Chemistry MRes

Our international reputation for research excellence marks us out as a leader in the field of chemistry, and recent investments in staff and state-of-the-art laboratories reflect the University's commitment to this most fundamental of disciplines.

Why Surrey?

You will have access to our main Chemistry Research Laboratory which has undergone a ~£2 million refurbishment and also benefit from our suite of state-of-the-art instruments including ICP-MS, NMR spectrometers, Raman microscopes, powder XRD, LC-MS and GC-MS.

Programme overview

Our Chemistry MRes is for you if you hold a first degree in Chemistry (or a related discipline) and wish to undergo further training in the aspects of the subject that interest you most, with the prospect of enrolling on a PhD programme or enhancing your future career within industry.

With an increase in the number of undergraduate degrees offering the MChem qualification, our Chemistry MRes allows BSc graduates to study for an enhanced qualification with a view to better employment prospects. Our MRes qualification is also a convenient entry point into the UK academic system for overseas students. Many of our MRes graduates go on to successfully complete a PhD either at Surrey or another university.

Our academics are at the forefront of their field, having recently discovered the power of amino acids to fight strokes, and a new method for calculating the thermal breakdown temperature of nanocomposites.

Why not discover more about our MRes Chemistry in our video, and read about the experiences of past students who studied the subject?

Module overview

Our Chemistry MRes is heavily research-based, with 75 per cent of the 180 total credits for the degree gained during an Extended Research Project. The remaining 25 per cent of credits are collected through a taught component (three taught modules, each around 30-45 contact hours and 105-120 self-study hours).

Compulsory modules

Management, Communication and IT Skills

This module introduces students to scientific report writing, giving oral presentations, using online databases of scientific publications and maintaining a reference database, advanced data analysis, scientific ethics, searching for and writing patents, project management, and the importance of maintaining a professional development portfolio. This module, one of the contributing factors to making Surrey number one in the UK for graduate employment, is compulsory for all postgraduate students on taught master’s programmes in the Department of Chemistry.

Extended Research Project

Normally, the Research Project is expected to occupy the time when students are not at lectures or studying for the taught modules. It is carried out within the Department’s research laboratories. In certain cases, it may be possible to carry out the project work at other locations.

Project themes will be offered by academic members of staff to align with their research interests. Under exceptional circumstances project topics may be suggested by the student. The projects will cover a wide range of topics in Chemistry and will be allocated, according to student preference, during the first week of the programme.

Non-EU students on the MRes programme must arrange their project well in advance of their arrival in the UK, so that an ATAS statement can be arranged in a timely manner to avoid delays in obtaining UK entry clearance.

Advanced Research Projects are offered in the following subject areas:

  • Advanced inorganic materials
  • Computational chemistry
  • Nanoscience
  • Catalysis and surface chemistry
  • Synthetic organic chemistry
  • Fuel cells and energy materials
  • Advanced forensic techniques

Optional modules (choose two)

Advanced Topics in Physical Chemistry

This module includes topics such as: applied kinetics; green chemistry; advanced catalysts; molecular interactions; advanced statistical mechanics; electrochemistry; atomic spectroscopy; and photochemistry.

Advanced Topics in Organic Chemistry

You will develop an understanding of advanced methods of organic synthesis and be able to suggest methods of synthesis of target compounds using reactions and concepts acquired in earlier years.

Advanced Topics in Inorganic Chemistry

This module includes topics such as: advanced organometallics; metal complexes as heterogeneous catalysis; the chemistry of the f-block; inorganic rings, chains and cages; and bioinorganic chemistry.

Advanced Medicinal Chemistry

This module will give you sufficient knowledge of drug discovery, design and development to be able to contribute to the medicinal chemistry side of a multidisciplinary drug discovery team in your future career. On successful completion, as well as an understanding of drug targets, classes of therapeutics, assays and molecular properties, you will be able to suggest and critically appreciate alterations to molecules to affect activity, selectivity and pharmacokinetics. Also covered are current topics at the research frontier such as biological imaging, polymer therapeutics and gene therapy.

Advanced Methods in Forensics

This module will allow you to examine the scope and background of forensic investigation of biological material and give a detailed account of techniques used in advanced biomedical analysis.

To consider a range of novel developmental methods in forensic science and their potential to add to the toolbox for forensic investigators. On completion you will be able to give an account of drugs, poisons and forensic toxicology and show an in-depth understanding of the role played by forensic toxicology in forensic investigation.

Advanced Spectroscopy

This module will cover the methods used to characterise organic compounds at research level. These include IR, UV-Vis, Raman and advanced NMR spectroscopy. On successful completion of this module, you will have the necessary skills in spectrum analysis to assign structures to molecules.

Biomolecules and Medicinal Chemistry
Advanced Polymer Materials and Nanotechnology 

Teaching and assessment

The MRes programme consists of three taught modules run during the University’s two semesters. Each module will be timetabled for between two to four contact hours per week on average consisting of a mixture of lectures, workshops and tutorials.

Assessment of the taught modules is by a mixture of coursework and written examination. The balance varies from module to module. Assessment in some modules is based entirely on workshops, practical classes and coursework (ie, there is no examination element).

The project is assessed by a supervisor’s report and examination of a dissertation produced by the student, based on the project. The examination of the dissertation will include a viva voce (oral examination). The pass mark is 50 per cent for the project and for the taught modules.

Top-rated research

The Chemistry programme is run within the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences and the cross-faculty Surrey Materials Institute (SMI).

Staff in the Department of Chemistry have expertise which includes all aspects of chemistry: inorganic, medicinal, physical, physical organic, materials, polymers, nanotechnology and analytical. The Department has attracted more than £4.5 million of research income in the last three years.

You will receive a thorough education in advanced aspects of chemistry, but also undertake independent research via a project, guided by a dedicated and experienced supervisor.

Projects are available across a range of topics in chemistry, and may extend into areas of biology, forensics or materials science. Past MRes students have continued to further (PhD) education and to posts in research in industry.

Spotlight on the Materials Chemistry Group

Much of the world-leading research that is conducted in the Department of Chemistry specialises in the design, development, characterisation and application of advanced inorganic and polymeric materials.

Themes being pursued include: the investigation of electrolyte and electrode materials (polymers and ceramics) for clean energy production and storage in novel electrochemical devices; catalysts for the removal of environmental pollutants; the rational tailoring for purpose (and in-depth investigation) of metal organic framework materials, polymers and polymer synthesis, surfaces and interfaces, and composite and hybrid materials computer simulation of materials and molecular dynamics.

Local facilities include thermal and rheological methods, X-ray crystallography, solid-state electrochemistry and gas flow apparatus for studies of sorption and catalysis. Local, national and international facilities (for example, for neutron scattering and for computational chemistry) are used as necessary. Projects are commonly collaborative with industry and with overseas universities and research centres.

Several members of the Department are also members of the Surrey Materials Institute (SMI), an interdisciplinary research institute fostering collaboration between materials chemists, physicists and engineers.

Professional recognition

Royal Society of Chemistry

This qualification can be used to support applications for MRSC and CChem grade memberships of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Related departments/schools

Related research areas

Programme leader

Dr Daniel Whelligan

Find out more

General enquiries:

+44 (0)1483 681 681

Admissions enquiries:


Programme facts

Type of programme:


Programme length:

  • Full-time: 12 months

Start date:

Sep 2016

Entry Requirements

View entry requirements by country

English language requirements

We offer intensive English language pre-sessional courses, designed to take you to the level of English ability and skill required for your studies here.


Study mode Start date UK/EU fees Overseas fees
Full-time Sep 2016 £8,000 £18,000

Please note these fees are for the academic year 2016/2017 only. Annual fees will rise by four per cent (rounded up to the nearest £100) for each year of study.

A complete list of all fees for our Masters Programmes


Discounts for Surrey graduates

Thinking of continuing your education at Surrey? As an alumnus of Surrey you may be eligible for a ten per cent discount on our taught Masters programme fees. Learn more.

For more details

GREAT Surrey Scholarships India

For for all postgraduate taught courses starting in February 2017 within the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences, the University is offering graduates from India the opportunity to apply for one of three scholarships worth £5,000 through the GREAT Scholarships - India programme. 

For more details

Admissions Information

Our Admissions Policy provides the basis for admissions practice across the University and gives a framework for how we encourage, consider applications and admit students.

Further information for applicants

Postgraduate Study Advice

Steps to Postgraduate Study is an official, independent guide for anyone considering a taught postgraduate course. The guide is produced by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, the Scottish Funding Council and the Department for Employment and Learning, Northern Ireland.

Find out more


Modules listed are indicative, reflecting the information available at the time of publication. Please note that not all modules described are compulsory and may be subject to teaching availability and/or student demand.