Chemistry

Chemistry is the knowledge of the properties and behavior of atoms and molecules, and it is crucial to our understanding of medicine, biological systems, neuroscience, nanotechnology, environmental science and a myriad of other areas. Therefore, there are a wide range of career options for chemistry majors and minors!

 

General Career Advice

From working in the government, in academia, at a non-profit, or in the industry, there are a number of entry-level roles for those with an undergraduate degree in chemistry. However, it is important to understand that some opportunities, as well as advancement in certain fields, may require additional schooling, such as a master’s degree or a PhD.

Regardless of your desired career path, each chemistry student should plan to pursue opportunities that provide valuable experiences and skills — such as campus involvement, research, internships, volunteering, and community engagement. Not only are these great experience to add to your resume, but they can also help you determine what type of work environments, activities, projects, and “X factors” are a good fit for you.

Graduate school is often part of the future career trajectory for chemistry majors. Some students choose to enter graduate school immediately after Wellesley, while others may choose to work for a few years before returning to school. Still others may choose to not pursue graduate school at all.

 

Pursuing a Graduate Degree in Chemistry

If you are considering pursuing a graduate degree in chemistry, there are plenty of great resources out there to help you start asking the right questions. Check out the Graduate School resource page in Handshake for a broad overview about graduate school, including the application timeline, asking for references, and financing your education. Similarly, the American Chemical Society has an excellent resource on the exploration stages of finding a graduate program.

When looking for chemistry graduate programs, you will need to do some in-depth research about those programs to gain a better understanding of their admissions requirements, the focus of their degree, research areas of the faculty, and the curriculum for the degree. While there are both objective and subjective factors that go into deciding what type of graduate degree or graduate program to pursue, some questions to start with include:

  • What are the research specialties/areas of the faculty?
  • What research projects do the current graduate student work on?
  • What are facilities, laboratories, libraries, etc. like?
  • What are the outcomes of the graduates — academia, research, industry, government, or other professional areas?
  • What is the quality of life for a Master’s or PhD student?

If you are looking for an in-person consultation about graduate school, a good place to start would be by meeting with Frances Adjorlolo ’08, who is the Career Community Advisor for Technology, Engineering, & Physical Sciences. Additionally, you should plan to speak with the faculty in the chemistry department, as your faculty (especially your advisor) will be an essential resource in your graduate school application process.

 

Career Resources and Professional Organizations

Organizations on Campus

  • Chemistry Society
  • Biological Chemistry and Biology Club - (BC)^2

Chemistry Career Resources

Professional Organizations

Updated September 4, 2017
If you have additional resources, please feel free to send them to Frances Adjorlolo at fadjorlo@wellesley.edu.