Chemistry: a vital science for the future

Chemistry-based jobs are being recognised more than ever as vital to the future, and the UK offers some of the best chemistry university departments in the world.

Chemistry is the study of matter and materials, and the changes that they undergo. It is a fundamental science that advances our understanding of the natural world, but it also provides solutions to everyday problems, as well as innovations that enhance and enrich our everyday lives.

Chemistry underpins a broad range of disciplines and a career in the chemical sciences offers a range of opportunities that can be extremely rewarding, both personally and financially.

Chemistry graduates investigate the inner workings of matter itself, they develop new and better medicines, they create specialised materials for clothing, packaging and electronics, they make a vast range of products from cosmetics, paints, toiletries and perfumes to plastics, fuels, and foodstuffs, and much more besides.

Chemisty: a vital science for the future

“The knowledge and skills that chemical scientists possess will ensure that they are always in high demand”

Chemistry for our futureChemistry is a vital science today, but it will be even more so in tomorrow’s world. More than ever, the importance of science and science-based jobs to create a sustainable future for the planet is being recognised. As society looks to the future and the challenges it will face, chemistry will be instrumental in helping to meet these challenges by providing new, greener energy sources, ensuring clean water is available to all, and meeting the growing demands for food and raw materials of an ever-increasing population. As the world changes and new jobs emerge, the knowledge and skills that chemical scientists possess will ensure that they are always in high demand.

Equipped, able and valuableNot only does a chemistry degree give an excellent grounding in the subject itself and the process of research and scientific enquiry, it also equips graduates with a wealth of additional skills that are highly valued by employers. Numeracy, problem-solving, data handling, analysis, observation, team working and report writing are all developed and strengthened through studying chemistry, and are all applicable across a wide range of sectors. As a result, chemistry graduates don’t just work in the laboratory; their destinations are as diverse as the graduates themselves: teaching, aerospace, law, healthcare, telecommunications, publishing, business 
and finance, and information technology to name a few.

With the increasing globalisation of economies, the skills acquired through a degree in chemistry will also allow graduates to be much more mobile in the global jobs marketplace. Growing economies such as India and China will have strong science-based industries and a chemistry qualification can be a ticket to a truly international career.

Studying in the UKThe UK is a world leader in numerous areas of science, and chemistry is no exception. The chemistry departments of UK universities are among the best in the world and degrees from these institutions are highly regarded by employers in the UK and abroad. Degrees in chemistry range from pure chemistry to chemistry combined with additional subjects such as physics, biology, environmental science or business.

Many universities will also offer the choice between bachelor’s and master’s courses and they can also include spending time in industry or abroad. To help students make the decision about what chemistry course might be right for them, the RSC offers a variety of resources, such as careers materials and events like Meet the Universities. More information on chemistry degrees and careers, and on choosing a course, can be found on the Royal Society of Chemistry’s website - www.rsc.org/education

Written by Dr Philip Robinson (2011)
Project Officer with the RSC’s Higher Education, Business and Industry team
Royal Society of Chemistry

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