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'I work for the Ministry of Defence and am hoping to be deployed to Afghanistan to run facilities out there, which is something you wouldn’t get to do with most organisations.

Alexandra Gledhill Research Scientist for the Defence Science and Technology laboratory

Careers in chemistry

Leeds chemists research in Antarctica

Careers and employment

Studying a chemistry degree helps to prepare you for lots of potential future careers.

You’ll be surprised at the number of chemistry jobs available, which exist across many important and rewarding industries.

You might find a job working in some of the largest and most innovative companies in the world, or you might decide to do a PhD in chemistry and make the big discoveries of the future.

Over 94% of our recent graduates have successfully secured employment or gone on to further study within six months of graduating (latest Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education survey).

Jobs in chemistry

Many of our chemistry students have gone on to be chemists.

But others have found that taking a chemistry degree doesn’t necessarily mean working in a lab. 

Researching new materials, investigating processes or creating new products can be very rewarding, but the practical knowledge and problem-solving skills you’ll gain as a chemistry student can also be used in careers focussed on improving manufacturing efficiency, providing technical support, guiding legislation or developing the commercial success of a company.

You might also decide to use your chemistry knowledge to follow a career in teaching or lecturing.

Chemistry job industries

Chemistry graduates could work in a huge range of chemical companies and industries, including:

  • Agriculture
  • Chemical manufacture
  • Cosmetics and personal care
  • Education
  • Environmental consultancy
  • Food and drink
  • Government agencies
  • Oil and gas
  • Paint and surface coatings
  • Pharmaceuticals and fine chemicals
  • Plastics and polymers
  • Textiles
  • Water

Careers support at the University

We’ll help you to prepare for you future career by giving you lots of opportunities to develop your skills:

  • Work experience placements, which allow you to experience what it’s like to work in industry.

  • Study abroad, which helps you to experience another culture and develop life skills.

  • Skills development modules, some of which give you an insight into industrial product development or business start-up.

  • Royal Society of Chemistry accreditation for our single honours courses, which makes your chemistry degree more valuable in the eyes of future employers.

  • Support with CVs, interviews, job hunting and more via the University careers centre.