Chemical Physics

Chemical Physics is the study of matter and its properties and covers a range of fundamental and applied science.

You will discover how atoms and molecules interact and how techniques such as spectroscopy, diffraction and electron microscopy may be used to investigate their structure and properties. You will also study nanoscience, liquid crystals, polymers and surface science.

A Chemical Physics degree is perfect if you enjoy chemistry, physics and mathematics and wish to develop your knowledge and skills in a challenging and rewarding subject.

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.

Why study Chemical Physics at Bristol?

Chemical Physics is taught jointly by the School of Chemistry and the School of Physics and draws on the established strength and international reputation of both departments in research at the interface between the two disciplines.

Our chemistry and physics teaching labs are equipped with state-of-the-art instruments and equipment. You will benefit from innovative teaching methods and resources, such as the online Dynamic Laboratory Manual, which was developed as part of the Bristol ChemLabS Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning project.

What kind of student would this course suit?

Chemical Physics suits students who are interested in the fundamental physics and chemistry of atoms and molecules.

These courses sit in the middle ground between the two disciplines and incorporate aspects of the physical side of chemistry (with less emphasis on synthetic chemistry) and the chemical side of physics (with less emphasis on nuclear physics and electronics). The courses also include aspects of materials science, technology and engineering.

To study our chemical physics degrees you should be literate and highly numerate with an enquiring mind and an interest in fundamental science and technology.

Every day my inbox is flooded with opportunities – internships, research projects, extra-curricular activities – all of which are the University getting students involved. The University is constantly updating its facilities, which reinforces its friendly and inclusive environment.

Alexandra, Second year, LLB Law

How is this course taught and assessed?

Courses are taught through lectures, tutorials and workshops by academics in the Schools of Physics and Chemistry. Lab classes and problems classes are held in both subjects.

Those taking Chemical Physics with Industrial Experience take some lecture units via web-based distance learning while on their year in industry and write a report on their year's work, which is marked by industrial and academic supervisors.

Lecture content is assessed every year by examinations in both the schools.

Laboratory work is assessed continually by scripts and feedback is provided. Project work is assessed through a thesis, with marks split between performance in the lab and quality of the thesis.

What are my career prospects?

Chemical Physics graduates are highly sought after. Our graduates have excellent knowledge and superb practical and problem solving skills. They are highly literate and numerate and are capable of working both independently and as part of a team.

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 excellent transferable skills in areas outside science.

Read more about what students from Chemical Physics go on to do after graduation.

Did you know?

  • Students from more than 180 countries study with us, and we share more than 150 exchange links with institutions worldwide.
  • Our Students' Union has over 200 student-run societies, and the Richmond Building, home to the Students' Union, is undergoing a £30-million renovation.
  • 11 Bristol graduates and members of staff have been awarded Nobel prizes.

Subject leaflet

Download the Chemical Physics leaflet 2017 (PDF, 272kB)


Important disclaimer information about our courses.

Related subjects

You may also be interested in:

Edit this page