School of Chemistry & Physics


Chemistry is the study of atoms and molecules and how they react and interact with one another and with the environment. When a material with new properties is needed, when a drug needs to be found or synthesized, or when a new pest is encountered in agriculture, the chemists are asked to provide the solution.


Bachelor of Science

This three-year undergraduate course leads to the degree of Bachelor of Science (BSc). This may be achieved in two ways:

  1. Through a general and flexible BSc with possible combinations of Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics, Biology, Biochemistry, Microbiology, Soil Science, Computer Science and Statistics.

  2. Through a specific focused BSc, which has a more directed outcome: Applied Physics
  • Entry requirements:

    NSC degree pass with Maths Level 5, English and Life Orientation Level 4 and either Agricultural Science or Life Science or Physical Science Level 4

  • Application Performance Score (APS) range:

    30 - 48


CASSE is an Alternative Access and Academic Support Programme that caters for prospective students whose academic potential was not realised due to a disadvantaged educational background.

  • Entry requirements:

    NSC degree pass with Maths, English, Life Orientation and Physical Science at Level 4

How to Apply

All first-time South African applicants to UKZN for entry into degree/ diploma study (Grade 12s and undergraduate transfer students from other institutions) must apply via the Central Applications Office (CAO).

Bachelor of Science (Honours)

A one- year specialist programme leading to an Honours degree. Applicants must have a relevant 3-year or equivalent qualification to be considered for Honours. Spaces are very limited and a careful selection process is followed.

Master of Science

A Master of Science programme is offered, whereby students engage in research under the supervision of an academic staff member. A minimum of 60% at Honours level or equivalent must be achieved to be considered for this programme. This degree takes a minimum of one year.

Doctor of Philosophy

A Doctor of Philosophy programme is offered where students engage in novel research supervised by academic members of staff. This is typically three years of study and normally follows on from a Master of Science Degree.

How to Apply

Applications must be submitted to our College office. Visit the College website to see the steps to follow, download the application pack/ forms and access the link to apply online.


Research Areas

We are a research-led institution, producing knowledge for the rapidly-changing and information-rich world.

Research Groups

We have a number of research groups that specialise in areas of research in Physics. 

Student dissertations

UKZN Research Space was developed to increase the visibility, availability and impact of tour students’ research output.


The Analytical laboratory is equipped with the following equipment: Mass balances, conductivity meters, pH meters, autotitrators, drying ovens, refractometers , spectrophotometer , distillation apparatus, water baths, heating mantles, centrifuge etc. The laboratory serves the needs of wet-chemistry procedures. 

The laboratory is serviced by Mrs Puleng Mzulwini (Chemical technician) and Mr Sadha Naidoo (Chief chemical technician).  

This laboratory is occupied by the School’s Pollution Research Group (PRG), who also run the Biochemical and Environment Engineering course. The PRG contributes significantly in research, to improving the environment and health of South Africans, by the development of innovative and sustainable solutions to the problems of waste, sanitation and water supply. The PRG works in close collaboration with eThekwini Municipality, Sasol and Eskom.

Postgraduate students undertake research and final year undergraduate students undertake laboratory projects. The laboratory houses, amongst others, equipment such as : OUR set up – Oxygen Uptake Rate, COD-reflux method for Chemical Oxygen Demand, TKN – Total Kjeldhal Nitrogren, TSS – Total Suspended Solids, Spectroquant , GC, etc.

The laboratory is serviced by a laboratory technician – Mrs Merlien Reddy

This laboratory is equipped with the following equipment: Gas chromatography (GC), Gas chromatography – Mass spectrophotomete (GCMS), Particle size analyzer, Rheometer, Corrosion unit (all have software support), Moisture analyzer, microscopes, viscometers etc. The instrument laboratory is used for data capturing and analysis. 

The laboratory is serviced by Mrs Rekha Maharaj (Chemical technician) and Mr Sadha Naidoo (Chief chemical technician). 

This laboratory houses the larger equipment which are on a semi-industrial scale. Most of this equipment is used for the undergraduate practical programme.

The three laboratories above are used by undergraduate, postgraduate, academic and laboratory staff in performing coursework practicals, final year projects, postgraduate research, academic research, vacation work and internal and external consulting projects.

This laboratory is serviced by the 3 chemical technicians.

The Thermodynamic Research Unit laboratories (Ground floor- 08A/B) cover the measurement of phase equilibrium data such as Vapour-liquid ( VLE ), Liquid-liquid (LLE ) and Vapour liquid-liquid equilibria( VLLE ) . The conditions of measurements range from high- low temperatures and pressures.

There are several apparati present, all designed, constructed and commissioned by the Thermodynamics Research Unit. The stills, used for the measurement of phase equilibria, have online GC sampling. The ebulliometer consists of a series of smaller sized recirculating glass cells for the measurements of infinite dilution activity coefficients; which can also be measured using other existing set-ups in the laboratories being, the inert gas stripping apparatus and the Gas-Liquid Chromatography set-up.

Postgraduate research and contract projects are carried out for many local industrial companies, e.g. , Sasol, Illovo, NECSA, etc. Undergraduates undertake laboratory projects in their final year of studies. The Unit offers vocational work to promising and potential postgraduate students. The Unit also employs research assistants for undertaking data measurements for contract and research projects.

The Thermodynamics Research Unit employs two full-time technicians, Mr Ayanda Khanyile and Mr Linden Mkize, to assist in the running and maintenance of the laboratories.

Contact us

Pietermaritzburg Campus

Ms Sheila Warren

Physical Address

Old Science Building,
Pietermaritzburg Campus (Main Campus),
University of KwaZulu-Natal

King Edward Avenue,
Scottsville, Pietermaritzburg,

Westville campus

Ms Neetu Rama

Ms Samantha Naidoo

Physical Address

H Block,
Westville Campus,
University of KwaZulu-Natal

University Road,
Westville, Durban,