Chemistry is a useful science that can be useful in a variety of careers, so there are many answers to this question. Perhaps the first and most important one, however, is because you are interested in chemistry. It can be quite a tough subject and unless it gets you fired up, just a little bit, it can be hard going. If you do have an interest, and you enjoy and are good at the subject, it will open up lots of possibilities for you, both at university and after graduation.
Most people manage to get something positive out of doing science at school but as you progress through GCSE to A level, you either love science or you struggle. If you are in the first category, the thought of balancing chemical equations doesn’t fill you with dread. You look forward to doing a titration practical, or working out the percentage yield from a class experiment. Chemistry itself interests you and you enjoy learning more about it and you do it well.
Chemistry is one of the three main conventional sciences but it is far from traditional in the sense of being old fashioned. Chemistry is a vibrant modern science that acts as a link between loads of other much trendier science subjects such as biotechnology, genetics, environmental sciences, pharmaceuticals and forensic science.
It is enormously useful in the modern, technological world and will open up a huge number of opportunities and careers when you graduate.
If you love chemistry at school and college and enjoy it at uni but then you want to move away from science for your career, that’s no problem. All university courses train you to think objectively and critically but having a degree in chemistry shows that you have a particularly analytical mind and that you can handle complex concepts and challenges.
After doing a chemistry degree, you will be adept at handling, processing and analysing data, you will be IT literate and you will have been trained to evaluate and present your work.
Why study chemistry then? Finally, because all of the skills you acquire doing a chemistry degree are highly transferable, putting you in a good position to move into management, financial management, banking, business, government or the Civil Service. You can use your skills to change direction and move into medicine, journalism or teaching.
If you still want to include some aspect of chemistry in your career, you can work in the pharmaceutical industry, the chemical industry or with an oil company – you could even become an entrepreneur and form your own biotechnology start-up. Or how about designing your own blockbuster fragrance? Supermarkets employ many chemists to work on food safety and the development of new products.
You can also move into environmental sciences, public health or forensic sciences, combining your technical skills with public services.