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 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.
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.
The study of chemistry allows for the development of a core set of skills sought after by employers in a wide range of occupational settings. A sampling of representative skills and abilities follows.
- Read and evaluate technical information
- Synthesize themes from diverse sources
- Perceive patterns and structures
- Logical presentation of information
- Ability to convey complex issues
- Technical writing skills
- Formulate hypothesis
- Research design and implementation
- Collection and presentation of data
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)
Where are Georgetown chemistry majors now?
- Product/pharmaceutical researcher and developer
- Computational chemist
- Organic chemist secondary teacher
- Government agency researcher or administrator
- Analytical chemist
- Medical doctor
- Forensic scientist
- Soil scientist
- Chemical engineer
Relevant Websites and Publications
- MRI Biotech
- MentorNet: The mentoring network for diversity in engineering and science
- Publications accessible through the career center: “Chemical Week Magazine,” “Journal of Chemical Education,” “Opportunities in Biotechnology Careers,” and “Great Jobs for Chemistry Majors”
- American Chemical Society
- American Institute of Chemists
- Chemical Heritage Foundation
- The American Association for the Advancement of Science
For information about career options, internship and full-time opportunities, contact the Career Education Center at One Leavey Center, (202) 687-3493. For more information about the major and degree requirements, contact the chemistry department at 606 Reiss, (202) 687-6073.