YellowTomatoes
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So before I decided I wanted to do a chemistry degree I wanted to be a doctor/paramedic for about 5 years (from like year 7 to the middle of year 12) . And then in year 12 when I thought I wanted to be a HEMS paramedic I thought that I should do a degree where I’m really good at the subject (there were also lots of other factors that made me want to do a chemistry degree)

I’m now on year 13 and I’ve applied to do a chemistry degree but I’m really unsure about what to do with it?? I’m worried I’ll do the degree and suddenly I won’t like any of the career choices, and I’m worried it’s a bad idea doing a chemistry degree if I’m unsure what to do with it. I know I’m 100% certain on doing a chemistry degree and I really enjoy learning about it. It feels so weird to not really have much of a career aspiration after being so focused on being a doctor and paramedic for so long. I know I want to do something involving chemistry but I’m not sure what.
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Uni of Southampton Students
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(Original post by YellowTomatoes)
So before I decided I wanted to do a chemistry degree I wanted to be a doctor/paramedic for about 5 years (from like year 7 to the middle of year 12) . And then in year 12 when I thought I wanted to be a HEMS paramedic I thought that I should do a degree where I’m really good at the subject (there were also lots of other factors that made me want to do a chemistry degree)

I’m now on year 13 and I’ve applied to do a chemistry degree but I’m really unsure about what to do with it?? I’m worried I’ll do the degree and suddenly I won’t like any of the career choices, and I’m worried it’s a bad idea doing a chemistry degree if I’m unsure what to do with it. I know I’m 100% certain on doing a chemistry degree and I really enjoy learning about it. It feels so weird to not really have much of a career aspiration after being so focused on being a doctor and paramedic for so long. I know I want to do something involving chemistry but I’m not sure what.
Hi YellowTomatoes,

I totally get the situation you're in, I wanted to study medicine for as long as I could remember and then a couple of weeks before the personal statement submission deadline, I changed my mind. I decided to study chemistry as I really enjoyed it and knew that if I changed my mind back to wanting to study medicine then I could apply for a graduate medicine course once I had completed my degree. As it turns out, choosing to study chemistry is probably the best decision I've ever made, I graduated with an MChem in 2019 and I am now completing a PhD in chemistry.

When I turned up at a Uni open day for chemistry I remember sitting in on a talk about the degree course that included a slide on potential career opportunities once you graduate with a chemistry degree - I couldn't believe how many jobs were on that slide! Since completing my degree I now understand why there are so many different career opportunities for people with a chemistry degree - its such a diverse subject! Not only in relation to theory but you also develop a vast number of transferable professional skills e.g. presentation skills, team working, risk assessing, planning etc. A chemistry degree isn't easy which employers know, so regardless of the career, having a chemistry degree shows you are resilient, determined, intelligent among many other things. Although to be fair I'm probably a little bias...!

During a chemistry degree you will gain lab experience, core chemistry theory as well as your choice of optional modules (e.g. environmental chemistry, medicinal chemistry, materials chemistry, analytical chemistry etc. Depending on the university you can also choose optional modules from other subjects, for example I did a module about disease progression in my first year and an astronomy module in my second year). You will also have the opportunity to do a placement (in industry or academia) and carry out a research project.

As well as allowing you to pursue scientific careers within many different industries including pharmaceutical, environment, food and drink, fuel etc, a chemistry degree will also open up doors to careers such as law, education, finance, agriculture, medicine to name a few! Just to give some specific examples, after your chemistry degree you can become a patent lawyer, teacher, farmer, cancer research scientist, join the navy... the list goes on!

My preferred career choice changed about ever 6 months during my degree and I'm still not sure what I want to do once I've completed my PhD, all I know is I enjoy what I do so hopefully I can carry on doing that - whatever it leads me to!

I hope this helps, please don't hesitate to ask me any further questions. I am more than happy to assist!

Molly
UoS MChem graduate
UoS Chemistry PhD Student
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Kerzen
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A degree in Chemistry can open a variety of doors. Obviously, some of them will be specialised and will be purely in the field of chemistry but there are successful people in many other spheres who have degrees in the subject.

Teaching is always a possibility, but there are many other options. Quite a few people who work in the City in financial institutions have degrees in the sciences; I have met barristers and solicitors with degrees in Chemistry - some of the barristers draw on their specialist knowledge when dealing with certain kinds of case. These legal professionals are people who have done a post-graduate course in Law after their first degree.

It's common to come across Officers in the Armed Forces who have degrees in subjects such as Chemistry. A degree in Chemistry would allow you to apply for this role, for instance:

https://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/careers...BoCnIMQAvD_BwE

Something you might want to consider when you start your degree is taking out membership with the Royal Society of Chemistry:

https://www.rsc.org/membership-and-c...tudent-member/
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Plantagenet Crown
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Chemistry is one of the most difficult but also among the most respected and prestigious degrees. It can thus open a huge variety of doors and a chemistry graduate can go into an enormous range of fields: teaching, finance, marketing, law, recruiting, consulting, research, industry and on and on. With jobs unrelated to chemistry what will be important will be the skills you gain from your degree such as teamwork, attention to detail, organisation and highly developed planning.

Concerning chemistry-specific jobs there are lots. You can of course do a PhD and then become an academic or a postdoctoral researcher in a university. Then there's the research roles in industry, analysts, quality control chemists etc. Less specialised roles that don't require PhDs include laboratory technicians, safety officers and so on. And then there's all the business side of chemical companies and recruiters/consultants in the field. You can also go into journal editing.
Last edited by Plantagenet Crown; 1 month ago
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Uni of Southampton Students
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(Original post by YellowTomatoes)
So before I decided I wanted to do a chemistry degree I wanted to be a doctor/paramedic for about 5 years (from like year 7 to the middle of year 12) . And then in year 12 when I thought I wanted to be a HEMS paramedic I thought that I should do a degree where I’m really good at the subject (there were also lots of other factors that made me want to do a chemistry degree)

I’m now on year 13 and I’ve applied to do a chemistry degree but I’m really unsure about what to do with it?? I’m worried I’ll do the degree and suddenly I won’t like any of the career choices, and I’m worried it’s a bad idea doing a chemistry degree if I’m unsure what to do with it. I know I’m 100% certain on doing a chemistry degree and I really enjoy learning about it. It feels so weird to not really have much of a career aspiration after being so focused on being a doctor and paramedic for so long. I know I want to do something involving chemistry but I’m not sure what.
Hi YellowTomatoes,

Me again! I've just found this on the Uni of Southampton's web page about different career paths you can take with a chemistry degree - https://www.southampton.ac.uk/chemis...ry-degree.page.

I hope this helps!

Molly
UoS MChem graduate
UoS Chemistry PhD Student
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YellowTomatoes
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Thank you all for your responses they’ve been really helpful
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BlueLightDriver
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You won't get funding for a paramedic science degree as a second degree. So if you're considering that you might still want to be a paramedic then you should think about taking a year out or doing some work experience etc to make really sure you want to fo chemistry.

This is something that is being campaigned to change, so might not be the case when you graduate. But it is something that catches a lot of people out. There are some opportunities to apply directly to an ambulance Trust and work through them while studying, but this is very competitive.
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