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Chemistry at Magdalen

Often described as the central science, Chemistry plays a key role in almost all areas of modern life; encompassing societally important areas such as clean and renewable energy, the environment, the design of new pharmaceuticals and, increasingly, the role of chemistry in biological systems. In essence, Chemistry is the study of the properties and behaviour of matter at the atomic and molecular level. It is concerned with understanding and manipulating some of the most fundamental interactions in nature both to gain deeper understanding and for practical, and societal, benefit. The study of Chemistry provides important analytical, mathematical and practical skills which are highly valued by employers in a wide range of sectors including research and development, education and finance.

Detail of the unique structure of the Oxford four-year MChem course can be found on the Department of Chemistry website.

Magdalen is particularly fortunate in having five Fellows and a Stipendiary Lecturer in Chemistry. These include the President of the College (Professor David Clary, FRS, a distinguished theoretical chemist) and the Waynflete Professor of Chemistry (Professor Steve Davies). Importantly, from an undergraduate perspective, Magdalen boasts tutorial Fellows in each branch of Chemistry taught at the undergraduate level (Organic Chemistry, Inorganic Chemistry and Physical & Theoretical Chemistry).  All tutorial teaching in the first three years, including for the compulsory first year mathematics course, is thus fully covered within College.

Magdalen chemists typically excel in University examinations. In the academic year 2015-16, five out of seven of the Magdalen Chemistry 4th year students were placed within the top 50 after Part II and hence received first Class degrees, the two other students achieved upper second class degrees and had obtained distinctions in supplementary subjects during their degree. Three out of seven of our 2nd year students achieved 1st class marks overall in Part IA. Six out of seven of our 1st year students achieved a distinction in their Preliminary Examinations.

In recent years, more than half of our Chemistry students have been accepted on higher degree courses (e.g., doctorates) in Oxford or other worldwide centres of excellence. Our graduates find themselves highly employable. Others have taken up professional positions within finance, management, and law, or are working in the chemical or high technology industries.