Advanced Higher Laboratory Sessions

Every year we offer local secondary school classes the chance to use our undergraduate teaching laboratory facilities to run their Advanced Higher chemistry experiment.

We welcome local secondary schools (Edinburgh & the Lothians) into our teaching laboratories to conduct practical work for their Advanced Higher Chemistry classes during the first two weeks in June and one week in August each year. Laboratory capacity is 30 pupils per day, so we encourage schools to contact us early if you are interested in booking one or two days access to these facilities. Note that a maximum of 15 students per school may attend any given booking slot.

The teaching laboratories at the School of Chemistry, University of Edinburgh are among the best in the UK. During semester time, they are used to train our undergraduate students in modern practical chemistry techniques and as such they are stocked with state of the art apparatus. Our teaching laboratories are housed in the Christina Miller Building, which is annexed to the Joseph Black building.

The sessions provided by us in the Christina Miller Building teaching laboratories give pupils the opportunity to experience a university setting while completing their coursework in a world leading facility. The sessions will be facilitated by our teaching laboratory technicians and at least one PhD student will be available in each session to assist.

Please note that Scottish Government and University of Edinburgh pandemic-related restrictions may mean we cannot offer this service. Please get in touch with us to find out if we are able to run these sessions as soon as possible by emailing

Laboratory Session Programme

Your class can visit the department for one or two days, from 09:00 to 15:00 each day.

Please note that neither the technicians nor the PhD students are there to run sessions and a qualified chemistry teacher (or other science teacher fully familiar with the experiments) must to be with the students at all times.

On the morning of your first session, teachers and their class will meet with a staff member or PhD student in the foyer of the Joseph Black Building. From there all will be taken to the teaching laboratory and will be given a short talk on safety in the laboratory and given safety gear (lab coat and goggles) before laboratory work may commence.

The class is offered a short tour of the facilities led by at least one PhD student. This tour will take place prior to lunch. The PhD student(s) will be more than happy to answer questions from pupils about the department and university life.

Important Information

  • At least one qualified chemistry teacher must attend with each school group. It is the responsibility of said teacher to run the sessions and maintain the safety of their students. University staff and PhD students will be on hand to facilitate and answer any questions they deem appropriate.
  • No laboratory manuals or notebooks will be provided by the University staff.
  • Teachers are expected to be fully autonomous in their running of the sessions.
  • A maximum of 15 students may attend per school, per session.
  • Parking on the university campus is by permit only and must be requested at least one week prior to your session by emailing Parking costs £5, which is payable when you arrive. Parking spaces cannot be guaranteed.
  • The labs close for lunch. Pupils are welcome to make use of the on-site catering facilities to purchase food, or a packed lunch can be brought.

If you can no longer attend your session(s) or there are changes in the number of pupils who can attend please contact us via so we can offer your slot to another school.

Experiments Offered

  • Preparation of Potassium Trioxalatoferrate (III)
  • Colorimetric Determination of Manganese in Steel
  • Complexometric Determination of Nickel using EDTA
  • Determination of Partition Coefficient
  • Preparation of Cyclohexene
  • Identification by Derivative Formation
  • Preparation of Benzoic Acid by Hydrolysis of Ethyl Benzoate
  • Preparation of Aspirin
  • Aspirin Determination
  • Gravimetric determination of Nickel using dimethylglyoxime

Health and Safety

Everyone present must adhere to University of Edinburgh health and safety protocol. Any student not maintaining safety protocol and presenting a hazard to themselves or others will be asked to leave the lab.

The health and safety protocol includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • All present must wear the appropriate personal protective equipment (lab coats and safety glasses)
  • All those wearing contact lenses must make this known to the PhD student and/or academic member of staff present during their session
  • All present must be appropriately dressed for a lab. This means:
    • no open toed shoes are allowed
    • full-length trousers must be worn
  • Long hair must be tied back
  • No food or drink is to be consumed within the lab (this includes chewing gum)
  • No sitting on stools or the floor in the laboratory
  • No personal artefacts (i.e. phones) are to be touched with gloved hands
  • No gloves or lab coats are to leave the lab (this includes when leaving the laboratory to use the bathroom)
  • Mobile phones must not be used for the duration of the laboratory sessions
  • Hands must be washed at the sinks by the entry/exit door of the lab before leaving the lab (this includes when leaving the laboratory to use the bathroom)