Test tubes and other recipients in chemistry lab - from an original photo by Horia Varlan (www.flickr.com/horiavarlan) used under CC-BY 2.0 license

Studying Chemistry at Merton

Chemistry is a very wide-ranging science, seeking to understand matter at the atomic and molecular level. It is, as ever, a very relevant degree subject, featuring intrinsically in many areas of today’s world and daily life, topical issues, and current events. Important facets of Chemistry at Oxford are synthesis, structure, microscopic mechanisms, properties, analysis, and transformations of all types of materials.
Course structure

Chemistry at Oxford is a four-year course, leading to a Masters degree. All students are provided with a solid grounding in core topics, tools, and techniques, but you are also given significant flexibility to specialise in your own individual areas of interests, and even to venture into related disciplines (most obviously Biochemistry, but this is just one example).

Year four of the Oxford Chemistry course comprises full-time work with an established research group, culminating in a research report/dissertation.

Practical laboratory sessions, teaching essential experimental skills, are key aspects of this degree, and practical skills are assessed throughout the course. 'Labs' take place in the Department of Chemistry’s excellent facilities.

The teaching team
The benefits of studying Chemistry at Merton
  • Nearly all tutorial teaching is 'in-house', ensuring continuity and close co-ordination.
  • Merton's chemists do well in examinations, with a consistently high proportion achieving First Class degrees.
  • Merton provides generous academic grants and funding for research projects and travel.
  • Merton’s student-run chemistry society (the Frederick Soddy Society) holds a variety of events, social activities and talks throughout the year, which are ever popular.
  • Merton Chemistry brings together chemists from all three Common Rooms (undergraduates, postgraduates, and tutors). They are a sizeable group, which makes for lively discussion and debate, and a strong sense of community.
  • Merton’s Chemistry undergraduate body consists of a mix of male and female students, and a diverse range of nationalities (including Chinese, French, Polish, Russian, and Thai as well as British).
  • Undergraduates at Merton typically spend a year or two living in Holywell Street, only five minutes from lecture halls and labs.
Video: Chemistry at Oxford University
Course information
Key facts
Average intake at Merton:



All candidates must take the Thinking Skills Assessment (TSA).

Written work:

None required.

Specific subjects:

Chemistry and Mathematics essential; an additional science or Further Mathematics is also recommended. We expect you to take and pass any practical component in your chosen science subjects.

Deferred entry:

Applications for deferred entry will be considered on their merits.