What students say about chemistry
As a chemist at Oxford, your first year would have 20 hours of lectures a week from the four fields: organic, inorganic, physical and maths. There is a set of maths problems to complete each week which run parallel with the lecture course. You also have two days of practicals a week. For this you need to complete a pre-lab, which goes through the practical and asks a few questions to check you understand what you will be doing.1st year, University of Oxford
The course gradually covers all aspects of core, organic, physical, inorganic and biological chemistry in a lot of detail. It is challenging as there are a lot of complicated, yet integral, concepts to grasp, as well as equations and definitions to memorise. It is very interesting as a lot of the content can be applied to the lab work we spend a full day doing each week and the topics are so varied, you are bound to find plenty to captivate you. Each week we have tutorial and workshop assignments to submit, in addition to assessed lab reports and maths homework that also must be handed in weekly.1st year, University of York
I study chemistry so in my first year I had around 16 teaching hours per week. This sounds a lot but it was still fewer hours than school! Obviously the practical element in such a course is important and we had one three-four hour lab session per week. The work mainly consisted of completing tutorials and workshops i.e. completing exam-style questions and having them marked by a tutor. In tutorials we would then go through the questions in order to ensure our understanding. Doing a science subject, I was only required to write two essays during the year. The course is challenging, but not impossible.1st year, University of Leicester
What you need to get on a course
Subjects you need
A-levels (or equivalent) usually required
Useful to have
Here's a guide to what to expect from the application process - also check individual university entry requirements, as these may differ.
- January application
- October application
- Personal statement
- Entry test
- Work experience
Personal statement advice
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Longer term career paths
Jobs where this degree is useful
- Analytical chemist
- Flavour chemist
- Forensic scientist
Other real-life job examples
- Market researcher
- Drug safety officer
What employers like about this subject
By studying chemistry you can learn a number of subject-specific skills including the principles of organic, inorganic and physical chemistry and thermodynamics and other advanced mathematics. Transferable skills you can gain from a chemistry degree include data investigation, excellent numeracy and good research skills. Chemistry graduates are in demand across the economy. Work is available in manufacturing (particularly in agrichemicals, pharmaceuticals, paints, perfumes, food, and plastics); oil and gas; scientific research and development and other industries including finance. If you’re aiming for a career in research, you will usually need to take a postgraduate qualification (probably a Doctorate) after your first degree.