Department of Chemistry University of Oxford

For students (or non-students!) looking to find out more of what Chemistry is all about, we always recommend reading and exploring any relevant materials you can find. We've put together a list of links to resources we think are helpful, including videos, simulations, interactive exercises and more!

Research at Oxford

Oxford Chemistry: Life-changing chemical research at Oxford: Journalist Sue Saville talks with members of the Department to discover how innovative research in chemistry has positive and sustainable impacts in the real world.  Graham Richards, Hagan Bayley, Dermot O’Hare, Martin Smith and students from the EPSRC-supported SBM CDT discuss spinout companies, industrial partnerships and a ground-breaking Centre for Doctoral Training.

Oxford Sparks: Short videos explaining the work of Oxford scientists, with associated teaching material for KS3-KS5

Oxford Chemistry Research: Impact Case Studies: The Oxford Impacts series celebrates the range of impacts the University has on the world of policy, health, business and culture. All of this is enabled by the world-leading research of Oxford academics. This set of case studies showcases academic research in Chemistry that has had an impact on the world:

Introducing our DPhils: A series of short videos featuring a number of our DPhil (PhD) students. In each, they share their academic journey and give a brief overview of their research and why it matters. 


Good Reads: Chemistry: A list of popular chemistry books

University College Reading Bank: The bookshelves of the Univ Reading Bank are packed with book reviews by Univ students (and a few tutors thrown in for good measure.) They’ve chosen books which they either read before they came to Oxford, or they wish they had. 

Worcester College Bookshelf Project: A successful project designed to encourage the sharing and review of books that are enjoyed in each subject. Not all Chemistry books. 


Chemistry Conversations: A new series of articles written by our Ambassadors and Alumni. 

Putting the Pieces Together - Victoria Atkinson


Introductory Material for undergraduate students

You may wish to purchase some of these books at this stage, though it may be best to wait until you arrive here before deciding on the advanced texts. There is a fairly brisk trade in second hand copies of these books in Oxford (and previous editions are usually very good value). Undergraduates who have finished with Part I and are specialising, for instance in Organic Chemistry, sometimes sell their Cotton & Wilkinson in a book mart scheme. Thus you may be able to pick up a second hand copy more cheaply when you arrive in Oxford. I think a reasonable policy would be to buy two or three of the books now and pick up the remainder when you get here.

Physical Chemistry, P W Atkins, Oxford University Press (8th edn.) 2006, [7th edn. 2001]

Inorganic Chemistry, Shriver and Atkins, Oxford University Press (4th edn) 2006, (previous edn., 1999]

Chemistry of the Elements, Greenwood & Earnshaw, Pergamon (2nd edn.), 1997 [1st edn. 1985]

Foundations of Organic Chemistry, Hornby & Peach, Oxford Chemistry Primer, OUP, 1996

A Guide to Mechanism in Organic Chemistry, Sykes, Pearson (6th edn.),1986

Organic Chemistry, Maitland, Jones, Norton, (3rd edn.) 2004

Mathematical Methods for Science Students, G. Stephenson, Pearson (2nd edn.) 1978, rep. 1984

Organic Chemistry, Clayden, Greeves, Warren and Wothers, OUP

Videos & Documentaries

Royal Institute Christmas Lectures: A set of engaging lectures. Searchable by topic and lecturer.

Wothers.com: An engaging series of online videos of lecture-demonstrations from Cambridge University’s Chemistry Department.

BBC iPlayer: Indulge your curiosity with a wide variety of documentaries on Science and Nature.

TED Talks - Chemistry: Another way to find out more across a whole host of topics related to Chemistry.

Experiments & Simulations

Kitchen Chemistry: Why not explore how different fruits affect the setting of jelly (Enzymes in Pineapple Instructions, Enzymes in Pineapple Parent-Teacher Resource) or whether you can really taste vegetables cooked in salt (Cooking with Salt Instructions, Cooking with Salt Parent/Teacher Resource). Aimed at primary age students, but suitable for the curious of any age!

CREST Awards: CREST is a nationally recognised scheme for student-led project work in the STEM subjects. 

PhET Interactive Simulations: PhET sims are fun, interactive, research-based simulations of physical phenomena developed by the PhET project at the University of Colorado.

RSC Screen Experiments: Practice your experimental techniques out of the lab using the RSC’s interactive screen experiments.

CLEAPSS YouTube Channel: A large number of clips detailing practical work developed to support teachers. CLEAPSS suggest these can be used as demonstrations. For those with CLEAPSS membership (£), there is a guidance document (GL339) which provides descriptions and hyperlinks for specific clips


Salters Festivals of Chemistry: The Salters’ Institute Festivals of Chemistry are a series of popular and inspiring one day Chemistry events involving practical work. The University of Oxford hosts the Year 7/8 and Year 9 events annually around June.

RSC Top of the Bench: An annual schools’ practical chemistry competition involving regional heats and a national final. The University of Oxford hosts the regional competition annually around November.

Cambridge Chemistry Challenge (C3L6): An excellent annual competition for students in Year 12 (and a great way to extend able Year 11). Past papers, mark schemes and commentaries available.

RSC Chemistry Olympiad: A challenging annual competition for students in Year 13. Past papers, mark schemes and commentaries available, along with worked examples and interactive tutorials provided by the Wolfson Trust.


Museums Online: Browse collections at the Science Museum Group (includes the Science Museum, Science and Media Museum, Science and Industry Museum, Railway Museum, and Locomotion) and the Natural History Museum, London, as well as Oxford’s Pitt Rivers Museum and The Museum of the History of Science

Things We Don't Know (TWDK): Things We Don’t Know (TWDK) is a UK-based science education company, which seeks to help improve the public understanding of science and dedicated to explaining the questions to which science still seeks answers.

Chemguide: A useful website for A level Chemistry. Provides an alternative ‘teacher voice’. Mainly text.

BBC Bitesize: Free revision website for KS3 and GCSE Chemistry. Short videos, animations and mini-tests. 

ACD/ChemSketch: Free resource for drawing molecules.

chemNRICH: The chemistry section of stemNRICH Advanced. This contains mathematical activities designed to complement and enhance the study of chemistry, particularly for students aged 16-19, however, there are areas of the site suited for 14-16, too.

Khan Academy: A helpful website with tutorials and worked examples.

Oxford Science Blog: The Oxford Science Blog gives you the inside track on science at Oxford University: the projects, the people, and what's happening behind the scenes.

Prepare for University - NRICH Mathematical Chemistry: 10 problems designed to make you think.

RSC Synthesis Explorer: Plan synthetic routes and study key organic chemistry reactions interactively with this resource.

SparkNotes: A text-heavy website that covers a limited number of topics. Useful for further reading and some extension topics, too.

The Naked Scientists: Podcasts and articles on the latest scientific breakthroughs.

University College Resources Hub: Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences: Links to resources in a wide range of topics.

Revision Guides & Magazines

RSC Analysis Resources: A useful collection of resources focused on chemical analysis.

S-Cool Chemistry GCSE Revision: A popular revision website for A level and GCSE Chemistry. Registration required, but this is free.

Seneca Learning: Chemistry: A learning platform that ensures you keep on revising material. Free to use, but registration required.

The New Scientist: Although a subscription magazine, there is limited access to articles on the website without a subscription.

The Scientist - Chemistry: Although a subscription magazine, there are free newsletters and access to articles on the website.

Chemistry World: A wide range of articles and podcasts on offer. Registration required, but it is free.

The Oxford Scientist: A student-run science magazine

Chemistry on YouTube

Periodic Table Videos: A video about each element on the periodic table. New videos are uploaded every week as well as science news, interesting molecules and other things from the world of chemistry.

Royal Society YouTube Channel: Curated by playlist, a whole set of engaging videos and clips.

Chemistry in the Garden: Dr Alison Foster on audio trails in Oxford's botanic gardens, which allow visitors to learn about chemistry in beautiful surroundings. Featuring Prof Ed Anderson and Prof Kylie Vincent.

Oxford University Christmas Science Lectures - Chemistry Show: A chance to find out just how fun Chemistry can be!