open day, the department were so friendly and I loved the campus so much. I could see myself being a student there. Sometimes it's not all about the league tables but about where is right for you. Also, we have a collegiate system here and as a fresher I found it easier to be part of the smaller college community. Having college and coursemates gave me a wide range of people to socialise with because people here aren't put in accommodation based on course. It gave me some nice separation.

The actual degree is really challenging as you expect. It is RSC accredited, which is something I looked for when I was looking for unis. There are a lot of contact hours for chemistry. At the minute an average week is 20+ hours at least. I like this because I know that I am always making progress. Practicals are a big priority here and in first year we spent at least a half-day in the lab almost every week. This year I spend at least a full day in the lab per week. In first year, you also get to study a minor which is quite unique. For example, I studied environmental science as a third of my credits in first year but I know other people who did biomedicine, maths and IT as well.

Hope this helps and if you have any other questions let me know
-Beth (Lancaster Student Ambassador)

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