Chemistry Department

This year, the scientific community celebrates the 150th anniversary of the Periodic Table. It was on 6 March 1869 that the Russian scientist, Dmitri Mendeleev, announced his systematic arrangement of elements to the Russian Chemical Society, which he called the periodic table. The key insight of Mendeleev’s argument was: “If all the elements are arranged in the order of their atomic weights, a periodic repetition of properties is obtained. This is … the law of periodicity.” 

We also celebrate the 110th anniversary of the Chemistry department at the UFS this year. From humble beginnings, we gradually expanded over the years to become one of the biggest departments on the UFS campus and one of the best Chemistry departments in South Africa. The Department of Chemistry is present on all three UFS campuses, and offers various undergraduate, Honours, Master's, and Doctoral degrees in chemistry. Our research covers all four major chemistry disciplines (Analytical, Inorganic, Organic, and Physical), and this research includes the development of new cancer-fighting and -imaging agents, working towards greener energy solutions, searching for natural anti-epileptic drugs, and developing new metal-extraction processes to utilise our natural mineral resources for a prosperous country. Our various research teams are recognised internationally, dedicated towards teaching, but most of all, committed to making the world a better place for us all. Research equipment worth millions of rand is waiting for you to explore. Why not change the world? Why not you?

Undergraduate Studies

The Bloemfontein Campus offers the following learning programmes in Chemical and Physical Sciences:

  • Physics and Chemistry
  • Chemistry in combination with a biological subject

For more information, please consult the Faculty Booklet (p 18-19) and the UFS Rule Book.

The Qwaqwa Campus offers the following learning programmes in Chemical and Physical Sciences:

  • Chemistry in combination with a biological subject

For more information, please consult the Faculty Booklet (p 21-22) and the UFS Rule Book.

The South Campus offers the following University Access and Extended Curriculum Programmes:

  • UAP Natural Sciences
  • BSc Extended Curriculum majoring in Mathematics and Chemistry

For more information, please consult the Faculty Booklet (p 12-14) and the UFS Rule Book.

Closing date for undergraduate applications: 30 September

Postgraduate Studies

The Bloemfontein and Qwaqwa Campuses offer the following degrees in Chemistry:

  • BSc Honours in Chemistry
  • MSc in Chemistry
  • PhD in Chemistry

For more information, please consult the UFS Rule Book.

Applications to join the Honours programme in 2020 are now open. Prospective applicants should access the Positions available page on this website, complete the BScHons Application Form and return it to department with the required information via email to the Departmental Secretary ( before 30 September. Prospective applicants should also urgently Apply Online before 30 September in order to be officially accepted into the Honours programme (however, application does not necessarily mean acceptance into the Chemistry Honours programme).

Follow-up correspondence will take place to request preliminary second-semester marks. Selection takes place before 31 October and all candidates will be informed on the outcome of their application. Selection is final and successful candidates will receive the date when the programme will start in 2020.

The closing dates for MSc, PhD studies, and postdoctoral researchers are at the end of each academic quarter (i.e., 31 March, 30 June, 30 September, and 31 December, annually) until further notice is posted. Evaluation of applications is done by a panel appointed by UFS Chemistry, and successful candidates will be informed of the decisions within one month after the application deadline.

Address: Department of Chemistry
  University of the Free State
  PO Box 339
Departmental Secretary (General Enquiries):Eleanor Andrews
Telephone: +27 51 401 9212
Fax: +27 51 401 7295
Programme Director (Academic Enquiries):Dr Johan Venter
Telephone: +27 51 401 3336
Head of Department: Prof Walter Purcell
Telephone: +27 51 401 2200



Faculty Manager: Velaphi Makgwahla
T: + 27 51 401 3199

Marketing Manager: Elfrieda Lötter
T: +27 51 401 2531

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