5 reasons to study chemistry in the UK

Surrey chemistry student in lab

What is chemistry?

Chemistry is the study of substances and elements, their properties and how they react to each other. As part of a degree in chemistry, you will learn the core principals and theories, and how to apply them in practical lab work and in computer models. It is an exciting and fast-moving field that requires innovative thinkers who can adapt and apply their knowledge.

What are the different fields in chemistry?

Some of the fields you will be able to specialise in include:

  • Chemical Engineering – The development and design of chemical manufacturing processes
  • Chemistry and Healthcare – Studying the processes that occur in humans to benefit people’s health, such as creating treatments for conditions
  • Chemistry and Forensics – Using chemistry to analyse physical evidence and help solve crimes in law enforcement
  • Chemistry and Nanotechnology – The use of chemistry at a nano scale to study atoms and molecules

5 reasons to study chemistry in the UK

There are many benefits to studying a degree in chemistry:

1. Understand chemical reactions

A degree in chemistry will help you understand the fundamental chemical processes that make up all life and matter. From larger-scale topics like space to smaller ones like chemical reactions in household products, chemistry is the central science that connects all others.

2. Face global challenges

Chemistry graduates can make a real difference by applying their skills to solve some of the world’s greatest problems. From tackling pollution and pioneering sustainability to creating new lifesaving drugs, chemistry graduates make a vital contribution to improving our world.

3. Learn valuable skills

You will develop skills as part of your chemistry degree that will make you an asset to any field, including handling and understanding data, numeracy, problem-solving and complex technical IT skills.

4. Theoretical and practical

Chemistry will have you using both your brain and your hands to plan and carry out experiments. You will use a multitude of chemicals alongside a variety of instruments to help you out.

5. Gain an understanding of both physics and biology

Chemistry is one of the key sciences and there are several areas that crossover with physics and biology - giving you a solid understanding of all three. From biochemistry to biophysics, studying chemistry will give you a wide variety of scientific knowledge.

Why study chemistry at the University of Surrey?

The Department of Chemistry at the University of Surrey is a world and sector-leading department, creating top-rated research and giving students the opportunity to access state-of-the-art facilities.

The department has strong relationships with internationally renowned academics in the field of chemistry working on ground-breaking research in areas such as nanotechnology, organic chemistry and fuel cells. Students will have access to cutting edge facilities as part of their studies, including a nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectrometer, X-ray and infra-red technology, chromatographic and thermochemical labs and mass spectrometry.

Undergraduate chemistry students will have the chance to apply their knowledge from classes and lectures to real-world scenarios during the Professional Training Year programme, where they can gain crucial work experience in their field.

Some of the previous placement partners chemistry students have worked with include:

  • British Geological Survey
  • GlaxoSmithKline
  • Institute for Nuclear Research
  • PerkinElmer

Degree options at the University of Surrey

There are a variety of chemistry undergraduate degrees you can progress to at Surrey after studying the relevant pathway at the International Study Centre:

  • Chemistry BSc (Hons)
  • Chemistry MChem
  • Chemistry with Forensic Investigation BSc (Hons)
  • Chemistry with Forensic Investigation MChem (Hons)
  • Medicinal Chemistry BSc (Hons)
  • Medicinal Chemistry MChem (Hons)
  • Biochemistry BSc (Hons)

Chemistry career options

There are a wide variety of career options available to chemistry graduates. You can stay on and further your academic studies, or enter a wide variety of different careers such as:

  • Analytical chemist
  • Biochemist
  • Chemical engineer
  • Chemistry teacher
  • Cosmetic chemist
  • Food and flavour chemist
  • Forensic scientist
  • Hazardous waste chemist
  • Healthcare scientist
  • Nanotechnologist
  • Pharmacologist
  • Toxicologist


What can I do with a degree in chemistry?

A degree in chemistry opens the door to many exciting career paths, including roles in research, teaching, pharmaceuticals and health care.

What are the most important skills needed for a career in chemistry?

Some of the most important skills needed for a career in chemistry are:

  • Problem-solving
  • Analytical thinking
  • Attention to detail
  • Communication

How long does it take to complete a degree in chemistry?

A typical chemistry degree takes three years to complete at undergraduate level, with an additional one or two years with a postgraduate programme. You may also wish to further your studies with a PhD.