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 Post subject: Chemistry
PostPosted: Wed Feb 26, 2014 11:24 am 
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Joined: Wed May 02, 2007 12:59 pm
Posts: 304
Location: North London
Hi,
Has anyone have an opinion about chemistry courses at university?
Which uni would you recommend (apart from Oxbridge)?
Do courses vary a lot, employability, etc.
Thank you,
M


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 Post subject: Re: Chemistry
PostPosted: Wed Feb 26, 2014 11:47 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 04, 2008 2:28 pm
Posts: 2354
Have a look at the tables for individual subjects not just Universities
Complete University Guide and Guardian do them amongst others.
The entry standard is a good guide but there are a few that are less popular Universities that have good Chemistry course eg York
Imperial, Durham and UCL are all well thought of.

In terms of employability - look at those that have the option of a Masters year as the 4th year and those that have the option of a project year/year in Industry ( in this case also look at how much help they provide in finding a location for this). The experience gained/contacts made from an extended period of practical experience is invaluable.

Check how much contact time they provide ( lectures, tutorials etc) and especially how much practical lab time - some have worrying little because it is so expensive.

Look at compulsory modules and optional modules for each year - some course allow more specialisation earlier on.
You could also check research interests of staff but unless DC already has clear idea of specialism this may be too much at this stage - and individual staff may move. Although some Universities do have specialist 'school' or research labs that are funded long term as opposed to the funding following specific staff.

The research level is important but the student satisfaction with undergraduate teaching obviously also important.


Sorry - bit of an information dump! Hope you find something helpful :)


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 Post subject: Re: Chemistry
PostPosted: Wed Feb 26, 2014 1:08 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 02, 2007 12:59 pm
Posts: 304
Location: North London
Thank you KB. Very helpful!
I was not studying at English Uni, therefore not sure how to go about it.

How much contact time with tutors/lecturers is acceptable? Does it vary a lot?

I was studying in Poland. In my times all students, no matter what subject, had about 30hrs a week in a first year with obligatory foreign language and PE for all! Good old times!


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 Post subject: Re: Chemistry
PostPosted: Wed Feb 26, 2014 1:29 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2007 2:32 pm
Posts: 6963
Location: East Kent
I had about 26 hours contact time ( no PE!!)


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 Post subject: Re: Chemistry
PostPosted: Wed Feb 26, 2014 2:48 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 04, 2008 2:28 pm
Posts: 2354
DC averaged about 23 hours in first year ( did have a few lighter weeks) of a science course considered to be hard work.
Check the facilities for small group sessions - whether called seminars or tutorials - where students get to talk through topics with academic staff rather than be lectured at in big group.( Not to be confused with personal tutors).
One practical every fortnight seemed to be pretty standard when we were looking so I would say that less is poor and more is great! But then it depends if they have to work in groups and how many demonstrators they have etc.

Might help to have a standard list of questions that can be answered from web sites/emails/open day visits etc
The feel of the place is important of course but it is easy to get confused after looking at a few different places so that a choice gets made on something that proves to be insignificant.

Its also worth looking at how the course is assessed as this can vary greatly.


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 Post subject: Re: Chemistry
PostPosted: Wed Feb 26, 2014 3:02 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 02, 2007 12:59 pm
Posts: 304
Location: North London
It is very helpful. Thank you.


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 Post subject: Re: Chemistry
PostPosted: Wed Feb 26, 2014 3:57 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 09, 2007 2:09 pm
Posts: 875
Location: Solihull, West Midlands
Try looking here: http://www.rsc.org/education/

I didn't follow any of the links but it seems like a good starting point.

Also don't forget the option of Chemical Engineering! https://www.icheme.org/careers.aspx


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 Post subject: Re: Chemistry
PostPosted: Wed Feb 26, 2014 4:40 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 15, 2010 2:45 pm
Posts: 4604
Do science courses really only have one practical every 2 weeks? When I studied for my sceince degree (not chemistry, and in the dark ages, admittedly), I'm sure we have practicals almost every day!


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 Post subject: Re: Chemistry
PostPosted: Wed Feb 26, 2014 8:41 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2007 2:32 pm
Posts: 6963
Location: East Kent
for me (admittedly nearly 30 years ago) we had a whole day practical every week.

My degree was Chemistry with Management Science.

With joint faculty degrees you need to have 2/3 Chemistry content for it to be recognised by the Royal Society of Chemistry, fairly important if you want to be a "serious" chemist..( unlike me, who has never been a serious chemist..or a serious anything, come to think of it.)


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 Post subject: Re: Chemistry
PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2014 11:27 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 04, 2008 2:28 pm
Posts: 2354
It various of course - this was intended as a guide to what one should be looking for/expecting.

The length of the practical obviously varies as well as how they are organised - sometimes a whole day or maybe a half day and then another half day when everything has had time to do whatever it is supposed to do etc etc etc.

I think having a practical every week is seen as good these days and is certainly not provided by all institutions so it was an element I thought worth highlighting as a factor to consider. If you are only looking at the top few institutions then the difference is probably less but then not all students will be in a position to be looking only in that group.

DCs found that getting real world experience was vital because lab experience in first 2 years at Uni really wasn't sufficient by itself ( and they were on top rate courses). Final year projects do tend to provide greater scope of course.


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