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Chemistry Courses overview
Chemistry is the study of how the elements making up matter interact. It’s dedicated to observing the transformations atoms, elements and molecules undergo to better understand living beings, materials, chemicals and much more. Postgraduate study details computer simulations of chemical reactions, advanced knowledge of chemical synthesis, synchrotron radiation, structural elucidation and much more.
Chemistry’s earlier cousin, known as alchemy, set the stage for future development into the field we know today. It failed to explain the nature of chemical reactions and compositions, but practitioners managed to compile observations that gave them useful insights. Robert Boyle’s 17th century work, “The Sceptical Chymist,” was the first to make a distinction between alchemy and chemistry, with the latter employing the scientific method.
Modern chemists have a wealth of technology and expertise behind them. They conduct rigorous experiments and make keen observations to understand the building blocks of reality.
Is chemistry for me?
Chemistry requires a high level of scientific and mathematical rigour, as well as a capacity for memorising a huge array of interactions. If you’re the sort of person with an insatiable curiosity for understanding how and why things operate, chemistry could be a rewarding field for you.
Postgraduate chemistry can be taken at both master and PhD level.
Master degrees like those from the University of Melbourne offer the chance to gain extensive knowledge through units like advanced spectroscopy, chemical synthesis and characterisation, systems modelling and simulation and more. Students also have the chance to take a research project relevant to the school of chemistry as prescribed by the relevant faculty. Entering these programs requires students to have a bachelor degree in chemistry, with many institutions, including the aforementioned, instituting a minimum credit GPA (65%). These programs take two years of full time study to complete, or four years part time.
PhDs from the likes of RMIT provide students with the chance to heavily engage with a chemistry specialisation of their choice and write a thesis of roughly 80,000 words on the topic. It’s the paramount entry point into academia concerning chemistry. Students can expect regular contact with a supervisor or two depending on their institution of choice; they will guide them through the process and help direct their research. These programs tend to require either an honours degree in chemistry or a master degree to enter. They take three to eight years of full time to part time study to complete.
These professionals develop cutting edge technology at a scale of one billionth of a metre. They must work in conjunction with those from varying disciplines like computer science, biology, engineering and importantly chemistry to research practical ways of utilising these technologies. Companies like Micronisers or Hydrexia utilise or work directly with nanotechnologies to improve the lives of people in countless sectors, making them ideal employers for aspiring nanotechnologists.
Toxicologists analyse the effect of harmful substances on human and animal health, making them an ideal domain for chemistry graduates. They write reports and deliver scientific papers to governments and corporations to improve their security and containment procedures, as well as giving evidence to courts, evaluating statistical data and more. Companies like ToxConsult and regulatory bodies like ACTRA work to better the profession and offer employment opportunities to qualified professionals.
This is a career dedicated to utilising knowledge of chemical reactions to produce better drugs (primarily the domain of pharmacology), validate products or even undergo forensic analysis of chemicals. The CSIRO has an analytical chemistry lab available to the public; as an analytical chemist, you could be the one doing the job.
A variety of other specialisations are available to chemistry postgraduates, such as: