As a chemistry graduate, you will be equipped with a range of scientific, analytical, computational and problem-solving skills that are highly valued by employers and will enable you to progress into a wide range of both scientific and non-scientific careers.
What skills will I gain during my degree?
The skills you will gain include the following.
- Scientific enquiry and curiosity
- Scientific literacy and specific laboratory skills
- Critical assessment of information
- Scientific and professional communication
- The ability to plan and conduct scientific experiments
- Strong attention to procedures and health and safety considerations
- Computational modelling abilities
- An awareness of sustainability, environmental and ethical issues
As well as more transferable skills.
- Analysis and problem-solving
- Time management and organisation
- Written and oral communication
- Monitoring/maintaining records and data
- Team work
- Research and presentation
- IT and technology
How can I develop my skills and experience during my degree?
Due to the wide range of potential career options and sectors open to you as a chemistry student, it is important to start to consider your options early on in your course. Look for opportunities to gain relevant experience and skills within your areas of interest whether this is in a scientific or in a non-scientific sector.
Build skill and knowledge through the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC)
By taking out student membership of the RSC (currently free if studying at a UK university) you can build knowledge through webinars and articles and engage in activities such as Special Interest Groups. You can also record your skills in an Undergraduate Skills Record.
Consider a Year in Industry
If you want to work in the scientific sector, it is worth thinking about doing a year in industry if you are not already registered on this course. Talk to your tutor during your first or second year if you would be interested in transferring to the year in industry option.
As part of this, it is possible to gain accreditation from the Science Council as a Registered Scientist (RSci)
Gain work experience
Summer internships are also a great way to gain experience, whether in science or non-science based roles.
The Nottingham Internships Scheme, for example, offers a range of local paid internships with companies in Nottingham, and other sources of vacancies are listed on our work experience pages.
Find out more about work experience opportunities
Look into summer research placements
Summer research placements through the School of Chemistry, as well as other sponsored opportunities and funding for summer research placements through the following organisations:
Royal Society of Chemistry
Institute of Cancer Research
Attend careers fairs and employer events
Attend sector specific careers fairs and employer events to find out more about career sectors and employers of interest.
Our events programme
Explore what's on offer through the Students' Union
Get involved in activities including volunteering and societies such as ChemSoc and the STEM Outreach Society.
Join the Nottingham Advantage Award
The Nottingham Advantage Award offers a range of modules to help you expand, develop and evidence your skills and experience during your time at university. There's a module specifically for you - Career Skills for Chemists.
Nottingham Advantage Award
What are the range of careers I can enter?
In the UK, the most popular job held for chemistry graduates 15 months after graduation is laboratory technician. Three of the top ten jobs are related to chemistry and include chemists, research/development chemists and analytical chemists.
Type of work by percentage:
- Science 22.1%
- Technicians and other professionals 18.3%
- Business, HR and finance 17%
- Education 7.5%
- Other 35%
Chemistry graduates have the scientific and laboratory skills which are directly required for scientific research, analysis and technician level roles in a range of chemistry-related sectors such as:
- oil and gas
- food and drink,
These roles could involve research and development, analysis, testing and quality assurance of new and existing chemical-based products and materials, as well as computational modelling, data analysis and other IT or technical support for research and development.
85.8% of all University of Nottingham graduates leaving Chemistry courses in the 2018/19 academic year secured high-skilled work or further study within 15 months of graduating.
Chemistry students looking to pursue their education further through a PhD could also progress into academic research and teaching.
Chemistry graduates can use their science knowledge outside the lab in areas such as teaching, science communication and writing and patent law.
Science beyond the Lab
On a more general level, the transferable skills of chemistry students including analytical problem solving, IT, numerical and communication skills, can be well applied to a range of graduate roles in sectors such as:
- business and finance
There are also opportunities for enterprise and self-employment, particularly where new scientific techniques, devices, compounds or materials have been discovered and developed. A number of ‘spin-out’ companies have been established as a direct result of university research.
Destinations of Nottingham graduates
- Analytical Chemist
- Assistant Commercial Manager
- Chartered Accountant
- Chemical Analyst
- Chemical Modeller
- Data Analyst
- Development Scientist
- Formulation Technologist
- Graduate Scientist
- Graduate Software Programmer
- IT Technician
- Lab Technician
- Marketing Graduate Trainee
- Research and Development Associate
- Tax Adviser
- Technology Analyst
- Airedale Chemical Ltd
- Bank of America
- Cambridge Environmental Agency
- Cortex World
- Critical Pharmaceuticals
- Dorset Software
- Johnson Matthey
- Midland HR
- Network Rail
- RB (Reckitt Benckiser)
What are my further study options?
Nationally a significant number of chemistry graduates also progress into further study, the majority of which undertake PhDs.
Of these, a significant number will progress on into scientific and academic research careers.
Around a third of Nottingham chemistry graduates progress onto further study. For scientific research careers, a PhD is often a minimum requirement, or at the very least a significant advantage.
PhDs were undertaken in areas such as:
- Industrial Chemistry
- Sustainable Chemistry
- Carbon Capture Storage
- Biological Chemistry
- Nuclear Fusion
A number of chemistry graduates undertook a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) in science or chemistry to train as a teacher - a profession for which science students are currently in high demand.
Further study options and funding