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Chemistry

Develop your understanding of matter and molecules
Chemistry is the central science. It can be studied in a wide range of our courses.

Chemistry course options

Study chemistry by choosing a program, major, minor or elective within one of our courses.

Undergraduate courses

Programs and majors available in these courses:

Most majors can also be taken as minors.

Postgraduate research

As a postgraduate student, your training will be intimately linked with research activities. You can take advantage of our collaborative links with industry through our Advanced Catalysis for Sustainability Lab and the Key Centre for Polymers and Colloids.

Research degrees in chemistry are offered by members of our academic staff in all areas of contemporary chemistry, including:

  • Computational and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Chemical Education
  • Molecular Design and Synthesis
  • Materials Chemistry
  • Green Chemistry and Renewable Energy
  • Molecular Spectroscopy and Photonics
  • Drug Discovery and Medicinal Chemistry
  • Supramolecular Chemistry
  • Biological Chemistry/Chemical Biology
  • Soft Matter
  • Neutron and Synchrotron Diffraction and Spectroscopy

To find a potential supervisor, visit Research Supervisor Connect or chemistry research areas for a list of staff working in a particular area.

What is chemistry?

Chemistry underpins many other sciences with some of the most interesting developments in science occurring at the interface of chemistry with other areas.

In taking a major in chemistry, you will come to understand the impact that chemistry has on the world around us, including the production of dyes, paints, medicines, silicon chips, artificial hips, synthetic fibres for clothing, energy storage and optical fibres.

Why study chemistry with us?

  • You will develop a fundamental understanding of chemistry with the opportunity to specialise in areas that interest you.
  • We’ll help you discover the breadth of chemistry including the design of new pharmaceuticals to treat disease, new catalysts for environmentally friendly chemical production, new materials for gas storage in hydrogen power cars and new probes to study chemical reactions in cells.
  • Our research leadership is enhanced by a collective expertise with industry partners such as the Australian Synchrotron, ANSTO Opal Research Reactor and Australian National Beamline Japan, NIST Centre for Neutron Research USA and the Rutherford-Appleton Laboratory UK.
  • We are ranked first in Australia and fifth in the world for graduate employability by the QS Graduate Employability Rankings 2019.
  • You may have the opportunity to take part in the Year in Industry program.

Year in industry

One of the most exciting opportunities available to students studying Chemistry is the chance to undertake the elective Year in Industry program. This program allows students to undertake their third year of study in full-time employment in the chemical industry or a government scientific laboratory. The work ranges from the analysis of industrial chemicals to the testing of new pharmaceutical products and will expose you to the use of a wide range of instrumentation and techniques.

This opportunity not only allows students to broaden their skills and gain experience, but also opens up opportunities for future employability and research projects.

At the end of the Year in Industry participating students return to the University to complete the requirements of their course. In many cases, they then proceed to their honours year.


For more information contact:
Associate Professor Chris McErlean

Where can chemistry take you?

A chemistry major opens the door to many careers, as training in chemistry is essential for many positions in industry.

Industry is being transformed as it moves to a molecular-based understanding of materials. Currently the growing areas of employment opportunities for chemists include biotechnology and nanoscience.

Both the public and the private sectors increasingly draw their higher management employees from chemistry graduates.

Our graduates can be found in many settings and roles, including:

  • Petrochemicals, metals and polymers
  • Medicine and pharmaceuticals
  • Forensic and analytical laboratories
  • Scientific journalism