What is Chemistry?

Chemistry is the study of substances, their composition, structure and properties. Our understanding of chemistry has led to great discoveries such as penicillin, and made the modern world possible with inventions such as plastic. Every interaction we have with the world involves an intricate series of chemical reactions and interactions in our bodies; what we see, hear, touch and taste are all the result of chemistry.

Chemistry has traditionally been divided into four main areas: Organic, Inorganic, Physical and Theoretical. However, increasingly, the boundaries of these distinctions have begun to overlap and blur which, in turn, broadens the horizons of what is possible. For example, materials and biological chemistry are just two research areas in which the four disciplines of chemistry interact to produce new knowledge and understanding.

At Cambridge, to study Chemistry, you would apply for the Natural Sciences course which combines multiple science disciplines.

What can I do with a Chemistry degree?

Some students continue their education and complete more specialised degrees within further education such as MRes, MPhil or PhD in Chemistry. However, many other students choose to go into non-research based careers implementing their diverse skills learnt through their studies; careers ranging from teaching, publishing and consultancy through to roles in the pharmaceutical industry, the Government and the energy industry. 

What might I need to study Chemistry?

You will need to have studied Chemistry before and often at least one additional Science subject or Maths.

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