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The University of Southampton
ChemistryUndergraduate study

Key skills

As well as learning about chemistry, it is our responsibility to train you in the various skills that will be essential to you in your future studies and career.

These key skills are learnt by 'doing', and training in them involves what is called 'experiential learning'. Our efforts in this area have been recognised by the Royal Society of Chemistry who noted that our handling of key skills within the chemistry curriculum is of the highest quality.

Many key skills involve communication, the impact of yourself on others in a group and how you organise your work, such as: 

In many cases these skills will be developed whilst you learn about chemistry. For example, your laboratory work will develop several of the skills mentioned above with or without any formal tuition. In addition, we do offer a number of activities that a specifically targeted at developing these skills:

Freshers week - Pipelines

A half day programme designed to introduce the you to the University and Chemistry and to give you a chance to mix in an informal atmosphere with the rest of the first year group. As well as acting as an 'icebreaker' the programme highlights the importance of effective communication and the complexities of working in a team. All this is achieved in a number of short activities that are light hearted in nature but which each illustrate an important aspect of a variety of key skills.

Second year - 2 day teamworking workshop

This event is hosted in a local venue outside the University and occurs after your exams, forming a little but of 'light relief with a purpose' after the intensity of the examination process. The focus is on problem solving and teamwork. Tasks are observed by a facilitator who will watch how you tackle each problem. After each challenge you and your facilitator will discuss your performance but this is not about success or failure. Instead, it is about recognising how your input influences the overall performance of yourself and those around you. It can be extremely revealing about your own performance and it can lead to you improving the way that you work with others. Throughout the two days the emphasis is on learning by doing and also having some fun with your fellow students and staff.

Third Year - 3 Day residential leadership course (MChem)

This programme is held off campus just before the Easter vacation. The focus is on team leadership and membership and the different qualities required for each role. We have all been in teams where there have been complications through weak or unsympathetic leadership or when team members have tried to take on the role of leadership at inappropriate times. This course allows you to turn the spotlight on yourself and to see how you perform as a leader or a follower and come to understand how complex both roles can be.

Key skills support all academic elements of your degree
Learning a range of skills
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