The core compulsory courses in the first year lay a strong foundation in the most important chemical phenomena: students get familiar with molecular and quantum mechanical level description of matter and chemical reactions. Students then choose from a wide range of specialisation courses, depending on their own interests and aspirations.
Depending on the study path the major will offer comprehensive knowledge in:
- Analytical Chemistry
- Organic Chemistry
- Inorganic Chemistry
- Physical and Computational Chemistry
The organic and inorganic study paths provide good knowledge on synthesizing and analysing organic or inorganic materials. The physical chemistry study path focuses on electrochemistry and computational chemistry. In addition to the natural science basis, the major provides good knowledge in chemical engineering practices, especially when complementing the major's courses with chemical engineering courses.
In the academic year 2020-2021 as specialisation courses students can also choose courses offered by the University of Helsinki in subjects such as molecular science and physical chemistry. More information about the studies can be found on the Aalto University Wiki page.
The structure of the studies is planned so that the students have the freedom and flexibility to tailor their studies according to their needs and interests. Students may want to have a heavy emphasis on scientific research or they may want to orient themselves outside the traditional chemical industry. For example, the recent surge in technology has produced new cross-disciplinary functions for chemical experts to work at the intersection of chemistry and technology in areas such as Li-ion battery development.
Students are encouraged to complement their studies with chemical engineering, functional materials or physics courses. For example, combining organic chemistry and polymer engineering will be very useful when working with polymer-based industrial problems. Additional studies in chemical engineering will broaden the understanding in industrial processes. Combining inorganic chemistry and materials science provides a good background of materials development projects in the industry. Physics studies will help to better understand physical chemistry problems.
To give concrete examples of some of the topics covered in the programme, below is a selection of five courses from the programme’s extensive curriculum:
- Modern Methods in Biocatalysis (5 ECTS)
- Functional Inorganic Materials (5 ECTS)
- Computational Chemistry (5 ECTS)
- Laboratory Work in Organic Chemistry (5 ECTS)
- Laboratory Work in Inorganic Chemistry (5 ECTS)
Students benefit from a highly innovative learning environment where state-of-the-art research is conducted in the Department of Chemistry and Materials Science. The inorganic chemistry group is one of the leading laboratories in layered materials synthesis in Europe, whereas the organic chemistry group is internationally acclaimed in the field of asymmetric synthesis of natural products. The physical chemistry group exhibits a unique combination of electrochemistry and molecular modelling with applications to next generation batteries and hydrogen fuel economy, and thermodynamics and transport phenomena are also areas of expertise. Finally, the analytical chemistry group is developing methods for diagnostic microbiology.
Laboratory works, either in groups or independently, form a major part of the learning. Teaching methods also include lectures by professors and visiting experts, small group teaching, essay writing, as well as field trips and excursions to companies and research institutes. One of the strengths of the Master’s Programme in Chemical, Biochemical and Materials Engineering is close cooperation with the industry. Many projects and assignments in the courses are given directly by industry representatives, preparing students for their future careers.
Personal Study Plan (PSP)
The Personal Study Plan (PSP) is a practical tool to define a student’s own study path, compiling an optimal selection of courses that are aligned with the student's interests and programme requirements. PSP is also a useful tool for students to keep track of their studies. At best, it shows where students are with their studies and sets concrete milestones for them to follow.