Chemistry is the study of matter, and all matter is made up of atoms. We will learn about elements, atomic number and mass, isotopes, moles, and compounds.
Chemistry is a branch of physical science that studies the composition, structure, properties and change of matter. Chemistry includes topics such as the properties of individual atoms, how atoms form chemical bonds to create chemical compounds, the interactions of substances through intermolecular forces that give matter its general properties, and the interactions between substances through chemical reactions to form different substances.
Scope of Chemistry
Chemistry is the study of matter—what it consists of, what its properties are, and how it changes. The study of modern chemistry has many branches, but can generally be broken down into five main disciplines, or areas of study:
Physical chemistry: Physical chemistry is the study of macroscopic properties, atomic properties, and phenomena in chemical systems. A physical chemist may study such things as the rates of chemical reactions, the energy transfers that occur in reactions, or the physical structure of materials at the molecular level.
Organic chemistry: Organic chemistry is the study of chemicals containing carbon. Carbon is one of the most abundant elements on Earth and is capable of forming a tremendously vast number of chemicals (over twenty million so far). Most of the chemicals found in all living organisms are based on carbon.
Inorganic chemistry: Inorganic chemistry is the study of chemicals that do not, in general, contain carbon. Inorganic chemicals are commonly found in rocks and minerals. One current important area of inorganic chemistry deals with the design and properties of materials involved in energy and information technology.
Analytical chemistry: Analytical chemistry is the study of the composition of matter. It focuses on separating, identifying, and quantifying chemicals in samples of matter. An analytical chemist may use complex instruments to analyze an unknown material in order to determine its various components.
Biochemistry: Biochemistry is the study of chemical processes that occur in living things. Research may cover basic cellular processes up to understanding disease states so better treatments can be developed.
Skills and Competencies that You Need to Succeed in Chemistry
While studying chemistry you are expected to develop excellent laboratory techniques and specific knowledge in the traditional fields of chemistry. However, as chemistry overlaps with other subjects, you will pick up skills that are useful in biology and medicine, physics and engineering, and geology and earth science.
Chemistry is also studied in an environmental and social context, so you gain awareness of its ethical implications and issues relating to environmental impact and sustainability.
The following are some of the skills you need to succeed in your career.
Ability to find solutions to difficult or complex issues
IT and technology
Ability to understand and use computer software/models, processing data, using spreadsheets, word-processing and internet communication.
Scientific and technical knowledge
Having a technical or science background can be extremely attractive to employers, who may then wish to train you in another skill or discipline.
You’ll need to have a good standard of arithmetic and ability to deal with complex mathematical calculations.
Ability to plan and execute experiments, undertaking individual and team project work.
Monitoring/maintaining records and data;
Ability to collect, analyze and use information to track progress of a project toward reaching its objectives and to guide management decisions.
You should be able to work with people effectively whether as a team or as a leader.
The ability to undertake research.
This is also important and these will have been developed as part of your course when presenting research findings.
Being able to communicate well in writing and in person will help you to get a job, work as a team with your colleagues, interact with clients and, with time, advance professionally.
Career Opportunities for Chemistry Graduates
As a Chemistry graduate you will find employment in the chemical and related industries, such as:
- plastics and polymers;
However, you will also find opportunities with employers in many different sectors, including the food and drink industry, utilities and research, health and medical organisations, government, and scientific research organisations and agencies.
Chemistry graduates are also employed in schools, colleges and universities, as well as by computer software development companies, environment consultancies and water companies.
Jobs directly related to your degree include:
- Analytical chemist
- Chemical Information Management Specialist
- Healthcare scientist, clinical biochemistry
- Forensic scientist
- Laboratory Management
- Chemical Engineer
- Food Scientist
- Research scientist (physical sciences)
- Quality Assurance
- Quality Control
Jobs where your degree would be useful include:
- Chartered certified accountant
- Environmental consultant
- Higher education lecturer
- Nuclear engineer
- Patent attorney
- Science writer
Admission Requirements for Studying Chemistry in Nigeria
For most high institutions in Nigeria, to study Chemistry as a course, you need to meet specific academic requirements. Candidates seeking admission through the Jamb are required to have five credit level passes in the Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (S.S.C.E.) or its equivalent. These should include English Language, Chemistry, Mathematics and any of Physics/Biology/Agric Science.
For Jamb UTME, English Language, Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics and Biology/Agric Science.