Graduate careers advice: you and your chemistry degree
Chemistry is a dynamic, diverse and constantly evolving area of science. Your degree in chemistry provides you with the perfect springboard for a wide range of career opportunities.
Graduate careers advice on what you can do with your chemistry degree.
Related jobs include:
- Analytical chemist
- Food technologist
- Forensic scientist
- Medical laboratory scientist
- Pharmacovigilance officer
- Process chemist
- Research chemist
- Quality control scientist
- Soil scientist
However, a science degree is coveted by many employers across a wide range of areas and some of the other areas that you could be suited to include:
- Environmental consultant
- Technical writer
- Patent agent/examiner
- Secondary school teacher
Getting hands on practical experience as part of your degree provides you with an excellent basis for entering the world of work, and choosing the right area in which to apply your chemistry degree. Finding laboratory related internship or work experience positions can be difficult due to the high degree of sensitivity surrounding many areas of chemistry, so you may need to be more flexible in terms of how you obtain some workplace experience. Speculative applications are welcomed by most employers, once they are properly presented and articulated. Chemistry is a highly specialised area and employers will value your skills, but like any area there will always be competition, so even if you can’t get a chemistry related role in a company, try and gain some exposure to the industry by taking a role in some other capacity within a company whose primary focus is chemistry, even if it’s in marketing, business development or administration. As chemistry also has a focus on related areas such as ecology, sustainability and the environment, volunteering could be a good route to gain some experience. Keep an eye on internships and opportunities on gradireland here
Due to the wide application of chemistry across many career areas, there are a lot of opportunities, but the majority of employers operate in the chemical sector or related industries including:
- Plastics and polymers
- Agrochemicals/agricultural science
- Chemical engineering
As we said earlier, the transferable skills inherent in a science degree like chemistry means that there will also be a significant amount of opportunities in sectors like the food and drink industry, the tech and engineering sector, health and medical institutions, research bodies, agencies and universities in addition to public sector positions. Getting the right experience and following up on any necessary postgraduate study will be vital to finding the exact role that you want.
Your chemistry CV
The sheer range of skills that a science degree gives you means that it can be hard to condense everything into a well presented CV. As part of the basis of chemistry, you will have learned excellent laboratory techniques which can be used in the more traditional forms of chemistry or indeed transfer into the medical or biological spheres, or engineering, physics, earth sciences or geology.
Some of the transferable skills which you can add to your CV would likely include the following:
- Collaborative skills and team work
- Initiative and team leadership
- Strong written and oral communication skills
- Excellent record keeping and maintenance
- Technology skills
- Presentation skills
- Strong researching ability
- Excellent organisation and time management
- Resourcefulness, problem-identifying and solving and analytical skills
Chemistry, like most areas of science, is one that has a significant amount of postgraduate study opportunities. In fact, postgraduate study is often expected by many employers in order to gain particular skills at Masters or even PhD level. Normally, the choice of a postgraduate course would be to deepen the level of knowledge of the area of chemistry studied at undergraduate level, for instance biochemistry, crystallography or forensic science. Studying to a Masters or PhD level will provide you with both a greater depth of practical, sectoral skills and theoretical knowledge of your chosen area.
For more information on the course that would suit you, visit our Further Study
section to browse courses and get information on particular courses and institutions.