The Student Room Group

Chemistry at university

I'm not sure yet what I would like to apply for at university so I would be grateful if someone could talk about their experience studying chemistry and what sort of careers you could go into with a chemistry degree :smile:
(edited 9 months ago)
Original post by blossomx44!
I'm not sure yet what I would like to apply for at university so I would be grateful if someone could talk about their experience studying chemistry and what sort of careers you could go into with a chemistry degree :smile:

Hi @blossomx44!,

I'm a second-year chemistry student on an MChem course. I'd love to share some insights about my experience studying chemistry and the potential career paths it can lead to.

Studying:
Studying chemistry can be exciting and intellectually rewarding. It has taught me a deep understanding of the fundamental properties and interactions of matter, which forms the basis of many scientific disciplines and industries. This is the reason I wanted to study chemistry in the first place. Chemistry programs typically cover a range of topics including organic chemistry, inorganic chemistry, physical chemistry, analytical chemistry, computational chemistry and more. Due to the broad range of topics, there is naturally some bits you find more fun than others but I think this is true for any degree course. Studying chemistry requires a lot of hard-work to keep up with the content. It is full-on but feels great when you achieve an understanding of something you have struggled with.

My course is RSC accredited so labs and practical experiments are an integral part of the program, allowing theoretical knowledge to be applied in real-life. I have grown to love the lab over the past two years, gaining confidence in my abilities. It is where you get to realise the idea of being a chemist in the lab coat and goggles. A lot of contact hours are spent in the lab so it is a valuable time to talk to lecturers, lab technicians and postgrad students about questions you may have.

Typically, I have 20+ contact hours in a week. This is significantly more than other courses like law or english. However, I find that I have less independent learning hours. This is great for me because I would struggle more to read a textbook for hours on end than to go to a seminar, a workshop and a lecture in a day. It suits my learning style well. I still try to make my learning hours up to 40 in a week like the uni recommends but at least half is covered by my contact hours.

Career opportunities:
Chemistry teaches lots of versatile skills like critical thinking, attention to detail, lab techniques, scientific writing, research skills and so much more. It can lead to a wide array of career paths in various industries. Some careers I have heard of chemistry graduates entering or that I've looked into myself are: research scientist, pharmaceuticals, environmental science, forensic science, materials science, quality control, science communication, teaching, energy and the food/ drink industry. This website https://www.prospects.ac.uk/careers-advice/what-can-i-do-with-my-degree/chemistry can give you some more ideas. Basically, it is a good degree that doesn't have to lead to a degree in chemistry.

If you have any other questions feel free to ask!
-Beth (Lancaster Student Ambassador)
Reply 2
Original post by Lancaster Student Ambassador
Hi @blossomx44!,

I'm a second-year chemistry student on an MChem course. I'd love to share some insights about my experience studying chemistry and the potential career paths it can lead to.

Studying:
Studying chemistry can be exciting and intellectually rewarding. It has taught me a deep understanding of the fundamental properties and interactions of matter, which forms the basis of many scientific disciplines and industries. This is the reason I wanted to study chemistry in the first place. Chemistry programs typically cover a range of topics including organic chemistry, inorganic chemistry, physical chemistry, analytical chemistry, computational chemistry and more. Due to the broad range of topics, there is naturally some bits you find more fun than others but I think this is true for any degree course. Studying chemistry requires a lot of hard-work to keep up with the content. It is full-on but feels great when you achieve an understanding of something you have struggled with.

My course is RSC accredited so labs and practical experiments are an integral part of the program, allowing theoretical knowledge to be applied in real-life. I have grown to love the lab over the past two years, gaining confidence in my abilities. It is where you get to realise the idea of being a chemist in the lab coat and goggles. A lot of contact hours are spent in the lab so it is a valuable time to talk to lecturers, lab technicians and postgrad students about questions you may have.

Typically, I have 20+ contact hours in a week. This is significantly more than other courses like law or english. However, I find that I have less independent learning hours. This is great for me because I would struggle more to read a textbook for hours on end than to go to a seminar, a workshop and a lecture in a day. It suits my learning style well. I still try to make my learning hours up to 40 in a week like the uni recommends but at least half is covered by my contact hours.

Career opportunities:
Chemistry teaches lots of versatile skills like critical thinking, attention to detail, lab techniques, scientific writing, research skills and so much more. It can lead to a wide array of career paths in various industries. Some careers I have heard of chemistry graduates entering or that I've looked into myself are: research scientist, pharmaceuticals, environmental science, forensic science, materials science, quality control, science communication, teaching, energy and the food/ drink industry. This website https://www.prospects.ac.uk/careers-advice/what-can-i-do-with-my-degree/chemistry can give you some more ideas. Basically, it is a good degree that doesn't have to lead to a degree in chemistry.

If you have any other questions feel free to ask!
-Beth (Lancaster Student Ambassador)


Thank you so much that was really helpful :smile: Were you 100% certain that you wanted to do chemistry at uni when you applied as I have an interest in it but i can’t say i’m particularly passionate about it. However, I am struggling to find a course that i feel passionate about so any advice on how to choose would be much appreciated !
Original post by blossomx44!
Thank you so much that was really helpful :smile: Were you 100% certain that you wanted to do chemistry at uni when you applied as I have an interest in it but i can’t say i’m particularly passionate about it. However, I am struggling to find a course that i feel passionate about so any advice on how to choose would be much appreciated !

Hiya,

No I wasn't 100% certain I wanted to study chemistry. I ended up choosing Lancaster uni before my course. I was considering biochem, natural sciences, chemistry and even english. It was a tough decision but after considering many different elements like subject rankings, graduate employment, the university's facilities, size of the course and the modules I chose chemistry. I knew that I could specialise in science later on if I wanted to and the broad range of topics would keep me interested.

Choosing a course you are interested in is an important decision and its okay to take your time to figure it out. Here's some other steps I took to help find a course.

Self-Reflection: Take some time to reflect on your interests, strengths, and values. What subjects or activities have you enjoyed in the past? What skills do you naturally excel at? Consider what you would love to learn more about.
Explore Your Hobbies: Sometimes, your passions can be linked to your hobbies or activities you enjoy outside of academics. Think about what you do in your free time and how that could translate into a course or career.
Research: Look into various fields and courses that catch your attention. Read about the curriculum, potential career paths, and the skills you'll acquire. This research might spark your interest in a specific area.
Talk to People: Reach out to professionals or students who are already in the fields you're considering. Their insights can provide valuable information about the realities of the industry and what to expect.
Consider Your Long-Term Goals: Think about where you see yourself in the future. What kind of work or impact do you want to make? Aligning your course choice with your long-term goals can be motivating.
Consult a Career Counsellor: Your school likely has career counselling services. These professionals can help you assess your interests and strengths and suggest potential career paths.
Stay Open-Minded: Be willing to explore unconventional or lesser-known fields. Your passion might lie in something you haven't even considered yet.

It's not always an instant 'aha' moment. Even when I arrived I had doubts I had chosen the wrong degree. Being patient with yourself and staying open to new experiences will help massively.

-Beth (Lancaster Student Ambassador)

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