About the School

The School of Chemical and Physical Sciences has its base in the Lennard-Jones Building, which is at the heart of one of the most attractive campus universities in Britain. The School is responsible for running eight individual degree programmes in the areas of Chemistry and Medicinal Chemistry, Forensic Science, and Physics and Astrophysics.

Mike Watkinson

The School of Chemical and Physical Sciences offers an exciting range of undergraduate degree programmes in Chemistry, Forensics Science and Physics as well as postgraduate taught opportunities in Analytical Science for Industry.

Our students are given hands-on laboratory experience using modern research-standard instrumentation from the outset of all degree programmes.

In addition, the School is renowned for its innovative teaching methods. We place tremendous importance on the support that we provide our students with, both in teaching and pastoral matters. This is all reflected in NSS results for all degree programmes, which have been consistently good and sector leading over many years.

The excellent academic and transferable skills embedded in these programmes, allied to the careers support provided, also ensures that our graduates successfully transition to employment or further study in academia. In addition to our teaching we perform world-leading research in all areas within the school with particular strengths in astrophysics, materials chemistry, synthetic and analytical chemistry.

Mike Watkinson, Head of School

KeeleUni_Oct15_004 x300 Chemistry is based in the Lennard-Jones Laboratories. We are a community of scholars who are focused on academic excellence in teaching and research in Chemistry. ‌

Chemistry at Keele has a national reputation for innovative and high-quality teaching and learning. You will gain hands-on experience with modern state-of the art equipment and instrumentation and you will find the academic staff to be approachable and enthusiastic with a genuine interest in the welfare of students and a dedication to the highest quality of teaching at all levels.  Our students rate us highly – over the past 10 years Keele Chemistry has consistently been one of the top 8 departments in the UK for student satisfaction in the National Student Survey, coming 5th= for overall satisfaction in 2018 and the University achieved TEF GOLD in the recent Teaching Excellence Framework.

Royal_Society_of_Chemistry x200 We offer MChem and BSc courses in Chemistry and Chemistry with Medicinal Chemistry.  You can choose to integrate a year abroad at one of our partner institutions or a year long industrial placement into these programmes.  In addition we also offer combined honours courses in Chemistry and Medicinal Chemistry where these subjects can be studied alongside another science subject such as Physics or Biochemistry. 

Our courses are challenging and stimulating  designed to developed a breadth and depth of skills of wide applicability beyond university. All of our single honours and major route courses are accredited by the Royal Society of Chemistry.

KeeleUni_Oct15_005 x300 Research is at the core of what we do.  Chemistry Staff were an integral part of Keele’s REF submissions to A3 Allied Health Professions and B15 General Engineering which were in the top 20 submissions in the country in REF2014. Chemistry has a thriving research programme and the Chemical Sciences Research Centre covers a huge breadth of science, with particular strengths including clean and environmental technology, environmental chemistry and waste utilisation, catalysis, flow chemistry, materials chemistry, carbohydrate chemistry, medicinal chemistry, computational chemistry and chemical ecology - for more look at our Research pages.  Collaborations are numerous with academic and industrial partners in the UK and overseas, including close ties with the Institute Laue-Langevin (ILL) in Grenoble, France – the world’s leading facility in neutron science and technology, and the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxfordshire.

We have excellent laboratory facilities for both teaching and research and these are currently undergoing further significant investment, including the creation of a new £34 M Central Science Laboratories attached to the Lennard-Jones Laboratories, which will comprise four-floors of new open-plan teaching laboratories, IT provision, and student social learning spaces. 

PG_Chemistry_Andy Weekes_2016_0006 x300 Over the past 5 years our investment in major equipment has been considerable with the purchase of two new 400 MHz NMR instruments (with solid state capability), powder and single crystal X-ray diffractometers and a QTOF accurate mass time-of-flight mass spectrometer all of which are detailed in our Facilities and equipment pages.  Keele Chemistry's philosophy is that instrumentation is used for both research and teaching, meaning that our undergraduates have the opportunity to be trained on the most up-to-date equipment; together this represents an investment of over £2M . In addition, our rolling programme of updating analytical instrumentation has seen new IR and UV-vis spectrometers and GC and HPLC equipment purchased in 2017.  

Finally as part of our commitment to sustainability we have recently had a programme of equipping all rotary evaporators with mechanical pumps and chiller units which, coupled with our rainwater harvesting, further reduces our water consumption.

Keele is an exciting place to learn and research Chemistry, come and join us! 


Forensic Science is often defined as the application of science to the work of the courts of law. In many people’s minds this leads to a focus on crime scene investigation which, though a very important part of the forensic process, does not fully provide a true picture of what the forensic scientist actually does and what knowledge and skills you need to be a professional forensic scientist.

The forensic discipline embraces a wide range of scientific topics, many of which are based on analytical science – the science of measurement, characterising materials, usually at the molecular level, and determining what is in a sample and how much of various components are there.

Such scientific investigations are applied to physical evidence - that is materials found at crime scenes or associated with potentially illegal activities; examples include explosives’ residues, drugs, inks, glass fragments, fire accelerants, paints, fibres and hairs. In practice this means using microscopy, chromatography, spectroscopy and related specialist techniques which are also fundamental to some laboratory work in chemistry, biology and geology, to examine forensic materials.

Physics and Astrophysics section of the School has a very strong commitment to delivering high quality educational programmes in Physics and Astrophysics.

We operate an "open door" policy for our students, and are active in various outreach activities to the local community. You will find that all the staff are readily approachable and eager to help you in your studies. Our excellent staff-student ratio ensures plenty of interaction and rapid, personalised feedback on your work.

Research in the School includes a highly regarded and very productive research group in Astrophysics, whose members regularly use the best observing and computational facilities in the world. There are many active projects: from finding "exoplanets" orbiting distant stars, to the births, lives and (sometimes violent) deaths of stars and the manufacture of chemical elements in the universe. In Physics, we are leading high profile projects that look at Sustainable Energy problems and the development of new "two-dimensional materials" with industrial and medical applications.

All of our research-active staff are also active members of our teaching team, informing a number of our modules, especially our "option modules" in year 3.

Prof Rob Jeffries

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