Learning about chemistry is fascinating: seeing how substances interact at a molecular level, finding ways of applying fundamental questions to biomedical problems, making a theoretical interaction into an innovation in pharmaceuticals or industrial materials. There are many places to study Chemistry in the UK.
If you live in or near Glasgow and you are searching for ways to learn chemistry, here are a few tips.
The University of Glasgow has an extensive chemistry programme that offers both Bachelor of Sciences (BSc) and Masters of Science (MSc) qualifications, along with postgraduate courses for those who wish to continue beyond. They are ranked 8th in UK university rankings and are part of the ScotCHEM programme linking seven of the main chemistry faculties in Scottish universities.
Anyone wanting to learn chemistry in Glasgow as an undergraduate should consider his or her A-levels carefully. Sciences – both chemistry and physics – and mathematics are generally the best choices. Study hard – though the minimum requirement is BBB, they receive a lot of applicants and you will generally not be considered for admission under an AAB qualification.
Learn more about moles and other aspects of Chemistry at Glasgow University. Photo credit: Peter George Gordon on VisualHunt
The Department of Chemistry of University of Glasgow has three undergraduate courses featuring chemistry:
The BSc Chemistry course covers 2 years basic chemistry, with another two if you want to add honours.
The first semester or two, you will be covering the material you learned at A-levels, but in more depth and detail, before moving on to study more complex aspects of chemistry. If you want, you can do a double BSc with Mathematics as a second subject.
In your first year, you will learn about the basics of chemistry:
In your second year, you will be going into more detail and learning about various chemistry subjects. This will give you the basic information you need for when you choose to specialise. You will be covering the following curriculum in your chemistry courses:
If you choose to progress to Honours, studies will include:
In your fourth year, you would choose an undergraduate research project for independent research.
Learn Chemistry at the University of Glasgow and its state-of-the-art laboratories. Photo credit: astro_matt on VisualHunt
Or take chemistry courses Manchester instead!
The University of Glasgow also lets you specialise in Chemical Physics at the outset. In your first year, you will be studying chemistry, mathematics and physics in parallel. The second year, with a proper grounding in maths behind you, you will focus on physics and chemistry and their interactions.
If you decide to progress to Honours, you will delve deeper into the realm of both physics and chemistry and how they influence each other.
In chemistry you will be focusing on physical chemistry and inorganic chemistry:
While in physics you will broach a wide range of subjects including:
If you want to go into the pharmaceutical branch and work in the laboratories of firms creating new drugs to combat disease and improve human health, you will want to study medicinal chemistry.
Your first year will include the usual subjects, while the second year’s coursework will include subjects more specific to medicinal chemistry:
Starting year three, you will have a choice from a list of topics to start specialisation in biochemical compounds, antibiotics, anticancer compounds, antivirals or analgesics.
In year four you will join a research program with medical applications.
Of the three base undergrad programmes, Chemistry and Medicinal Chemistry are also available as an MSci programme. The curriculum is basically the same, but with an added placement year after year 3 in another European university’s chemistry faculties. Additionally, you will profit from extra lectures and the opportunity to work with chemistry professionals from pioneering pharmaceutical firms in biomedical research in and out of the chemistry lab in a collaborative environment.
The Masters’ programmes of the chemistry department in Glasgow are accredited by the Royal Society of Chemistry.
This comes with the option of continuing on to a doctorate to pursue your own research.
Take chemistry research down a different path with the programmes available at Glasgow Caledonian University:
Glasgow Caledonian University has a fleet of advanced microscopes to help you study chemistry subjects. Photo on Visualhunt
Choose a BSc (with honours) in Forensic Investigation and help solve crime (and find out where all the CSI and CIS series got it wrong). The excellent laboratory facilities at GCU include a DNA analyser, mass spectrometer and all the microscopes you will ever need for analytical chemistry. This programme includes the possibility of doing a year abroad in other universities.
You can also study Forensic Chemistry in London!
A BSc (Hons) is also available in Pharmacology. Similar in some aspects to the Medicinal Chemistry path at the University of Glasgow or Pharmaceutical Chemistry at other universities, pPharmacology focuses on drug development. You will spend the first two years studying Applied Biological Sciences – including biochemistry – at Glasgow Kelvin College, then move on to GCU for Honours (years 3 and 4).
Or study food chemistry and microbiology as part of your MSc Food Bioscience. You will cover all aspects of food analysis and engineering, giving you a good grounding for the market in food manufacturing and processing.
Whether you are studying Sciences for your GCSEs or struggling with an A-level in Chemistry, need some extra time spent with a teacher other than your mentor or tutor at the university level or are simply interested in learning more about chemistry, getting a private tutor is probably your best choice.
Private tutors can help chemistry enthusiasts of all ages. Photo credit: Pioneer Library System on VisualHunt
A private tutor means that you are not shackled to a single time and place for your lessons – perfect if you only occasionally need help for specific questions or lead a complex and hectic life. It also means that you can work on those points you are most unsure of. A classical chemistry course will follow a set curriculum, but with a private tutor you can iron out your problems understanding catalysis, computational chemistry, organometallic compounds, nanomaterials or any other specific aspect of chemistry.
Nor will you be lost among a sea of students; instead, you can take one-to-one courses where your chemistry education will focus on you, not what your teachers think you should know. You can have things explained in a more visual fashion or focus more on the mathematical aspects to learn the mechanics of chemistry.
The one disadvantage of learning chemistry with a private tutor is that it is likely neither your tutor nor you own a lab. If you need tutoring in practical chemistry, you will need to find a lab you can rent for your experiments.
Why not try learning Chemistry in Birmingham?
One option for finding someone to tutor you in GCSE or A-level chemistry is to go to the university and see if graduate students are willing to help you.
Another is to search for a “chemistry tutor near me” here on Superprof. Over 70 tutors are available to help with anything from forensic chemistry to chemical engineering to chemical biology. The prices average about £17 per hour, with many in the 25-30 £ range, which is perfectly reasonable.
Many also offer a free first lesson so you can see if you synch well with your new teacher. It’s important that your tutor be able to adapt their teaching style to your learning style – so don’t hesitate to use your free first lesson to try out different tutors to see which one is best for you! You can also look up testimonials from other students to see what their experience with that particular tutor has been.