Why Major in Chemistry?

Students often shy away from choosing chemistry as their major field of study because of concerns about limiting their career opportunities to working in a research laboratory. What they fail to recognize is that be earning a degree in chemistry you develop many skills that employers in all fields look for in potential employees.

As a chemistry major, you will learn to:

  • Use large volumes of information to make logical decisions;
  • Develop hypotheses and design experiments;
  • Observe things carefully;
  • Measure things precisely;
  • Collect and organize data;
  • Maintain accurate records;
  • Critically analyze data;
  • Work well with numbers
  • Clearly communicate your ideas;
  • Operate and maintain complicated instrumentation;
  • Work independently; and
  • Work effectively with other members of a group.

If you are a creative and inquisitive person who enjoys solving problems, majoring in chemistry can open the doors to many challenging and rewarding career opportunities. Some of these opportunities include:

  • Attending graduate school in chemistry, biochemistry, or the biological sciences;
  • Attending medical, dental, veterinary, pharmacy, business, or law school. Profession schools look favorably on applicants with undergraduate chemistry degrees;
  • Working in a laboratory doing research in drug design and synthesis, product development, manufacturing, quality control, alternative fuel sources, environmental analysis, forensic chemistry, food science, dyes and flavors chemistry, cosmetics and perfumes, polymer chemistry, and art restoration;
  • Entering the pharmaceutical, medical, or chemical sales force;
  • Becoming a grade school, middle school, or high school teacher;
  • Working for the government. The EPA, FDA, FBI, CIA, and the Departments of Defense, Agriculture, Energy, and Homeland Security all recruit chemistry majors for both research and non-research positions;
  • Working as a legal analyst for a patent or environmental law firm;
  • Working as a sector analyst for a Wall Street investment firm as a lobbyist; and
  • Becoming a technical writer or science editor for a magazine or newspaper.