Chemical Physics

Explore the building blocks of our existence and their governing principles, studying topics from atomic and molecular science to materials science and nanoscience.

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Access industry-standard equipment, state-of-the-art teaching labs, high-performance computing and our dynamic lab manual.

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Chemical Physics at Bristol

Chemical physics is the study of matter covering fundamental and applied science. You will study topics at the interface between chemistry and physics, taught jointly by two internationally renowned schools with state-of-the-art facilities for teaching and cutting-edge research.

You'll apply your growing knowledge to real-world challenges, getting hands on experience in solving problems and benefiting from the unique perspective offered by integrating these two subjects.

You will benefit from innovative teaching methods and resources, such as the online Dynamic Laboratory Manual, which was developed as part of the Bristol ChemLabS Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning project.

The BSc and MSci Chemical Physics courses are accredited by both the Institute of Physics and the Royal Society of Chemistry.

MSci Chemical Physics with Industrial Experience is accredited by the Institute of Physics.

We also offer Chemistry and Physics.

Chemical physics has given me a broad and versatile understanding of the fundamentals of chemistry and physics, where I have been able explore exactly what I found interesting. Lecturers have been engaging and always willing to provide academic support.

Alice, MSci Chemical Physics

Career prospects

Chemical physics graduates are highly sought after. Our graduates have excellent knowledge and superb practical and problem-solving skills.

Many of our graduates go on to careers in research using their subject-specific knowledge and skills in a variety of scientific environments, while others apply their transferable skills in areas outside science.

Choose our course with industrial experience to spend your third year working in a paid position in an industrial or commercial environment. Recent partners have included AkzoNobel, Pfizer, Renishaw, the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, and companies in the US.

Course structure

The structure of the first year is the same for all our chemical physics degree courses, with units in chemistry, physics and maths. During your first year, it is possible to transfer between different chemical physics courses, as well as to courses in chemistry or physics.

In subsequent years, you will study units that allow you to build on your fundamental knowledge and develop a deeper understanding of applications in chemical physics.

The aspects of both chemistry and physics that are not relevant to chemical physics are gradually phased out after the first year, so you will no longer take courses such as organic synthetic chemistry, nuclear physics and electronics. Instead, you will take units on nanophysics, quantum mechanics, structure and bonding of molecules, kinetics, thermodynamics, semiconductors and superconductors.

The final year of all our courses includes a six-month project in which you will work with a member of academic staff and their research team on a current scientific problem. You will have access to labs containing advanced research equipment; it is not uncommon for a final-year student to operate equipment worth many millions of pounds. Some students have their work published in internationally renowned journals.

Chemical Physics

Chemical physics is the study of matter covering fundamental and applied science. You will study topics at the interface between chemistry and physics, taught jointly by two internationally renowned schools with state-of-the-art facilities for teaching and cutting-edge research. 

Why study Chemical Physics at Bristol?

Chemical physics is taught jointly by the School of Chemistry and the School of Physics and draws on the established strength and reputation of both departments.

Our chemistry and physics teaching labs are equipped with state-of-the-art instruments and equipment. You will benefit from innovative teaching methods and resources, such as the online Dynamic Laboratory Manual, which was developed as part of the Bristol ChemLabS Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning project.

The BSc and MSci Chemical Physics courses are accredited by both the Institute of Physics and the Royal Society of Chemistry.

MSci Chemical Physics with Industrial Experience is accredited by the Institute of Physics.

What kind of student would this course suit?

Our chemical physics courses will suit students who are interested in the fundamental physics and chemistry of atoms and molecules. These courses sit in the middle ground between the two disciplines and incorporate aspects of the physical side of chemistry (with less emphasis on synthetic chemistry) and the chemical side of physics (with less emphasis on nuclear physics and electronics). The courses also include aspects of materials science, technology and engineering.

To study our chemical physics degrees you should be literate and highly numerate with an enquiring mind and an interest in fundamental science and technology.

How is this course taught and assessed?

Courses are taught through lectures, tutorials and workshops by academics in the Schools of Physics and Chemistry. Lab classes and problems classes are held in both subjects.

Those taking MSci Chemical Physics with Industrial Experience take some lecture units via web-based distance learning while on their year in industry and write a report on their year's work, which is marked by industrial and academic supervisors.

Lecture content is assessed every year by examinations in both of the schools.

Laboratory work is assessed continually by scripts and feedback is provided. Project work is assessed through a thesis, with marks split between performance in the lab and quality of the thesis.

What are my career prospects?

Chemical physics graduates are highly sought after. Our graduates have excellent knowledge and superb practical and problem-solving skills. They are highly literate and numerate and are capable of working independently and as part of a team.

Many of our graduates go on to careers in research using their subject-specific knowledge and skills in a variety of scientific environments, while others apply their excellent transferable skills in areas outside science.

Find out more about what our students do after graduating.

Disclaimer

Important disclaimer information about our courses.

Every day my inbox is flooded with opportunities – internships, research projects, extra-curricular activities – all of which are the University getting students involved. The University is constantly updating its facilities, which reinforces its friendly and inclusive environment.

Alexandra (LLB Law)

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