Freshers' Week
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Chemistry

Chemistry at the University level is concerned with the interplay between theory and experiment. It is not enough to know that DNA has a double-helix structure or that C60 looks like a football. The challenge is to understand the thinking that suggested these conclusions, the nature of the experiments that were used to confirm them, and the methods used to interpret these experiments. We then go on to ask how molecules hold themselves together, what determines their reactivity and how they can be synthesized, both in the laboratory and in nature.

Answers to these questions come in part from physics and biology, and the Oxford Chemistry course offers ample opportunities to sample these related disciplines. There is also a unique opportunity to devote the entire fourth year to original research in an area of your own choice.

Chemistry at St Edmund Hall

Chemistry at St Edmund Hall stands out due to its students, who are a close, friendly group and contribute to life at the College in many ways. Our chemists organise frequent social events, such as Chemistry Curry evenings, and also enjoy formal dinners with their tutors, who are both highly respected members of the department.

The St Edmund Hall library is well stocked with key texts for chemists, and the chemistry department and Radcliffe Science Library are only a few minutes away by bike or on foot. 

The Tutors

St Edmund Hall is fortunate to have two full-time Chemistry Tutorial Fellows, both of whom are Professors in the Chemistry Department, along with enthusiastic and well-qualified graduate students who cover the teaching in the third branch of the subject.

David Manolopoulos teaches Physical Chemistry at the Hall, and undertakes research into how the laws of quantum mechanics govern the behaviour of atoms and molecules in liquids.

Philip Mountford teaches Inorganic Chemistry, and conducts research in organometallic chemistry and catalysis. Part of this work is at developing catalysts for making biodegradable polymers (“green polymers”) from renewable resources. 

Prospects

Typically about 55% of Oxford’s Chemistry graduates go on to do research or further study. Others enter professions such as accountancy, banking and actuarial work, as well as manufacturing, IT and education.

Course Requirements

The subjects and grades required to study Chemistry at St Edmund Hall match those listed in the University Prospectus. Chemistry and Mathematics at A level (or equivalent) are considered essential for this course.