Postgraduate degree programmes

We welcome applications and enquiries from candidates in the UK and overseas for both the MSc by Research and PhD programs which are available in all branches of chemistry.

PhD programme

The PhD programme usually takes 3.5 - 4 years to complete. Postgraduates make a vital contribution in research whilst developing a variety of skills in chemistry and transferable skills in other areas for example, oral and poster presentations both in Bristol and at conferences, report writing, team working, public engagement in science and health and safety. 

The Graduate School offers a varied series of postgraduate lectures. There is an extensive research seminar programme with internationally leading scientists reporting their latest results in cutting edge research. Also available are special postgraduate courses run as part of our Centres for Doctoral Training as well as many opportunities for training courses within the Bristol Doctoral College. Within the School of Chemistry we also have our own online learning enviroment the Dynamic Laboratory Manual (DLM) which contains a number of interactive tutorials that can be accessed by both Postgraduate and Undergraduate students.

The degree of Doctor of Philosophy is awarded on the basis of the presentation and examination of a thesis and an oral examination (viva voce). Annual Progress Monitoring ensures satisfactory performance each year.

Apply online

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MSc by research

The MSc by Research programme takes a maximum of 2 years, although laboratory based work can be completed in as little as 12 months. The degree is awarded on the basis of the presentation and examination of a thesis and an oral examination (viva voce). An extensive programme of lectures and research seminars is available to all postgraduates.

The Graduate School offers a varied series of postgraduate lectures. There is an extensive research seminar programme with internationally leading scientists reporting their latest results in cutting edge research. Also available are special postgraduate courses run as part of our Centres for Doctoral Training as well as many opportunities for training courses within the Bristol Doctoral College. Within the School of Chemistry we also have our own online learning enviroment the Dynamic Laboratory Manual (DLM) which contains a number of interactive tutorials that can be accessed by both Postgraduate and Undergraduate students.

Apply online

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How to apply

Applications are accepted throughout the year. To make an application for the following courses, you should complete the online application form:

  • Chemistry (PhD)
  • Chemistry (MSc by Research)
  • Chemical Synthesis (PhD), through the Chemical Synthesis Centre for Doctoral Training
  • GW4+ Doctoral Training Programme

Apply online

If you wish to apply for any of the Centres for Doctoral Training below, please click on the relevant link.

Completing the online application form

Please note that a research proposal is not required but you should indicate your general area of research interest(e.g. laser spectroscopy, organic synthesis, catalysis etc) and preferred supervisor(s) if known. You can include 2 potential supervisors on your application. Please note that it is not necessary to contact supervisors separately, although this can be helpful if you wish to find out more information about their specific areas of research.

If you wish to apply to more than one programme e.g. a standard route PhD in Chemistry and the Chemical Synthesis CDT, please submit only one application and indicate on the form that you are interested in both.

Apply online

If you have any queries about completing the application form contact: chem-pg-office@bristol.ac.uk or telephone +44 (0)117 928 8166.

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Visiting the school

Applicants from the UK

Bristol has been named the best place to live in britain in 2017! So there has never been a better time to come and visit this fantastic city and learn more about the University of Brsitol and the postgraduate courses on offer.

Although we do not usually hold Postgraduate Open Days, candidates from the UK will be able to visit the Department once the completed application form has been submitted and 2 reference letters received. During the visit there will be opportunity to discuss research projects with several members of academic staff, to meet postgraduates and to see the facilities. Hence on completing the application form it is helpful if you indicate your general areas of research interests.

Applicants from the EU and Overseas

It is often not practical for applicants from the EU or overseas to visit the Department due to travel costs. Hence correspondence will be done through email and a Skype or telephone interview may be arranged.

For further information please contact the appropriate Postgraduate Admissions coordinator :-

If you are uncertain which of the above to contact, please email the Director of Graduate Recruitment: Professor Charl Faul

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Entry requirements

Academic

The School of Chemistry welcomes applications from enthusiastic and highly motivated students. Admission to the PhD or MSc by Research program is subject to the conditions set out by the University.

Read the programme admissions statement for important information on entry requirements, English language, the application process and supporting documents required.

The School of Chemistry welcomes postgraduates from outside the UK and actively encourages applications from suitably qualified candidates. About 20% of our students are non-UK and we are delighted to have postgraduates from all round the globe.

For information on international equivalent qualifications, please see our International Office website.

English Language

For applicants whose first language is not English, it is necessary to achieve a minimum score in an approved English language test specified in 'Profile F' of the University's English Language Requirements Policy.

If you have not achieved this standard at the time of application do not despair. The University runs pre-sessional English Language courses and other Language Schools in Bristol offer similar courses allowing you to improve your English before starting working for your degree. These courses are at additional costs.

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Fees and scholarships

Fees and expenses - See the following links for specific information regarding fees and expenses associated with postgraduate study: 

Funding for Home Students - The following funding opportunities are available for applicants eligible for home fees:

School of Chemistry scholarships 

The School of Chemistry is pleased to offer a number of scholarships to assist with bench fees to applicants with exceptional research potential. Applications are accepted year round.

School of Chemistry Everett scholarship

Joint funding from industry and the SoC, earmarked for the field of colloid science.

Postgraduate loan for master's degree's

The Government will be introducing a Postgraduate Master's Loan Scheme from 2016/17 which provides a contribution towards the cost of study. Further information on government related funding for postgraduate study can be found here.

International Scholarship Opportunities - The following opportunities are available for international applicants:

International office scholarship. Three awards for up to £12,000 are available for international students to undertake full time postgraduate study at the University of Bristol. Deadline for applications is the 9th June 2017. See here for further details.

University of Bristol - China Scholarship Council scholarship. 20 joint scholarships for PhD research across the University were made available for 2017/18 entry. Applications have now closed for 2017/18 entry but further information will be displayed here for 2018/19 opportunities in due course. 

Conacyt Scholarships. The University of Bristol is pleased to announce its partnership with Conacyt, Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (Mexico's National Council of Science and Technology). Applications have closed for 2017/18 entry. 

Colfuturo Scholarship-Loan. Financial assistance of up $25,000 for Columbian students to pursue study abroad. Please see the Colfuturo website for furter details. 

Zutshi-Smith Scholarship. This award covers the full cost for an Indian student to undertake a PhD course at the University of Bristol. The scholarship is generously funded by the legacy of the late Dr Derek Zutshi (MB ChB 1957, Hon LLD 1999) who passed away in 2007. Applicants must be ordinarily resident in India, and preference will be given to applicants of Kashmiri origin. The scholarship is fully-funded and will be available for up to 4 years of study. It covers: University of Bristol tuition fees; an annual living stipend in line with Research UK funding levels; one return flight to/from India, and; an allowance for research costs. Applications have closed for 2017/18 entry but future opportunities should be listed here.

Commonwealth Scholarship. Citizens of developing Commonwealth countries may be eligible for funding from the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission for master's and PhD study. Further information relating to 2018 entry will be available here from August 2017. Applications for 2017 entry are now closed.

2017/18 Petroleum Technology Development Fund Overseas Scholarship. Provides financial support to Nigerian candidates for MSc and PhD study in the Uk in research areas relating to the development of petroleum technology. Further information about the scholarship and details about eligibility can be found here.

The University scholarship database, found herecontains further information on scholarships offered by the University of Bristol and external organisations. 

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Postgraduate vacancies

We aim to recruit 60-70 postgraduates each year to our PhD and Masters courses and also to our various centres for doctoral training. We cover a very broad range of subjects and applications are welcomed in all areas of chemistry at any time of the year.

In general we do not advertise specific projects. Below are highlighted just a few of the many available projects for which funding is currently available.

Fully funded NERC Great Western Four+ Doctoral Training Partnership (GW4+ DTP) projects available for September 2018

The NERC GW4+ Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) will be offering studentships to commence in September 2018.  The GW4+ DTP is a 3.5 year NERC-funded PhD programme that encompasses the Earth and Environmental Sciences with a strong emphasis on postgraduate training.  Up to 48 fully-funded PhD studentships are available to the 10 partners within the GW4+ alliance comprised of stipend and fees in line with RCUK rates, an £11K Research and Training Support Grant (RTSG) and a £4K training budget.

More information on available projects can be found through the project links below.

Research title: Impacts of Photoinitiated Chemical Processing on Climate Relevant Aerosol Properties

Supervisor(s): Dr Bryan Bzdek (School of Chemistry), Professor Andrew Orr-Ewing (School of Chemistry), Dr. Paul Smith and Dr. Jim Walker (Biral, Portishead)

Research title: Changes in temperature, Southern Hemisphere Westerly winds and CO2 degassing of the Southern Ocean over the last 20,000 years

Supervisor(s): Prof Rich Pancost (School of Chemistry), Dr David Naafs, (School of Chemistry)

Research title: Megacity carbon emissions from atmospheric data

Main Supervisor: Dr Matt Rigby (School of Chemistry)

Co-Supervisors: Dr Anita Ganesan, School of Geographical Sciences, Prof Simon O’Doherty (School of Chemistry), Prof Alistair Manning (Met Office), Dr Tim Arnold (National Physical Laboratory)

Other studentships available in the School of Chemistry

Research Title: Synthetic mimics of membrane-bound receptors.

Supervisor: Prof Jonathan Clayden (School of Chemistry)

Research title: Discovery and Development of New Biocatalysts to Efficiently Access Bioactive Targets

Project supervisor: Professor Chris Willis, School of Chemistry, University of Bristol (to be contacted for more details)

Supervisory Team: Dr Paul Race (Biochemistry) and Professor Matt Crump (Chemistry)

Research title: The effects of shear and pressure on novel surfactant self-assembly in non-aqueous media

Supervisor(s): Professor Julian Eastoe (School of Chemistry) & Professor Peter Dowding (Infineum)

  • Application deadline: 1 December 2017
  • Proposed start date: 8 January 2018
  • Funding length: 3.5 years 
  • Abstract (PDF, 264kB)
  • Apply

Research title: Isotopic, Semiconducting Diamond Materials as a Plasma-facing Material for Fusion Power

Supervisor(s): Dr Neil Fox (School of Chemistry)

For more information about scholarships for Postgraduate Research, please visit the Fees and Funding pages.

Please note:  When using our online Postgraduate Application System select 'Chemistry PhD' in Programme Choice unless otherwise specified.

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Contacting us

If you require further information about opportunities for postgraduate research please contact the appropriate Postgraduate Admissions co-ordinator:-

If you are uncertain which of the above to contact, please email the Director of Graduate Recruitment, Professor Charl Faul.

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Centres for Doctoral Training

PhD training opportunities in eight national flagship EPSRC Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs).

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