Course Content (including module information)
While providing dedicated subject-specific learning, our Chemistry degrees strongly emphasise opportunities to develop generic problem-solving and reflective-working practices applicable to a range of career paths and patterns of employability.
Many of the elements of the BSc are in common with the MSci programme, and allow students to transfer between the two pathways, subject to meeting the appropriate programme requirements.
All degrees are modular, with six modules each year. All provide a thorough training in the three main subject areas (Inorganic, Organic and Physical Chemistry) through compulsory core modules which offer in-depth study of these three areas.
Students study a common programme with the Chemical Engineers, giving them an understanding of how the two subjects relate to each other and an opportunity to transfer if they decide they are better suited to the other discipline. Key to this is a course structure permitting students to study both introductory Chemistry, and Chemical Engineering, alongside a couple of skills modules equipping students to proceed on either degree programme.
In the second semester students then take three modules covering the main fundamental subject areas; inorganic, organic and physical chemistry.
Students are required to take six modules of chemistry, designed to extend their knowledge of the traditional subject areas of inorganic, organic and physical chemistry, in addition to introducing aspects of applied chemistry, spectroscopy and theoretical chemistry. Each of the modules contain both practical and coursework components allowing students to develop, practice and demonstrate a wide range of professional skills.
In addition to advancing the three main subject areas of organic, inorganic and physical chemistry, students can also can select a number of applied options allowing opportunities to specialise. Students have the choice of taking either a double-weighted research project directly supervised by a member of staff, or experiencing the full breadth of the subject through taking a series of three extended mini-projects in each of the main subject areas, making up a double-weighted module. Key to both of these options is the acquisition of both subject-specific and generic skills to act as a springboard to a successful career.
Different pathways offer opportunities to specialise. In the later stages there are optional specialist modules and extended practical/project work. The specialist pathways available consist of additional elements which are detailed below:
- Chemistry with Study Abroad: students take French or Spanish alongside Chemistry in Stages 1 and 2, then spend a year abroad studying Chemistry in French or Spanish, and then return to Queen's for Stage 3.
- BSc Sandwich Degrees: students spend their third year working in industry (subject to the availability of a suitable placement), then return to Queen's for a final year of study.
- Medicinal Chemistry: students take modules which include Biochemistry, Genetics and Medicinal Chemistry, and undertake a medicinal or biological project.
MSci Honours (Stage 4)
Students carry out an independent research project. The MSci with Professional Studies four-year degrees incorporate an industrial placement with a leading UK or European company as well as a distance-learning element.
MEng/MSci Engineering Chemistry
This exciting new course reflects the School’s distinctive position as the only combined School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering in the UK. It also reflects the reality of the workplace, where chemists and engineers work together and need to be able to communicate and understand each other. The core topics in both subject areas are studied, and then in the later stages of the course there is the opportunity to select specialist options modules in either Chemistry or Chemical Engineering. This will determine whether students graduate as MEng (Chemical Engineering) or MSci (Chemistry).
Assessment & Feedback
Assessment (general): The way in which you are assessed will vary according to the Learning objectives of each module. Some modules are assessed solely through project work or written assignments. Others are assessed through a combination of coursework and end of semester examinations. Details of how each module is assessed are shown in the Student Handbook which is provided to all students through the VLE and on the School’s own website.
Feedback (general): As students progress through their course at Queen’s they will receive general and specific feedback about their work from a variety of sources including lecturers, module co-ordinators, placement supervisors, personal tutors, advisers of study and peers. University students are expected to engage with reflective practice and to use this approach to improve the quality of their work. Feedback may be provided in a variety of forms including:
- Feedback provided via formal written comments and marks relating to work that you, as an individual or as part of a group, have submitted.
- Face to face comment. This may include occasions when you make use of the lecturers’ advertised “office hours” to help you to address a specific query.
- Placement employer comments or references.
- Online or emailed comment.
- General comments or question and answer opportunities at the end of a lecture, seminar or tutorial.
- Pre-submission advice regarding the standards you should aim for and common pitfalls to avoid. In some instances, this may be provided in the form of model answers or exemplars which you can review in your own time.
- Feedback and outcomes from practical classes.
- Comment and guidance provided by staff from specialist support services such as, Careers, Employability and Skills or the Learning Development Service.
Once you have reviewed your feedback, you will be encouraged to identify and implement further improvements to the quality of your work.
Learning and Teaching
At Queen’s, we aim to deliver a high quality learning environment that embeds intellectual curiosity, innovation and best practice in learning, teaching and student support to enable student to achieve their full academic potential.
On the MSci in Medicinal Chemistry with Professional Studies we do this by providing a range of learning experiences which enable our students to engage with subject experts and develop attributes and perspectives that will equip them for life and work in a global society. We make use of innovative technologies and a world class library to enhance their development as independent, lifelong learners.
Examples of the opportunities provided for learning on this course are:
- Lectures: introduce basic information about new topics as a starting point for further self-directed private study/reading. Lectures also provide opportunities to ask questions, gain some feedback and advice on assessments (normally delivered in large groups to all year group peers).
- Practicals: these are essential to the training in this laboratory-based subject area. You will have opportunities to develop technical skills and apply theoretical principles to real-life or practical contexts. Most of the core taught modules at Stages 1 and 2 have practical components associated with them, whilst stage 3 has a double weighted practical module (CHM3015). Typically at stage 1 you would be in the lab for two afternoons and in stages 2 to 3 it is two full days per week.
- E-Learning technologies: Information associated with lectures and assignments is typically communicated via a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) called Queen’s Online. Opportunities to use IT programmes associated with data manipulation and presentation are embedded in the practicals and the project- based work.
- Seminars/tutorials: Significant amounts of teaching are carried out in small groups (typically 6-10 students). These provide an opportunity for students to engage with academic staff who have specialist knowledge of the topic, to ask questions of them and to assess their own progress and understanding with the support of peers. You should also expect to make presentations and other contributions to these groups as well as using them as a route to providing individual feedback.
- Self-directed study: This is an essential part of life as a Queen’s student when important private reading, preparation for seminars / tutorials, writing of laboratory reports can be completed. You are encouraged to undertake private reflection on feedback, and at the later stages undertake independent research using the primary literature to support project work and critically review taught course material.
- Supervised projects: In the final year, you will be expected to carry out a significant piece of research on a topic or practical methodology that you have chosen. You will receive support from a supervisor who will guide you in terms of how to carry out your research. The supervisor and a second academic member of staff will formally meet, interview and review the work at the half way stage, and then provide support in the write up stage, although weekly contact is anticipated in most projects within the School.
- Personal Tutor: Undergraduates are allocated a Personal Tutor during Level 1 and 2 who meets with them on several occasions during the year to support their academic and professional development through the discussion of selected topics.