Find a programme
Run by Faculty of Science
Awards available PhD, MSc by research
Programme length MScR: One year full-time, or part-time equivalent
PhD: Three to four years full-time, or part-time equivalent
Location of programme Clifton campus
Part-time study available Yes
Start date Flexible start dates throughout the year (to be agreed with prospective supervisor)

Programme overview

Join a University ranked #1 in the UK for Chemistry research (THE analysis of REF 2021) with an excellent reputation for teaching and learning (UK top ten for Chemistry, Guardian University Guide 2023).

The School of Chemistry is housed in spacious, modern laboratories, which are well equipped with state-of-the-art facilities. There is a comprehensive graduate programme to ensure you have the opportunity to build a wide range of skills, both in chemistry and other transferable skills.

The School of Chemistry hosts or participates in a number of Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs) and Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTPs). Training opportunities in these national flagship centres are available in the following disciplines:


  • technology enhanced chemical synthesis
  • aerosol science
  • synthetic biology
  • biosciences
  • earth and environmental sciences
  • composites science, engineering and manufacturing

and, additionally:

  • quantum engineering
  • computational statistics and data science
  • future autonomous robotic systems
  • digital health and care
  • biomedicine.

Fees for 2022/23

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2022/23 are as follows:

UK: full-time
UK : part-time
Overseas: full-time

Bench fees: For postgraduate research students who are not funded by UK Research Councils or (specific) UK charities, it is usual to charge a bench fee. A bench fee covers the costs of laboratory consumables, specialist equipment and other relevant costs (eg training) for the duration of the programme. The bench fee charged can vary considerably depending on the nature of the programme being undertaken. Details of specific bench fee charges can be provided on request and will made clear in the offer letter sent to applicants.

Following the recent changes to fee assessment regulation, Channel Islands and Isle of Man students will no longer be charged a separate tuition fee. From the 2021/22 academic year they will be charged the same fees as Home students.

Fees are subject to an annual review. For programmes that last longer than one year, please budget for up to a five per cent increase in fees each year. Find out more about tuition fees.

Alumni discount

University of Bristol students and graduates can benefit from a 25% reduction in tuition fees for postgraduate study. Check your eligibility for an alumni discount.

Funding for 2022/23

If you wish to be considered for NERC GW4+ DTP funding for this programme please refer to the NERC GW4+ DTP prospectus page for guidance in making a PhD application.

The School of Chemistry provides financial support for PhD students from a number of sources, including UK research councils, industry and other scholarship schemes. There is no separate application form for these, unless otherwise stated.

A limited number of School of Chemistry scholarships are available to cover bench fees, which may otherwise be charged.

Prospective candidates are welcome to contact the School of Chemistry's admissions team with any funding queries.

Further information on funding for prospective UK, EU and international postgraduate students.

Entry requirements

A minimum of an upper second-class MSci/MChem honours degree in chemistry, or a relevant related discipline, or a postgraduate MSc or international equivalent. We may consider applicants with a lower second-class MSci/MChem honours degree, or a first or upper second-class BSc honours degree who can demonstrate good potential for research.

See international equivalent qualifications on the International Office website.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you need to meet this profile level:
Profile F
Further information about English language requirements and profile levels.

Admissions statement

Read the programme admissions statement for important information on entry requirements, the application process and supporting documents required.

Admissions statement

Research groups

The School of Chemistry is managed under three sections: Inorganic and Materials; Organic and Biological; and Physical and Theoretical. However, the school's research profile is defined according to our research themes, each with a critical mass of researchers. Further information on the school's research profile can be found at Explore Bristol Research.

Internationally leading research:

Rated in the top four UK Chemistry departments in the most recent Research Excellence Framework (see Times Higher Education analysis of REF 2014), we are internationally recognised for the breadth, creativity and high quality of our research.

Outstanding individuals and world-class teams:

The talent of our researchers, from students to professors, is our greatest asset. Bringing these scientists together, our five research themes highlight our broad range of interests.

Across the chemical sciences and beyond:

Our research themes connect activities across traditional boundaries of chemistry and build bridges to other disciplines such as engineering and medicine.

Our research themes are:

  • Catalysis and Synthesis
  • Chemical and Synthetic Biology
  • Computational Chemistry, Theory and Dynamics
  • Environment and Energy
  • Functional Molecules and Materials.

Researchers in the School of Chemistry are engaged in a number of collaborative centres and research institutes, including the Cabot Institute and BrisSynBio, with broader engagement from researchers across the Faculty of Science, the University and beyond.


Your skills will be in high demand from the chemical and allied industries, as well as the public sector. A PhD in Chemistry is valued in many employment sectors worldwide, including pharmaceutical sciences, polymers, coatings, agrochemicals, instrumentation manufacturers and management consultancy. Many of our PhD graduates are successful in securing post-doctoral positions at universities in the UK and abroad. 

Staff profiles

Professor Varinder Aggarwal, (Professor), Acyclic stereocontrol; Catalytic asymmetric synthesis; Organometallic chemistry; Organosulfur chemistry

Professor Neil Allan, (Professor of Physical Chemistry), Computational solid state chemistry; Molecular similarity; Simulations and electronic structure of ceramics and minerals

Dr Chris Arthur, (Research Fellow), Biological Mass Spectrometry; Biosynthesis of polyketides and fatty acids

Professor Paul Bartlett, (Professor of Soft Matter Science), Colloidal crystals; Light and neutron scattering; Optical tweezers; Soft condensed matter; Structure in concentrated colloidal dispersions.

Professor Robin Bedford, (Professor of Catalysis), Synthesis of new catalysts and the inception and development of novel catalytic reactions.

Dr Wuge Briscoe, (Reader in Physical Chemistry), Bacterial membranes; Biolubrication; Lipids; Nanostructured surfaces; Nanotoxicity; Soft matter at interfaces; Surface forces and friction

Dr Ian Bull, (Research Fellow), Hyphenated mass spectrometric techniques and their application to biogeochemical and environmental problems.

Professor Craig Butts, (Professor of Structural and Mechanistic Chemistry), Machine learning; Molecular design and drug development; NMR and computational tools to study 3-dimensional molecular structure

Dr Bryan Bzdek, (NERC Research Fellow), Aerosols; Single particle characterisation approaches; Surfaces and photochemistry

Professor Jonathan Clayden, (Professor of Chemistry), New molecular reactivity; Rational conformational control; Synthesis of bioactive compounds

Dr Beatrice Collins, (Royal Society University Research Fellow), Development of artificial molecular machines using transition metal-based reactivity platforms

Dr Michael Cotterell, (NERC Research Fellow), Aerosol Optical Spectroscopy; Modelling of Light Scattering and Absorption by Atmospheric Aerosols; Photochemistry of Ozone; Single Aerosol Particle Trapping

Dr John Crosby, (Senior Lecturer), Electrospray mass spectrometric studies of proteins; Enzymology of polyketide biosynthesis; Role of urocanic acid in uv-induced immunosuppression

Professor Matt Crump, (Professor of NMR and Structural Biology), Biological NMR; Elucidation of the structure and function of proteins; Protein crystallography

Dr Sean Davis, (Senior Lecturer), Study of inorganic materials using electron microscopy and related techniques.

Professor Tony Davis, (Professor of Supramolecular Chemistry), Application of combinatorial chemistry to the discovery of enantioselective receptors and ' artificial enzymes' ; Synthetic supramolecular chemistry – design and synthesis of receptors for carbohydrates and anions

Professor Julian Eastoe, (Professor of Chemistry), Structure and dynamics; Surfactant interfaces

Professor Richard Evershed, (Professor of Biogeochemistry), Analytical chemistry applied to industrial forensic problems; Archaeological and palaeontological chemistry; Biogeochemistry

Professor Charl Faul, (Professor of Materials Chemistry), Conjugated porous materials for gas capture; Electroactive and conductive organic materials; Functional nanostructures; Ionic self-assembly (ISA); Materials for energy

Professor David Fermin, (Professor of Electrochemistry), Electrochemistry; Structure-reactivity relationships of Pt and Pd nanoarrays

Dr Natalie Fey, (Senior Lecturer), Computational chemistry; Homogeneous organometallic catalysis; Reactivity prediction; Structural chemistry; Structure-property relationships and data analysis

Professor Neil Fox, (Reader), Isotopic diamond synthesis and radiation conversion technologies; Materials for Energy; UHV variable temperature scanning probe microscopy and photoemission electron spectroscopy (NanoESCA) of crystalline materials

Professor Carmen Galan, (Professor of Organic and Biological Chemistry), Development of expedient and stereoselective glycosylation methods for the synthesis of oligosaccharide targets and glycoconjugates drug analogues; Oligosaccharide synthesis and glycobiology

Dr Paul Gates, (Research Fellow), Mass spectrometry structural elucidation studies of organic and natural products and mass spectrometry methodology development.

Dr Pierangelo Gobbo, (Vice Chancellor's Fellow), Design, synthesis, and characterisation of tissue-like materials (prototissues) and inorganic cell-like entities (protocells); Physical-organic chemistry of materials and nanomaterials

Professor Simon Hall, (Reader), Bioinorganic materials chemistry; Biomimetic routes to advanced superconductors; Synthesis of novel, hierarchical materials.

Dr Alastair Lennox, (Royal Society University Research Fellow), Catalysis and physical organic (mechanistic) chemistry; Development of sustainable synthetic methodologies using organic electrochemistry

Professor Stephen Mann, (Professor of Chemistry), Biomimetic approaches to organised matter chemistry; Synthesis and characterisation of self-assembled inorganic materials.

Professor Paul May, (Professor of Physical Chemistry), Deposition and characterisation of chemical vapour deposited diamond films; Diamond-like carbon films; Plasma chemistry and etching; World wide web innovations.

Professor Adrian Mulholland, (Professor), Enzyme catalysis by quantum mechanical and molecular dynamical modelling.

Dr David Naafs, (Royal Society University Research Fellow and Proleptic Lecturer), Environmental Chemistry; Understanding how our planet operates in the past, present, and future

Professor Simon O'Doherty, (Professor of Atmospheric Chemistry), Atmospheric monitoring of important environmental gases and interpretation of this data.

Dr Tom Oliver, (Royal Society University Research Fellow), Artificial photosynthetic systems; Light harvesting complexes; Ultrafast multidimensional spectroscopy of biomolecules

Professor Andrew Orr-Ewing, (Professor), Photochemical mechanisms; Reaction and photodissociation dynamics; Spectroscopy and photochemistry of atmospheric constituents.; Ultrafast spectroscopy

Dr Fabio Parmeggiani, (BrisSynBio Fellow in Synthetic Biology), Computational and experimental protein design; Modular protein scaffolds for spatial control of interactions and reactions; Protein nanostructures as functional biomaterials

Dr Avinash Patil, (Research Fellow), Design and construction of artificial cell models, hybrid hydrogels; Functional bio(organic)-inorganic hybrid materials for drug delivery and (bio)catalysis; Self-assembled nanostructures, porous materials and 2D nanocomposites for photocatalysis, light harvesting and sensing

Professor Paul Pringle, (Professor of Inorganic Chemistry), Synthesis and applications (eg catalytic) of complexes of phosphines and phosphites.

Professor Emma Raven, (Head of the School of Chemistry), Catalytic activity and biological function in heme containing enzymes

Professor Jonathan Reid, (Professor), Atmospheric aerosols; Chemical dynamics of aerosols; Laser techniques for characterising and manipulating particles.

Dr Matthew Rigby, (Research Fellow), Atmospheric chemistry; Computational and theoretical chemistry; Global change

Dr Sebastien Rochat, (Dean's Fellow and Lecturer in Functional Materials), Functional organic materials; Hydrogen production and storage; Nanocomposites; Photo- and electroactive polymers; Photo- and electrocatalysis; Solar fuels; Stimuli-responsive materials

Dr Mélanie Roffet-Salque, (Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Fellow), Archaeological chemistry; Link between climate change and human responses in the past; Reconstruction of past exploitation of natural resources

Dr Chris Russell, (Reader), Synthesis and reactivity of novel p-block p-bonded compounds; Synthesis, reactivity and applications of imido analogues of polyoxoanions.; Synthetic utility of late-transition metal cyclopentadienyl derivatives.

Professor Dudley Shallcross, (Professor of Atmospheric Chemistry), Atmospheric chemistry; Computer modelling; Field measurements and laboratory gas-phase kinetics.

Dr Hazel Sparkes, (Research Fellow in X-Ray Crystallography), crystallographic data analysis; solid state reactions e.g. [2+2] cycloaddition; spin-crossover; structural chemistry; structure-property relationships; X-ray crystallography

Professor Chris Willis, (Professor of Organic Chemistry), Biotransformations; Isotopic labelling; New methods for the synthesis of natural products and molecules of biological interest; Reaction mechanisms

Professor Dek Woolfson, (Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry), Applications of protein design in cell biology and biotechnology; Chemistry and biology of coiled-coil protein assemblies; Rational and computional design of completely new protein structures and functions; Understanding the relationships between protein sequence and three-dimensional structure and function

Apply now

Find out how to apply

Application deadline

Not fixed, unless determined by external funding bodies. We welcome applications at any time of the year.

Open days and visits

Watch on-demand recordings from November's virtual open week.

Get in touch

Prof. Julian Eastoe Director of Postgraduate Recruitment Phone: +44 (0) 117 928 9180 Email:

Eszter Szatmari Postgraduate Administrator Phone: +44 (0) 117 928 7645 Email:

School of Chemistry
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School website: School of Chemistry

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The Bristol Doctoral College facilitates and supports doctoral training and researcher development across the University.

REF 2021 results

The University of Bristol is ranked fifth for research in the UK (Times Higher Education), with 94% of our research assessed as world-leading or internationally excellent.

Full REF 2021 results for the University of Bristol.


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