Chemistry Courses

By Aoife Read - Last update

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Chemistry courses examine matter’s basic composition and properties – atoms, molecules– how they change through chemical reactions.


Chemistry and its associated disciplines are available to study as independent, dedicated degrees in things like chemistry and chemical and pharmaceutical science, biochemistry, chemical engineering etc. You can also study degrees that combine disciplines with a lesser degree of specialisation.

Chemistry courses introduce the student to the core strands of organic/inorganic and physical/analytical chemistry.

Organic chemistry is the are of study concerned with the structure, properties, and reactions of organic compounds as well as organic materials. That is living “things”, all of which have carbon. Analytical chemistry is the study of the chemical composition of natural and artificial materials. Physical Chemistry focuses on the physical relationships and reactions between molecules and compounds.

Students of these courses will also gain valuable experience in laboratory practice and computer/mathematical applications in chemistry. Applied courses examine how chemistry is used in areas such as pharmaceutical, environmental and material science.

Pharmaceutical Science is a combination of both biological and chemical disciplines. Graduates will often work to develop new drugs and therapies. Besides the scientific and laboratory-based modules, students will also tackle industry-related modules. These include Manufacturing Technology, Regulation & Compliance, Quality Management and Pollution Control.

Forensic science is another area of science that could be ventured into by the student of chemistry. This involves the retrieval and analysis of scientific evidence for legal purposes. This might be a crime scene, a drug test on an athlete, or instances of environmental pollution. Some chemistry degrees will even include a module on this fascinating area.  Galway-Mayo IT has a dedicated course in this discipline.

The Work

There are many career options available for the graduate of chemistry courses. They include opportunities in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, agriculture, horticulture, environmental protection, manufacturing, engineering, healthcare, food, cosmetics and textiles sectors.

Chemistry graduates can also work in sales and business positions and public sector laboratories, research institutes and second-and third-level teaching institutions.

Chemistry students generally start their chemist or lab scientist career as laboratory technicians or operatives. The tasks might include setting up equipment and preparing materials and assisting with experiments and processes. However, once you learn the (nylon) ropes you will be involved in the full range of tasks and responsibilities involved with being a professional scientist.

Analytical chemists are those who examine the contents of foodstuffs, chemicals, pharmaceuticals and water to find out what chemicals they contain. In manufacturing plants, they ensure that standards of safety and quality are adhered to. Industrial chemists create, develop and test chemical processes and products. They are experts in the chemical make-up and behaviour of substances and they use this knowledge to create useful new products – coffee whitener, for example, is a result of their work.

Biochemists are scientists who are concerned with chemical processes in living things. The research on the effect of various drugs, foods, hormones on humans, animals and plants, work to determine the cause of disease and develop and test new drugs.

People who have an inquisitive and analytical mind usually suit chemistry. An affinity with technology and of course, an interest in maths and science would also be helpful traits.

There are several different types of chemistry courses available across the country.

Find a chemistry course near you at

Aoife Read

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