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Frequently Asked Questions

Although Lancaster Chemistry is new, there are already a lot of questions about our department. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about us, our courses, and Chemistry at Lancaster.


Do you need A-level Maths (or equivalent) to study Chemistry at Lancaster?
We have no formal requirements for maths qualifications. If you have studied maths to an advanced level, then this is helpful, but during the first term of first year, you will take introductory courses designed to cover all of the relevant material from A-level maths that you will need for the rest of the course.
I applied to the BSc course; can I switch to the MChem?
At present, the first two years of the BSc and MChem Chemistry degrees are identical. It is therefore possible to change between the two degrees at any point up until the end of the second year. However, each of the degrees has different progression requirements; you must achieve a higher minimum grade in your studies at Lancaster to progress on to the second or third year of the MChem than the BSc.
Can I switch on to/ off the year in North America degree?
Our North America degree scheme has higher progression requirements than our BSc or Lancaster-based MChem degrees. If you meet these higher requirements, it may be possible to switch to the year abroad scheme so long as you do so in plenty of time of the year away, although we do not guarantee under these circumstances that we will be able to find a place at a North American University. Obviously, priority is given to those students who applied to that degree scheme.
As for the reverse, you are free to switch at any point to the Lancaster-based degrees.


Where can I go as part of the year in North America Scheme?
Universities involved in this exchange include, the Universities of British Columbia and western Ontario in Canada and the Universities of Florida, Colorado, Oregon, Georgia, Maine, Miami and Illinois in the USA.
Does my time abroad count towards my degree classification?
If you are studying on one of our degree schemes with a year in North America, then your credits/ grades achieved there will count towards your final degree.
What do you mean by "Chemistry as an Integrated Subject"? Does that mean I won't learn as much as someone doing an IOP course?
Chemistry is often divided along historical boundaries. Organic is C, H, N, O chemistry. Inorganic is everything else, and Physical is spectroscopy, thermodynamics, kinetics etc. Increasingly, these divisions are arbitrary and do not represent the realities of modern chemistry research. For example, if you do research on transition metal complexes, you would synthesise "organic" ligands, react them with metals, characterise them with spectroscopic techniques, and examine their photochemical behaviour. This work would not fit nicely into one of the IOP divisions, and in fact spans all of the IOP categories.
Our courses begin with a broad introduction covering all of the fundamental areas of chemistry, including all the areas you are familiar with and that would be covered in an IOP context, and additionally some that you may be less familiar with, such as analytical and theoretical chemistry. It will be packaged differently, which will hopefully make it more intuitive, and highlight the connection between different areas of chemistry more clearly. In later years, as with all courses, you will have more opportunity to specialise, with advanced topics being offered that are taught by leaders in their respective fields, and the opportunity to undertake research projects in the research groups of our academic staff. More details are available at Chemistry teaching at Lancaster.
The UKs top Chemistry departments offer small group teaching. What about you?
As you might expect from our ambitions to become one of the UKs top Chemistry departments, all our staff recognise the importance of small group teaching. Sometimes there is no substitute for small group tutorials as a means of learning. We have integrated our view of the importance of small group teaching into our course, and we offer a variety of supporting tutorials in first year with groups as small as 3 students.
Can I study Chemistry with another subject?
Your options depend on how much of another subject you want to study. Historically, Lancaster has offered a flexible first year. In keeping with this, you can take 1/3 of your first year in another subject, for instance you could take some additional physics modules, maths modules, environmental science modules,... If you are looking for a degree course that enables you to take more than one subject for the duration of your degree, then you should consider the Natural Sciences programme at Lancaster; a wide range of our chemistry modules are available as part of that degree scheme.


It would be nice to know a bit about your staff. Where did they go to Uni?
We don't necessarily want to advertise the names of all our competitors, but we represent a good selection of the top of the UK Chemistry league table! Cambridge, Durham, Imperial, Oxford,...
What research interests do your staff have?
Our research interests are varied and diverse, covering many areas of chemistry. We have staff with interests in analytical chemistry, spectroscopy, chemical synthesis, supramolecular chemistry, liquid materials, polymers, crystallisation, imaging, computational chemistry, and photovoltaics. For more details, you should look at the individual people pages, where you can find research profiles for our staff, details of their publications, and some biographical information.

League Tables and Accreditation

You don't appear in league tables... why is that?
Our absence from the league tables is no reflection of our quality; it is simply that we are a new department! It takes time to be recognised, and for the data needed to compile a league table entry to be available. Lancaster University itself performs incredibly well in the league tables, and our ambitions are to at least maintain (if not exceed) the University-wide standard.
What about Royal Society of Chemistry accreditation?
We are currently working towards Royal Society of Chemistry accreditation with the view of achieving this status by 2017. If successful, this accreditation will apply to both the BSc students who graduate in 2016, and the MChem cohort who graduate in 2017. The structure of the degree is being developed with the criteria for accreditation in mind, and we are in discussion with the Royal Society of Chemistry over this.