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Chemistry is one of the central sciences. It is a part of most any basic science education, and studies the makeup of everything in our world. The study of chemistry picks apart everything around us to its smallest parts in order to put them back together again to create something different, something new that may never have existed before. If you have an inquiring, analytical mind and good powers of observation, chemistry may well be something for you.

Studying Chemistry

Being a central science, chemistry is available at most universities with a science department. It is a discipline that can well be studied abroad, and is wide open to future international careers. Many universities offer chemistry degrees in a wide variety of forms. You can do a bachelor with a major or minor in chemistry. If you already have a career in mind, you can also choose to do a degree fully focused on chemistry or even focus directly on a specific area of chemistry.

Sub disciplines of chemistry include organic and inorganic chemistry, biochemistry, neurochemistry, environmental chemistry and medicinal chemistry to name a few.

In some areas it is advisable to focus your studies directly. One such area is forensic science, which generally requires both an undergraduate degree and graduate degree in the field for employment. In other areas you can complete earlier scientific education with a master degree in your chosen field of chemistry or focus a general chemistry degree with a later master.

Careers in Chemistry

Chemistry being a natural science with very active research, this is a given career opportunity. Research is conducted by university and state owned labs along with pharmaceutical companies that are a large employer group. The diversity of opportunities with a chemistry degree is endless. You could work with anything from discovering solutions to create a healthier environment, analyzing paints to restoring famous artwork or investigating evidence from a crime scene. Below you will find a few career options within the area of chemistry.

Medicinal Chemistry

Medicinal chemistry mainly deals with the development and discovery of new drug compounds within the pharmaceutical industry, university and state labs. A career in the field can also involve developing guidelines and reviewing new drug applications from pharmaceutical companies. A medicinal chemist needs to like a varied job description, and be willing and able to work with other scientists from a wide variety of fields.

Agricultural Chemists

Agricultural chemists study the processes necessary for obtaining food - especially in growing crops. This can deal with anything from pesticides, herbicides, or developing new molecules and compounds to effectively reduce the damage to crops from pests and disease. An important aspect is how to make such treatments less harmful to humans and the remaining environment. An important quality for an agricultural chemist is the ability and understanding to cooperate and work together with scientists from a wide variety for fields.


Combining your technical knowledge with an interest for business can bring you into the area of consulting. This can be a first career or a later career step, depending on your own choices. A necessity for the role of consultant however, is not just a knowledge of the subject area, but especially of the business. Some gain this knowledge through working for a number of years before going into consulting, while others complete their chemistry knowledge with a degree in business.

Forensic Chemists

A forensic chemist applies his or her knowledge to the examination of physical evidence in the area of crime investigation. The career path often starts through state run labs associated with the medical examiner's office. There are however other career paths in other fields of forensic science, academia or administration. Career progression also often involves moving away from the analysis to a more supervisory post. In order to move into a career in forensic chemistry, a degree in forensic science is recommended at both undergraduate and graduate level.

Food and Flavor Chemists

Food chemistry deals with examining the chemistry of foods, their deterioration and the underlying principles of product improvement for customers. Food chemistry deals with the development of processing, packaging, preserving, and storing foods in order to create safe, economical and aesthetically pleasing food products. The job prospects are looking quite bright for food chemists, with the majority of job opportunities most likely lying with ingredient suppliers in the private sector.

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