What can I do with a Chemistry degree?
A degree in chemistry can open doors to various career paths. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you will be working with chemicals in a lab. There are so many options available to you, including developing new drugs, finding impurities in meat products, working in sustainable energy and much more. You will also have developed valuable transferable skills that will be applicable to many other sectors and industries.
Natural career paths following a chemistry degree:
- Academic researcher
- Analytical chemist
- Clinical scientist, biochemistry
- Colour technologist
- Crime scene investigator
- Forensic scientist
- Medicinal chemist
- Research scientist (physical sciences)
Transferable skills career paths:
- Civil service fast streamer
- Environmental Consultant
- Higher education lecturer
- Nuclear engineer
- Patent attorney
- Product/process development scientist
- Radiation protection practitioner
- Science writer
- Secondary school teacher
These should only be used as a guide. Many employers will accept applications from students that have studied various degrees.
Those wanting to find a career within chemistry should investigate doing an industry placement – pre-entry work is valued highly. Your careers department at your university should be able to help you identify these. You can also see whether there are any voluntary or part-time roles in your local area by reaching out to chemical companies to enquire about any internships or work experience schemes.
Having pre-entry work will show that you are passionate and committed to a career in the sector, but laboratory experience can take time to secure. If you are still looking for work experience within a laboratory, look for positions within a different department, as this will still teach you the industry knowledge needed to succeed, and you will be able to see first-hand how chemistry is applied in the workplace.
Previous work experience will enable your application to stand out amongst your competition. It will also provide you with the opportunity to network and build a list of contacts who may become useful in the future.
There will be many options available to you – whether this be in the chemical industry or not. Typical employers include:
- Plastics and polymers
Other industries may include:
- The food and drink industry
- Utilities and research
- Health and medical organisations
- The government
- Scientific research organisations and agencies.
How to enhance your CV
Through your degree, you will have learnt specialised laboratory skills, but you will also have developed skills from overlapping degrees such as biology, medicine, physics and engineering. You will also have a deep understanding of the different ethical regulations when it comes to both environmental impact and sustainability. Alongside this, you will have developed additional skills which will be transferable. Make sure the following skills are highlighted on your CV:
- Mathematical/numerical ability
- Analysis and problem solving
- Time management and organisation
- Written and oral communication
- Monitoring/maintaining records and data
- Research and presentation
- IT and technology.
Many chemistry graduates go on to further study as it allows them to expand their knowledge in different areas of chemistry, including organic, inorganic, physical and analytical chemistry. Others will choose further study because they would like to specialise in a particular field, such as cheminformatics, biochemistry, forensic nanotechnology and forensic investigation.
This deep understanding of the industry and its nuances is highly valued by employers as you will have a greater knowledge of what a role in the industry will entail and the practical skill set that you can apply from the outset.
What are chemistry graduates doing?
Upon graduation, many chemistry graduates have been employed as natural and social science professionals (21%). However, the skills and knowledge developed throughout a chemistry degree have meant that careers in engineering, production, teaching, finance, IT, business, research and admin have also been popular choices.
The BSc (Hons) Chemistry with Education will provide you with both extensive theoretical knowledge and practical skills in chemistry and professional skills through work-based learning to ensure you are fully equipped to meet the demands of being a Chemistry teacher in secondary (high) school. The overall aim of the course is to allow you to develop the knowledge and skills required to teach Chemistry at Secondary School level. You will study Chemistry to Honours level and will also develop your teaching skills in years 3 and 4 by taking modules in Education.
Our MSc Chemical Engineering is ideal if you are a graduate in chemical engineering or other related discipline and are looking to upgrade your technical abilities and equip yourself with advanced knowledge in the fields of chemical and process engineering.
In addition to further developing your technical expertise and knowledge, this master’s course will also enable you to develop interpersonal and transferable skills at a level that a Chemical/Process Engineer would be expected to have to function in an advanced engineering and business environment as senior engineer or manager.
Our newly redeveloped IBMS-accredited MSc Advanced Biomedical Science programme gives you the skills and knowledge to advance (or build towards) a career as an NHS biomedical scientist. The proficiencies covered are also transferable to careers within the bioscience sector and research.