MChem Chemistry with Placement

The course

UCAS code
5 years
Delivery type

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.


Got questions about this programme?

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Chemistry is a dynamic and exciting subject which makes many important contributions to the world. It is a major contributor to the Scottish and UK economies and as such is a secure career pathway. Chemistry plays a crucial role in developing new medicines, materials and energy sources using greener methods for a better future.

At Heriot-Watt University, we make sure the theory we teach is linked to these practical applications so that when our students graduate, they are ready to address the biggest of global challenges. Heriot-Watt University is ranked first in Scotland for chemistry in the Guardian University Guide 2020.

The courses within our five-year MChem Chemistry include extensive laboratory work throughout. They provide students with hands-on experience and opportunities to link theoretical knowledge from lectures to the real world. As a result, our students develop practical lab experience as well as much needed teamwork, problem solving and communication skills.

Your career prospects

Chemistry graduates from Heriot-Watt University have an excellent reputation with employers who appreciate their practical abilities, confidence, and communication skills in addition to the extensive, cutting-edge theoretical knowledge they possess. 

Graduates from chemistry can work in diverse roles across 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 their practical skills and chemical knowledge, graduates from chemistry are actively sought by a diverse range of employers because of their problem-solving abilities, numeracy and other transferable graduate skills appropriate for management roles.

Industrial placement

Students on MChem Chemistry with Placement can choose an industrial placement to develop their skills and for the company to get to know them. Students will benefit from the staff training and assessment courses of the company and gain wide experience of the industrial sector.

Study abroad

Students on MChem Chemistry with Placement can choose to study one year of their degree with a Heriot-Watt University partner institution in Australia, North America, Spain, Germany or France.

Global College pathway for this degree

If you do not meet the entry requirements for this degree, have a look at Heriot-Watt Global College, where you can follow an accelerated pathway which will get you onto the second year of this degree.


Royal Society of Chemistry logo

Accredited by the Royal Society of Chemistry for partially meeting the academic criteria for Chartered Chemist (CChem).

Samuel Patterson

The relatively small intake of chemists allowed for one of the most productive lecturing environments I could have hoped for. The lecturers encouraged questions and open discussion when topics were difficult to grasp and made tutorials and workshops a genuinely useful resource for study.

Samuel Patterson, Chemistry with Placement, MChem

Course content

Year 1

Students gain a good understanding of the fundamental principles of Chemistry and are introduced to laboratory skills illustrating various experimental techniques. Students also study Mathematics and an optional subject.

Year 2

Inorganic, Organic and Physical Chemistry lectures continue with emphasis on the relationship between theoretical principles and experimental measurements. In addition, students choose an optional subject: Biology, Maths/Statistics, Physics or a Language.

Year 3

Students study further Inorganic, Organic and Physical Chemistry and can choose from a range of optional subjects (Analytical and Materials Chemistry, Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Microbiology, Programming, Solid-state physics). Communication and teamwork skills are developed and laboratory work becomes more advanced.

Year 4

Spent working in the laboratories of an approved company, non-commercial organisation or global partner university. Students learn to apply laboratory skills and theoretical knowledge in a real-life situation. Students prepare reports and present lectures on their work during this year. During their placement, students stay in regular contact with a Heriot-Watt academic supervisor and engage in two distance-learning courses.

Year 5

Includes Advanced Inorganic, Organic and Physical Chemistry lectures, and a short research project with Inorganic, Organic and Physical Chemistry at the research level plus additional specialist courses.

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Work and study

This is what our MChem Chemistry with Placement students are doing 15 months after graduating:

  • 60% are working
  • 30% are studying
  • 0% are working and studying.


  • The average salary of students 15 months after graduating: £25000
  • The average UK salary of students 15 months after graduating from a similar course: £25000

Potential career paths

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

Entry requirements

Year 1

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

Year 2

  • Advanced Highers AB (including Chemistry and Mathematics plus Highers AABB)
  • A-Levels AAB (including Chemistry and Mathematics)
  • Int. Baccalaureate 36 points (with Higher Level 6 Chemistry and Mathematics)
  • HND BB in graded units (in relevant HND)
  • BTEC DDD (in relevant subject)
  • Global College Successful completion of Bachelors Degree Accelerator Foundation - Engineering and Science

Year 3

  • HND AA in graded units (in relevant HND)

Additional information

English language requirements

  • If English is not your first language, you have to show that your English is good enough to succeed on your course. Please see our English language requirements.


Tuition fees for 2023 entry
Status* Scotland England / Wales / N Ireland / Rep of Ireland International**
Fee Paid by SAAS £9,250 £22,264

* 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. Find out more about tuition fees.

** '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). Read more about the application process for EU nationals.

Additional costs

You may incur additional costs in the course of your studies at Heriot-Watt over and above tuition fees in an academic year. Depending on your programme of study, these may include: protective equipment, field trips, professional memberships, studio fees, required course texts or other study resources.

Scholarships and bursaries

Featured scholarships

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 about the Heriot-Watt University Bursary

View our full range of undergraduate scholarships.