Applied & Pure Sciences

Postgraduate courses in Organic Chemistry

Organic chemistry is an area that covers quite a broad amount of information and is quite interesting. It looks at organic compounds (as expected) and impacts different products many of us use day to day. 

There are a few postgraduate courses you can study and luckily for you we’ve got some information for you below to help you on your path to being a postgraduate student. 

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” – Nelson Mandela. So, why wait or hesitate? Develop and expand your career, qualifications and knowledge!

What is organic chemistry?

Organic chemistry is the study of the structure, properties, composition, reactions of compounds that contain carbon. These do not just include hydrocarbons but compounds that may also contain a number of other elements. It is an important area of study because it helps us to understand life and the chemical reactions related to life. 

The difference between organic and inorganic chemistry is that organic chemistry looks at compounds that contain carbon while inorganic chemistry looks at compounds that do not contain carbon. There are a few exceptions to this rule with inorganic chemistry but that is a conversion for another day. For now, let’s focus on organic chemistry. 

As an organic chemist, your main role is to study different elements of molecules containing carbon such as it’s properties and reactions. The reason this is necessary is to not only gain a greater understanding but also to allow these compounds to be used in the development of different commercial products including pharmaceutical drugs. 


There are many courses on offer in the area across the UK. Some courses offer the opportunity to study either part time or full time. Universities may have certain restrictions in place due to Coivd-19 and may offer courses online. Courses available include:

Organic Chemistry 

Postgraduate courses in organic chemistry offer students the opportunity to gain an understanding and training in synthetic organic chemistry applied to drug design while also gaining experience with synthetic methodology and chemical biology. Key focuses of these courses include research techniques, professional development and entrepreneurship.

Advanced Organic Chemistry

These postgraduate courses are suited to those who are already working as chemists and want to enhance their careers. Students will study areas including organic reaction mechanisms, spectroscopy and synthetic strategy. Students will gain knowledge and skills to equip them to go ahead and study a PhD in this area if desired. You will learn through a mixture of theory and practical work in labs.

Natural Products

A postgraduate course like this one looks at the development of natural medicines and drugs from natural sources, semi-synthesis and/or total synthesis of the medicines analogues. You will also look at the formation and quality control of natural medicines used in order to treat and manage diseases. 

There are other courses available in this area including Synthetic Organic Chemistry and Physical Organic Chemistry.  

Entry requirements 

Entry requirements may differ from course to course or university to university. Therefore, it is important to research your specific course in detail to ensure you meet the entry requirements. As these courses are postgraduate courses, you will need a bachelor’s degree. Some courses may accept a 2.2 degree while others will require a 2.1. A degree in chemistry or a related field is required.

Potential employers

Potential employers in the chemistry area may include:

  • Government agencies
  • Laboratories & hospital laboratories
  • Agrochemical companies
  • Environmental agencies
  • Pharmaceutical companies
  • Chemical manufacturers


Your salary in this area can be impacted by location, your employment type and your experience in the field. It is believed that your salary in this area can start out between £18,000 – £25,000. With experience this will increase to an average of close to £31,000. All figures are based on estimates and are intended to be used as a guide only. 

Skills and requirements 

Skills and requirements helpful in this area include:

  • Strong communication skills 
  • Strong writing skills
  • Strong research and analysis skills
  • Problem solver
  • Good time management
  • Strong analytical skills
  • Organisation skills
  • Ability to work well with others
  • Trust your own initiative
  • Knowledge of IT and technology
  • An interest and understanding of chemistry 
  • Determination to learn and get results
  • Ability to interpret data and results

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