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.
- Te Kura Matū | School of Physical and Chemical Sciences at UC carries out research, teaching, and scholarship in all of the traditional areas of the discipline – inorganic, organic, physical, theoretical, environmental, and analytical chemistry. The School is also involved with the teaching of Biochemistry and provides service courses for engineers, biologists, and foresters.
- The School is equipped with excellent facilities both in undergraduate laboratories and for research work. Research activities include investigations into such diverse topics as chemical biology, synthesis, supramolecular chemistry, theoretical and computational chemistry, surface and electrochemistry, trace elements in the environment, nanotechnology, and new materials.
Year 13 chemistry is recommended preparation for first-year students, but for those who have had minimal preparation in chemistry, we offer CHEM 114 Foundations of Chemistry, an introductory Chemistry course.
Students enrolling in CHEM 111 Chemical Principles and Processes and CHEM 112 Structure and Reactivity in Chemistry and Biochemistry must have at least 14 credits in NCEA Level 3 chemistry, or an equivalent background in other courses of study (eg, IB/Cambridge or overseas qualifications). Students with less than this standard should first enrol in CHEM 114 Foundations of Chemistry.
Students with outstanding results in NCEA Level 3 (or IB/Cambridge equivalent) and/or scholarship may be invited to enter directly into second-year courses.
UC offers a major and a minor in Chemistry as part of the Bachelor of Science.
See also Medicinal Chemistry.
To complete a major in Chemistry within the Bachelor of Science, you will need to take the following courses throughout the degree:
- CHEM 111 Chemical Principles and Processes
- CHEM 112 Structure and Reactivity in Chemistry and Biochemistry
Students who have not taken chemistry to Year 13 level are also strongly advised to take CHEM 114 Foundations of Chemistry.
- CHEM 211 Molecules
- CHEM 212 Chemical Reactivity
- CHEM 242 Organic Chemistry
- CHEM 251 Foundations of Materials Science and Nanotechnology
- CHEM 281 Practical Chemistry
- BCHM 338 Chemical Biology and Protein Chemistry
- BCHM 339 Bioinorganic and Bioorganic Chemistry
- CHEM 381 Advanced Synthetic Techniques or CHEM 382 Instrumental Methods
- Four 300-level CHEM courses
Note that students in Chemistry are not able to complete a double major with Medicinal Chemistry.
Students currently enrolled in the Chemistry major can change to the Medicinal Chemistry major by taking CHEM 246 Introduction to Medicinal Chemistry and meeting the 300-level majoring requirements for Medicinal Chemistry.
For the Chemistry minor in the Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Commerce, Bachelor of Sport Coaching, or Bachelor of Youth and Community Leadership, you will need to take these courses throughout your chosen degree:
- 75 points in 100 to 300-level CHEM courses (not including CHEM 114), with at least 45 points at 200-level or above
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.
See the School's website for up-to-date location details.
College of Science | Te Rāngai Pūtaiao
University of Canterbury | Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha
Private Bag 4800
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