What can you do with a chemistry degree?Watch
Hi, I'm interested in doing a chemistry degree because I find the subject fascinating and I'm good at it (one of the few subjects that ticks the enjoy AND good at boxes) but I don't know what I'd do with it. Obviously it's a respectable degree and just because you do a degree in one subject, it doesn't mean you are restricted to jobs in the area only. What else is there besides research and teaching?
Hey, Chemistry student here, just finished my second yr.
Chemistry is a really versatile degree, and it varies HUGELY at degree level, depending upon which University you go to, and how the course is structured there as in which areas the department likes to focus on, whether it be more organic or more physical etc.
Chemistry is a STEM subject. Alongside Maths, and Physics, it is highly targeted by employers outside of scientific fields, as another poster mentioned above, quite a few Chem grads look into finance, whether it be banking or accountancy. Medicine is another option (post grad).
If you would like to stay within a scientific field as your chosen career, a masters/PhD program is hugely preferable, which is another thing you might like to consider. Business-focused environments within, say, Oil & Gas companies, wouldn't be so picky on what degree you choose as long as you get a 2:1 generally, but purely research and development fields prefer a further course of study after your undergrad degree.
Having said all the above, there is a huge demand for STEM students in areas outside of science, particularly business and finance because of the mathematical and analytical capabilities the students that study these degrees possess. Equip that with solid extracurricular activities/work experience and you could pretty much target any sector.
You want to do chemistry and maths, physics/further maths are both very helpful (at least as my uni, oxford) and biology can also be useful (but not as useful as physics/further maths)
You would have to probably work a little bit harder to make up for it but after first year you'd be at the same level as they teach it all to you. This is for my university though (oxford) which is quite a mathsy course. I believe other unis have less focus on the maths (e.g harder topics are not compulsory), or provide extra help for maths/physics for those that have not done the A level. Some unis give lower grades to students taking physics/further maths. Whether it will disadvantage you probably depends where you want to apply!
Most places offer a first year "physics for chemists" style module - covers all the relevant bits you need to know. Again, the handful of relevant elements of further maths are taught during first year also as the majority of candidates won't have covered them. Pay attention in first year and there's no reason for either of those to hinder you. They won't disadvantage you for entry, the difference is maybe a couple of hours more work in the odd module compared to someone who has the grounding already. It's not a lot.
what topics from further maths/physics are learnt in the first year if you mind me asking?
I believe the people who had done further maths (I didn't) had covered most of vectors, polar coordinates, taylor series, complex numbers, differential equations and matrices which was at least two thirds of the year.
In physics we did electromagnetism (electric fields, coulomb's law, dipoles, biot savart law, lorentz forces, waves, reflection/refraction), classical mechanics (newton's laws, energy, rotation, vibration) and gases (kinetic theory mainly)
I had done all of the classical mechanics material, some of the electromagnetism course and very little of the gases course before.
Even though it's taught in a slightly different way to at school I am very glad I did physics A level as it saved me time and allowed me to pick up concepts a lot quicker in my opinion. It isn't essential to take either a level however, you are taught all of it.