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Chemist cleaning glassware

BSc (Honours) Chemistry

Learn about the structure, properties and reactivity of molecules. This fundamental knowledge plays an integral role in our understanding of the world. Chemistry is a broad subject – including organic chemistry, inorganic chemistry, physical chemistry and analytical chemistry. And it can include other fields such as biological chemistry and environmental chemistry. You’ll gain a thorough understanding of the subject while developing your investigative, practical and scientific literacy skills.

Key features of the course

  • Study the classical disciplines, organic, inorganic and physical chemistry. Plus analytical, environmental and biological chemistry.
  • Develop investigative and laboratory skills. Engage with interactive live web broadcasts from our labs, and carry out practical investigations using our award-winning OpenSTEM Labs.
  • Further develop your hands‑on practical skills at our lab schools. And meet other Open University chemistry students.
  • Apply your knowledge in a final project. Explore a chemistry topic of your choice in depth.

Course Summary

Degree

Degree

  • Also known as an undergraduate or bachelors degree.
  • Internationally respected, universally understood.
  • An essential requirement for many high-level jobs.
  • Gain a thorough understanding of your subject – and the tools to investigate, think critically, form reasoned arguments, solve problems and communicate effectively in new contexts.
  • Progress to higher level study, such as a postgraduate diploma or masters degree.
Course code
R59
Credits

Credits

  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
360
How long it takes
Part time – 6 years
Full time – 3 years
Time limit – 16 years
Study method
Distance learning

Course details

This degree has three stages, each comprising 120 credits.

  • You’ll start Stage 1 with a 60-credit introductory science module, then continue with another 60-credit science module.
  • At Stage 2, you’ll study one 60-credit module and two 30-credit modules. Plus attend a lab school.
  • At Stage 3, you’ll study a 60-credit module and a 30-credit module, plus attend a lab school. You’ll complete your degree with a 30-credit project module.

Prepare for OU study with an Access module

We offer two starting points depending on how confident you are or how long it’s been since you last studied. Choose to dive straight in at Stage 1, or if you’d prefer some extra preparation, you can get started with an optional Access module. See Entry requirements for more details.

Stage 1 (120 credits)

Stage 1 starts with an interdisciplinary broad science module in which you’ll investigate a series of questions that teach scientific thinking. Your next science module focuses on further key ideas in science and includes distinct practical blocks.
ModulesCredits
You'll study both of the following:
Questions in science (S111)60
Science: concepts and practice (S112)60

Stage 2 (120 credits)

In Stage 2, you’ll study a 60-credit module covering essential concepts in chemistry and attend a lab school. Next, you’ll study two 30-credit chemistry modules.

Stage 3 (120 credits)

In Stage 3, you’ll study a 60-credit module and a 30-credit module, exploring chemistry in the context of both the natural world and the synthetic world. You’ll also attend a further lab school. You’ll complete your degree with a 30-credit project module.

We regularly review our curriculum; therefore, the qualification described on this page – including its availability, its structure, and available modules – may change over time. If we make changes to this qualification, we’ll update this page as soon as possible. Once you’ve registered or are studying this qualification, where practicable, we’ll inform you in good time of any upcoming changes. If you’d like to know more about the circumstances in which the University might make changes to the curriculum, see our Academic Regulations or contact us. This description was last updated on 17 March 2021.


Accessibility

We make all our qualifications as accessible as possible and have a comprehensive range of services to support all our students. This qualification uses a variety of study materials and has the following elements:

  • studying mainly online material. Online learning resources may include websites, audio/video media clips, and interactive activities such as online quizzes
  • using mathematical and scientific expressions, notations and associated techniques
  • undertaking practical work using campus-based and online laboratories
  • working with specialist reading material such as scientific journals
  • using specialist software
  • working in a group with other students
  • using and/or producing diagrams and/or screenshots
  • finding external/third party material online.

For more detailed information, see the Accessibility Statements on individual module descriptions. If you feel you may need additional support, visit Disability support to find more about what we offer.


Learning outcomes, teaching and assessment

This qualification develops your learning in four main areas:

  • Knowledge and understanding.
  • Cognitive skills.
  • Practical and professional skills.
  • Key skills.

The level and depth of your learning gradually increases as you work through the qualification. You’ll be supported throughout by the OU’s unique style of teaching and assessment – which includes a personal tutor to guide and comment on your work; top quality course texts; elearning resources like podcasts, interactive media and online materials; tutorial groups and community forums.

Read the detailed learning outcomes here

Credit transfer

If you’ve already completed some study at another university, you may be able to count it towards your Open University qualification – reducing the number of modules you need to study.

You should apply for credit transfer before you register, at least 4 weeks before the registration closing date. Just tell us what you studied, where and when, and we’ll compare this against the learning outcomes for your chosen course.

For more details and an application form, visit our Credit Transfer website.


Classification of your degree

On successfully completing this course, we’ll award you our BSc (Honours) Chemistry.

The class of honours (first, upper-second, lower-second or third) will depend on your grades at Stages 2 and 3.

You’ll have the opportunity to attend a degree ceremony.

Recognition in your country

If you intend to use your Open University qualifications to seek work or undertake further study outside the UK, we recommend checking whether your intended qualification will meet local requirements for your chosen career. Read recognition in my country.

Regulations

As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the qualification-specific regulations below and the academic regulations that are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website. 

Compare this course

Entry requirements

There are no formal entry requirements for this qualification.

At The Open University we believe education should be open to all, so we provide a high-quality university education to anyone who wishes to realise their ambitions and fulfil their potential.

  • Stage 1 includes a compulsory module, Questions in science (S111) – check you’re ready to study this module.

How much time do I need?

  • Most of our students study part time, completing 60 credits a year.
  • This will usually mean studying for 16–18 hours a week.

How much will it cost in England?

We believe cost shouldn’t be a barrier to achieving your potential. That’s why we work hard to keep the cost of study as low as possible and have a wide range of flexible ways to pay to help spread, or even reduce, the cost.

  • Fees are paid on a module-by-module basis – you won't have to pay for the whole of your qualification up front.
  • A qualification comprises a series of modules, each with an individual fee. Added together, they give you the total cost.
  • Most OU students study part time at a rate of 60 credits a year.
  • Our current fee for 60 credits is £3,168*.
  • Our current fee for 120 credits, which is equivalent to a year's full-time study, is £6,336*.
  • At current prices, the total cost of your qualification would be £19,008*.
  • .

*The fee information provided here is valid for modules starting before 31 July 2022. Fees normally increase annually in line with inflation and the University's strategic approach to fees.

Field schools/lab schools

This qualification has:

  • field schools/lab schools you must attend, and for which you may have to pay an additional charge1
  • modules with optional field schools/lab schools, for which you must pay an additional charge1.

1See module descriptions for further information. You must also pay for your travel to and from the venue.

Due to the ongoing pandemic, we may replace face-to-face events with online alternatives.


Skills for career development

By the time you achieve your qualification, you’ll be an adaptable graduate with a range of transferable skills that are highly valued in the labour market – such as analytical, numerical and communication skills, teamworking, problem solving and proficiency in using computers. You’ll also have a good understanding of where your strengths and interests lie, and be well prepared for your next step – whether it’s further study or employment.

Employers also look for evidence of experience of the workplace to support the skills gained through the degree. To succeed, graduates will need to be flexible and multi-skilled, with the ability to work in a multidisciplinary environment.

Career relevance

Chemistry graduates are well placed to enter both scientific and non-scientific jobs. The logical, reasoned approach needed for science study is relevant to a wide range of financial, business and public sector employment, so graduates – particularly those who have good communication and interpersonal skills – are in demand.

Growth areas are predicted to be: environment, energy and sustainability; biotechnology and biomedical engineering; healthcare; telecommunications; pharmaceuticals; bioinformatics; and technology transfer (transfer of scientific expertise to commercial products).

Employers include central and local government, the NHS, the water industry, food and drink companies, media and communications, the horticultural industry, multinational oil companies, the pharmaceutical industry, conservation bodies and universities – in roles such as:

  • research and investigation
  • product design and development
  • analysis and diagnostics
  • science information management
  • science communication
  • scientific sales
  • exploration and extraction of natural resources
  • health and healthcare related professions
  • waste management, recycling and sustainability
  • environmental management, protection and conservation
  • teaching (science is a shortage subject at secondary school level, so there may be incentives to train as a chemistry teacher).

Exploring your options

Once you register with us (and for up to three years after you finish your studies), you’ll have full access to our careers service for a wide range of information and advice – including online forums, website, interview simulation, vacancy service as well as the option to email or speak to a careers adviser. Some areas of the careers service website are available for you to see now, including help with looking for and applying for jobs. You can also read more general information about how OU study enhances your career.

In the meantime if you want to do some research around this qualification and where it might take you, we’ve put together a list of relevant job titles as a starting point (note that some careers may require further study, training and/or work experience beyond your degree):

In the meantime if you want to do some research around this qualification and where it might take you, we’ve put together a list of relevant job titles as a starting point (note that some careers may require further study, training and/or work experience beyond your degree):

  • science teacher
  • science technical writer
  • analytical scientist
  • forensic scientist
  • nanotechnologist
  • food technologist
  • pharmaceutical development scientist
  • science communicator
  • environmental consultant
  • patent attorney.

Register for this course

Start dates
Credit transfer: apply by 09/12/2021

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