Chemistry - Environmental Analytical Chemistry

Course Outline
MSc degree courses are provided in three key areas of Analytical Chemistry, Environmental Analytical Chemistry and in Pharmaceutical Analysis. They are designed to provide advanced knowledge and hands-on training in modern analytical instrumental techniques. Separation science, sensors, and spectroscopic techniques are key elements alongside chemometrics, instrumentation and advanced research project completion. Students will have the flexibility to specialise in a chosen field and further advancement to PhD research is available to highly motivated and talented postgraduates.

The MSc in Environmental Analytical Chemistry is a one-year course designed to provide you with the theoretical and practical skills for employment in a diverse range of industries that require analytical expertise. The course curriculum consists of six months of lectures, laboratory practical sessions, career service workshops, industry-based seminars/workshops, site visits to industry and a six-month research project (industry, research institute, aboard).

The curriculum has been developed with input from staff in the chemistry department and also by the industry advisory board, to provide you with the necessary skills required by employers. Students have the choice to complete the six-month research project in a national or international industry or university environment. They also have the opportunity to present their research at the annual George Guilbault Symposium that is sponsored by industry with a number of awards being presented to students at this event.

On completion of this MSc course, you will be able to:
• identify, formulate, analyse and solve problems in the analysis of chemical compounds
• outline fundamental and applied aspects of chemical analysis
• design and carry out a method of pharmaceutical and chemical analysis, including instrumental analysis
• prepare written laboratory reports that provide a description of the experiment, explain the experiment and reasoning clearly, and provide an appropriate conclusion
• communicate effectively with the chemistry, environmental and pharmaceutical communities
• carry out research and method development in chemical, pharmaceutical and environmental analysis
• prepare a written research report in the form of a dissertation

The MSc course in Environmental Analytical Chemistry consists of eight course modules that include lectures, set practical sessions, career service workshops, industry guest lectures, industry workshops and site visits and a six-month research project.

Research Project and Industry Placement:
You will be required to complete a six-month research project based on your individual research and development in a selected field of modern science. You carry out your research in UCC's laboratories or at an approved academic or industrial partner.

When you complete your research dissertation in an industrial setting, it provides the company with an opportunity to assess your skills and abilities and to screen potential future full-time employees. Students also have the opportunity to travel aboard to do their research project. This highlights the international recognition of the course and the close links established between the course and the relevant institutes.

Students who secure employment upon graduation fit into the organisation and contribute productively much sooner than other graduates. For students with an interest in future careers as PhD researchers, research projects are offered across a broad range of topics.

Why Choose This Course
This is the most established Environmental Analytical MSc course in Ireland and is amongst the more popular MSc courses studied in UCC. This MSc course in particular has great international success in attracting students from all over the World due to the industry-led teaching agenda. The industry relevant curriculum offered to students and the opportunity to complete a six-month placement in industry or an academic research lab has also impacted greatly on the student experience. The global recognition of the course is also evident from our international alumni that maintains contact through a dedicated LinkedIn group.

This course also has an Industry Advisor Board that provides crucial industry feedback on both the teaching strategy and practice for the taught postgraduate course in Environmental Analytical Chemistry. There are currently 18 companies on this board with representatives from the Pharmacutical, BioPharma, Biomedical Device, Environment and Food/Beverage sectors. There are a number guest lectures from industry and a dedicated industry led module where students participate in a series of workshops either delivered on site with the industry partner or hosted by the Tyndall National Institute.

Annually, the George Guilbault Symposium provides the MSc students with an opportunity to present their Thesis projects. This event is run over two days, with all students presenting. An evening reception also takes places where students have the chance to present a poster on their research work and engage with industry. Students are shortlisted for presenting to the industry judges on the second day and these presentations are distributed amongst several keynote presentations made by industry. All the awards (Best Presentation and Best Poster) are sponsored by industry.

This MSc course in Environmental Analytical Chemistry gives students a broad foundation in analytical chemistry and its application in an industrial setting with more focus specifically on the analysis of environmental samples and environmental legislation. It also provides them an opportunity to gain much sought-after and valued industry relevant training and qualification in an analytical division. This course is internationally recognised for its award-winning and high quality students with >90% of students finding employment in industry or going on to further their studies through PhD.

Entry requirements

• Candidates must have obtained at least a Second Class Honours degree or equivalent in a subject(s) related to that of the MSc programme.
• The number of places is limited and selection will be made on the basis of the candidate's performance in his/her primary degree. Graduates with equivalent qualifications in related areas of science and technology, or with proven and relevant industrial experience can be considered for places following interview and assessment.

English Language Requirements
Applicants that are non-native speakers of the English language must meet the university approved English language requirements available at

International/non-EU applicants
For full details of the non-EU application procedure please visit our how to apply pages for international students. In UCC, we use the term programme and course interchangeably to describe what a person has registered to study in UCC and its constituent colleges, schools, and departments.

Not all courses are open to international/non-EU applicants, please check the fact file above.

For more information please contact the International Office.

Assessment Info

The MSc Degree in Environmental Analytical Chemistry is awarded to successful candidates after passing written examinations across all taught modules, including the continuously assessed practical module CM6015, and the research project, which has to be written up in the form of a dissertation and approved by the external examiner.

The written examinations are split between the Winter and Spring examination periods. CM6012 and EV4002 are taken in the Winter, whilst CM6013 and CM6014 are taken in the Spring. Students taking the course part-time over two years can decide in advance what exams to take in each of the two years.

The research projects commence in Semester 2 and continue into Semester 3 and cover the time period of April to September. Dissertation completion and submission deadlines are the beginning of October each year.

Further details on the content and modules are available on the Postgraduate College Calendar.

Subjects taught

Students study 90 credits course work from the following modules:

Core Modules (60 credits)
• CM6012 Modern Analytical Techniques, Chemical Data Analysis and GLP (10 credits)
• CM6013 Separation Science, Sensors and Process Analytical Technology (10 credits)
• CM6014 Materials, Pharmaceutical and Bio-analysis (10 credits)
• CM6015 Practice of Analytical Chemistry (10 credits)
• CM6027 Industry Led Workshops (5 credits)
• CM6027 Taught Postgraduate Transferable Skills Development (5 credits)
• EV4002 Environmental Monitoring (10 credits)

Research Project Module (30 credits)
• CM6021 Research Project and Dissertation in Environmental Analytical Chemistry (30 credits).


1 year Full-time; 2 years Part-time

Additional Teaching Mode Information
The part-time option will be taught during weekday working hours over 2 years.

The courses consist of a 12 month full-time intensive programme of lectures, laboratory work on set experiments and a dissertation based on individual research and development in the selected field of modern analytical science, under the supervision of an expert staff member. Part-time students may complete the course over 24 months subject to flexible day release from industry.

Enrolment dates

Start Date: 7 September 2020

Post Course Info

Skills and Careers Information
The MSc courses aim to provide you with the necessary skill set to develop methods and solve problems as demanded by many industries today (including pharmaceutical, environmental and forensic analytical laboratories). You are also introduced to research and innovation in analytical science.

Many analytical chemists, pharmaceutical chemical analysts and environmental chemical analysts go on to pursue careers in industry, government and forensic laboratories and opportunities for further research often result.

The course sets out to bridge the gap between the current undergraduate degree knowledge and what is relevant and expected by industry. There is a strong emphasis on developing transferable skills and ensuring that the career path for the student is either industry or academically focused. A large percentage of students gain employment in industry after completion of the course, however a number of graduates also decide to progress to international PhD opportunities.

More details
  • Qualification letters


  • Qualifications

    Degree - Masters (Level 9 NFQ)

  • Attendance type

    Part time

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