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Chemistry

Major

Chemistry is the study of many different things around us: the study of how one substance changes into another and the relationship between the nature and structure of molecules. It plays a key role in studying things like how to obtain metals from ores, convert oil into plastics and develop cures for cancer.

In taking a chemistry major, you will come to understand the impact that it has on so many things around us: dyes, paints, medicines, silicon chips, artificial hips, synthetic fibres for clothing, energy storage, optical fibres and rubber tyres. You will also have the opportunity to participate in the optional 'Year in Industry' program that involves spending one year during your course working in the chemical industry (at commercial rates of pay).

For more information on the program structure and content, view the Science Undergraduate Handbook.

About this major

First year
If you are planning to take a chemistry major, you will need to take at least 12 credit points of junior chemistry and 6 credit points of junior mathematics in order to enrol in intermediate chemistry units. You will spend your first year learning about the composition of matter, the shapes of molecules, the physical and chemical processes that occur in nature and more.

Second year
You will take 2 intermediate core chemistry units and your other units will depend on which senior units you intend to complete. There are optional units in environmental and forensic chemistry, and the chemistry of biological molecules.

Third year
To complete your chemistry major, you must take 24 credit points from senior units of study. 

Sample plan: Bachelor of Science with a Chemistry major

Year 

 Sem 

Unit of study 

Unit of study

Unit of study

Unit of study

 1

 1

Chemistry 1A

Science elective

Mathematics

Minor/ Major 2

 

 2

Chemistry 1B

Science elective

Mathematics

Minor/ Major 2

2

1

Molecular Reactivityand Spectroscopy 

Elective

Open Learning Environment (OLE) unit

Minor/ Major 2

 

2

Chemical Structure and Stability

Elective

Open Learning Environment (OLE) unit

Minor/ Major 2

3

1

Chemistry selective*

Chemistry selective*

Minor/ Major 2

Elective/ Major 2

 

2

Chemistry selective*

Chemistry selective*

Minor/ Major 2

Elective/ Major 2

* Chemistry selective units of study:
Biomolecules: Properties and Reactions or Organic Structure and Reactivity or Materials Chemistry or Catalysis and Sustainable Processes or Metal Complexes: Medicine and Materials or Synthetic Medicinal Chemistry or Membranes, Self-Assembly and Surfaces or Molecular Spectroscopy and Quantum Theory

Graduate opportunities

A chemistry major opens the door for many careers because training in chemistry is essential for many positions in industry, is highly desirable for science teaching, and is useful for careers in the public service and management. Both the public and the private sectors increasingly draw their higher management employees from chemistry graduates. There are many employment opportunities for chemists, including industry, government laboratories, education and management. The industrial sector includes such diverse areas as petrochemicals, pharmaceuticals, medicine, food and drink, metals, polymers, computing and scientific journalism. Government laboratories include research, forensic and analytical laboratories and many statutory authorities.

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Career pathways

Bachelor of Science graduates with a major in chemistry are eligible for membership of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute (RACI).

Courses that offer this major

The course information on this website applies only to future students. Current students should refer to faculty handbooks for current or past course information.

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.