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MSc Instrumental Analytical Chemistry - 1 yr(s)

This analytical chemistry masters is structured around a solid core comprised of the three main analytical techniques – Mass spectrometry, NMR spectroscopy and X-ray diffraction. Each of these techniques contains a number of key common themes (data collection, analysis and management). Supporting modules feature further analytical techniques and serve to embed themes of Good Laboratory Practice (GLP), facility management and enterprise into the programme. A group analytical project develops interpersonal skills and the ability to work in a team and will be the first opportunity for students to independently fully exercise some of the components of the course taught in the first semester. The integral research project provides an opportunity to explore any of the main themes directly or as part of a collaborative synthetic/analytical investigation.

Introducing your course

Analytical Chemistry is the largest employment area for the chemical sciences. The Instrumental Analytical Chemistry MSc gives you a boost to your bachelor’s degree that significantly increases your employability. We offer an advanced, instrumentation-driven postgraduate education in modern analytical chemistry with some elements in combination with one or more specialist research areas such as synthesis or data science.

You will receive comprehensive, hands-on, training with state-of-the-art research-led instrumentation in the techniques and provision of Mass Spectrometry, Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy and X-ray Diffraction. This training will then be used in your research project, which focuses on the application of these techniques to most areas of mainstream chemistry.

MSc Instrumental Analytical Chemistry

Programme Overview

The MSc masters in analytical chemistry programme will provide you with knowledge, understanding and strong practical skills in:

  •  The fundamental analytical techniques¹: Mass spectrometry, NMR spectroscopy and X-Ray diffraction (single crystal and powder);
  • Other general characterisation techniques (IR & UV spectroscopy, TEM, TG/DSC, CD) and separation science methodology;
  • GLP, electronic recording, data management, facility management and exploitation of results;
  • Data analysis, experimental design and chemometrics;
  • Planning of a safe working practice, including evaluation of hazards and environmental effects;
  • Working within a small team to achieve a common research goal;
  • Self-led practical-based research, particularly on characterisation and analytical instrumentation.
  • The ways in which it is possible to exploit the results of research.

¹ Analytical science currently defined by the EPSRC as principally consisting of mass spectrometry, NMR spectroscopy and X-ray diffraction

View the programme specification document for this course

To Apply

You can apply for this analytical chemistry masters through the University of Southampton's online postgraduate application system. You can find out more here.

For all enquiries please contact: tel: +44 (0)23 8059 8310
Dr Neil Wells, MSc Coordinator,

Programme Structure

This masters in analytical chemistry is in two parts: formal instruction (lectures, practicals) followed by individual research.

Your theory and skills courses are delivered over two semester teaching periods. The core modules (seven of eight courses) are taught according to the prescribed order presented in the scheme but you will have a free choice of the eighth course (subject to it being relevant to an MSc qualification in chemistry and being at the appropriate academic level in semester 2).

The practical phase of your research project will be completed from June until mid-August. It is anticipated that the final weeks of August will involve a concentrated period of dissertation preparation with a very limited amount of laboratory work being completed.

Note that the Safety Course (CHEM6080, 7.5 credit points for all parts) in Semester 1 is mandatory for this course. The general safety induction lectures will be given during the graduate induction days, together with distribution of the Safety Booklet. Follow up lectures targeting key areas of Health and Safety will be available and you will be required to attend the ones relevant to your research. You can anticipate that there will be 3-4 more sessions after the safety induction.

Key Facts

All students are located in new or recently fully refurbished custom-designed buildings with state-of-the-art equipment and facilities

As part of the Characterisation and Analytics section you will be joining a multidisciplinary community which benefits from the world-leading facilities hosted in Chemistry at Southampton (including the UK National Crystallography Service).

Since the summer of 2010 there has been investment totalling £5.65million in instrumental analytical chemistry.

Key facts

Bursaries available to UK and EU applicants.

Please contact or +44 (0)23 8059 8310 for more information.


If you are a student from Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine or Syria you may be able to apply for a Saïd Foundation scholarship to study with us.

Director of the UK National Crystallography Service

Dr Simon J Coles

Associate Professor and Director, UK National Crystallography Service

Dr John Langley

Dr G John Langley

Associate Professor in Mass Spectrometry, Head of Characterisation and Analytics

Entry Requirements

Typical entry requirements

First degree

In addition to the University's General Regulations for Admissions, the normal entry requirement to study this analytical chemistry masters is at least an upper second class honours degree in Chemistry, or a closely related subject. The degree must have had a minimum Chemistry content of 50%. Closely related subjects are: biochemistry, physics, polymer science, environmental sciences, material science, mathematics.

Non-UK applicants will usually have completed 4 years or more in higher education.

Students who have achieved a lower second honours degree will only be admitted onto this masters in analytical chemistry in exceptional circumstances.

A key feature of your first degree studies is that you must demonstrate achievement of learning outcomes (both content and level) that will ensure you can seamlessly integrate into our teaching and research experience.
Candidates who do not hold any of the above qualifications, but who have relevant professional experience in the fields of instrumental analytical chemistry may be eligible for admissions, but are advised to contact the MSc Admissions Tutor prior to applying.

Selection process

Intake: 15-20

The analytical chemistry masters selection process will involve close scrutiny of your academic credentials in a process that will include both the academic researcher you identified as being of interest to you and the Post Graduate Admissions Tutor. Typically the process will involve an interview (via Skype for students not available to come to Southampton). The whole process is supported by a Post Graduate Admissions Administrator who remains in touch with students throughout the application process.

A minimum standard of English Language is required for admission to the programme which is identified as a standard against a number of internationally recognised language tests. A list these may be found on the International website.

The decision of whether to offer a place is one made by the Post Graduate Admissions Tutor who will make the formal offer of a place to you if this is the appropriate course of action.

All individuals are selected and treated on their relative merits and abilities in line with the University’s Equal Opportunities Policy which is described on the Diversity website

Disabled applicants for this masters in analytical chemistry course will be treated according to the same procedures as any other applicant with the added involvement of the Enabling Services to assess their needs. The programme may require adaptation for students with disabilities (e.g. hearing impairment, visual impairment, mobility difficulties, dyslexia), particularly the practical laboratory sessions, and we will make reasonable adjustments to accommodate students wherever possible. The role of these services in relation to the admission process may be found on the Enabling Services website.

Students are expected to prepare themselves for this masters in analytical chemistry programme through private study prior to the start of the course. A reading list will be made available through contact with the Programme Leader.

This page contains specific entry requirements for this course. Find out about equivalent entry requirements and qualifications for your country.


Typical course content

This taught analytical chemistry masters degree offers an advanced, instrumentation-driven postgraduate education in modern analytical chemistry with some elements in combination with one (or more) of these specialist subject areas. The programme incorporates both taught modules as well as independent research

Year 1

In the first semester, you will take five compulsory modules. In the second semester you will take four compulsory modules and you will have a free choice of one further module (subject to it being relevant to an MSc qualification in chemistry and being at the appropriate academic level.

The course will be completed by a 30 ECTS Research Project (CHEM60XX) conducted over the summer months to form a year of study.

Semester One

Compulsory modules

CHEM6116 Safety Course

CHEM6121 Instrumental Analytical Chemistry: Research Project

CHEM6122 Facility Management: From experimentation to exploitation

CHEM6123 X-Ray Diffraction - Theory & Application

CHEM6124 NMR Spectroscopy - Theory & Application

CHEM6125 Mass Spectrometry – Theory & Application

Semester Two

Compulsory modules

CHEM6121 Instrumental Analytical Chemistry: Research Project

CHEM6126 Absorption spectroscopies, microscopy, calorimetry and beyond

CHEM6127 Chromatography: Theory and Application

CHEM6128 Data-Driven Science

CHEM6129 Group Analytical Project

CHEM6129 Group Analytical Project

Please note: This specification provides a concise summary of the main features of the programme and the learning outcomes that a typical student might reasonably be expected to achieve and demonstrate if s/he takes full advantage of the learning opportunities that are provided. More detailed information can be found in the programme handbook (or other appropriate guide or website).

Career Opportunities

With a masters in analytical chemistry you could find employment with:

  • Government agencies
  • Publicly funded research councils
  • Hospitals
  • Public health laboratories
  • Environmental agencies
  • Specialist research organisations
  • Consultancies
  • Testing companies
  • Private food, materials, polymers, biotechnology, pharmaceutical and chemical companies.
  • Petrochemical companies

Learning & Assessment

Study locations

Chemistry, Highfield Campus

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