Chemistry

At Trinity, Chemistry students are eligible to apply for the Mitchell Fund, which supports travel to an overseas research laboratory during the vacation.

Over the past five years, over 50% of our chemistry students achieved 1st class degrees.

The MChem Course

The Chemistry degree at Oxford will train you to become a flexible and critical physical scientist, with deep knowledge in the core areas of inorganic, organic and physical chemistry. In the first year you will study a broad spectrum of introductory topics in maths, physics, biochemistry and all areas of chemistry. This is followed in the second and third years by a specialised course in chemistry (“Part I”): you will retain coverage of inorganic, organic and physical chemistry but with optional topics at more advanced level.  Throughout the first three years you will be offered practical classes in the teaching laboratories in parallel with the theoretical course which is taught through lectures and tutorials.

The fourth year of the MChem degree, “Part II”, consists of a full academic year (38 weeks) spent carrying out full-time research within one of the research teams and producing as an end-result an independent research thesis. Usually this will be in one of the research groups in Oxford Chemistry, although students can also complete their Part II research in other departments in Oxford or in another university overseas. Oxford Chemistry is one of the leading chemistry research departments worldwide and can provide expertise and facilities across most areas of modern chemistry research. As a Part II student you will be immersed in this exciting environment and free to follow your interests and exercise your scientific imagination.  Most students really enjoy their Part II year and find it teaches them many transferable skills as well as an in depth insight into research Chemistry. It’s a good opportunity to work in a team, design a project, solve problems, work at the forefront of knowledge, and make discoveries!

More information about the MChem course and how it is examined can be found in the course handbook and on the Oxford Chemistry website.

Chemistry Tuition at Trinity

Every year Trinity welcomes a cohort of up to six students onto the MChem course. Lectures and laboratory classes are arranged by the department, while tutorials are arranged in Trinity. Tutorials are a particularly special feature of your time in Oxford: you will meet with one of our tutors in a small group (usually 3-4 students) each week for an in-depth discussion on a particular topic for which you should prepare well in advance. Tutorials provide an opportunity to discuss and deepen your understanding of a topic with your tutor and tutorial group, engaging actively with challenging questions, posing your own questions, and testing your knowledge. First year students have at least one tutorial in chemistry and one maths class each week; second and third year students have one tutorial each week and where necessary supplementary classes or revision sessions.

At Trinity we particularly encourage students to widen their interests and experience of real-world science outside of the theoretical course.  At annual Chemistry Research Evenings all Trinity chemists come together to hear research presentations, and have an opportunity to meet graduate students working toward research degrees. Students can apply to the Mitchell Fund for financial support to allow them to travel overseas for vacation research projects; recently this has been used to support visits to the USA, China and Europe.

At Trinity we welcome applications to the MChem from enthusiastic and dedicated students of all educational backgrounds. We strongly value diversity in our student cohort.

Chemistry Research at Trinity

The Fellows in Chemistry at Trinity lead active research groups in the University: Professor Charlotte Williams’ work bridges catalysis and polymer chemistry. Recent highlights include developing catalysts that allow carbon dioxide transformation into polymers and developing new biodegradable plastics. Professor Susan Perkin works on the physics of liquids, in particular liquid electrolytes, focusing on new classes of electrolytes suitable for use in next-generation batteries. Professors Williams and Perkin regularly welcome students into their research groups for vacation projects and Part II projects, allowing undergraduates a first-hand experience of this research.

Trinity has a long and distinguished history of chemical research: the Balliol-Trinity Laboratory, in Trinity’s back yard, was one of the first dedicated chemistry laboratories in Oxford and there many advances in the subject were born. These include Cyril Hinshelwood’s Nobel Prize-winning work in chemical kinetics, and Henry Moseley’s work on X-ray diffraction by metals which rationalised the concept of atomic number and provided experimental evidence in support of the Bohr model of the atom. The laboratory was later moved to a University building, the Physical & Theoretical Chemistry Laboratory, which now bears the crests of Trinity and Balliol colleges in recognition of this history.

Meet us
Organising Tutor

Professor Charlotte Williams is the Organising Tutor for the undergraduate course in Chemistry at Trinity College.

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Trinity and the Chemistry Department

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