Chemistry tutorials

All students wanting to study chemistry at Oxford should be competent in the basics of calculus and linear algebra. Some knowledge of physics would be beneficial but is not required. For specialist study, such as quantum mechanics, further mathematical competence would be strongly recommended. Students should have studied chemistry at their home universities for at least two years.


The chemistry department at Oxford is large and has an impressive research profile, with over 80 faculty leading diverse research groups in a wide variety of areas including catalysis, sustainable energy chemistry, advanced functional materials, and chemistry at the interface with biology and medicine. It has a history of successful commercialisation of its research in spinout companies and has recently received an award for encouraging gender diversity in science. Research and teaching happen in the lively Science Area, close to Wycliffe Hall and to the University Parks. Faculty, research staff, and students can socialise in one of the nearby University cafes.

Teaching for biological sciences will happen in a mix of University lectures, which play a key part in biological science teaching, tutorials (one to one meetings with a specialist tutor), and, if possible, group tutorials with other Oxford undergraduates. Students will prepare work for individual and group tutorials in biological sciences, typically in the form of problem sheets. Group work and discussion are warmly encouraged. Full lecture notes and other supporting materials are available on the University’s virtual learning platform to which students will have full access once they are in Oxford.

Choosing tutorials

At Oxford all matriculated students study the three main elements of chemistry (inorganic, organic, and physical) in each term of each year, in order to get a holistic and cumulative understanding of the subject. Visiting students can either follow this Oxford pattern (in which case ‘Advanced studies in chemistry: inorganic, organic, and physical’ will appear on their transcript) or we can tailor a tutorial to specific needs (in which case a more specific description will appear on their transcript). The former option is particularly suitable for students who will spend two semesters in Oxford, but can also be followed by one term students. In all cases, chemistry students will follow the University lectures which range across the discipline. Tutorial titles on transcripts will all be in some part of chemistry, although if necessary, the tutorials could cover mathematics for chemists.

For practical reasons it is not possible to arrange lab or other practical work or to undertake internships or practicums.

More information is available on the Oxford chemistry department’s website. Please ignore information about how to apply, interviews, the acceptance rate, examinations etc as this is all intended for matriculated students registered for degrees at Oxford. Don’t be put off by the fact that the degree is called a ‘BA’ in chemistry. All normal first degrees at Oxford are BA degrees, whether the discipline is in humanities, social science, or science.

Once you have looked at the website, please contact the BestSemester office to discuss your tutorial requests in more detail.

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