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 four Fellows (including the Waynflete Professor of Chemistry) and a Stipendiary Lecturer in Chemistry. 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 has traditionally been a very popular choice for applicants, and 2023 was no exception. Despite the large number of applicants, the success rate of these applicants in obtaining a place in Oxford was above the University average, as several other colleges made offers to those who made Magdalen their first choice.

Magdalen chemists typically excel in University examinations. In the academic year 2022-2023 six of our first year students were awarded distinctions; including one who scored the highest mark in the University in Physical Chemistry. All five of our second year students achieved 1st class in every paper, a spectacular result for the cohort. One also scored the highest mark in the University in Supplementary Quantum Chemistry. Seven of our third year students achieved 1st class marks overall in Part IB.

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.

Entry requirements


None required.

Written work

None required.

Specific subjects

Chemistry and Mathematics are essential. We expect you to have taken and passed any practical component in your chosen science subjects.

Deferred entry

Applications for deferred entry may be considered.