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Postgraduate subject


Mātai Matū

09 November 2023
Chemistry propels advances in modern society and has an important role in solving global challenges.




Chemistry is the central science. It deals with the composition, structure, and behaviour of the atoms and molecules that make up all forms of matter. Understanding the world at an atomic level is essential to all areas of science. Chemistry interlinks and contributes to medicine, geology, materials science, molecular physics, biology, and astronomy.

Its central role in science is emphasised by the fact that Chemistry merges with Biological Sciences (the field of biochemistry) at one extreme, and with Physics (physical chemistry and chemical physics) at the other.

Chemistry propels advances in modern society and has an important role to play in solving major global challenges such as energy sustainability, food supply, health, and the environment. Every day, we utilise products developed by experimental chemists, such as plastics, fabrics, petrol, and pharmaceuticals.


What will my study involve?

  • We have state-of-the-art facilities in the Ernest Rutherford building to tackle transformative chemistry challenges head-on.
  • We have world-leading award winning faculty directing research in many disciplines of chemistry.
  • Many of our students get to travel to undertake collaborative research in other laboratories worldwide, providing a broad exposure to innovative research methods and techniques.



UC offers the following postgraduate programmes in Chemistry:


See the individual qualification pages for more information on degree requirements.

Graduate Diploma in Science specialising in Chemistry

To complete a GradDipSc with a Chemistry focus, you will need to complete at least 60 points in 100 to 300-level CHEM courses throughout the degree. In total 90 points must be at 300-level in the GradDipSc from Chemistry and/or other Science courses.

Bachelor of Science with Honours majoring in Chemistry

The Chemistry major in the BSc(Hons) includes:

Postgraduate Certificate in Science majoring in Chemistry

You will need to complete at least 45 points in 400-level CHEM courses for the major. In total 60 points must be completed for the PGCertSc from Chemistry and/or other Science courses.

Postgraduate Diploma in Science majoring in Chemistry

All four courses from CHEM 421–424 are required for the PGDipSc in Chemistry.

Master of Science majoring in Chemistry

Part I of the MSc in Chemistry is made up of all four courses from CHEM 421–424. This also includes a practical project in chemistry.

Part II requires CHEM690 MSc Thesis.

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Chemistry

In the PhD, you will complete a thesis of original research in the Chemistry field (CHEM790 Chemistry PhD).


Career opportunities

Aotearoa New Zealand's unique mix of primary and secondary industries provides a wide choice of careers in chemistry. Expanding industries in Aotearoa, for example those related to new sources of energy and to the development of forestry and dairy resources, are further increasing the demand for qualified chemists.

Aotearoa needs chemists in teaching, industry, health, and research.


  • Chemists are key members of developmental teams in the pharmaceutical industry.
  • Industry uses chemists in such areas as research and development of new products, monitoring product composition and quality, and environmental monitoring and regulation.
  • Hospitals and other health services employ chemists in areas such as biochemical research, medical analysis, and toxicology.
  • A degree in Chemistry is a good start to a teaching career with its emphasis on laboratory work and its relevance to other sciences.
  • The majority of chemical research in Aotearoa is done in universities, Crown Research Institutes, and private laboratories. These institutions provide chemical challenges equal to any in the world.

Chemists are well trained in problem solving and skilled at handling information, which leads naturally into a wide diversity of job opportunities, including sales and management.

Find out more about what you can do with a degree in Chemistry.

Related brochures

Postgraduate Prospectus 2024

Whakatairanga Tāura

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International Prospectus 2024/2025

Download (application/pdf, 6 MB)
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