What Can I Do with My Chemistry Major?

Chemistry is the study of the materials that make up the world around us—their structure, their properties and their conversion from one substance to another. As a natural or physical science, chemistry relies on experimental observation and the development of theories to explain these observations. Chemistry is also often referred to as “the central science” because of its overlap with many other scientific disciplines including biology, physics, geology, and anthropology.

Chemistry majors have abundant opportunities to participate in undergraduate research. Undergraduates are encouraged to get involved in research as early as possible through many exciting learning and research opportunities in core and emerging interdisciplinary areas of chemistry that are at the forefront of modern chemical sciences. Within this major, there is the possibility to complete your program with a senior thesis. 

The chemistry major curriculum qualifies the student for graduate study in chemistry or biochemistry at any university, or for industrial, academic, or research careers. Students who have earned a Georgetown B.S. degree in chemistry are well prepared for entry to most law schools and graduate schools of business. Also, with the inclusion of Introductory Biology, the curriculum provides the basic requisites for admission to most medical or dental schools.

Chemistry majors develop the skills necessary to design and execute experimental protocols, to analyze data qualitatively and quantitatively, and to develop models and theories based on this data. Additionally, the chemistry major will develop the ability to communicate complex ideas in an effective manner through the development of analytical reasoning and writing skills. Throughout your experience in the program, you will obtain the following skills:

Critical Thinking Skills

  • Read and evaluate technical information
  • Synthesize themes from diverse sources
  • Perceive patterns and structures

Communication Skills

  • Logical presentation of information
  • Ability to convey complex issues
  • Technical writing skills

Research Skills

  • Formulate hypothesis
  • Research design and implementation
  • Collection and presentation of data

You can use the examples above, and experiences from classes or research projects to enhance your resume. Try plugging in some of your experiences or skills gained into this formula: Accomplished (X) as measured by (Y) by doing (Z).

Sample Resume Class 1, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.
Member of Class, taught by Prof. ______

  • Developed deep understanding of principles and theories of organic chemistry, including structural changes as studied by spectroscopy (IR, NMR, and mass spectra) in Organic Chemistry course by (insert lab work/project/assignments)
  • Developed background in chemical reactions and their significance in environmental and biochemical contexts to explain and predict chemical change both qualitatively and quantitatively by (insert lab work/projects/assignments

Gained experience in determining molecular structure by diffraction methods (e.g. X-ray diffraction, Y, Z) using pertinent theory by (insert lab work/projects) in CHEM 517 X-Ray Crystallography and Molecular Structures course

Georgetown Alumni have taken their chemistry degree across multiple different industries and have applied the skills they learned in chemistry across multiple disciplines. 

Additional information about these outcomes can be found in Cawley’s Post Graduation Outcome Report

Helpful Keywords to Improve Searches
There are lots of ways to find good keywords to help your job or internship search process, or even just to learn more about the types of jobs you can do within a specific major. One way to explore this is by checking out the job search tool on Google. 

Once you are in, type in something generic like your major and the world internship afterward. Once you hit enter, it will give you lots of options to explore, but if you want to explore titles, possible career paths, or keywords, hover your mouse over the ‘Title’ tab on the top of the page. This will give you a ton of ideas and options to explore possible keywords. 

Sample Internship Opportunities

  • Government Agencies/Government Relations (e.g., Institute of Biotechnology, Environmental Science and Computing, U.S. Department of Energy, Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History)
  • Health care (e.g., Academy for Health Services Research and Health Policy, various hospitals)
  • Manufacturing (e.g., GEO Specialty Chemicals)
  • National Laboratories (e.g., Weill Cornell, Rockefeller, Sloan-Kettering, National Institute of Health)
  • Pharmaceutical Companies (e.g., Pfizer, Merck & Co., Millennial Pharmaceuticals)

The Georgetown Chemistry Department Website is rich with additional information on studying Chemistry.

GU Chemistry Department 

Professional Associations are a great place to go to dive deeper into the field of chemistry and learn more about what post grad life might look like. 

Vault is a fantastic resource to learn more about specific career fields in chemistry. Vault has information such as salary information, work environment, education and training requirements, outlooks, and specific tips for entering into the field. 

Professors & Academic Deans
Georgetown professors and faculty members can be a wonderful resource for Georgetown students. If you are still curious to learn more about the disciplines of a specific major, we’d encourage you to connect with your professors! Outside of office hours, Georgetown has an online interface called GU360 where students can explore and connect with faculty members that are eager to mentor and support students. You can use this interface to learn more about specific department research, specialties, and areas of study within a major.  

You can also connect with your academic dean or counselor to further discuss opportunities within a given major. 

Lastly, each department has a dedicated Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS). This is the individual in charge of coordinating the major program or department as a whole. You can find the Director of Undergraduate Studies by exploring the faculty and staff pages of individual departments websites.

Connecting with alumni is a fantastic way to explore a day in the life of any given major student. There are several different ways to connect with Georgetown Alums. Hoya Gateway is Georgetown’s premier networking platform which connects alumni and students to have meaningful conversations and build a strong network of support. This is a platform alumni opt into with the sole purpose of supporting current students, which means there is an extremely high response rate. 

You can also utilize LinkedIn to connect with Georgetown Alum. A simple alumni search on Georgetown’s LinkedIn profile will help you get connected to approximately 130 thousand alumni, which you can then filter to meet the location, major, industry, or skills that you are interested in exploring.

You can also check out our Post Graduation Outcomes to learn more about what Georgetown alumni in specific majors are up to after graduation. We survey our seniors at the end of each year and into the following year to learn about jobs they secured, service opportunities they committed to, or graduate schools they decided to attend. You can filter by first major to get an idea of what life after Georgetown looks like. You’ll see in many cases that alums are using majors in a wide variety of ways, and your major doesn’t always equal your career path. 

Career Center Staff
You can also connect with career center staff to talk through the possible outcomes of one major over another. In short, there are endless opportunities no matter what major you choose. However, connecting with someone might help you navigate your decision making process a little bit easier. 

At the career center, you have the opportunity to meet with either a Career Exploration Counselor or an Industry Advisor. Career Exploration Counselors can help you talk through concerns, goals, the big picture, and strategies to move forward. You can think of them as generalists and a great place to get started. Industry Advisors can help you think through specific questions about a given career path and provide specific industry information and trends. You can think of them as specialists for once you start to narrow down your possible path. If you think an appointment with one of these individuals would benefit you, you can make an appointment on Handshake.

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