Should I do a Chemistry degree if I'm not great at Maths? Watch

randomsheep11
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Hi, I'm going into year 13 in September, and therefore my school is expecting me to have decided on what course I want to do at uni and write my personal statement.. The thing is, I'm still not sure.

I do: Biology, Chemistry, Core Maths and French at A Level. I've mainly been looking at degrees like Biomedical Science, but I am troubled by the fact that the job prospects may be really poor as there is apparently an oversaturation of biomed graduates.

The thing is, I only got a grade 5 in Maths at GCSE (A*s in bio and chem). I really like Chemistry and I believe the job prospects and pay would be better. However, I don't do A Level Maths, and my mum thinks that if I go for a Chemistry degree I might struggle and not enjoy myself due to all the Maths and Physics related content.

So far, I'm comfortable with mol calculations and all of that stuff, but I've been reading around that the Maths content in Chemistry degrees is very advanced, and I don't think that Core Maths alone will prepare me for this.


What do you guys think? Should I go for a biology related degree which may be easier for me - but which would have worse job prospects; or do you think that the Maths in Chemistry is actually rather tolerable for people who don't do Maths and Physics A Level?


I think that if I pick Chem, I could specialise by picking Biological/Medicinal Chemistry modules later, but I don't think it's as easy to go from bio to chem if you get what I mean. Plus, I really don't want to just be a bio lab technician. Regardless of what I pick, I really want to do a Masters or a phd. I have an interest in polymers and the formulations of products (e.g. cosmetics and cleaning products). But, I also find things like: bacteria, viruses and disease super interesting.


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akpo
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What your thinking of when you talk about specialising sounds a lot like a Natural Sciences Course. However, some unis may implement different module structures in where your allowed to study chemistry and opt in for your preferred modules, but may have mathematical chemistry (compulsory) modules as well. Yes most chemistry degrees vary from the nature of being mathematical, so its dependant on what university you want to apply for. Not doing physics will not penalise you in a chemistry degree, however not doing maths may.
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Aranos
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The thing is, you actually NEED to have A-level maths as a requirement for most chemistry degrees any way. So, maybe find a few unis that don't require A-level maths for chemistry? If there are any at all.
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randomsheep11
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(Original post by akpo)
What your thinking of when you talk about specialising sounds a lot like a Natural Sciences Course. However, some unis may implement different module structures in where your allowed to study chemistry and opt in for your preferred modules, but may have mathematical chemistry (compulsory) modules as well. Yes most chemistry degrees vary from the nature of being mathematical, so its dependant on what university you want to apply for. Not doing physics will not penalise you in a chemistry degree, however not doing maths may.
(Original post by Aranos)
The thing is, you actually NEED to have A-level maths as a requirement for most chemistry degrees any way. So, maybe find a few unis that don't require A-level maths for chemistry? If there are any at all.
To be honest, none of the Universities I'm looking at do Natural Sciences (I'm not looking at Cambridge). What I mean is that with a Chemistry degree, I could always pick more medical or pharmacology based modules, but if I did Biomed I could never really do a module on polymer science. And the main one's for me that don't reqire A Level Maths are the University of Surrey (ABB) and the University of East Anglia (BBB), plus I think I'd be eligible for a foundation year at Southampton (BBB). I'm just not sure if it's worth it or not when I could have less problems getting onto a bio course... I really have no clue.
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thenextchemist
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Have you researched pharmaceutical chemistry? It's got a good mix of biology and chemistry and less mathematics from my experience.
I have loads of friends who didn't do a-level maths, but they don't study chemistry, they do pharmaceutical chemistry.
There should be extra math help classes at university for students who didn't do a-level maths.
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akpo
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(Original post by randomsheep11)
To be honest, none of the Universities I'm looking at do Natural Sciences (I'm not looking at Cambridge). What I mean is that with a Chemistry degree, I could always pick more medical or pharmacology based modules, but if I did Biomed I could never really do a module on polymer science. And the main one's for me that don't reqire A Level Maths are the University of Surrey (ABB) and the University of East Anglia (BBB), plus I think I'd be eligible for a foundation year at Southampton (BBB). I'm just not sure if it's worth it or not when I could have less problems getting onto a bio course... I really have no clue.
You’d probably have to ask university chemistry/biology/medical sciences departments individually and see whether they have the modules your suggesting as part of their course or whether alternative science modules can be done as part of a chemistry degree, because websites tend to give a short list of optional topics. If your interested and passionate about chemistry, then go for it. Otherwise, a bio course is fine.
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iElvendork
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(Original post by Aranos)
The thing is, you actually NEED to have A-level maths as a requirement for most chemistry degrees any way. So, maybe find a few unis that don't require A-level maths for chemistry? If there are any at all.
More than you probably think!! Most uni's now don't really need maths, they will teach you all the maths you need to know in first year!

(Original post by randomsheep11)
Hi, I'm going into year 13 in September, and therefore my school is expecting me to have decided on what course I want to do at uni and write my personal statement.. The thing is, I'm still not sure.
I've just finished my 4 year MChem course, and trust me, there's a lot of maths! But you are taught everything you need to know, and once you get a handle of it, it's pretty straight forward
I'd consider looking into Medicinal chemistry courses - lot more drug stuff, bits of peptides and things
Going into polymer work, I started doing modules on that in 2nd year, and the maths is very difficult (I have an A* in Maths and I struggled with some of the derivations!!)
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CheeseIsVeg
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(Original post by randomsheep11)
To be honest, none of the Universities I'm looking at do Natural Sciences (I'm not looking at Cambridge). What I mean is that with a Chemistry degree, I could always pick more medical or pharmacology based modules, but if I did Biomed I could never really do a module on polymer science. And the main one's for me that don't reqire A Level Maths are the University of Surrey (ABB) and the University of East Anglia (BBB), plus I think I'd be eligible for a foundation year at Southampton (BBB). I'm just not sure if it's worth it or not when I could have less problems getting onto a bio course... I really have no clue.
:hi: Just finished first year chemistry at Southampton.
Yes there is a maths element but they always run maths lectures and workshops to help people who haven't done A level maths.
There is loads of support for it and to be honest I really enjoyed the maths element this year :laugh: I didn't really like all of A level maths though I did do it, it definitely helped but I can see that you can easily get by without doing it on this course.
I wouldn't worry about it and of course if you have any problems, you can always ask on here!

If you are really interested in the subject, which it sounds like you are, then I'd say go for it.
However, looking at what you prefer, have you considered something more along the lines of biological/pharmaceutical/medicinal chemistry or even biochemistry/biology sort of courses?
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randomsheep11
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(Original post by Bloom77)
Have you researched pharmaceutical chemistry? It's got a good mix of biology and chemistry and less mathematics from my experience.
I have loads of friends who didn't do a-level maths, but they don't study chemistry, they do pharmaceutical chemistry.
There should be extra math help classes at university for students who didn't do a-level maths.
(Original post by akpo)
You’d probably have to ask university chemistry/biology/medical sciences departments individually and see whether they have the modules your suggesting as part of their course or whether alternative science modules can be done as part of a chemistry degree, because websites tend to give a short list of optional topics. If your interested and passionate about chemistry, then go for it. Otherwise, a bio course is fine.
(Original post by iElvendork)
More than you probably think!! Most uni's now don't really need maths, they will teach you all the maths you need to know in first year!



I've just finished my 4 year MChem course, and trust me, there's a lot of maths! But you are taught everything you need to know, and once you get a handle of it, it's pretty straight forward
I'd consider looking into Medicinal chemistry courses - lot more drug stuff, bits of peptides and things
Going into polymer work, I started doing modules on that in 2nd year, and the maths is very difficult (I have an A* in Maths and I struggled with some of the derivations!!)
(Original post by CheeseIsVeg)
:hi: Just finished first year chemistry at Southampton.
Yes there is a maths element but they always run maths lectures and workshops to help people who haven't done A level maths.
There is loads of support for it and to be honest I really enjoyed the maths element this year :laugh: I didn't really like all of A level maths though I did do it, it definitely helped but I can see that you can easily get by without doing it on this course.
I wouldn't worry about it and of course if you have any problems, you can always ask on here!

If you are really interested in the subject, which it sounds like you are, then I'd say go for it.
However, looking at what you prefer, have you considered something more along the lines of biological/pharmaceutical/medicinal chemistry or even biochemistry/biology sort of courses?
Thank you everyone for the advice I guess maybe the "Medicinal Chemistry" course at Surrey looks like it would tick all the boxes for me. Maybe I'll put that as my first choice and have the other 4 as "Chemistry". I've also looked into Pharmacy, and I've done work experience in a community pharmacy, but tbh there's too many graduates and I don't think automation in the future will treat me kindly if I become a Pharmacist.
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thenextchemist
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(Original post by randomsheep11)
Thank you everyone for the advice I guess maybe the "Medicinal Chemistry" course at Surrey looks like it would tick all the boxes for me. Maybe I'll put that as my first choice and have the other 4 as "Chemistry". I've also looked into Pharmacy, and I've done work experience in a community pharmacy, but tbh there's too many graduates and I don't think automation in the future will treat me kindly if I become a Pharmacist.
Check out these too

http://www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-stu...hemistry-msci/

https://le.ac.uk/courses/pharmaceuti...istry-bsc/2019

https://www.mdx.ac.uk/courses/underg...ical-chemistry

https://www.qmul.ac.uk/undergraduate...cal-chemistry/

Good luck!
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CheeseIsVeg
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(Original post by randomsheep11)
Thank you everyone for the advice I guess maybe the "Medicinal Chemistry" course at Surrey looks like it would tick all the boxes for me. Maybe I'll put that as my first choice and have the other 4 as "Chemistry". I've also looked into Pharmacy, and I've done work experience in a community pharmacy, but tbh there's too many graduates and I don't think automation in the future will treat me kindly if I become a Pharmacist.
at soton, medicinal chemistry students do core chemistry with options in biosciences and medicine
it's basically your degree to customise
Hope this helps and best of luck with your decision!
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randomsheep11
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Thank you everyone, I'l have a look at those courses.
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Profesh
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At least you aren't a "bioscience" undergraduate who can't even calculate their own degree average.
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artful_lounger
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Neither Physics nor Maths is specifically required for Chemistry, however both can be useful - specifically, for the Physical Chemistry content, particularly from second year onwards. However this isn't always such an emphasised part of the course...but it's likely you'll need to do it to some extent. However the mathematical sophistication used in the Physical Chemistry stuff is a lot lower in general than in corresponding courses in a Physics degree (in quantum mechanics and thermodynamics/statistical mechanics).

Ultimately Physical Chemistry is just one part of a Chemistry course, and you can usually select your modules to focus more on the Organic/Inorganic/Biological chemistry areas if you desire (which are less mathematical in the formal sense, I gather). Equally if they don't require A-level Maths (for example at Southampton) then they will not expect it and will teach you the relevant maths you need on the course, in some manner. Chemistry degrees vary a fair bit, so you may find one which fits your interests in biological and organic chemistry more
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randomsheep11
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
Neither Physics nor Maths is specifically required for Chemistry, however both can be useful - specifically, for the Physical Chemistry content, particularly from second year onwards. However this isn't always such an emphasised part of the course...but it's likely you'll need to do it to some extent. However the mathematical sophistication used in the Physical Chemistry stuff is a lot lower in general than in corresponding courses in a Physics degree (in quantum mechanics and thermodynamics/statistical mechanics).

Ultimately Physical Chemistry is just one part of a Chemistry course, and you can usually select your modules to focus more on the Organic/Inorganic/Biological chemistry areas if you desire (which are less mathematical in the formal sense, I gather). Equally if they don't require A-level Maths (for example at Southampton) then they will not expect it and will teach you the relevant maths you need on the course, in some manner. Chemistry degrees vary a fair bit, so you may find one which fits your interests in biological and organic chemistry more
Thank you very much
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Izzie0711
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(Original post by randomsheep11)
To be honest, none of the Universities I'm looking at do Natural Sciences (I'm not looking at Cambridge). What I mean is that with a Chemistry degree, I could always pick more medical or pharmacology based modules, but if I did Biomed I could never really do a module on polymer science. And the main one's for me that don't reqire A Level Maths are the University of Surrey (ABB) and the University of East Anglia (BBB), plus I think I'd be eligible for a foundation year at Southampton (BBB). I'm just not sure if it's worth it or not when I could have less problems getting onto a bio course... I really have no clue.
So many universities don't require maths for chemistry! I am starting a chemistry degree at Leeds in September having only done further maths at gcse. Look around, I also applied for Cardiff, Birmingham, Liverpool and Newcastle- all Russell Groups. I spoke to the administration tutors in each university and they all have a compulsory maths module if you don't have a grade C or above at level maths which goes straight to the beginning with BODMAS
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randomsheep11
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(Original post by Izzie0711)
So many universities don't require maths for chemistry! I am starting a chemistry degree at Leeds in September having only done further maths at gcse. Look around, I also applied for Cardiff, Birmingham, Liverpool and Newcastle- all Russell Groups. I spoke to the administration tutors in each university and they all have a compulsory maths module if you don't have a grade C or above at level maths which goes straight to the beginning with BODMAS
That's really helpful thank you, and I hope you enjoy yourself in September.
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Wwys
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(Original post by randomsheep11)
Hi, I'm going into year 13 in September, and therefore my school is expecting me to have decided on what course I want to do at uni and write my personal statement.. The thing is, I'm still not sure.

I do: Biology, Chemistry, Core Maths and French at A Level. I've mainly been looking at degrees like Biomedical Science, but I am troubled by the fact that the job prospects may be really poor as there is apparently an oversaturation of biomed graduates.

The thing is, I only got a grade 5 in Maths at GCSE (A*s in bio and chem). I really like Chemistry and I believe the job prospects and pay would be better. However, I don't do A Level Maths, and my mum thinks that if I go for a Chemistry degree I might struggle and not enjoy myself due to all the Maths and Physics related content.

So far, I'm comfortable with mol calculations and all of that stuff, but I've been reading around that the Maths content in Chemistry degrees is very advanced, and I don't think that Core Maths alone will prepare me for this.


What do you guys think? Should I go for a biology related degree which may be easier for me - but which would have worse job prospects; or do you think that the Maths in Chemistry is actually rather tolerable for people who don't do Maths and Physics A Level?


I think that if I pick Chem, I could specialise by picking Biological/Medicinal Chemistry modules later, but I don't think it's as easy to go from bio to chem if you get what I mean. Plus, I really don't want to just be a bio lab technician. Regardless of what I pick, I really want to do a Masters or a phd. I have an interest in polymers and the formulations of products (e.g. cosmetics and cleaning products). But, I also find things like: bacteria, viruses and disease super interesting.


Hey, I graduated in a BSc in Pharmaceutical Chemistry this year. I only did Maths at AS. You definitely don't need an A-level in Maths to do a Chemistry degree. The most difficult bit of maths I ever had to do was probably either error propagation or integration/differentiation. For my course, we had workshops to help those who didn't have an A-level in Maths.
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randomsheep11
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(Original post by Wwys)
Hey, I graduated in a BSc in Pharmaceutical Chemistry this year. I only did Maths at AS. You definitely don't need an A-level in Maths to do a Chemistry degree. The most difficult bit of maths I ever had to do was probably either error propagation or integration/differentiation. For my course, we had workshops to help those who didn't have an A-level in Maths.
Ah interesting, these workshops sound like they'd be really helpful. Do you mind me asking which university you studied Pharmaceutical Chemistry at?
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PJNolen
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UEA does a really good Natural Sciences degree. I'm going to be doing chemistry and physics. But I only have a 5 in GCSE maths so I'll be doing a foundation year. The foundation year is A level maths, chemistry and physics/biology.

There is MORE maths in the chemistry degree and depending on what you specialize in, you may be instructed to take more maths in the NatSci.

I wouldn't do a natural science degree just so you could avoid the maths only to pigeon hole yourself into a limited number of job roles because all the other ones you're interested in have you unqualified for because of one or two math modules you skipped at uni.

Unless you have a specific job role in mind that you know for sure you won't need A level and above maths for. In that case, natural science is the way to go.

Keep in mind that I'm required to take a foundation year before going into ANY science program and they ALL have A level maths in them.
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