Highly ranked

Bristol is ranked #1 in the UK for Chemistry research and in the UK top five for Physics research (THE analysis of REF 2021).

First-class facilities

Access industry-standard equipment, state-of-the-art teaching labs, high-performance computing and our dynamic lab manual.

Welcoming community

Join societies for chemical physics (Duality), chemistry (Fusion), and physics (Chaos - named the country's best society in the National Societies Awards, 2019).

Chemical Physics at Bristol

Chemical physics is the study of matter covering fundamental and applied science. You'll study topics at the interface between chemistry and physics, taught jointly by two internationally renowned schools with state-of-the-art facilities for teaching and cutting-edge research.

You'll apply your growing knowledge to real-world challenges, getting hands on experience in solving problems and benefiting from the unique perspective offered by integrating these two subjects.

Innovative teaching methods and resources inform our courses, such as the online Dynamic Laboratory Manual, which was developed as part of the Bristol ChemLabS Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning project.

The BSc and MSci Chemical Physics courses are accredited by both the Institute of Physics and the Royal Society of Chemistry.

MSci Chemical Physics with Industrial Experience is accredited by the Institute of Physics.

We also offer Chemistry and Physics.

Think Big bursaries of £3,000 are available to support first-year international undergraduate students in this subject area.

Chemical physics has given me a broad and versatile understanding of the fundamentals of chemistry and physics, where I have been able explore exactly what I found interesting. Lecturers have been engaging and always willing to provide academic support.

Alice, MSci Chemical Physics

Career prospects

Two students wearing safety goggles working together in a laboratory class.

Chemical physics graduates are highly sought after. Our graduates have excellent knowledge and superb practical and problem-solving skills.

Many of our graduates go on to careers in research using their subject-specific knowledge and skills in a variety of scientific environments, while others apply their transferable skills in areas outside science.

Choose our course with industrial experience to spend your third year working in a paid position in an industrial or commercial environment. Recent partners have included AkzoNobel, Pfizer, Renishaw, the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, and companies in the US.

Course structure

A student wearing safety goggles and blue gloves using some equipment.

The structure of the first year is the same for all our chemical physics degree courses, with units in chemistry, physics and maths. During your first year, it is possible to transfer between different chemical physics courses, as well as to courses in chemistry or physics.

In subsequent years, you will study units that allow you to build on your fundamental knowledge and develop a deeper understanding of applications in chemical physics.

The aspects of both chemistry and physics that are not relevant to chemical physics are gradually phased out after the first year, so you will no longer take courses such as organic synthetic chemistry, nuclear physics and electronics. Instead, you will take units on nanophysics, quantum mechanics, structure and bonding of molecules, kinetics, thermodynamics, semiconductors and superconductors.

The final year of all our courses includes a six-month project in which you will work with a member of academic staff and their research team on a current scientific problem. You will have access to labs containing advanced research equipment. Some students have had their work published in internationally renowned journals.

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