Undergraduate Profiles

Angela Alabi, Chemistry of Pharmaceutical Compounds

Angela AlabiAfter living most of my life in Cork, choosing UCC as the third level college was relatively easy because it was near enough to where I lived and I didn’t have to travel too far from home. I entered first year through Biological Chemical Sciences (CK402). 

At the end of year 1, I chose the chemistry stream. I entered into the degree outlet called Chemistry of Pharmaceutical Compounds (known as CPC). This course involved a lot of organic chemistry which I fell in love with in 1st year. I am currently in my 3rd year of the same course and I wouldn’t do anything else if I was given the choice again. The best thing about CK402 is that the course outlets are broad and varied after 1st year, which means students are given a real taste of science before giving them the opportunity to pick their career path. One of the best things about the course I am currently studying is that there is a 20 week work placement attached to it. This is a great opportunity for students to work in an industrial company, which is unique to this course.

My passion for chemistry drove me to voluntarily give my time to teach 1st year students chemistry through Peer Assisted Learning (PAL). All these are free tutition services available to students who need help in areas they find difficult.

In my opinion, Chemistry is a fascinating field of study. Because it is so fundamental to our world, chemistry plays a role in everyone's lives and touches almost every aspect of our existence in some way. Chemistry is essential for meeting our basic needs of food, clothing, health, energy, and clean air and water.

Wilma Ndhlovu, Chemistry with Forensic Science

WilmaI moved to Ireland at a very young age and completed my primary and secondary education here. Being a South African national I found it difficult to adjust and make friends, even though I was quick to learn and never dramatically fell behind in class, I even completed my 5th and 6th year of secondary school in An Gaeltacht in Co. Kerry.

But this was all before the day I made the decision to put CK402 (Biological and Chemical Sciences) on my CAO form. I chose to do this course because I knew that it was my ticket to studying forensic science, which is what I always wanted to do. Why I chose UCC is simple really, I had done my research! Firstly UCC is the only institution in Ireland that has a course like Chemistry with Forensic Science as a degree, and it was recently approved and accredited by the Institution of Chemistry of Ireland and the RSC (Royal Society Of Chemistry).

After finding all this out it enhanced the attractiveness of the programme to me. I was a First Year student in UCC in September 2011 when UCC won an award for being first five star University in Ireland. I knew I had chosen the right University. I quickly made friends and because of the diversity of nationalities in UCC.  There is a great sense of acceptance, and that’s what I appreciate most about UCC.

A BSc in Chemistry with Forensic Science was established in 2005. First Year is general science and includes Physics, Biology, Chemistry and Mathematics. Second Year introduces genetics and a deeper understanding of Organic Chemistry.  Third Year allows you to gain expertise in Forensic Psychology, Toxicology and Analytical Chemistry.  Practical sessions are a big part of the course and provide a dynamic learning experience. Forensic practicals include hair analysis, fingerprint lifting and so much more. Last year as part of our practical course we investigated a mock crime scene and I was lucky enough to have the role of crime scene manager. This means that I got to give specific roles to the team of CSI’s, such as a sketch artist, a photographer and much more. We got to present our evidence in “court”. For me, it was a great exercise.

Chemistry with Forensic Science in UCC really provides you with a unique learning experience. What I have learned through this course has been excellent so far.  I look forward to the remainder of the course, and a future in Forensic Science.

For information on the Chemistry with Forensic Science course click here.

Luke Daly, Chemical Physics

I am from Tralee, Co. Kerry and I'm currently in third year Chemical Physics. I studied both Chemistry and Physics in secondary school, always changing my mind over which I preferred and never really settling with any one clear choice. Naturally I put both CK408 (Physics with Astrophysics) and CK406 (Chemical Sciences) both down on my CAO, both valid entry courses for Chemical Physics. In the end, I entered through CK408 and had the option to take extra modules, all of which (in my case) ended up being Chemistry, leaving the door to Chemistry open to further prolong the choice! By the end of first year it was obvious I’d never decide so out of the different degree choices I had, I chose Chemical Physics and I’ve never looked back.

UCC is a great college with fantastic facilities in a great city. It is also the only college in the country (and only one of a handful in the world) to offer a course in Chemical Physics. It offers a strong grounding in Chemistry, Physics and even programming (primarily in MATLAB, c++ and labvVIEW). As well as this, individual aspects of the course tend to complement each other regularly which makes learning easier and allows you to see an idea from a different scientific point of view.

The course offers an excellent balance between theory and practical. For example at one point you’ll be learning about reactions that occur in the atmosphere or perhaps the implications of quantum mechanics and the next thing you know, you’re in the lab using lasers to analyse a sample or building a circuit board from scratch. There is something for everyone with a passion for science in this course. Due to the broad amount of topics covered, this course also leaves a broad range of masters of PhD opportunities upon completion. There are also plenty of opportunities for students to work in the both the Chemistry and Physics Departments, or in the Tyndall National Institute, during the summer.

Needless to say, Chemical Physics is an exceptionally unique and diverse course. I’d strongly recommend people who have an interest in chemistry and physics to consider it.

For information on the Chemical Physics course click here.

School of Chemistry


University College Cork, College Rd, Cork, Ireland