Guide to Studying Chemistry

Chemistry at Bristol
University of Bristol
Part of your time studying Chemistry
will be spent in the lab

What is Chemistry?

  • Chemistry is one of three central branches of educational science. It is a physical science that studies the composition, structure, properties and change of matter.
  • The properties of atoms and how they form chemical bonds and compounds, the interactions of substances through intermolecular forces, and chemical combinations and reactions are all taught in this discipline.

Why study Chemistry?

  • Chemistry answers questions. Why do leaves change colour in autumn? Why are plants green? How is cheese made? Why does soap clean? All answered by chemistry.
  • Chemistry can help you make informed decisions, not just about science, but about life. If you understand how chemistry works you'll be able to separate reasonable expectations from pure fiction.
  • Chemistry makes you a better cook! If you understand the chemical reactions involved in making baked goods rise or neutralising acidity or thickening sauces, your spag bol will be the best in your student flat.
  • Chemistry teaches useful skills. As a science, it means learning how to be objective, how to reason and solve problems. It also makes sense of current events, including climate change, pollution, and technology.
  • Chemistry opens up career options. Even if you're looking for a job in another field, the analytical skills you gained in chemistry are helpful. Chemistry applies to the food industry, retail, transportation, even art.

Coursework, Assessment and Exams

  • In some cases, this work is assessed towards your degree (e.g. examinations), whereas in other cases the work is primarily intended to assist your own personal development (e.g. tutorials and workshops).
  • For exams, there is the opportunity to resit end-of-module examinations. The marks you achieve in the first year of the course do not count towards your degree result.

What degree can I get? 

  • BSc Chemistry
  • MSc Chemistry with Management
  • BA Natural Sciences
  • MSc Chemistry with Physics

What qualifications do I need?

  • Always confirm the entry requirements for the particular university/course you are interested in. Standards change between each institution.

Use the CUG Course Chooser to search through Chemistry courses.

What are the postgraduate opportunities?

  • There is an exciting range of taught MAs and research degrees at postgraduate level.
  • Examples include MChem Advanced Chemical Sciences, Advanced Organic Chemistry, Analytical Chemistry, Drug Design and Discovery, and Environmental, Green and Sustainable Chemistry.

Graduate job prospects



*Professional employment refers to a job or occupation which normally requires a degree.
**Non-professional employment refers to a job or occupation which doesn't normally require a degree.

What are the job opportunities?

  • Chemistry degrees are well known for having strong job prospects – in a negative job market for graduates, there is a need for those who have not only advanced science knowhow, but also creative capabilities.
  • Particular job areas include in analytical chemistry, engineer, healthcare research, forensic science, pharmacology, as well as outside science in accounting, consultancy, journalism and teaching.
  • Several professional organisations offer specialised positions for Chemistry graduates, such as the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC).