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Is a Chemistry degree worth it?

I'm currently deciding whether or not to study Chemistry at University. I can't decide what is better between Chemistry or Engineering (Electrical and electronic although could change :wink: )

When it comes to Maths I wouldn't say I am amazing at it but I can achieve good grades.

I wanted to know what a Chemistry degree can get you in the future and if it is worth it. I know there are opportunities within the chemical industry but also others like financial and banking which I am interested in.

What's a starting salary like?
Does anyone have any experience with this?
If anyone could help it would mean a lot!

Thanks in advance :smile:
Reply 1
I was going to do Chemistry at UCL but I made a swift decision to change to Chemical Engineering at Newcastle. The reason why is because of graduate prospects. The average salary for those employed 6 months after a Chem degree in 21k a year (and thats for UCL students). But the average that Chem engineers make after 6 months is around 29k, which is pretty good. Also I recently read an article from a Chemistry graduate basically complaining about the limited amount of jobs available, and how a few years ago Chemists had greater prospects. Although, when looking at the Royal Society of Chemistry website (http://www.rsc.org/) they testify that mean salary figures are inaccurate and mislead students away from pursuing Chem. In terms of the financial sector, you can study Chemistry and go into investment banking BUT you got to study at one of the G5 uni's (LSE, UCL, Imperial, Warwick, Oxford and Cambridge), otherwise it would be difficult. In my opinion, if your going to study Chem, search for joint degrees with quantitative subjects like Maths or Physics just to make you more attractive to employers and make sure its at a good uni.

Also something else to note, I was talking to one of the lecturers at UCL after I declined the offer and went for Newcastle through adjustment. I just said that I wasn't happy about the graduate prospects of a chemist. He told me that half the students taking Chem are female and a lot of them chose to start a family and this and that which brings graduate employment stats down. Also after a Chem degree you could just as well do a masters in engineering. He had students that had finished their degree in Chem, did a masters in Process Engineering and they now work as Process Engineers.
Reply 2
Original post by gsxrjunkie
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Chemistry is a worthwhile degree. That said, engineering is one of the best currently in terms of prospects afterwards. Chemistry is still reasonable though so i'd say make your choice on interest and what you'd be happy with for the next 3-4 years. Would you like to work in a lab, or prefer to be at a desk most days?

Starting salary for a chemistry grad sort of depends on experience. It's probably anywhere between 18-24k on average. If you're someone with a placement year or a couple of internships you're more sitting towards 21k+ but without you're really just looking for a foot on the ladder. Like any industry that means you're probably taking a slightly lower paid entry level job. Grad schemes obviously can be higher but that entirely depends on the company. You'll find positions in oil-based sectors probably pay more, for instance. With some experience behind you it doesn't appear to be too difficult to bump that up but there is a ceiling in the region of 35-40k where you'd need to make that jump to a more managerial position (typically means you're now no longer in the lab).

I have friends on accountancy training and graduate schemes. It seems to be a fairly popular area for chemists to go into. In terms of anything much financial and banking the absolute best way in seems to be internships. I think when it comes to it, the highly competitive process is going to focus on the differences and extras you have rather than your degree. I don't know enough to say much more.
Reply 3
Original post by Nymthae
Chemistry is a worthwhile degree. That said, engineering is one of the best currently in terms of prospects afterwards. Chemistry is still reasonable though so i'd say make your choice on interest and what you'd be happy with for the next 3-4 years. Would you like to work in a lab, or prefer to be at a desk most days?

Starting salary for a chemistry grad sort of depends on experience. It's probably anywhere between 18-24k on average. If you're someone with a placement year or a couple of internships you're more sitting towards 21k+ but without you're really just looking for a foot on the ladder. Like any industry that means you're probably taking a slightly lower paid entry level job. Grad schemes obviously can be higher but that entirely depends on the company. You'll find positions in oil-based sectors probably pay more, for instance. With some experience behind you it doesn't appear to be too difficult to bump that up but there is a ceiling in the region of 35-40k where you'd need to make that jump to a more managerial position (typically means you're now no longer in the lab).

I have friends on accountancy training and graduate schemes. It seems to be a fairly popular area for chemists to go into. In terms of anything much financial and banking the absolute best way in seems to be internships. I think when it comes to it, the highly competitive process is going to focus on the differences and extras you have rather than your degree. I don't know enough to say much more.


Thanks for your reply, you've helped a lot :smile:

If you don't mind, may I ask what you study?

:smile:
How about a chemical engineering degree? Best of both worlds :wink:
Reply 5
Original post by gsxrjunkie
I'm currently deciding whether or not to study Chemistry at University. I can't decide what is better between Chemistry or Engineering (Electrical and electronic although could change :wink: )

When it comes to Maths I wouldn't say I am amazing at it but I can achieve good grades.

I wanted to know what a Chemistry degree can get you in the future and if it is worth it. I know there are opportunities within the chemical industry but also others like financial and banking which I am interested in.

What's a starting salary like?
Does anyone have any experience with this?
If anyone could help it would mean a lot!

Thanks in advance :smile:


Thought of chemical engineering?
Reply 6
Original post by Ninjasrule
How about a chemical engineering degree? Best of both worlds :wink:


Wow we both came up with it at the same time haha
Reply 7
Original post by Ninjasrule
How about a chemical engineering degree? Best of both worlds :wink:


Haha, I did look into that however found that it didn't really appeal to me. When it comes to engineering I like computers, electronics etc.

I was surprised to find out that chemical engineering hardly involved chemistry in comparison to the quantity of physics and maths.

What do you study?? :smile:

btw, thanks for your response :wink:
Reply 8
Original post by RonnieRJ
Thought of chemical engineering?


Yes I did look into but it didn't interest me :frown:
Reply 9
Original post by RonnieRJ
Wow we both came up with it at the same time haha


Haha, thanks for the idea anyway :wink:
Original post by RonnieRJ
Wow we both came up with it at the same time haha


Great minds think alike :awesome::ahee:

Original post by gsxrjunkie
Haha, I did look into that however found that it didn't really appeal to me. When it comes to engineering I like computers, electronics etc.

I was surprised to find out that chemical engineering hardly involved chemistry in comparison to the quantity of physics and maths.

What do you study?? :smile:

btw, thanks for your response :wink:


Ohh dang :/ I'm not sure then. Are you interested in the organic side of chemistry? Maybe look into the pharmaceutical industry?

I've just finished AS year so I'll hopefully be applying this year :smile: I want to study Tropical Disease Biology at Liverpool :3
If not that then Biomedicine or Microbiology
Reply 11
Original post by Ninjasrule
Great minds think alike :awesome::ahee:



Ohh dang :/ I'm not sure then. Are you interested in the organic side of chemistry? Maybe look into the pharmaceutical industry?

I've just finished AS year so I'll hopefully be applying this year :smile: I want to study Tropical Disease Biology at Liverpool :3
If not that then Biomedicine or Microbiology


I actually enjoy all aspects of chemistry, both organic and inorganic. However I don't think I'd like to go into pharmaceuticals :s-smilie:

Same, well kind of! I study the IB so I've just completed my first year. I study Physics and Chemistry and have always thought that physic is my 'area' therefore wanted to study engineering. The reason for me looking into chemistry is that I think it will be an easier option. I'm worried that I may not understand engineering however when it comes to chemistry I find it easier to understand.

Not saying that chemistry is easy! It can be hard haha

Oooh, tropical disease biology, that actually sound really interesting!

How did results day go??
Original post by gsxrjunkie
Thanks for your reply, you've helped a lot :smile:

If you don't mind, may I ask what you study?

:smile:


Recent chemistry graduate. I make liquid roof coatings now :smile:
Original post by Nymthae
Recent chemistry graduate. I make liquid roof coatings now :smile:


So are you saying that a chemistry degree is worth it or not the then?

Posted from TSR Mobile
Original post by Azzer11
So are you saying that a chemistry degree is worth it or not the then?

Posted from TSR Mobile


Sure. I wouldn't have my job without it. If it's a question of weighing engineering versus chemistry then engineering is generally sitting a bit better on prospects currently. If you're looking at chemistry just objectively then it's one of those courses that is particularly good if you like the area - there's a whole massive industry based off the subject for which you'd need a degree to work in. If you don't want to stay in the area then it's still a decent degree, but depending on your goals there are other courses that will get you where you want to be just as well.

It's probably one of the best values for money in terms of the degree content (i.e. the lab work and access to specialist equipment/training) personally.
How did your degree go? !
(edited 1 year ago)

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