Why Study Chemistry?

A student with a model of a molecule

If you want to know more about the world, study chemistry at university to delve deeper into how things work. Chemistry is an exciting and varied degree which combines aspects of other areas of science, such as biology and physics, and applies them to the study of everything from natural to man-made materials. You’ll develop the skills to learn more about existing chemicals to even creating new ones. Everything around us is chemical — and with a degree in chemistry you’ll contribute to society by helping to create new medicine, new materials and new sources of energy to improve our way of life.

Fields of chemistry

There are many different fields of chemistry, focusing on unique areas. Some of the major fields of chemistry include:

  • Analytical chemistry – Works to determine what matter is, using instruments and methods to identify and quantify it.
  • Biochemistry – Studies the chemical processes within and related to living organisms.
  • Organic or inorganic chemistry – Studies the behaviour, structure, properties and reactions of inorganic or organic compounds and materials.
  • Physical chemistry – Applies physics to the study of chemistry to learn how chemical reactions occur and the physical properties of molecules.

Importance Of Studying Chemistry

There are a number of benefits to studying chemistry at university:

Improve our way of life

Chemistry can work to make everyone’s life easier. Through the development of new chemicals, new materials and chemical reactions, chemistry can lead to discoveries and creations that can constantly improve our way of life and provide the answers to countless fundamental questions — such as new medicines and sustainable materials.

Protect the planet

Understanding the complex chemical reactions which help make up our world are key to helping to protect the environment from harmful human activities. Chemistry can help with advancements in areas such as energy storage and electric vehicles to help protect and preserve the natural world.

Understand the world

We are surrounded by chemicals and chemical processes. From the air we breathe to the food we buy, chemistry is a crucial part of our everyday lives. From studying chemistry you will learn how stuff works, how it is made and generally develop a better understanding of life.

Why study chemistry at Durham University?

With one of the best chemistry departments in the UK (top UK chemistry department for research impact, REF 2014), Durham University makes a fantastic option to study an undergraduate degree in chemistry.

You will benefit from superb facilities throughout your studies. Three new teaching laboratories offer a range of modern equipment and you will also be taught how to use more advanced research instrumentation, including Nuclear Magnetic Resonance spectrometry.

You will be taught by internationally renowned academics through a combination of lectures, seminars, workshops and laboratory work. You will also have the opportunity to join the University’s student chemical society, which is ideal for out-of-class learning.

Key skills from studying chemistry

  • Project and time management
  • Communication
  • Teamwork
  • Research
  • Data handling and analysis
  • Problem solving
  • Report writing
  • Decision making

What chemistry degree can I study at Durham University?

If you are looking to study chemistry at Durham University then BSc (Hons) Chemistry is a great option. This three-year course covers core chemistry as well as giving you the opportunity to choose optional modules.

You will study a range of core modules that, in the past, have included inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry and physical chemistry. You will also study mathematical and physical concepts as tools for chemistry and learn the basics of biology and physics.

Degree preparation at the International Study Centre

Prepare for your chemistry degree at Durham University with our International Foundation Year in Science and Engineering. Studying at the International Study Centre is the perfect way to prepare for your undergraduate degree.

You will learn key academic and English skills that will prepare you for success, not only during your degree but also for your future career.

Chemistry degree jobs

With a degree in chemistry you will have plenty of directly related career opportunities. Whether you want to continue into further education and specialise in a field of chemistry or go into a research or field role, you will have a range of options.

Jobs you can pursue with a chemistry degree

Some of the jobs you could follow include:

  • Toxicologist
  • Forensic scientist
  • Biotechnologist
  • Chemical engineer
  • Pharmacologist
  • Research scientist
  • Nanotechnologist

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is chemistry difficult?

Chemistry can be challenging, but with proper study, practice, and understanding of fundamental concepts, it can be a very rewarding course to study.

Is chemist a good career?

Yes, being a chemist can be a fulfilling career choice. It offers opportunities for research, innovation, working in various industries, and contributing to advancements in areas like healthcare, materials science, and environmental sustainability.

Are chemistry degree jobs in demand?

Yes, there is a demand for professionals with chemistry degrees. Industries such as pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, chemicals, energy, and environmental science require chemists for research, development, quality control, and regulatory compliance. 


(Complete University Guide, Subject League Table 2022)