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School of Chemical Sciences


A degree in Chemistry from The University of Auckland gives you access to a wide variety of jobs.

Why study chemistry?

Chemistry is a central science. It deals with the world around us from a molecular point of view, playing a vital part in our understanding of the structure and interactions of matter in the universe. Chemistry impacts on fields as diverse as biology, medicine, geology, environmental studies, engineering, and materials science.


Chemistry affects us all

Studying chemistry will help you understand and appreciate the world in which you live. Advances in chemistry have had an enormous influence on our modern lifestyle and standard of living. Inventions such as semiconductors, polymers, pharmaceuticals and advanced materials of all kinds are based on chemical science.

The study of chemistry leads to a deep appreciation of the scientific method, particularly the intellectual skills needed to develop new theories and to design experiments to test the validity of these theories.

Chemistry will help you develop the ability to think logically, be creative, numerate, computer-literate and analytical. Such skills are sought after in many walks of life.


An amazing variety of jobs

Career opportunities for Chemistry graduates are many and varied. In industry you might be employed in research and development, quality control, marketing, sales or management. Some of the industries that regularly employ chemists are those involving food, paper, brewing, paint, plastics, ceramics, metals, pharmaceuticals, agricultural products and fertilisers.

The public sector employs chemistry graduates for research, analysis and development, both in government laboratories and with regional councils. The work covers such areas as research into new export crops, pollution control, environmental monitoring, water purification, food quality, forensic investigations for solving crimes, and analysis of foods and drugs.

Many Chemistry graduates enter the teaching profession, while others work in the field of health, working in hospital laboratories or biomedical research. Some of our most creative graduates become specialist research workers who contribute directly to advances in science, both in New Zealand and overseas.


Give yourself an edge

Of course you are not limited to employment that requires detailed chemical knowledge. An education in chemistry will ensure that you are good at handling information (whether it is in numerical, written, graphical, verbal or computer form) and are capable of dealing with complex concepts. People with these qualities are in demand by many different employers.

Hence, you can find chemistry graduates in such diverse areas as management, finance, law, politics, retailing, information technology and journalism.


Career opportunities

Building a career involves knowing what your skills, values, abilities, knowledge and work interests are, and identifying environments where these can be maximised.

As you will see below, a science degree can lead to a wide range of career opportunities. Through identifying your strengths, researching work areas that relate to these, and acquiring career management skills such as networking, writing and interviewing skills, you will be in a strong position to make the most of employment opportunities.

Theme Examples of career opportunities Possible major
Biological Sciences (plant/animal) Policy Analyst, Medical Editor, Biomedical Researcher, Ecologist, Bio-Scientist, Coastal Planner, Pest Manager, Zoo Keeper, Marine Biologist, Wildlife Manager Chemistry
Environmental and Ecological Sciences Policy Analyst, Noise Control Officer, Resource Planner, Ecologist, Wildlife Manager, Environmental Engineer Chemistry
Marine Science Aquaculture, Fisheries Officer, Coastal Geographer, Water Quality Assessor, Conservationist, Tourist Operator, Marine Biologist, Oceanographer Chemistry
Earth Sciences Engineering Geologist, Geothermal Consultant, Vulcanologist, Meteorologist, Resource Manager Chemistry
Physical Sciences Industrial Designer, Software Engineer, Network Designer, Electronic Designer, Traffic Engineer, Business Analyst Chemistry
Biomedical Chemistry Cancer Researcher, Drug Developer, Pharmaceutical Researcher, Technical Writer Medicinal Chemistry
Biomedical Sciences Health and Safety Professional, Physiologist, Biomedical Researcher, Healthcare Professional, Medical Statistician, Drug Company Representative Chemistry
Medicinal Chemistry
Molecular Sciences Scientific Officer in local/regional government, Pharmaceuticals, Industrial Chemist, Toxicologist, Clinical Researcher, Animal Psychologist, Healthcare Professional, Researcher Chemistry
Food Science Food Product Developer, Food Technologist, Food Analyst, Food Microbiologist, Food Quality Assurance, Food Safety Officer, Packaging Technologist Food Science


Career Development and Employability Services (CDES) can assist you with all aspects of your career development.

Visit their website and login to MyCDES, your personalised career management system, to book into workshops, appointments with Career Development Consultants, and recruitment events. Talk through your career options, get your CV and application letters checked over, attend large industry expos, get help finding your career direction, try a practice interview, and much more.