Chemistry is such a diverse and incredibly interesting field of study. Since chemistry is such an essential part of the world we live in, it plays a pivotal role in our lives and impacts our existence.
Understanding chemistry will help you trace the origins of everything important to humans: shelter, food, clothing, energy, clean air, health, soil, and water.
Studying chemical advancements in tech and energy will improve the overall quality of human life in several ways.
It will offer solutions for material usage, energy usage, and health problems, among other things. That is why studying chemistry is critical for human advancement.
Chemistry is most commonly known as the "central science" since it connects mathematics, physics, and biology.
Each discipline works together to answer how the nature of our surroundings and the subsequent chemical processes explain biological and physical phenomena.
Understanding anything about chemistry is meaningful since it provides a foundation for us to comprehend the physical universe. Everything around us is chemical!
What Should You Expect As A Chemistry Major
By no means is the subject easy to grasp. Students studying chemistry have to be ready to devote long hours to labs, research sessions, and class.
Therefore, if you are contemplating studying chemistry in the USA, then you would have to:
- Understand how the products you use daily like plastics and fabrics are created
- Produce and generate chemical reactions in the lab
- Identify anonymous compounds by using lab tests
- Generate lab reports
- Study biology, math, and physics alongside chemistry
What You Should Expect Before Enrolling
If you are thinking of studying chemistry in America, you must be equipped to face an overarching curriculum.
Each student would be required to develop a deeper understanding of the material making up the world.
And even though most American high schools will make students experience frog dissections, basic experiments, and primary lab tools, an American university chemistry lab is a whole different ballgame!
Some new students with little experience in practical applications of chemistry may be overwhelmed by their surroundings.
Therefore, if you want to study chemistry in America, be prepared for the following:
- Complex lab experiments to decipher unfamiliar compounds
- Use excessive mathematics, biology, computer skills, and physics
- Use unknown sources to create chemical reactions; then justify them
- Learn how to form professional laboratory reports
- Learn the importance of maintaining 100% sanitation at all times
What To Look For Before Studying Chemistry
When applying to colleges, you would have to consider multiple factors, the most important one being your expected study area.
And if you're sure about staying in the US to pursue your higher education, you must research the chemistry department of each school you are considering attending. Ask yourself these questions:
- Has the program been approved by the American Chemical Society?
- What kind of research opportunities would you have?
- Is the program awarding BS, BA, or both?
- Is the program's focus more on preparing the students for employment or grad school?
The quality of the chemistry department of your choice of school would affect your college experience and your career options for the future. This is why it's imperative that you make a calculated decision.
What Are Your Options For Studying Chemistry?
Most universities provide conventional chemistry degrees; however, it is worth noting that there are numerous niche options available, including:
- Forensic Chemistry
- Atomic Chemistry
- Materials Chemistry
- Environmental Chemistry
Furthermore, undergrad degrees in chemistry are usually 3-4 years long, depending on the added work you take on. They consist of an introductory year covering basics, followed by two years of electives.
Certain universities also provide a four-year 'sandwich' course, including a year of work experience in the industry.
Meanwhile, some provide integrated master's courses lasting four years, where candidates end up with a bachelor's and masters in a little over four years.
With a chemistry degree, you would benefit from an advanced understanding of theoretical chemistry alongside being trained to practically enact what you've learned.
Moreover, your teachers will use lectures and practical labs to teach you research and collect data as part of the assessment.
With a wide scope of expertise, a chemistry degree prepares students for a host of exciting professions at some of the best companies in the world:
Agricultural scientists study animals and farm crops to improve the yield and quality of farms across the country.
They can either be employed by corporate resource farms, private property, or government or extra-governmental organizations for publicly taxed projects.
Food scientists and technologists are meant to analyze human consumption; what is safe to eat, and what can be beneficial to intake
Their work can be based around packaging and containing. And they can find employment with any large-scale producer of perishable items or food control authorities.
Pharmacists play a critical role in disease treatment. They function as advisors to both patients and doctors about interactions, dosages, and side effects of certain medications.
Some may also have to research newer medications for drug companies, monitoring drug therapy in hospitals, mental health institutions, and nursing homes.
Often known as crime laboratory analysts, forensic scientists offer scientific information and professional opinions for juries, lawyers, and judges.
A materials engineer discovers newer ways for using and improving present materials and creating new ones.
Their work can entail recycling, repurposing, and recreating as they find employment in sustainability and production.
A chemistry teacher can find work in both private and public schools (elementary, middle, and high), preparing students for work or college while imparting knowledge and instilling a lifetime love of learning in them.
Occupational Health And Safety Specialist
Occupational health and safety professionals help promote better health and safety in the work environment to keep the general public and workers safe.
Furthermore, they impose environmental regulations and maintain information on air quality, among other things.
An education in chemistry will help prepare students for various rewarding chemistry career paths. Even though it may not be everyone's cup of tea, students studying chemistry can take great pride in earning a degree usually considered challenging.
What Key Modules Will Be Covered When Studying Chemistry?
Each student will have to cover various key modules when studying chemistry; however, they depend on the university you choose to attend. Here is an overview:
Normally the first year is introductory, and it brings the students who have gained multiple level-3 qualifications up to the same knowledge level.
Furthermore, you are also expected to brush up on introductory modules in physics and math, depending on previous experiences and qualifications.
The chemistry content would then be further divided into three disciplines:
This will help you develop your knowledge of physical chemistry via thermodynamics, quantum mechanics, and kinetics.
Additionally, an overview of the orbital theory and transition metal chemistry falls under the domain of inorganic chemistry.
On the other hand, the organic chemistry modules would further elaborate on reaction mechanisms, diving deeper into the domain of aromatic chemistry and hybridization.
To prepare for a grueling and unfamiliar first year, you should consider enrolling in chemistry summer programs in the USA.
The second-year students usually study materials extending their understanding and knowledge of the first year, focusing on topics like:
- Computational chemistry
- Ligand field theory
- Functional group chemistry
You would also be able to sign up for additional non-compulsory modules in different areas of interest and start specializing.
Third and Fourth Years
These years would encompass a diverse studying experience depending on your choice of institution and course.
For BSc, you would have to study the advanced modules in physical, organic, and inorganic chemistry; however, you would have greater freedom in choosing modules and tailoring your specific path.
For MChem/MSc, you would have the option of choosing a topic or area of interest you want to study further, spending the greater part of your final year writing reports, collecting data, and performing experiments.
Study Chemistry With A Professional
After finishing their degree in chemistry, many students would choose to follow careers in international and national laboratories and research facilities. This means that they would normally end up studying chemistry as a postgraduate qualification.
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