Qualification(s) available: PhD

Entry requirements
3 years
6 years
Start date
1 January, 1 April, 1 July or 1 October
UK fee
To be confirmed
International fee


The Department of Chemistry offers exciting and industry-relevant research opportunities across a range of areas including energy, molecular markers and detection; crime and security; chemical process technologies; and catalysis and functional molecules.

The Department of Chemistry is undergoing an exciting period of development. Our new STEMLab and newly refurbished research laboratories provide an outstanding environment to conduct scientific research.

Our strengths are in analytical science including: the study and detection of biomarkers; in energy research such as solar energy harvesting, hydrogen generation, functional energy materials/coatings, photochemistry, and batteries and supercapacitors; and in catalytic, synthetic and flow methods to prepare new molecules for health and materials applications.

As a research student in the Department of Chemistry you will join a team of around 45 staff members and approximately 50 research students plus post-doctoral researchers and fellows. You will be encouraged to participate in conferences and provided with opportunities to present your research work.

You will benefit from our state-of-the-art facilities, enhanced by the University's £17 million STEMLab and a £6 million investment in newly refurbished chemistry laboratories. Our research labs and study areas provide an excellent environment in which to pursue your research passions while the Department strives to create a stimulating and inclusive academic community.

Our staff are engaged in high-profile, high-impact research projects which continue to address real world problems in vital areas such as energy and the environment, defence and security, and health and medicine.

Much of the current research is supported by Research Councils, Government departments, charitable institutions and industrial companies.

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Why you should choose us

Our research

Research is carried out in all areas of chemistry and we have four main themes in the department.


Research is focused on innovation in the production and storage of green energy, electrochemistry and photochemistry.

Energy research

Markers and Detection

The focus is on the discovery and application of markers of health, vitality and disease. New molecular markers provide valuable opportunities for other researchers, as well as different approaches to the management and characterisation of complex situations.

Research programme leader: Professor Paul Thomas

Markers and Detection research

Catalysis and Functional Molecules

The research involves the development of new catalytic methods and reaction chemistries to develop novel functional molecules with applications in health and materials science.

Research programme leader: Dr George Weaver

Catalysis and Functional Molecules research

Crime and Security

This research addresses a wide range of societal issues, including the development of new reagents and analytical methods for forensic fingerprint imaging and biofluid analysis; chemical, biological and radiological (CBRN) agent screening and stand-off threat detection in airports and other vulnerable locations.

Interdisciplinary research centres

As part of the School of Science, staff and PhD students may also contribute to our interdisciplinary research centres:

  • Centre for Sensing and Imaging Science
  • Centre for the Science of Materials
  • Centre for Geometry and Applications
  • Centre for Analytical Science
  • Interdisciplinary Centre for Mathematical Modelling
  • Interdisciplinary Science Centre from Laboratory to Fabrication (Lab2Fab)

Centres for Doctoral Training

Centres for Doctoral Training (CDT) integrate PhD research and an enhanced research training package into a four-year integrated programme. The Department of Chemistry is part of the new EPSRC Centre for Sustainable Hydrogen (SusHY) in partnership with Nottingham, Birmingham and Ulster.

Your development

You will have at least two academic supervisors who will guide you in your research and you will also recieve support from the director of research programmes.

Our extensive training provision, supported by the Doctoral College, will also enhance your skills and experience as a researcher. These include seminars and modules in advanced research methods, our School research student conference and research café, and the Doctoral College’s Café Academiques, research conference and Summer Showcase.

As part of their development EPSRC funded students can opt to undetake a research placement within industry. The Doctoral College has identified partners willing to host students in order for them to gain innovation experience outside of their immediate PhD research project.

We provide training courses on research methods, safety, use of instrumentation and IT and we also offer a regular programme of seminars from visiting lecturers.

Our research students attend group meetings and conferences, and can gain practical experience of teaching undergraduate students as well as having opportunities to undertake research placements.

Skills and experience

A PhD programme will give you the opportunity to develop new and highly sought after skills which can set you up for a range of careers. It’s a chance to make a novel contribution to knowledge, to become a world expert in a particular field, and it can open a range of doors with different employers. You'll also enhance your interpersonal skills, such as networking and relationship building, which will be invaluable in your future career.

The Chemistry seminar series is an excellent way to learn about research ongoing in the department and to pick up new subject knowledge from academic staff. External speakers also deliver interesting sessions.

As a research student in the Department of Chemistry, you will be encouraged to participate in conferences and provided with opportunities to present their research work.

Your future career

Recent graduate destinations include:

  • Lubrizol, Research Chemist
  • AWE, Analytical Scientist
  • Boots, Senior Analyst Scientist
  • Natural History Museum, Post-doctoral Research Associate

Entry requirements

Our entry requirements are listed using standard UK undergraduate degree classifications i.e. first-class honours, upper second-class honours and lower second-class honours. To learn the equivalent for your country, please choose it from the dropdown below.

Entry requirements for United Kingdom

A minimum of a 2:1 honours degree (or equivalent international qualification) in chemistry or a closely related discipline.

English language requirements

Applicants must meet the minimum English language requirements. Further details are available on the International website.

Fees and funding

UK fee

Full-time degree per annum
To be confirmed

International fee

Full-time degree per annum

Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessment and operating University facilities such as the library, IT equipment and other support services. University fees and charges can be paid in advance and there are several methods of payment, including online payments and payment by instalment. Fees are reviewed annually and are likely to increase to take into account inflationary pressures.

Find out more about research degree funding

How to apply

If you can't find an advertised project that fits your interests and experience, you are still welcome to submit an application to us. You do not need to include a research proposal but you should indicate which area of research you wish to pursue and the names of potential supervisors. You can view our list of academic staff on our School website or you can email us for guidance.

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