Do I need chemistry to…

Chemistry is required or may be beneficial to you in a whole range of careers. Have a look at the careers mentioned below to see if you need to be adding chemistry to your subject choices.

…study medicine?

Chemistry is a must if you want to study medicine. Surprisingly, a biology A Level (or equivalent) is not required but maths and/or physics often are. Very good grades are certainly needed and relevant work experience will greatly increase your chances of gaining a place on a medicine degree course. Details of current requirements can be found on the UCAS website.

…become a dentist?

Yes, usually. Chemistry and biology at AS Level now appear to be almost compulsory if you wish to study dentistry. One or both of these subjects is also required at A Level (or equivalent). Details of current course entry requirements can be found on the UCAS website.

…become a pharmacist?

A chemistry A Level (or equivalent) is an entry requirement for many pharmacy courses, and all institutions prefer candidates to have an A Level (or equivalent) in this subject.

Many people confuse pharmacy with pharmacology. Pharmacists are involved in the dispensing of medicines and learn not only about the effects of different medicines and how they interact, but also about regulations related to dispensing. Pharmacologists study the effects of chemical compounds on humans and animals. They may work in clinical trials but often work as part of a research team in a laboratory developing new medicines.

…become a vet?

Yes, the qualifications needed to become a veterinary surgeon are similar to those for becoming a doctor. Chemistry is required at A Level (or equivalent), plus A Levels in one or two subjects chosen from biology, physics or mathematics. Current requirements can be found on the UCAs website.

…become a materials scientist or metallurgist?

Yes, usually – these two subjects are intimately involved with chemistry, physics and engineering so A Levels (or equivalent) in chemistry, physics and mathematics are the best basis for study in this area. Current entry requirements for courses can be found on the UCAS website.

Materials scientists can work in a very wide range of fields, from sports to aerospace applications and from medicine to communications. The Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining publishes helpful literature on both materials science and metallurgy.


Useful websites

UCAS course search
Search the database of university courses and entry requirements

Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining, careers pages
Information on how materials scientists work in transport, sport, aerospace, communications, medicine and energy, as well as career profiles