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Analytical Chemistry (MSc)

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  • Entry requirements
    Standard Entry You should normally possess a minimum of a lower second class honours qualification in a science-based degree containing a substantial chemistry content, or equivalent qualification. If you are an overseas applicant, you should be able to demonstrate competence in the English language to a level equivalent to IELTS 6.5.
  • Academic Title
    Analytical Chemistry (MSc)
  • Course description
    A large number of chemistry graduates work as analytical chemists and the demand for knowledgeable and skilled analysts is high in various industries (chemical, pharmaceutical, oil, steel, water, environmental, forensic, food, healthcare, biomedical). This programme has been specifically designed to allow you to update, extend and deepen your knowledge in analytical chemistry to enhance your career opportunities in industry, or as a preparation for further academic research.

    In addition to common core modules (Graduate Science Research Methods and Subject Exploration), four specialised modules will provide you with opportunities to explore modern instrumental techniques for elemental and organic analysis with particular emphases on biomedical, environmental and pharmaceutical applications.

    There are practical sessions for all taught topics which will enable you to gain valuable hands-on experience. Projects are selected according to professional and academic interests.

    Analytical Chemistry is a long established discipline at Northumbria University with highly regarded research profiles in environmental and biomedical analysis.

    Advanced Elemental Analysis
    This module will be delivered by a combination of lectures and laboratory exercises. The principal features of elemental analytical methods will be described, concentrating on spectroscopic and electroanalytical methods. The module will cover the following:

        * Review of metals of environmental and biological significance, their occurrence, and maximum permissible levels.
        * Analytical techniques of appropriate sensitivity to monitor levels of heavy metals in the environment. Techniques to include flame and graphite furnace atomic absorption spectroscopy, inductively coupled plasma emission and mass spectrometry, X-ray fluorescence spectrometry and electroanalytical techniques.
        * Determination of speciation, studies of oxidation state and metal-organic complexes of environmental relevance and importance; methods to assess chemical form and speciation e.g. selective extractions.

    Advanced Organic Analysis
    This module will be delivered by a combination of lectures and laboratory exercises. The principal features of organic analytical methods will be described, concentrating on chromatographic and spectroscopic methods. The module will cover the following:

        * Review of organic compounds of environmental and biological significance, their occurrence, and maximum permissible levels.
        * Application of preconcentration methods including thermal absorption, purge and trap, and headspace analysis, to volatile organic compound (VOC) measurement.
        * Chromatographic separation and quantitation. Review of gas chromatography (GC), high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), and ion chromatography (IC). Applications to VOC, surfactants, pesticides, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, polychlorinated biphenyls and other compounds of environmental importance.
        * Chromatographic detection in GC, HPLC and IC. Mass detectors, flame ionisation, electron capture, ultraviolet-visible, photodiode array detection.
        * Sample preparation for chromatographic analysis. Solid phase extraction, supercritical fluid extraction, microwave-assisted extraction and pressurised fluid extraction.
        * Review of infra-red (IR) spectroscopy, mass spectrometry (MS) and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. Basic principles of IR, MS and NMR and interpretation of spectra.

    Case studies in Environmental Forensics
    The module aims to provide a student with an opportunity to undertake case studies in environmental forensics. The module centres on detailed case studies of selected site investigations and will focus on:

        * Historical context of case studies
        * Regulatory frameworks for contaminated land in UK and overseas
        * Evaluation of potential sampling strategies and experimental design.
        * Laboratory analysis using: - ICP-MS and Atomic Absorption techniques for elemental analysis; - X-ray fluorescence techniques for elemental analysis; - Infra-red spectroscopy for screening soil and groundwater samples for persistent organic pollutants; - Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry techniques for persistent organic pollutants.
        * An overview of remediation strategies.

    Biomolecular Analysis
    This module aims to provide students with an opportunity to explore how modern instrumental techniques in analytical chemistry are used for the analysis of molecules of biological origin and importance, in a variety of matrices and substrates. Focus will be placed on techniques for the analysis of proteins, peptides and a range of pharmaceutical products, drugs and natural products.

    Advanced analytical techniques will include those for separation and purification (e.g. electrophoresis and modern chromatographic methods), for identification and structural elucidation (e.g. MS-MS, MALDI-MS and 2D-NMR methods) as well as hyphenated techniques. Sampling protocols (e.g. from biological specimens and fluids, pharmaceutical preparations, and materials of organic origin), and analytical method development will also be explored.

    The module will cover the following:

        * Separation Techniques: (Gel Electrophoresis for protein separation; Capillary Electrophoresis for drug analysis; GC/HPLC for protein and drug analysis; Pyrolysis GC-MS; Immunological methods (ELISA))
        * Structural Techniques: (Tandem mass spectrometry (MS-MS); Matrix-assisted laser desorption and ionisation (MALDI); MS NMR methods (multinuclear and multidimensional techniques))
        * Substrates (examples): (Biofluids (blood, urine, plasma, serum); Biological specimens; Pharmaceutical preparations; Artists and historical organic materials)
        * Sampling methodologies and analytical method development.

    The school is well equipped with a wide range of state-of-the-art analytical techniques for elemental and molecular analysis in combination with automated equipment for sample preparation.

    All staff who teach you have research interests and publications in analytical chemistry or related areas and have a PhD. Technical support is provided by experienced technicians.

    The modules are assessed by via combinations of coursework, laboratory reports and/or examination.

    The course delivers advanced training in the major areas of analytical science from elemental/organic analysis, separation techniques to molecular characterisation, and therefore provides excellent career prospects in the UK and overseas. Our students go into a variety of careers including laboratory analysts and research scientists.

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