Studying chemistry can lead to jobs in cutting-edge technologies within science and research as well as roles outside the laboratory
Jobs directly related to your degree include:
- Academic researcher
- Analytical chemist
- Clinical scientist, biochemistry
- Colour technologist
- Crime scene investigator
- Forensic scientist
- Medicinal chemist
- Research scientist (physical sciences)
Jobs where your degree would be useful include:
- 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
Remember that many employers accept applications from graduates with any degree subject, so don't restrict your thinking to the jobs listed here.
If you haven't done an industrial placement as part of your degree, try searching for chemical companies in your local area to see if they offer a formal scheme. If they don't, you can still try applying speculatively for any short-term opportunities.
Laboratory experience is highly valued but can be difficult to secure. If you're unable to get it you could look for work experience with the same company but in a different department. This will still enable you to get an understanding of the business and industry and how chemistry is applied in the workplace.
Volunteering is another way of enhancing your CV. Although you may not find many opportunities that directly relate to your chemistry degree, there are many schemes that focus on related areas such as the environment, sustainability, ethics and medicine. There may also be opportunities at your local hospital to work in a pathology lab.
Search for placements and find out more about work experience and internships.
There are many different employers of chemistry graduates. Some are within the chemical and related industries, such as:
- plastics and polymers
while others are in different sectors that have roles linked to chemistry, such as:
- the food and drink industry
- utilities and research
- health and medical organisations
- the government
- scientific research organisations and agencies.
You could also be employed in schools, colleges and universities, as well as by computer software development companies, environment consultancies and water companies.
Skills for your CV
A chemistry degree allows you to develop excellent laboratory techniques but as it overlaps with other degrees, it also gives you skills that are useful in the areas of biology and medicine, physics and engineering, and geology and earth science.
Chemistry is also studied in an environmental and social context, so you can gain awareness of its ethical implications and issues relating to environmental impact and sustainability.
As well as subject-specific knowledge, a chemistry degree also provides you with transferable skills, including:
- 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.
Continuing your study at Masters or PhD level is a popular choice for chemistry graduates. It gives you the chance to increase your knowledge in one of the branches studied during your degree, such as organic, inorganic, physical or analytical chemistry.
You may also specialise in areas of applied chemistry, such as cheminformatics or biochemistry, or develop knowledge in an area where chemistry graduates may be in demand, for example, forensic nanotechnology and forensic investigation.
Further study is highly valued by employers, particularly within scientific and technical fields, as you'll develop more advanced theoretical knowledge and practical sector-specific skills.
What do chemistry graduates do?
21% of chemistry graduates are working as natural and social science professionals. Other notable jobs include science, engineering and production technicians, teaching professionals, finance professionals, IT professionals, business, research and administrative professionals and quality and regulatory professionals.
|Working and studying||8.2|
|Type of work||Percentage|
|Business, HR and finance||16.8|
Find out what other chemistry graduates are doing 15 months after finishing their degrees in What do graduates do?
Graduate destinations data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency.