Stockholm university logo, link to start page
Gå till denna sida på svenska webben

Master's Programme in Sustainable Chemistry

Sustainability - how to achieve and maintain it - depends on several complex factors where sustainable chemistry is key. Sustainable chemistry is a broad field that addresses and solves important environmental and climate change related problems.

Sustainable chemistry is the field that will accelerate and support a shift in industrial production of chemicals, materials and other products towards resource-efficiency with minimal or almost zero pollution. 

The Master’s program in Sustainable Chemistry will equip you with the knowledge on how to assess chemical syntheses and processing routes. You will gain comprehensive understanding on how to design sustainable materials and chemicals and you will above all learn the fundamentals of green and sustainable chemistry.

As a student in the program you will start to grasp complex concepts such as chemical fate and toxicological effects on the environment and human health. At the end of our program you will be able to evaluate chemical syntheses and the production of materials based on UN’s sustainability goals, principles of green chemistry and life cycle assessment. 

The Master’s program will cover specific topics that touch our areas of expertise such as recycling, water purification, carbon capture and storage, sustainable organic syntheses, renewable materials, and energy conversion and storage. It will also provide you with the technical knowledge and laboratory skills to contribute to the development of a sustainable society and industry.

The Master’s program is taught by professors and experienced researchers in sustainable chemistry, together with industrial scientists, experts in toxicology, environmental law and life cycle assessment. To ensure you also aquire transferrable skills such as critical thinking and project management, regular teaching will be combined with problem-based learning sessions. During these sessions you will be challenged to evolve your creative thinking by working on real-life case studies.

The program will also will give you the possibility to dive into research in sustainable chemistry carried out at Stockholm University by active involvement in highly relevant research projects.  

The Master’s Program in Sustainable Chemistry

The Master’s Program in Sustainable Chemistry provides you with essential skills and knowledge to contribute to the development of a sustainable society.

  • Programme overview

    The master’s program is taught by professors and experienced researchers in sustainable chemistry, together with industrial scientists, experts in toxicology, environmental law and life cycle assessment. 

    • The program is 120 ECTS. 
    • The program consists of seven mandatory courses (for a total of 52,5 ECTS) and an independent master’s thesis project of 30 or 45 ECTS.  
    • You will also be able to include elective courses of 22,5 or 37,5 ECTS. 

    Year 1

    The first year consists of seven mandatory courses that will give you a broad knowledge in sustainable chemistry.

    Fall semester:

    Period A Introduction to Sustainable Chemistry, 7,5 ECTS

    Period B Materials Chemistry for Environmental Applications, 7.5 ECTS

    Period C Chemistry of Renewable Materials, 7.5 ECTS

    Period D Chemistry of Renewable Energy Generation and Storage, 7.5 ECTS

    Spring semester:

    Period A Toxicology for Environmental Scientists, 7.5 ECTS

    Period B Sustainable Organic Chemistry, 7.5 ECTS

    Period C Chemistry of Sustainable Recycling, 7.5 ECTS

    Period D - 7.5 ECTS elective course, e.g. Experimental characterization methods in sustainable materials chemistry 7.5 ECTS

    Year 2

    Fall semester:

    15 or 30 ECTS elective courses

    Period A, maybe Electron Microscopy for Materials Characterization, 7.5 ECTS?

    Period A-B, maybe Analytical Chemistry, Advanced Separation Methods, 15 ECTS?

    Drung this semester it is possible to study abroad.

    Spring semester:

    30 or 45 ECTS independent master’s thesis project (the 45 ECTS master’s thesis starts in the fall semester)

    Independent project

    The independent master’s thesis project is mandatory to obtain a degree and graduate. It will give you the unique possibility of carrying out and being part of a highly relevant and cutting edge research project in sustainable chemistry at Stockholm University, or at another university/research organisation.

  • How to apply

    You apply for the program through universityadmissions.se

    Eligibility:

    Bachelor's degree, or equivalent, including at least 60 ECTS in chemistry. Also required is Swedish Upper Secondary School course English B/English 6 or equivalent.

    Selection process

    Additional eligibility criteria

    Relevance of previous studies in relation to the programme and motivation letter. 

    As part of the application for our Master's programme you will be asked to provide a letter of motivation. The letter is an important selection criterion and must be uploaded together with your application at the university admissions website.

    Please answer the follwing questions, and add the document to your application on university admissions. We expect maximum of two A4 pages.

    • Your full name
    • E-mail address
    • The name of the masters programme you are applying to
    • A list of completed courses, including number of credits, which counts towards meeting the specific eligibility requirements for the program (please include courses not completed as well)
    • What inspired you to apply to this particular program?
    • Lab experience, this programme requires very good laboratory skills
    • Why are you a good candidate?
    • What do you hope to achieve with your degree?
    • What research questions interest you and how do they relate to the ongoing research at Stockholm University?
    • Upload this letter with your application on to universityadmissions.se
  • Meet us

    Meet our students

    Meet Fengyang, PhD student in Sustainable Chemistry

    Fenyang decided to join us at SU for his PhD studies after stuyding in both China and Finland. Read more about his experience below!

    Fenyang Wang

    Tell me about yourself:

    My name’s Fengyang, currently doing PhD studies at Stockholm University under supervision of Prof. Mika Sipponen, mainly focusing on the valorization of biomass materials. Previously, I did my Master’s degree studies in Finland and my bachelor’s studies in China. 

    How did you end up at SU?

    Nordic countries are rich in forests, and both the industry and academics are seeking a more sustainable way of utilizing this renewable resource. Therefore, there are many great opportunities in this field. I majored in applied chemistry during my bachelor’s study, then got a chance to exchange to Finland in my third year’s study. That’s where I started to learn about forest-based biomass materials. After finishing my Master’s degree study in Finland, I got a chance to continue doing studies related to biomass materials here at SU. 

    What is your position?
    I’m a PhD student at MMK, my research interest is mainly focusing on developing multifunctional wood coatings by using fractionated tree bark. It’s like using bark to protect the wood as nature does, but with a redesign that favours certain properties that we would like to achieve.

    What do you think makes a good chemistry student?
    A good chemistry student should have a good understanding of the fundamentals related to their major, but it’s also quite important to be able to apply this knowledge in the real world. Sometimes what people are doing in the laboratory is quite different from the commercialized products. Being able to bridge them in a way is a good skill to develop during the study. Having a curious mind is also important, as well as working in a team and supporting each other.

    A good chemistry student should have a good understanding of the fundamentals related to their major, but it’s also quite important to be able to apply this knowledge in the real world.

    What did you learn during your studies that you find valuable today?
    I find all of my previous studies important and I’m aware that there’s still a lot more to learn. Basic chemistry knowledge helps me understand the phenomenon that occurred during the experiment, allowing me to give reasonable explanations for it. This connection of fundamental theory with experimental results continues to be important for my studies. A particular challenge of lignocellulosic biomass is its complex composition and reactivity requiring broad knowledge across the different chemistry disciplines.

    Why should anyone study chemistry?
    Chemistry is everywhere in our life, the polymeric materials that we are using every day come from materials chemistry, and also the industries related to cosmetics, batteries, coatings, etc. In modern society, it’s difficult to survive without chemistry. It helps us solve problems, giving reasonable answers to numerous questions. 

    What motivates you in your role/what are your driving forces?
    Nordic countries like Sweden and Finland play important roles in forestry. Meanwhile, people are also trying to figure out a more sustainable way of using these valuable resources. Both academia and industry have been working on it for many years, and plenty of start-up companies are focusing on for example novel regenerated cellulose fibres, utilization of the lignin from papermaking and biorefinery industries, etc. I see many opportunities in this field, and numerous interesting works are emerging from it, such as novel textiles, bio-based high-strength adhesives, coatings, bio-based phenolic resins, etc. Overall, there are many opportunities for future career development regardless of whether one chooses to stay in the academia or seek jobs in the industry or research institutes.

    I see many opportunities in this field, and numerous interesting works are emerging from it, such as novel textiles, bio-based high-strength adhesives, coatings, bio-based phenolic resins...

    In what way do you believe chemistry can help build a more sustainable future?

    Since I’m working with biomass materials, I can probably say how chemistry helps me in dealing with these bio-materials. In general, chemistry helps us understand what kind of materials we are working with, what’s special about these materials, and what can we do with them. Chemistry provides us with new routes and processes when working with different materials. For example, we can choose safer solvents, simpler synthesis routes, and use renewable feedstocks like lignocellulosic materials instead of their petroleum counterparts. This transformation from fossil to bio challenges us chemists to achieve a greener chemistry process, then consequently also contribute to the development of a more sustainable future.

    Thanks very much Fenyang! And good luck with your research. You can read more about the research of the Sipponen group on their research group page

    Sipponen research group

    Read more about the project Fenyang is working on"Tree bark as a renewable source of wood protection materials for building applications (BarkBuild)"

    Meet Matilda, PhD student in Sustainable Chemistry

    Matilda decided to join us for a PhD after studying engineering and also gaining work experience at SSAB.

    Matilda Andersson

    Can you tell me a bit about yourself? 

    I am Matilda and originally from a small town in the north of Sweden. I graduated in 2020 with a MSc in Bioresource Engineering and decided that I wanted to work within industry to start with, so before starting here at SU I work at as a laboratory engineer at SSAB for almost two years. But then in May of this year I started as a PhD student at the Department of Materials and Environmental Chemistry in the group SUSMATCHEM led by Assistant Professor Mika Sipponen. The focus of my project is to develop advanced agricultural materials using lignin and non-food sourced fatty acid to the increase effectives and sustainability of the agricultural practices, while also lowering costs for the farmers.

    How did you end up at SU?

    After hearing some of my friends talk about their work as PhD students, I realised that it sounded like something I also wanted to pursue. When I then started looking for positions as a PhD student I found one here at SU and one of my friends was already one year in to her PhD here and she seem to really enjoy working here. So that together with finding an interesting project related to lignin and sustainability is the reason I applied and then fortunately I got the position.

    What do you think makes a good chemistry student?

    I think some qualities which make a good chemistry student are:

    Critical thinking
    Curiosity
    Passion for sciences
    Hands-on experience
    Attention to detail

    What did you learn during your studies that you find valuable today?

    There are a lot of things I learned during my studies which I consider valuable, but beside just fundamental knowledge in various subjects I would say that some of the most valuable things are:

    Time and stress management
    Multitasking
    Ability to adapt to new situations and unexpected failures
    Reviewing literature
    Handling chemicals

    By studying chemistry one has the possibility to better understand the world around us. By gathering a fundamental knowledge in chemistry one can explain things from cooking and baking to various phenomena in nature. Therefore, it is not just useful if you want to work with chemistry in the future, but also in your everyday life.

    Why should anyone study chemistry?

    By studying chemistry one has the possibility to better understand the world around us. By gathering a fundamental knowledge in chemistry one can explain things from cooking and baking to various phenomena in nature. Therefore, it is not just useful if you want to work with chemistry in the future, but also in your everyday life.

    What motivates you in your role/what are your driving forces?

    The things that motivates me are the possibility to be able to contribute to the work towards a sustainable future. We all know about the environmental struggles around the world and the need to work towards making more environmentally friendly and sustainable choices, so for me I feels good to do work that might contribute to a better future in some way.

    Green Chemistry provides us with the appropriate tools to transform the industrial and chemical processes into a more efficient and sustainable processes

    In what way do you believe chemistry can help build a more sustainable future?

    Since chemistry is involved in so many different part of our everyday life it is possible to utilise this to our advantage when trying to build a more sustainable future. In this regard, Green Chemistry provides us with the appropriate tools to transform the industrial and chemical processes into a more efficient and sustainable processes. In addition, Green Chemistry is also linked with the circular economy concept, which encourage industry to recycle and reuse their wastes and by-product streams, using them as feedstocks in the productive cycle instead of the natural ones.

    Within my research group we contribute this by utilizing industrial side-streams from different industries to develop advanced materials for various applications. Some examples of these applications are lignin based multifunctional coatings, biocatalytic membranes and lignin polymer networks.

    Sipponen research group

    Read more about the project Matilda is working on "Lignin-fatty acid hybrid materials for advanced agricultural applications (LIFAGRO)"

     

  • Career opportunities

    Graduates of the Master’s program in Sustainable Chemistry will be the next generation of decision makers and other experts that will be needed in a broad spectrum of roles in companies, institutes, regulatory boards and governmental agencies.

    It will also prepare you to continue with PhD studies toward an academic career.

    The degree will also allow you to pursue a career in consulting or in start-up companies where a strong background in sustainable chemistry and scientific analytical thinking are required.

    Master's students in Sustainable Chemistry, visit Camfil in Trosa

    Our masters' programs are all well connected in both science and industry. During the course "Materials Chemistry for Environmental Applications" the masters students in Sustainable Chemistry went for a study visit to Camfil in Trosa.

    Camfil visit oktober 2022

    In October, master students in Sustainable Chemistry and some of our PhD students went to Trosa for a study visit to Camfil. Camfil manufactures systems for air purification and dust separation, and is a potentaial employer for students after graduation.

    During the visit students learned about the air quality control in Stockholm, and took part in a demonstration from SEM imaging of hydrocarbons and other particulates in the air.  This was followed by a demo on how effectively air filters can remove such particulates.

    Students also leaned about various air filters and their application in all from gas turbines to semiconducting industry and air filters in hospitals, home use and etc.

    Interestingly, the materials that students prepare during the lab part of this course (activated carbons) is used highly in their filters for molecular adsorption.

    The students, may return to Camifil with large amount of activated carbons to test the material in future.

    We look forward to hear more about how this large scale test will develop.

  • Contact

    Chemistry Section & Student Affairs Office

    E-mail: chemistry@su.se

    Web: www.kemi.su.se/english and www.mmk.su.se

    Instagram: @chemistry_stockholmuniversity

    Facebook: ChemistryStockholmUniversity