Do you love learning about chemical reactions and equations?
Chemistry is a complex field of study and can help you understand the world around you. If you think that your future lies with compounds and elements, a career in chemistry might be for you!
There are many areas of chemistry you could specialize in. Almost every industry has a department where chemistry is involved in some way. It is everywhere!
We’ve broken down the different chemistry degrees you might want to consider studying.
Read on to find the best fit for you! You might even discover a discipline of chemistry that you were previously unaware of.
Most Popular Chemistry Degrees Based on Google Searches
These are the most popular chemistry degrees, based on analyzing Google search queries.
Analytical chemistry teaches you about the chemical composition of different materials. Students in this course learn how to examine chemical compositions. This is done through wet lab chemistry work and various instruments.
An analytical research chemist analyzes and interprets data from experiments, and assesses the need for further experimentation.
Are you unsure if you want to pursue engineering or chemistry? Engineering chemistry is a branch of applied chemistry in the field of engineering.
Engineering chemistry entails the design, construction, and operation of chemical plants. Most of the work done in this field originates in a laboratory and progresses from there.
The chemistry of life is a fascinating subject, and you will learn more about this with a biochemistry degree. This branch of chemistry governs all the chemical processes that occur in biological organisms.
Topics of study in this field include cell development, as well as innate biological processes like breathing and digestion. Involuntary changes in living organisms, the aging process, and death are also covered.
You can help solve crimes without being a police detective. A forensic chemist performs a highly specialized type of detective work, through chemistry.
Forensic chemistry will teach you about the investigation of physical evidence samples (at a crime scene, for example) through scientific methods. This is closely linked to the field of chemical toxicology.
Medicinal Pharmaceutical Chemistry
Medicinal pharmaceutical chemistry is where the disciplines of chemistry and pharmacology meet.
In this field of chemistry, you will learn about pharmaceutical drug design, chemical synthesis, and pharmaceutical analysis.
Other Chemistry Degrees You Should Explore
There are many other areas of chemistry that you can consider aside from the most popular ones. Let’s take a look at some other chemistry degrees you should consider exploring!
Organic and Inorganic Chemistry
In organic chemistry, students learn about organic (carbon-based) compounds, and their structure, properties, and reactions with each other.
Inorganic chemistry, on the other hand, is the study of inorganic compounds. This branch of chemistry is relevant in most scientific and chemical industries. You may end up working in a laboratory or at an industrial site. It depends on the company you go on to work for.
Are you interested in the effects of air pollution or climate change? This may be the chemistry discipline for you.
In atmospheric chemistry, you will study chemical processes that occur in the atmosphere. If you want to make a difference and work towards cleaner air for all, you should consider this degree.
Geochemistry and Petrology
If the origin, structure, and chemical composition of rocks pique your interest, you should consider studying geochemistry and petrology.
These fields of study will ensure an enriching career in the petroleum or mining industries. You can also use this knowledge in work for environmental agencies.
The quality of soil has a big impact on food production. It also affects the biodiversity of plant life and plant-eating animals.
Soil chemistry is the study of the soil, its composition, and the influence of environmental factors on its mineral content.
Polymer and Materials Chemistry
Polymers are large molecules, called macromolecules, composed of simple chemical units, called monomers. Polymers can be found in both synthetic and natural substances. Polymer chemistry focuses on the structure and properties of polymers.
If you are intrigued by discovering and designing new materials, materials chemistry might be a good choice. In the world of chemistry, this is a relatively new sub-discipline. However, the discovery of new materials can have a tremendous impact on the quality of human life.
The development of pharmaceuticals offers the chance to make a real difference in the lives of people around the world. Whether designing pharmaceutical drugs, testing medications or researching their effects, a degree in pharmaceutical sciences will help you to help others.
Please note that this does not prepare you to be a pharmacist where you can dispense medications. A BSc in pharmaceutical science will prepare you for work in the pharmaceutical industry, on which pharmacists rely. This distinction is important to note!
Academic Levels in Chemistry
Like with other fields of study, chemistry degrees can range from undergraduate to postgraduate degrees. Whether you want to pursue a bachelor’s or a Ph.D., let’s examine what you’ll learn, and what you can do, with each of them.
With a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, which would be a Bachelor of Science (BSc), you’ll learn all about the composition of chemicals, and the manipulation of chemical processes. You will be taught how to create desired chemical reactions through the deconstruction and combination of certain chemicals.
Chemistry is a part of most undergraduate science degrees. If you intend to apply for advanced, or leadership, roles in your particular area of interest, you will need a postgraduate degree.
A bachelor’s degree will equip you to be (among others) an entry-level forensic chemist, analytical chemist, synthetic chemist, or toxicologist. Most, if not all, jobs in the scientific field require at least a BSc degree.
A master’s degree in chemistry will build on the foundational principles covered in a BSc. You will gain a deeper understanding of the structure and properties of chemical substances.
This is where you can narrow your field of interest. Chemistry is a very wide field, encompassing many sub-disciplines. Your career choice can be greatly affected by what you choose to study at this level.
A master’s degree in chemistry will allow you to pursue a career as, for example, a chemical technician. You will also be able to apply for a leadership position in forensic science, synthetic chemistry, or toxicology.
A doctorate in chemistry will give you the highest earning potential. You will acquire leadership skills in your area of interest and will further your knowledge through research and development.
It is not essential to have a doctorate in chemistry for most jobs in the sciences. However, it can open more doors for you, and launch you into more advanced roles with higher pay.
A doctorate is preferred if you apply for a position as a chemistry teacher or lecturer. Many high-level positions in forensic chemistry, synthetic chemistry, and toxicology also require a doctorate.
Which Degree Level for Highest Salary
An exciting career is just one aspect of your decision about what to study. Another highly relevant factor is what you’ll earn. Generally speaking, the higher your qualifications, the more you’ll earn.
Salaries are often described in terms of medians. In this case, the median is the point between the lowest and highest possible salaries for chemistry graduates. This can give you a basic indication of how a degree affects your earning potential.
For example, a chemist with a bachelor’s degree will start with a median salary of $40,000 per year. However, those with a master’s degree will start with a median annual salary of $52,000. The median starting salary for chemists with doctorates is $62,900.
The size of the company that you apply to work for, and the industry that you are in, will affect your starting salary.
If you’re considering a career in chemistry, we hope this article has helped you choose the right degree to pursue!
Many disciplines fall under the chemistry umbrella, and you’re sure to find one that speaks to you and your interests. A rewarding career, with exciting prospects, awaits you!
Cat Collins is a freelance online content writer, based in Cape Town, South Africa. Having studied psychology and sociology, she eventually settled on writing as a career. When not writing awesome online content, she is always striving to learn more about people and their passions in life.