University of Southampton

University of Southampton: Supportive community, cutting-edge facilities

Studying chemistry can get you far — especially if you have a degree from a top UK university. This is because it signals to employers that you’ve learned from experts, applied knowledge to the real world and know your way around state-of-the-art facilities.

In other words, to thrive in a chemistry career, you first need a dynamic and hands-on degree — like the kind offered by the University of Southampton’s School of Chemistry. Ranked #4 in the UK for Chemistry (Guardian University Guide 2024), the School of Chemistry is a tight-knit community where students learn about the latest discoveries in the latest lab facilities found in industries like pharmaceuticals, materials science, and electrochemistry.

“I’m proud to lead our School of Chemistry where every student and member of staff have the opportunity to thrive in a supportive community,” says Professor Andrew Hector, Head of School. “Our education programmes are ranked highly, alongside strong research credentials, and with our links to industry the future holds an extensive range of exciting possibilities.”

University of Southampton

University of Southampton students benefit from an exceptional learning environment where they stay updated on the latest chemistry discoveries through state-of-the-art facilities and a supportive community. Source: University of Southampton

The school has invested a lot in its teaching and research facilities. As part of a 12 million pound investment, teaching laboratories were refurbished and equipped with new and upgraded equipment. From your first week here, you’ll have access to nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and infrared (IR), spectrometers, and X-ray diffraction facilities, modern display systems for presentations and demonstrations, electronic notebooks, and variable-height benching and fume hoods.

Using this equipment early on in your degree means you get a headstart compared to students in other universities. With this exposure and experience, learning is richer and more engaging. Past students have certainly thought so — Southampton is top of the Russell Group for satisfaction with course and teaching (Guardian University Guide 2024) and overall student satisfaction (Complete University Guide 2024). The Russell Group refers to an elite group of 24 research-intensive universities in Britain.

As a Southampton graduate, you’re set to be as satisfied with your programme as you are with how well it prepares you for your career. Fifteen months after graduation, 97.4% of chemistry graduates are employed with an average full-time salary of 27,200 pounds, according to data published in 2023 for the 2020/21 academic year.

University of Southampton

The University of Southampton provides students access to industry-level lab facilities guided by dedicated academic staff. Source: University of Southampton

Southampton’s strengths extend far beyond employability. In the 2021 Research Excellence Framework, 97% of the university’s chemistry research, 100% of its chemistry research outputs, and 100% of its research environment for chemistry were ranked as “world-leading” or “internationally excellent.” Last June, Professor Graeme Day was awarded the prestigious 2023 Royal Society of Chemistry Corday-Morgan Prize for his pioneering work in developing computational methods for guiding the discovery of functional molecular crystals. A month later, Professor Gill Reid, the current President of the Royal Society of Chemistry (2022-24), was elected as a Fellow of the European Academy of Sciences (Chemistry Division).

These researchers are not confined to their ivory towers. As a student here, you’ll work closely with them. Dr. Daniel Stewart is an example of a student who benefited from the university’s world-leading research environment. He is the co-founder and CEO of ViridiCO2, a startup company that converts waste carbon dioxide into sustainable chemical products. Dr. Stewart, who earned both his undergraduate and PhD in Chemistry at Southampton, believes one of the biggest problems facing the human race right now is the climate crisis. Using his knowledge gained at the university, he is on a mission to achieve a net carbon negative.

“I studied for my undergraduate degree here in 2011, and it was actually during my third-year lectures with Professor Robert Raja in the School of Chemistry that inspired me to go into this research area,” Dr. Stewart says.

To that end, ViridiCO2 is finding innovative solutions to convert and capture carbon dioxide and create sustainable material from that. “We’re carrying out reactions just as normal,” Dr Stewart says. “We were trying different materials, and I put it all into the reactor, ran the reaction and then a few hours later, we tried to remove the reactor, and there was just this horrible goopy mess. The technology we had put in and designed to transform carbon dioxide had worked. The material we had made was derived from carbon dioxide, and it was there we realised we had something of real importance.”

Interested? Click here to learn more about the School of Chemistry at the University of Southampton.

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