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Chemistry, General

Program Description

Just the Facts

Chemistry, General. A general program that focuses on the scientific study of the composition and behavior of matter, including its micro- and macro-structure, the processes of chemical change, and the theoretical description and laboratory simulation of these phenomena.

This program is available in these options:

  • Certificate / Diploma
  • Associate degree
  • Bachelor's degree
  • Graduate Certificate
  • Master's degree
  • Doctoral degree

High School Courses

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See the high school courses recommended for programs in this pathway:

Related Careers

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Additional Information

If you want to know the difference between titanium and titration, perhaps a degree in chemistry is for you.

Chemistry grads find work in various employment sectors, from school settings to environmental protection agencies.

Though there are many subspecialties in chemistry, you don't have to decide right away what you want to focus on. The field is wide open at the undergraduate level -- students do not need to specialize during their first few terms.

If you want to work as a chemist, you'll usually have to take further studies after your undergrad degree. A master's degree usually takes two years and a PhD takes another four years after that.

Keep in mind that research and development jobs require a PhD. The minimum requirement for entry-level positions (quality control, analytical testing or assisting senior chemists) is usually a bachelor's degree.

Many colleges offer two- to three-year programs which give you a diploma or an associate's degree. Plus, some colleges offer university transfer credits.

These courses may prepare you for some entry-level positions, or they can be a cheaper way to do the first two years of an undergrad degree. Check the individual college websites for more information on accreditation or transfers.

At the end of your program, you will have developed the capabilities of critical and independent thinking, which should get your foot in the door of many employers. Or you can seek higher-level degrees in other professional areas such as medicine or law, says John D'Auria, a nuclear chemistry professor.

Computer skills are vital. "[Chemists] will be expected to prepare lab reports on computers; use computers to control instrumentation and collect data; as well as utilize the Internet for other tasks," says Anthony Andrews. He is director of the forensic chemistry program at Ohio University.

Take all the advanced science, physics and mathematics courses you can, says Andrews. "Many students have problems with the math involved, long before they have problems with the chemistry."

Andrews advises students to take on anything that can help them learn about chemistry. This could include science fairs and science clubs, as well as reading up on chemistry-related topics in your spare time.

The extra costs students face include books, lab coats and safety glasses.


Occupational Outlook Handbook
For more information related to this field of study, see: Chemists and Materials Scientists

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