Delving Into the Chemistry Major
Most online chemistry degrees are offered at the master’s level, so online chemistry students will begin their studies at an advanced pace. Chemistry majors will take some basic courses to start out, such as analytical chemistry, biochemistry, and organic chemistry. Beginning level courses in a graduate program will review some of the most basic areas of chemistry and then begin to delve into those areas more deeply. Students will then move on to take courses in ares such as bio-organic chemistry, medicinal chemistry, pharmaceutical chemistry, chemometrics, heterocyclic compounds, and organic polymer science.
Students will most likely supplement their studies with required projects. Projects may involve written research work conducted through the study of peer-reviewed journals in the chemistry discipline. Many students are also required to complete an independent experimental research project.
Students will mainly use textbooks as reading material. Textbooks will be supplied through the college bookstore and mailed to the student, or the student may order the book through a retailer. Many online programs also offer course materials completely online, so students can access textbooks and other reading materials through the school website, and do their reading on personal computers.
Students in an online Master of Science in Chemistry program expand on the foundation they received from undergraduate courses in chemistry. It is recommended that a student have majored in chemistry, or minored in chemistry with a major in a natural science field, before applying to a master’s program in chemistry.
Students will go into further specifics in general areas of chemistry. They will then have the opportunity to specialize their degree by choosing a concentration or tailoring their electives to their interests. Because graduate programs are meant to be more of an individual investigation than bachelor’s programs, students will most likely work with a mentor or advisor in order to choose coursework that will lead them toward a particular skill set.
Learn More About the Chemistry Major
- Open Courseware classes in Chemistry at MIT
- The Journal of Organic Chemistry
- Journal of Medicinal Chemistry
- New Journal of Chemistry
- Chemistry Central Journal
Supplementing Your Chemistry Major
There are many different ways to create a chemistry major that reflects your specific interests and career goals. In master’s programs, students are typically encouraged to establish clear program goals and design their curriculum according to the areas of chemistry in which they are most interested. For example, students of the online master’s of science program at Lehigh University can choose to follow a broad curriculum, which includes core requirements combined with specialized studies in several different areas of chemistry.
Students can also opt to concentrate in a specific areas of chemistry. Students can choose to concentrate in areas such as organic chemistry or pharmaceutical chemistry, for example. Concentrations should be chosen based on what the student in most interested in pursuing as a career, or, at least, where their highest current interests lie. Choosing a particular concentration will give students more job opportunity in that specific area of chemistry. Students who major in pharmaceutical chemistry could more easily qualify for a position at a drug company, for example, than a chemist who had concentrated in organic chemistry.
Students can also add variety and depth to their education by choosing a minor that pairs well with chemistry. A minor in research would prepare students to pursue a doctorate in chemistry. If a student wants to go into medicinal chemistry, a minor in biology or biochemistry would be a great choice. Or, if a student is interested in working overseas, a minor in a foreign language would be an excellent pairing with a chemistry degree.
The Chemistry Major in the Job Market
Chemistry students will have graduated, not only with expertise in the discipline of chemistry, but with strong analytical ability and attention to detail. Graduates will have knowledge of how to apply scientific research methods and will have the ability to conduct independent research in a number of areas. As chemistry students, they will have learned about how to identify the components of almost any objects. They will have explored how those components can be changed in order to create new substances. They will also understand how creation of new materials can potentially affect humans and the environment.
With such a broad knowledge base, chemistry students are well-prepared to enter a number of different fields. Some of the most common industries for chemists include manufacturing, medical research, intellectual property, environmental science, education and research organizations.
Chemistry graduates are perfectly primed to enter the world of manufacturing, as they spent their college careers learning about how things are made. They would be able to find employment in, say, a steel company, doing tests on the best types of metals to mix and ways to create stronger products. In the world of medical research, chemists play a huge role in determining how to create different drugs and discovering how old drugs can be changed to work better in the human body.
Chemists can work in intellectual property by identifying how a product has been made and verifying whether or not it was an original idea. There are plenty of resources for graduates and current chemistry students who are searching job openings or interested in networking with industry professionals. Chemjobs.net is a career building site that lists job posts for chemists across the world. Also, Science Magazinepublishes a large amount of reputable job openings within the chemistry field.