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Chemistry courses

Chemistry is at the root of many cutting-edge scientific discoveries, new processes and products. This course allows you to challenge your understanding of chemistry and put knowledge into practice in the lab using state of the art equipment. Chemistry graduates work in the chemical, manufacturing and pharmaceutical industries and in areas such as forensics, environmental protection and healthcare. Their problem solving skills are useful for many other areas, too, such as law and finance.

Studying chemistry at university

Example course modules

  • Solid state chemistry
  • Shapes, properties and reactions of molecules
  • Organic and biological chemistry
  • Chemistry for the physical sciences
  • Molecular pharmacology
  • States of matter
  • Chemistry of materials
  • Inorganic chemistry
  • The global Earth system
  • Mineralogy and petralogy

Teaching hours / week

Average for this subject


Average for all subjects

The time you'll spend in lectures and seminars each week will vary from university to university, so use this as a guide.

More on studying and contact hours at uni

Who studies this subject

  • Female : 49%
    Male : 51%
  • Mature : 8%
    School leaver : 92%
  • Full-time : 95%
    Part-time : 5%

What students say about chemistry

What you need to get on a course

Subjects you need

A-levels (or equivalent) usually required

  • Chemistry

Useful to have

  • Biology
  • Physics
  • Mathematics

Application checklist

Here's a guide to what to expect from the application process - also check individual university entry requirements, as these may differ.

  • January application
  • October application
  • Personal statement
  • Portfolio
  • Interview
  • Entry test
  • Work experience
  • Audition

Personal statement advice

Your personal statement is a core part of your university application, and getting it just right takes time. Before you start work on yours, take a look at our five quick tips on writing a personal statement. We'll help you past that writer's block!

Career prospects

Sources: HECSU & KIS
The number of students taking chemistry courses hasn't changed much in the last ten years, even as numbers in most other subjects have risen, and it's felt the UK has a shortage of chemistry grads overall. If you want a career in research, you need a doctorate, so start planning now if you fancy one of these exciting and challenging jobs. But many industries, from the food industry to teaching, need chemistry graduates, and they're also prized by business and finance employers for their research and data handling skills – anywhere there is research and data to be explained, you can find chemistry grads. The recession hasn't been too kind to chemists, and current problems, particularly in the pharmaceutical industry (one of the key employers for chemists), mean that the stats are probably a little worse than we'd normally expect – they should improve over the next few years.
Professional and accrediting bodies:

Six months after graduating

Typical graduate job areas
  • Science, engineering and production technicians

Longer term career paths

Jobs where this degree is useful

  • Analytical chemist
  • Flavour chemist
  • Forensic scientist

Other real-life job examples

  • Market researcher
  • Drug safety officer
  • Brewer

What employers like about this subject

By studying chemistry you can learn a number of subject-specific skills including the principles of organic, inorganic and physical chemistry and thermodynamics and other advanced mathematics. Transferable skills you can gain from a chemistry degree include data investigation, excellent numeracy and good research skills. Chemistry graduates are in demand across the economy. Work is available in manufacturing (particularly in agrichemicals, pharmaceuticals, paints, perfumes, food, and plastics); oil and gas; scientific research and development and other industries including finance. If you’re aiming for a career in research, you will usually need to take a postgraduate qualification (probably a Doctorate) after your first degree.