Find a programme
Run by Faculty of Science
Awards available PhD , MSc by research
Programme length MSc by research: One year full-time, or part-time equivalent
PhD: Three to four years full-time, or part-time equivalent
Location of programme Clifton campus
Part-time study available Yes
Open to international students Yes
Number of places 60-70 per year
Start date Not fixed

Programme overview

The School of Chemistry is one of the largest in the UK and an internationally recognised centre of teaching and research. Currently there are over 250 postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers, from many different countries, working with more than 60 academic staff on a wide range of research themes. Extensive collaborations with science-based industries and leading international academic centres ensure that research in Bristol remains at the frontier of science.

The School of Chemistry is housed in spacious, modern laboratories, which are well equipped with state-of-the-art facilities. There is a comprehensive graduate programme to ensure you have the opportunity to build a wide range of skills, both in chemistry and other transferable skills.

The School of Chemistry hosts or participates in a number of Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs) and Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTPs). Training opportunities in these national flagship centres are available in the following disciplines:

  • chemical synthesis
  • functional nanomaterials
  • catalysis
  • theory and modelling in chemical sciences
  • science and technology of diamond
  • synthetic biology
  • advanced composites
  • earth and environmental sciences
  • quantum engineering
  • future autonomous and robotic systems
  • bioscience
  • condensed matter physics

Fees for 2017/18

Full-time fees


Part-time fees are charged on a pro rata basis

Fees quoted are provisional, per annum and subject to annual increase.

Funding for 2017/18

The school provides financial support for PhD students from a number of sources, including UK research councils, industry and scholarships. There is no separate application form for these.

School scholarships, which are awarded to cover bench fees (which may be charged), are available for the duration of a PhD. The maximum value of such a bench-fee scholarship is £24,000 over the duration of a PhD project.

Prospective candidates are welcome to contact the School of Chemistry's admissions team with any funding queries.

Further information on funding for prospective UK, EU and international postgraduate students.

Entry requirements

An upper second-class honours degree (eg MChem, MSci) or equivalent. Applicants with a lower second-class honours degree (eg MChem, MSci) or an upper second-class honours BSc degree may be admitted if they can demonstrate good potential for research.

See international equivalent qualifications on the International Office website.

Application method Online application form
English language requirements Profile F
Further information about English language requirements
Admissions statement Read the programme admissions statement for important information on entry requirements, the application process and supporting documents required.

Research groups

The School of Chemistry maintains a traditional managerial structure with three sections, namely Inorganic and Materials, Organic and Biological, and Physical and Theoretical. However, the school’s research profile is defined according to nine themes, each with a critical mass of researchers. Further information on the school's research profile can be found at Explore Bristol Research.

  • Atmospheric and Global Change Chemistry
  • Biological and Archaeological Chemistry
  • Catalysis
  • Computational and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Materials for Energy
  • Soft Matter, Colloids and Materials
  • Spectroscopy and Dynamics
  • Supramolecular and Mechanistic Chemistry
  • Synthesis

Researchers in the School of Chemistry are engaged in a number of collaborative centres and research institutes, with broader engagement from researchers across the Faculty of Science, the University and beyond.


Many of our PhD graduates are successful in securing postdoctoral positions at universities in the UK and abroad. A PhD in chemistry is valued in many employment sectors worldwide, including pharmaceutical sciences, polymers, coatings, agrochemicals, instrumentation manufacturers and management consultancy. Your skills will be in high demand from the chemical and allied industries, as well as the public sector.

Staff profiles

Professor Varinder Aggarwal, (Professor), Acyclic stereocontrol; catalytic asymmetric synthesis; organometallic chemistry; organosulfur chemistry.

Professor Neil Allan, (Professor), Computational solid state chemistry; molecular similarity; simulations and electronic structure of ceramics and minerals.

Dr Chris Arthur, (Research Fellow), Biological Mass Spectrometry; Biosynthesis of polyketides and fatty acids

Professor Mike Ashfold, (Professor), Growth of thin diamond films by chemical vapour deposition and laser ablation; spectroscopy and photochemistry of gas-phase molecules.

Professor Paul Bartlett, (Professor), Colloidal crystals; light and neutron scattering; optical tweezers; soft condensed matter; structure in concentrated colloidal dispersions.

Professor Robin Bedford, (Professor), Synthesis of new catalysts and the inception and development of novel catalytic reactions.

Professor Kevin Booker-Milburn, (Professor), Free radical cyclisations; new synthetic methods for the synthesis of natural products; photocycloadditions and metal catalysed organic reactions.

Dr John Bower, (Senior Lecturer), Asymmetric catalysis heterocyclic chemistry and total synthesis.

Dr Wuge Briscoe, (Senior Lecturer), Polymer chemistry; soft matter at interfaces.

Dr Ian Bull, (Research Fellow), Hyphenated mass spectrometric techniques and their application to biogeochemical and environmental problems.

Dr Craig Butts, (Reader), Experimental investigations (in particular with NMR) of unusual chemical structure or reactivity, with emphasis on developing techniques to probe and control these.

Professor Jonathan Clayden, (Professor), New molecular reactivity; rational conformational control; synthesis of bioactive compounds.

Dr John Crosby, (Senior Lecturer), Electrospray mass spectrometric studies of proteins; enzymology of polyketide biosynthesis; role of urocanic acid in uv-induced immunosuppression.

Professor Matt Crump, (Professor), Biological NMR; elucidation of the structure and function of proteins; protein crystallography.

Dr Sean Davis, (Senior Lecturer), Study of inorganic materials using electron microscopy and related techniques.

Professor Tony Davis, (Professor), Application of combinatorial chemistry to the discovery of enantioselective receptors and ' artificial enzymes' ; synthetic supramolecular chemistry – design and synthesis of receptors for carbohydrates and anions.

Professor Julian Eastoe, (Professor), Structure and dynamics; surfactant interfaces.

Professor Richard Evershed, (Professor), Analytical chemistry applied to industrial forensic problems; archaeological and palaeontological chemistry; biogeochemistry.

Professor Charl Faul, (Professor), Electroactive and conductive organic materials; functional self-organising nanostructures; ionic self-assembly (ISA); novel liquid-crystalline and functional materials; supramolecular chemistry.

Professor David Fermin, (Professor), Electrochemistry; structure-reactivity relationships of Pt and Pd nanoarrays.

Dr Carmen Galan, (Reader), Development of expedient and stereoselective glycosylation methods for the synthesis of oligosaccharide targets and glycoconjugates drug analogues; oligosaccharide synthesis and glycobiology.

Professor Tim Gallagher, (Professor, Dean of the Faculty of Science), Development of novel synthetic chemistry and its application to biologically important heterocyclic and carbohydrate-based targets; total synthesis of natural products.

Dr Paul Gates, (Research Fellow), Mass spectrometry structural elucidation studies of organic and natural products and mass spectrometry methodology development.

Dr David Glowacki, (Royal Society Research Fellow), Atmospheric and Global Change Chemistry; Computational and Theoretical Chemistry; N/A; Spectroscopy and Dynamics

Dr Simon Hall, (Senior Lecturer), Bioinorganic materials chemistry; biomimetic routes to advanced superconductors; synthesis of novel, hierarchical materials.

Professor Fred Manby, (Professor), Development of methods in electronic structure theory.

Professor Stephen Mann, (Professor), Biomimetic approaches to organised matter chemistry; synthesis and characterisation of self-assembled inorganic materials.

Professor Ian Manners, (Professor), Block copolymers containing inorganic elements; self-assembly, supramolecular materials and nanoscience; synthesis of reactive inorganic molecules and of functional inorganic polymers.

Professor Paul May, (Professor), Deposition and characterisation of chemical vapour deposited diamond films; diamond-like carbon films; plasma chemistry and etching; world wide web innovations.

Professor Adrian Mulholland, (Professor), Enzyme catalysis by quantum mechanical and molecular dynamical modelling.

Professor Nick Norman, (Professor, Head of School), Fundamental and applied chemistry of the heavy p-block elements (primarily bismuth and antimony) and diborane(4) chemistry, transition metal boryls and catalytic boration reactions.

Professor Simon O'Doherty, (Professor), Atmospheric monitoring of important environmental gases and interpretation of this data.

Dr Tom Oliver, (Royal Society University Research Fellow), artificial photosynthetic systems; light harvesting complexes; ultrafast multidimensional spectroscopy of biomolecules

Professor Andrew Orr-Ewing, (Professor), Photochemical mechanics; reaction and photodissociation dynamics; spectroscopy and photochemistry of atmospheric constituents.

Professor Rich Pancost, (Professor), Applications of combined chromatography/mass spectrometry and stable isotope ratio mass spectrometry to biogeochemistry.

Dr Avinash Patil, (Research Fellow), Design and construction of artificial cell models, hybrid hydrogels; Functional bio(organic)-inorganic hybrid materials for drug delivery and (bio)catalysis; Self-assembled nanostructures, porous materials and 2D nanocomposites for photocatalysis, light harvesting and sensing

Professor Paul Pringle, (Professor), Synthesis and applications (eg catalytic) of complexes of phosphines and phosphites.

Professor Jonathan Reid, (Professor), Atmospheric aerosols; chemical dynamics of aerosols; laser techniques for characterising and manipulating particles.

Dr Matthew Rigby, (Research Fellow), atmospheric chemistry; computational and theoretical chemistry; global change; N/A

Dr Paddy Royall, (Reader), Colloidal dispersions.

Dr Chris Russell, (Reader), Synthesis and reactivity of novel p-block p-bonded compounds; synthesis, reactivity and applications of imido analogues of polyoxoanions.; synthetic utility of late-transition metal cyclopentadienyl derivatives.

Professor Dudley Shallcross, (Professor), Atmospheric chemistry; computer modelling; field measurements and laboratory gas-phase kinetics.

Professor Tom Simpson, (Alfred Capper Pass Chair of Chemistry), Bio-organic and natural product chemistry, especially biosynthesis of polyketide antibiotics; synthesis of biologically active natural products and mycotoxins.

Dr David Tew, (Royal Society University Research Fellow), Computational chemistry.

Dr Jeroen van Duijneveldt, (Reader), Colloids; soft condensed matter.

Professor Duncan Wass, (Professor), Homogeneous catalysis; organometallic and co-ordination chemistry.

Dr Colin Western, (Reader), Laser spectroscopy; transient species and radicals.

Professor Chris Willis, (Professor), Biotransformations; isotopic labelling; new methods for the synthesis of natural products and molecules of biological interest; reaction mechanisms.

Professor Dek Woolfson, (Professor), Biosensors and scaffolds for tissue engineering; computational and experimental methods to design, synthesise and characterise novel peptide and protein structures; understanding the relationships between protein sequence and three-dimensional structure.

How to apply
Application deadline:

Not fixed, unless determined by external funding bodies.

International students

Find out more about becoming a student at Bristol, and the support we offer to international students.

I chose Bristol because of its outstanding academic reputation. It's reassuring to be taught by people who truly love their subject - their passion becomes contagious.


REF 2014 results

  • 39% of research is world-leading (4 star)
  • 57% of research is internationally excellent (3 star)
  • 4% of research is recognised internationally (2 star)
  • 0% of research is recognised nationally (1 star)

Results are from the most recent UK-wide assessment of research quality, conducted by HEFCE. More about REF 2014 results.

Bristol Doctoral College

The Bristol Doctoral College facilitates and supports doctoral training and researcher development across the University.

Get in touch

Prof. Charl FJ Faul Director of Graduate Recruitment Phone: +44 (0) 117 954 6321 Email:

Postgraduate Administrator Phone: +44 (0) 117 928 8166 Email:

School of Chemistry
University of Bristol
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