About the School

Welcome to the School of Chemistry

Head of School of Chemistry, Prof. Justin Holmes

‌Welcome to the web pages for the School of Chemistry at University College Cork- the first Irish Chemistry School to have its courses formally accredited by the leading professional body for Chemistry, the Royal Society of Chemistry, and still the only School in Ireland where pure ‘Chemistry’ (entry codes CK402 Biological and Chemical Sciences and CK406 Chemical Sciences)  is accredited as a degree programme, along with the ever popular ‘Chemistry of Pharmaceutical Compounds’ (entry code CK402)  and ‘Chemistry with Forensic Science’ (entry codes CK402 and CK406).

In addition together with colleagues in the Physics Department we offer students the only degree programme in ‘Chemical Physics’ in Ireland (entry code CK406 and CK408).  This degree is accredited by the Institute of Physics.

These programmes are offered in what is one of the largest and most research active Schools of Chemistry in the country. An emphasis on excellence in both teaching and research permeates through all activities within the School and provides a relevant, vibrant, modern yet friendly and accommodating environment that our students enjoy. We work hard to provide the best possible education and training to all students within the School including undergraduates, Masters and PhD students and while we also expect our students to reciprocate this level of commitment we are constantly seeking to improve our courses so as to ensure that our graduates are ideally placed to move onto the next phase of their careers- whatever and wherever this may be. In this regard we value and actively seek input from colleagues based in industry in terms of course content while we have an active programme of relevant industrial lectures which enhance all aspects of our teaching.

Research is of paramount importance within the School - a fact which helps to ensure that our courses are constantly evolving, keeping up to date with the most recent findings.  Our research mainly centres on the interdisciplinary fields of pharmaceutical chemistry, nanoscience and nanotechnology, atmospheric chemistry and development of new analytical sciences. Undergraduate students get the opportunity to perform research in these areas via a series of projects undertaken during years 3 and 4 of the course, while our Masters students also undertake a full research project, usually drawn from the areas listed above.

We also have strong links to other UCC research centres such as the Tyndall National Institute, the Environmental Research Institute and the Analytical & Biological Chemistry Research Facility. As well as this, staff members have strong links to other Irish centres of excellence such as CRANN and AMBER at Trinity College Dublin and the Solid State Pharmaceutical Cluster based at the University of Limerick. The international research reputation of many of our staff members draws a large number of graduate students and postdoctoral researchers to UCC, from across the globe. The School also has strong links to local, national and international industries and researchers work closely with staff of companies such as Intel, Pfizer, Ely Lily, Millipore, Johnson and Johnson, Lake Region Medical and Applied Materials as well as smaller companies such as Glantreo and SolarPrint.

Chemistry is without doubt the most central of all the sciences in terms of the diversity of applications that require chemistry-based skills. A Chemist might find themselves working on the synthesis of the latest anti-cancer drug, designing materials for next generation microchips, developing models of atmospheric pollution or even working on improved medical sensors designed to monitor thinks like blood sugar levels-  such is the level of diversity that is open to the modern Chemist.

At UCC we study all of these areas as well as teaching the basics necessary to understand and appreciate their complexity and significance. In this regard we are fortunate to possess a wide range of state-of-the-art facilities that allow us to make very relevant progress in all of these areas and more. 

Finally, let me welcome you once again to the School of Chemistry at UCC. Please do not hesitate to contact me should you have any questions about our courses, our research or our links and services to industry. I or one of my colleagues will be only too delighted to provide you with whatever help or information that you require.

Prof Justin Holmes

School of Chemistry


University College Cork, College Rd, Cork, Ireland