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Master of Chemistry Chemistry with Placement

Key information

Heriot-Watt University ranked first in Scotland for chemistry in the Guardian University Guide 2020. Chemistry with Placement is a 5-year degree accredited by the Royal Society of Chemistry which includes a year working in industry or studying abroad.

UCAS code
Delivery type
Full Time
Degree qualification
Master of Chemistry
Mode of delivery
5 years
Start date

This five-year MChem Chemistry with Placement degree is career-focused and has specialist pathways in pharmaceutical chemistry, computational chemistry, biology or materials and nanoscience. This offers the flexibility to decide which degree and pathway best suits your career ambitions. 

During the undergraduate degree, you’ll learn from a comprehensive curriculum of chemistry fundamentals, exploring topics in chemical reactivity, atomic and molecular structure and chemical bonding, chemical thermodynamics, chemical kinetics, organic chemistry, multinuclear NMR spectroscopy, organic reactions, and chemical kinetics. You will gain a broad and balanced foundation of chemical knowledge and practical skills and apply this to create solutions for theoretical and practical problems in chemistry. Throughout the studies, you will choose optional courses which best align with your chemical interests, before choosing your specialist pathway in your fourth year.  

As part of MChem Chemistry with Placement, you can choose an industrial placement to develop your skills and get to know an industrial chemical company. You will benefit from the staff training and assessment courses of the company, and gain wide experience of the industrial sector.  

Your learning will include extensive laboratory work, to provide you with hands-on experience and opportunities to link theoretical knowledge from lectures to the real world. You will develop your practical abilities, confidence, and communication skills in addition to your extensive, cutting-edge theoretical knowledge of chemistry to become highly employable upon graduation. Chemistry graduates from Heriot-Watt University have a good reputation with employers who appreciate this unique combination of skills and knowledge. This will allow you to work in several roles across a diversity of fields within the pharmaceutical, biomedical, biochemical, health care, agriculture, food, drink and water industries. Opportunities also exist in the chemical, petroleum, electronic, aerospace and communications industries. 

In addition to career pathways that directly use your practical skills and chemical knowledge, you can apply your problem-solving abilities, numeracy and other transferable graduate skills to various management roles beyond the chemistry industry. The broad range of skills involved in a chemistry degree means chemistry graduates are in high demand in other employment sectors, ranging from environmental protection to education, and commerce. 

Your student experience

Your learning will be informed by the expertise of our research-active chemical scientists and academics. Your learning will be directly informed by the work and research completed by Heriot-Watt’s Institute of Chemical Sciences (ICS), which specifically aims to understand matter at the atomic level and how atoms interact to form molecules and extended systems, with interesting and useful properties.  

Chemical Sciences research work at Heriot-Watt encompasses a wide field in response to the needs of a modern technological society. The broad spectrum of interests of the research staff ranges from fundamental aspects of pure chemistry to interdisciplinary areas which involve interactions with physics, biochemistry, and applied science. ICS has excellent facilities that support research and research suites have been created for high resolution multinuclear NMR, X-ray crystallography (both single-crystal and powder), laser science, solid state, and computational chemistry. Each of these areas has attracted major research funding. 

Research in ICS is divided into three main research groupings: 

The research and industry focused nature of this undergraduate programme ensures your studies remain innovative and up to date with current and emerging trends.  

Go Global

With Go Global, Heriot-Watt's global student programme, you can carry your studies to new places and experience new cultures, expanding your horizons on the way. You'll discover what it means to be a true global citizen and emerge prepared for wherever your career journey will take you.

European Exchange

This Exchange Programme enables you to study or work in Europe as part of your degree programme, usually for a full academic year.

Worldwide Exchange

This Exchange Programme enables you to study outside of Europe as part of your degree programme, usually for a full academic year.

Course content

September Intake - Edinburgh

Mandatory September

  • Principles of Chemistry
  • Chemical Applications 1
  • Mathematics for Engineers and Scientists 1

Optional September

  • Introductory Biology 1
  • Mechanics, Fields and Forces

Mandatory January

  • Chemical Reactivity
  • Chemical Applications 2
  • Mathematics for Engineers and Scientists 2

Optional January

  • Introductory Biology 2
  • Waves and Matter

Programme Video

Chemistry with placement video

Fees and funding

ScotlandPaid by SAAS
England / Wales / N Ireland / Rep of Ireland£9,250
  • Status: Your residency status is usually defined as the country where you have been ordinarily resident for the three years before the start of your course.
  • International: 'International' includes applicants from European Union countries who do not hold Pre-Settled or Settled status in UK. (This does not include students from the Republic of Ireland - see above).

Scholarships and bursaries

Bursaries for students from England, Northern Ireland or Wales

In addition to government loans and grants towards the costs of fees and living costs, we are offering generous financial support to attract and support eligible undergraduate students from England, Northern Ireland or Wales:

  • Heriot-Watt University Bursary (up to £3,100 per year)
View details

Entry requirements

We have standard entry requirements for all of our courses that you will have to meet.

Standard entry requirements

  • Highers AABB (including Chemistry and Maths)
  • A-Levels BBC - ABB (including Chemistry B and Maths)
  • Int. Baccalaureate 30 points (with Higher Level Chemistry and Mathematics at 5)
  • BTEC DDM (in relevant subject)
  • HNC A in graded unit (in relevant HNC)

Minimum entry requirements*

  • Highers BBBC (including Chemistry at B and Maths)
  • A-Levels BCC (including BC in Chemistry and Mathematics)

* Minimum: under our Fair Access Policy, we will relax our standard entry requirements for some Scottish students depending on their circumstances. Our minimum requirements will apply if you:

  • live in an area within the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation lowest 20% (SIMD20), or
  • are care experienced.

We can also make exceptions for some Scottish students with grades above minimum but below standard. Read more about our Minimum and standard entry requirements

Why Heriot-Watt

We're the top university in Scotland for graduate outcomes which means that more of our graduates are employed or in postgraduate education than any other institution in the country and we ranked 5th in the UK.

We're also rated number one in the UK for CEO or MD roles, meaning more of our graduates go on to become CEOs or MDs than any other university in the whole of the UK. On top of that, we have beautiful campuses, across the globe, so you'll get a truly international education. Our Edinburgh Campus is home to Oriam, Scotland's National Sports Performance Centre combined with plenty of wellbeing resources, prioritising fitness and mental health for all students. Our Global Research Institutes look at solving real world issues such as climate change and saving our oceans as well as working on the next medical technological breakthrough and the future of AI and robots.


Work and study

This is what our Master of Chemistry Chemistry with Placement students are doing 15 months after graduating:
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The average salary of students 15 months after graduating
The average UK salary of students 15 months after graduating from a similar course

Potential career paths

  • Science, engineering and technology associate professionals
  • Natural and social science professionals

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