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Chemistry Undergraduate Admissions

Career Options and Employability

Preparing you for a career

Throughout your chemistry degree we will help you acquire key skills that are essential to you in your future studies and career, such as:

  • Communication and presentation
  • Logical thinking
  • Report writing
  • Problem solving
  • Time management
  • Data handling and analysis
  • Team work and leadership
  • Creativity
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Instrumental and experimental

These skills will enable you to pursue a range of different careers.

Careers for a lifetime

 A chemistry degree will prepare you for a career in chemistry either in industry, research or academia and will lead to a wide range of career opportunities including:

  • Archaeology
  • Biotechnology
  • Drug discovery
  • Environmental science
  • Food technology
  • Forensics
  • Innovation technology
  • Marine chemistry
  • Nanotechnology
  • Sport development
  • Sustainability
  • Teaching

Chemistry is also excellent training for careers in:

  • Business and finance
  • Central and local government
  • Consultancy
  • Journalism
  • Information technology
  • Law
  • Patent Law
  • Publishing
  • Sales and marketing

And much more......

Of students that left in 2015:

- 85% are in employment or further study

Of those in employment:

- 88% are in graduate level employment
- Median salary £26,387

(Source: Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey of 2014/15 graduates. The DLHE survey asks leavers from higher education what they are doing six months after graduation. Full definitions for the DLHE Record can be found here:www.hesa.ac.uk/support/definitions/destinations)

Examples of high profile recent employers include GSK, Infineum, Institute of Cancer Research, Proctor and Gamble, BP and Akzo Nobel.
A significant number of students progress onto higher level study following their degree in Chemistry, notably at Durham but also other prestigious institutions including Oxford, Kings College London, Edinburgh, Cambridge, Nottingham and Manchester.

It pays to do Chemistry

According to independent research, the average chemistry graduate earns substantially more over a lifetime than graduates of many other disciplines:

  • £60,000 more than most other graduates
  • £190,000 more than those with no degree

Employment development opportunities

The Careers, Employability and Enterprise Centre works with closely the department in facilitating student access to job and work experience opportunities, careers and employability events, employer workshops and presentations, skills programmes and tailored individual careers guidance.

The department delivers a number of events in partnership with the Careers, Employability and Enterprise Centre including mock interviews for year in industry students, careers presentations and a chemistry careers evening. 

Professional endorsement and recognition

Our M.Chem. and B.Sc. degrees in Chemistry are accredited to the Royal Society of Chemistry. See accreditation for further details.

Opportunities for summer placements

Through our extensive contacts with industry we can help you obtain industrial experience by working with a chemical company in the summer vacation.

During the summer vacation undergraduates can also obtain research bursaries enabling work experience within a research group in the Department or overseas.  These include the "Tanner Research Internship" scheme and bursaries funded by the sale of a successful Departmental spin out.

Meet potential employers

The University, colleges and Department all host a variety of careers events where you can meet potential employers. For example, the Chemistry Department holds a regular CV workshop where industry and other employers will discuss your CV with you, and give you advice on how to present yourself when applying for jobs.

Our 4th year students undertaking a research project in Durham have the opportunity to take part in a business game run by personnel from industry or visit a local chemical company. We also run a 'perspectives from industry' course in which senior industrial chemists from a variety of organisations give lectures illustrating the interplay of research and development, technology and economics.

Key facts

Over 84% of our graduates find employment within 6 months of graduating.

Durham University has a first class careers service.

A chemistry graduate earns substantially more over a lifetime than other graduates.