At the School of Physical Sciences, we have a strong teaching record in analytical chemistry and we are proud to link our world-leading research on materials chemistry to our undergraduate programmes. All practical classes take place in our newly refurbished laboratories, where you use the latest equipment.
As a foundation year student, you are a full member of the University and can take part in all student activities.
Our degree programme
This programme is for science students who do not meet the requirements for direct entry to Stage 1 of our degree programmes. It is also an excellent conversion course for applicants who have shown academic ability in non-science subjects. We also consider applicants without traditional academic qualifications who have relevant professional experience.
In your foundation year, you study chemistry and mathematics and take part in practical classes. On successful completion of your foundation year, you will have reached a standard above A level and so be fully equipped to tackle any of the BSc or MChem degree courses:
Chemistry - BScChemistry with a Year in Industry - BScChemistry with a Year abroad - BScChemistry - MChem
Chemistry at Kent is a distinctive programme and includes a set of ‘chemistry in context’ modules where you apply your knowledge to specific case studies. For example, in our first-year Disasters module, you choose a chemical disaster and use your understanding of chemical phenomenon to formulate a disaster management plan.
Chemistry student Celine Lauchlan explains what studying at the University of Kent is like.
It is possible to add a placement year to the BSc and gain valuable work experience. For details, see Chemistry with a Year in Industry.
You also have the option of progressing on to a four-year MChem programme and working as part of a research group doing cutting-edge work. For details, see Chemistry - MChem.
We recently invested £10 million in our laboratories and improved our general study spaces. Facilities to support chemistry include a full characterisation suite for materials containing:
three powder diffractometers a crystal diffractometer X-ray fluorescence instruments to measure magnetic and transport properties at 4K and up to 7 T a Raman spectrometer two scanning electron microscopes (SEM)gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC-MS)high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) systematomic absorption spectrometry (AAS) equipmentFourier transform infrared spectrometer (FTIR).
The School of Physical Sciences is home to an international scientific community of chemistry, forensic science, physics and astronomy students. Numerous formal and informal opportunities for discussion make it easy to participate in the academic life of the School. All students have an academic adviser and we also run a peer mentoring scheme.
You are encouraged to participate in conferences and professional events to build up your knowledge of the science community and enhance your professional development. The School also works collaboratively with business partners, which allows you to see how our research influences current practice.
You can also take part in:
the School’s Physical Sciences Colloquia, a popular series of talks given by internal and external experts on relevant and current topicsthe student-run chemistry society, Chemsoc, which organises talks with top industry professionals, practical demonstrations and social events.
There are approximately eight one-hour lectures each week, laboratory classes, project work and problem-solving seminars.
Assessment is by a combination of written examinations, continuous assessment and other assignments. You must pass the Stage 1 examinations in order to go on to Stage 2. Coursework assessments include practical laboratory skills, presentation skills as well as essay and report writing.
Please note that you must pass all modules of the foundation year in order to progress onto stage 1.
Knowledge and understanding
You gain knowledge and understanding of:
- Core and foundation scientific physical, biological, and chemical concepts, terminology, theory, units, conventions, and laboratory practise and methods in relation to the chemical sciences.
- Areas of chemistry including properties of chemical elements, states of matter, organic functional groups, physiochemical principles, organic and inorganic materials, synthetic pathways, analytical chemistry, medicinal chemistry, biochemistry, fires and explosions.
- Developments at the forefront of some areas of chemical sciences.
You gain the following intellectual abilities:
- The ability to understand essential facts, concepts, principles and theories relating to the subject and to apply this knowledge to the solution of qualitative and quantitative problems.
- The ability to recognise and analyse problems and plan strategies for their solution by the evaluation, interpretation and synthesis of scientific information and data.
- The ability to use computational methods for the practical application of theory and to use information technology and data-processing skills to search for, assess and interpret chemical information and data.
- A knowledge of essay writing and presenting scientific material and arguments clearly and correctly, in writing and orally, to a range of audiences and the ability to communicate complex scientific argument to a lay audience.
You gain subject-specific skills in the following:
- The safe handling of chemical materials, taking into account their physical and chemical properties, including specific hazards associated with their use and risk-assessment of such hazards.
- The ability to carry out documented standard laboratory procedures involved in synthetic and analytical work in relation to organic and inorganic systems. Skills in observational and instrumental monitoring of physiochemical events and changes and the systematic and reliable documentation of the above. Operation of standard analytical instruments employed in the chemical sciences.
- The ability to collate, interpret and explain the significance and underlying theory of experimental data, including an assessment of limits of accuracy.
- The ability to implement research projects including competence in the design and execution of experiments.
You gain transferable skills in the following:
- Communication, both written and oral.
- To be able to undertake further training of a professional nature.
- Problem-solving in relation to qualitative and quantitative information, extending to situations where evaluations have to be made on the basis of limited information.
- Numeracy and computational skills, including such aspects as error analysis, order-of-magnitude estimations, correct use of units and modes of data presentation.
- Information-retrieval skills, in relation to primary and secondary information sources, including online computer searches.
- Knowledge of IT such as word-processing and spreadsheet use, data-logging and storage, internet communication.
- Interpersonal skills, relating to the ability to interact with other people and to engage in team working within a professional environment.
- Time-management and organisational skills, as evidenced by the ability to plan and implement efficient and effective modes of working. Self-management and organisational skills with the capacity to support life-long learning.
- Study skills required continuing professional development and professional employment.
The programme aims to:
- Instil a sense of enthusiasm for chemistry, an appreciation of its application in different contexts and involve students in an intellectually stimulating and satisfying experience of learning and studying.
- Provide a broad and balanced foundation of chemical knowledge and practical skills.
- Provide access to as wide a range of students as practicable.
- Develop in students the ability to apply their knowledge and skills to the solution of chemical science problems and to be able to solve theoretical and practical problems in chemistry.
- Impart practical skills including the knowledge, understanding and ability to assess safety in the laboratory environment.
- Develop a range of generic skills, of value in chemical and non-chemical employment.
- Provide a stimulating, research-active environment in which students are supported and motivated to achieve their academic and personal potential.
- Enable students to graduate with an understanding of scientific methodology, the ability to use this in the solution of problems in and outside of a laboratory environment, and the ability to undertake and report on an experimental investigation using such methodology.
- Foster an appreciation of the importance and sustainability of the chemical sciences in an industrial, academic, economic, environmental and social context.
- Provide students with the knowledge and skills to gain graduate-level employment or to pursue further studies.