Contact Us

What's So Great About a Chemistry Major?

The field of chemistry interfaces with and often supports a wide range of disciplines, such as molecular and environmental biology, genetics, medicine, mathematics and physics . . . to name a few. In fact, chemistry is often referred to as the central science. Training in chemistry also can give you a solid technical background for sales and management careers in the pharmaceutical industry or advanced positions at government laboratories.

Chemistry itself is arranged into a broad range of subdisciplines, which appeal to a variety of interests.

Do you really enjoy working with your hands and building and designing equipment? Physical chemistry, the interface between physics and chemistry, often requires manual skills (electrical, plumbing, machining, etc.) in the construction of new instruments for experimental work.

Do you enjoy computer programming? You might want to look into computational and theoretical chemistry, some of which involves computer modeling of chemical systems.

Enjoy solving problems? Analytical chemists strive to learn news ways to purify samples (such as new antibiotics) before they go to market. They might also work in an environmental lab, developing novel methods for determining trace contaminant levels in lakes and soils.

Enjoy making new compounds or discovering less expensive ways to synthesize important pharmaceuticals? Then you might be interested in organic chemistry or the related, multidisciplinary specialty called medicinal chemistry.

If you enjoy learning about the workings of proteins and enzymes, or about the manipulation of DNA, you might be interested in biochemistry. If developing new compounds for use as catalysts or in new materials for the electronics or aerospace industries, inorganic chemistry would be of interest.

Interested in high school teaching? Majoring in science education with an emphasis in chemistry will greatly enhance your market value.

A chemistry background also serves as a foundation for many careers in seemingly "nontechnical" areas, areas in which a technical background would give you a great advantage. For example, sales and management positions in the pharmaceutical industry or administrative positions in government laboratories would be attractive to individuals with both chemical and business training.

Check out an informative list of some of the chemistry subdisciplines and careers.

For information about the various options for chemistry here at EIU, click here.