Wadham has a strong commitment to Chemistry and the average intake is around eight students per year.
The Course: MChem Chemistry
Tutors are interested in the potential of applicants and their ability to adapt to a critical pattern of thinking more than in their level of factual knowledge and recall.Chemistry Department website Chemistry at Oxford
Entrants experience a common first year course leading to a Preliminary Examination with four papers: three in Chemistry and one in Maths for Chemists. In the second year the emphasis is on core subject material, leading to an exam counting for 25% of total marks. There is the opportunity to take supplementary topics such as Medicinal Chemistry, Quantum Chemistry, History and Philosophy of Science, or a European Language. The third year is more specialised with a chemistry focus and substantial choice; this year counts for 50% of the degree assessment. In the fourth year everyone carries out a research project which is in an area chosen by the student, and supervised by a faculty member who could be the world expert - this is a very satisfying exercise leading to the production of a thesis for 25% of the total degree assessment, and persuades many to remain in research.
In tutorials students are encouraged to think independently about chemistry topics and to gain a high level of skill in problem solving. The basic objective of the degree course is to encourage critical and deep thinking about a defined area of science. The skills developed are widely applicable.
There are three subject tutors covering organic, inorganic, and physical chemistry. Professor Paul Beer is an inorganic chemist with research interests in the synthesis of novel host compounds designed to complex metal cations and anionic guest species of environmental, biological and medical importance. Dr Mark Wallace is a physical chemist studying the behaviour of membrane proteins using techniques capable of detecting individual molecules. Professor Darren Dixon conducts research in the field of organic synthesis.
Many of our undergraduates go on to do postgraduate research work, in Oxford or elsewhere. An Oxford chemistry degree is a passport to a scientific career, but naturally the range of opportunities is much greater.