Chemistry PhD

The reason I chose Surrey included the course, beautiful campus, location, friendliness and the placement year option. I really enjoyed my undergraduate experience and wanted to stay to continue my education.

Sushma Acharya PhD Chemistry

Why choose this course?

Our Chemistry PhD will deepen your understanding of the latest advances in synthetic and medicinal chemistry, natural products chemistry, materials chemistry, fuel cell research, nanotechnology, environmental, forensic and computational chemistry.

If you choose to take a PhD at Surrey, you will join an internationally-renowned Department, with a strong track-record of employability and research excellence.

We are also home to state-of-the-art research laboratories and the Centre for Petroleum and Surface Chemistry, with a recent investment in staff and facilities totalling $7 million.

Natural products chemistry, materials chemistry, fuel cell research, nanotechnology and computational chemistry are important areas of research and are supported by a wide variety of funding agencies and by industry.

Sources of recent grants have included: the Royal Society, UK research councils (BBSRC and EPSRC), government departments (DTI), international bodies (the European Commission), large companies such as Dstl, Cytec, BASF, Lonza, Huntsman, Astrium, and charities (British Heart Foundation).

What you will study

We aim to provide an exciting research environment with enthusiastic, committed research advisors and an international, highly motivated peer group of PhD students and postdoctoral researchers. A recent £2 million investment in facilities enables us to provide state-of-the-art laboratories and equipment and excellent technical support.

PhD students are initially registered for a probationary period and proceed to full PhD registration after one year, subject to a successful upgrade viva. You will be expected to demonstrate original thought and a capacity for critical evaluation.

The research towards a PhD takes approximately three years, with a further year to write the PhD thesis and take the viva voce exam. The University and Faculty provide you with a programme of training in generic, transferable and research skills.

Why not read about a student experience of the subject?

Research areas

The aim of the Department of Chemistry is to apply chemical techniques to problems of biological interest or to the development and analysis of materials.

Academics in the Department are engaged in research in the following areas: 

  • Drug discovery: natural products and synthetic organic chemistry
  • Environmental analysis, biosensors and forensic analysis
  • Materials and devices for sustainable energy
  • Theoretical and computational chemistry
  • Thermochemistry
  • Strategic new inorganic materials and polymeric materials


Related research areas

Related departments/schools

Course facts

Qualification Study mode Course length Start date
PhD Full-time 30-48 months October, January, April, July
PhD Part-time 60-96 months October, January, April, July

Entry Requirements

Candidates should have a good honours degree (2.1 or above) in an appropriate discipline, but prior experience in research or industry may be acceptable. Enthusiasm for, and commitment to, independent study is essential, as is a good command of the English language.

View entry requirements by country

English language requirements

Non-native speakers of English will normally be required to have IELTS 6.5 or above (or equivalent) with 6.0 in each individual category.

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 UK/EU fees Overseas fees
Full-time £4195 £20,000
Part-time £2100 £10,000

Please note these fees are for the academic year 2017/18 only. All fees are subject to annual review.

Overseas students applying for 2017 entry should please note that 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 research programmes

Doctoral College

Our Doctoral College supports researcher excellence and employability across the doctoral and early career stages of the researcher journey.

Find out more

Code of practice for research degrees

Surrey’s postgraduate research code of practice sets out the University's policy and procedural framework relating to research degrees.

The code defines a set of standard procedures and specific responsibilities covering the academic supervision, administration and assessment of research degrees for all faculties within the University.

Download the code of practice for research degrees (PDF).

Our students