Chemistry (MSc by Research)

2019-20 (also available for 2020-21)

This course is eligible for Master's loan funding. Find out more.

Start date

23 September 2019

13 January 2020

20 April 2020


The maximum duration for a part-time MSc by Research is 2 years (24 months) with an optional submission pending (writing up period) of 4 months.

If studying on a part-time basis, you must establish close links with the University and spend normally not less than an average of 10 working days per year in the university, excluding participation in activities associated with enrolment, re-registration and progression monitoring. You are also expected to dedicate 17.5 hours per week to the research.

Sometimes it may be possible to mix periods of both full-time and part-time study.

Application deadlines

For PGR start date January 2020

29 November 2019

For PGR start date April 2020

11 February 2020

For PGR start date September 2020

02 July 2020

About the research degree

A Master's by Research (MSc) allows you to undertake a two year (part-time) research degree. It contains little or no formal taught component. This type of study gives you the chance to explore a research topic over a shorter time than a more in-depth doctoral programme.

Research Master's students choose a specific project to work on and have a greater degree of independence in their work than is the case with a taught masters course.

You’ll be expected to work to an approved programme which you will develop in conjunction with your supervisor within the first few months of starting your studies. Whilst undertaking the research project you will also have the opportunity to develop your research skills by taking part in training courses and events.

At the end of the project you write up your findings in the form of a short thesis of around 25,000 words and this will then be examined.

On successful completion, you will be awarded your degree and if you have enjoyed this taste of research you may then decide to apply for the full research doctoral degree (PhD).

You will be appointed a main supervisor who will normally be part of a supervisory team, comprising up to three members. The research supervisor will advise and support you on your project.

Entry requirements

The normal entry requirements for enrolment on a MSc by Research is an upper second honours degree (2.1) from a UK university or a qualification of an equivalent standard, in a discipline appropriate to that of the proposed programme to be followed.

If your first language is not English, you will need to meet the minimum requirements of an English Language qualification. The minimum for IELTS is 6.0 overall with the written element at least 6.0 with no element lower than 5.5, or equivalent will be considered acceptable. Read more about the University’s entry requirements for students outside of the UK on our Where are you from information pages.

What can I research?

There are several research topics available for this degree. See below examples of research areas including an outline of the topics, the supervisor, funding information and eligibility criteria:


Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) increasingly threatens our health and well-being, as infectious microbes evolve to become resistant to existing antibiotics. There is an ongoing need to discover new antibiotic classes and bring them to the clinic. The Minor Groove Binder (MGB) drug discovery platform of the Universities of Strathclyde and Huddersfield contains a family of novel compounds one of which, MGB-BP-3, is ready to enter Phase II Clinical Trial for the treatment of Clostridium difficile, in partnership with our developers MGB Biopharma.1 MGBs kill bacteria through binding to their DNA and interrupting essential bacterial metabolism, but importantly, they act at a number of targets within each cell, which means that variants that are resistant to MGBs have not been seen.2,3 We wish to investigate a range of new compounds from the MGB portfolio as potential agents for clinically challenging infections, principally those of the ESKAPE pathogen set, in addition to exploring their capacity to synergise with existing antibiotics.4,5 Beyond this, we are also interest in performing hit to lead optimisation in the antifungal, antimycobacterial and antiparasitic fields.

In a pilot study, we have already shown that in situations where a clinical pathogen has developed resistance to an existing antibiotic, dual therapy with an MGB may extend the effective lifetime of that antibiotic. This would ‘repurpose’ that ailing clinical antibiotic and extend its useful lifetime.

At present, there are a number of interesting avenues of both Chemistry and Biology research, which we wish to evaluate:

Chemistry 1. Design of novel antifungal MGBs 2. Design of novel antimycobacterial MGBs, particularly for TB. 3. Design of novel antiparasitic MGBs. 4. Design of novel antibacterial MGBs effective against Gram-negative pathogens. 5. Investigation of MGB physicochemical property modulation on activity profile against various pathogenic organisms.

Biology 1. Investigation of MGB synergy with a range of clinically relevant antibiotics. 2. Investigation of MGB synergy with a range of efflux pump inhibitors. 3. Investigation of MGB synergy with other MGBs. 4. Investigation of mechanism of action of novel MGBs that are exiting our current synthetic medicinal chemistry pipeline.

This project provides students with the opportunity to contribute to our Global MGB Drug Development efforts, and assist with developing a better understanding of our emerging new class of antibiotic.

References 1 2 F. J. Scott et al., Eur J Med Chem. 2017 Aug 18;136:561-572. 3 F. J. Scott et al., Euro. J. Med. Chem., 2016, 116, 116–125. 4 F. J. Scott et al., Bioorg. Med. Chem. Lett., 2016, 26, 3478-86. 5 F. J. Scott et al., Bioorg. Med. Chem Lett., 2016, 26, 3326-3329.


Self-funding applicants are welcome. In addition to tuition fees, bench fees of between £3-£15,000 per annum are required depending on the nature of the project.


Home/EU – for September- June 30th, for January-October 31st and Overseas for September- May 31st, for January- September 30th


How to apply


Blood flow is severely restricted in the periphery compartments of a tumour biomass, cells in these regions live under hypoxic conditions with limited availability of glucose sugars. What is not clear is if these cells are able to recycle sugars from the surface of dead and lysing cells and, if so, if mannose can be recycled from surface glycans for use as a carbon feed. In this research project, we are proposing to investigate the role of mannose metabolism within hypoxic cancer cells. A number of enzymes are involved in the uptake and transformation of mannose including MPI (phosphomannose isomerase) which controls the flux between catabolism and glycan formation.

In this project we will follow kinetic features of mannose metabolism within a variety of cancer cell lines, under both aerobic and hypoxic conditions. We will investigate the levels of production of MPI using classical activity measurements where the rate of transformation of mannose-6-phosphate to fructose 6-phosphate will be studied. We will use a range of analytical procedures, including both HPAEC-PAD and NMR, to monitor the change in concentration of Mannose, Man-6-P and Fru-6-P as a function of time. In the latter stages of the programme we will study the effect of a range of simple sugar analogues as inhibitors of the catabolic pathway in an attempt to block the triple negative cancer cells from utilising mannose as a carbon feed.


Self-funding applicants are welcome. In addition to tuition fees, bench fees of between £3-£15,000 per annum are required depending on the nature of the project.


Home/EU – for September- June 30th, for January-October 31st and Overseas for September- May 31st, for January- September 30th


How to apply

All major areas of chemistry are covered with areas of strength including:

• synthetic organic chemistry • physical organic chemistry • carbohydrates, proteins and enzyme chemistry • organometallic and supramolecular chemistry • heterogeneous catalysis and adsorption • thermal methods of analysis and synthesis • materials chemistry

To find out more about the research we conduct, take a look at our Research, Innovation and Skills webpages, where you will find information on each research area. To find out about our staff visit ‘Our experts’ which features profiles of all our academic staff.

You will need to complete a research proposal outlining your areas of interest and when this is submitted along with your research degree application form we will look for the academics within the University who have the expertise and knowledge to supervise you and guide you through your research degree.

Research Enviroment

We provide a supportive and vibrant research environment for postgraduate researchers (PGRs). Researchers at all levels are encouraged to contribute and collaborate. The Graduate School ensures that postgraduate research is of the highest quality and equips you with the resources that you need to become a successful researcher.

We have an exciting and comprehensive Researcher Skills Development Programme available to all postgraduate researchers. This enables you to broaden your knowledge and access tools and skills which can significantly improve employability. The programme is also mapped onto Vitae’s Researcher Development Framework (RDF), allowing you to benefit from Vitae support as well as our own Programme.

We offer skills training through a programme designed to take advantage of technology platforms as well as face-to-face workshops and courses. The University has subscribed to Epigeum, a programme of on-line research training support designed and managed by staff at Imperial College London which will be accessed via Brightspace, the University’s Virtual Learning Environment. We also subscribe to the University of East Anglia webinar series and The Good Doctorate video training series. We are part of the North West and Yorkshire PGR Training Group that allows PGRs to attend relevant training opportunities at other nearby universities.

Student support

Tuition fees

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