Study Chemistry at UBC

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About Chemistry

Chemistry is the study of matter and the changes matter undergoes. It can be applied to make stronger metals, to improve soil, and to destroy bacteria. It has also made possible the development of substances such as rubber, nylon, and plastics from other, completely different materials. Chemists play a key role in the development of drugs. They are involved in biochemistry and genetic engineering, which can lead to synthesizing useful products such as human insulin. They are also involved in environmental issues, helping to tap new sources of energy and replace the earth's finite reserves of petroleum. Chemists can also enter chemistry-related fields, such as materials science, biomedical sciences, bioengineering, chemical engineering, food science, pharmacology, toxicology, oceanography or marine science. An education in chemistry can also lead to medical, dental, osteopathic or veterinary school or professional studies in other health-related areas.

Program details

The Major program is designed for those individuals who wish to obtain a fairly broad background in science with a chemistry concentration. This program provides an excellent background for those students intending to become elementary or secondary school teachers, or seeking employment in industrial or government laboratories. The Honours programs require maintenance of a high academic standing and involve the preparation of a graduating thesis. A Combined Honours degree permits students to obtain specialization in a different discipline in addition to chemistry, and is tailored for those whose interest in science includes more than one of the traditional areas.


Over the course of a four-year degree, this program could help you build the following skills:

  • Analytical method development or validation
  • Focused observation and attention to detail
  • Laboratory report writing and presentation of data to scientific and non-scientific audiences
  • Advanced qualitative and quantitative analysis
  • Application of logical, systematic thought processes to understand cause and effect
  • Identification of chemical hazards and facilitation of proper chemical waste disposal
  • Techniques in isolation, purification, analysis, synthesis, and usage of specialized laboratory instruments
  • Spatial perception

Programs offered

  • Major or Honours, Chemistry
  • Combined Honours, Chemistry and Mathematics
  • Combined Honours, Chemical Biology
  • Combined Honours, Chemical Physics (See Physics)
  • Combined Honours, Chemistry and another science subject
  • Co-op


Academic Calendar Entry
Program Specialization Website
Undergraduate Advisors
Student Club Website
Research and Library Help
Involvement and Career Resources

Career options in Chemistry

With an undergraduate degree

  • Chemical Technologist
  • Clinical research assistant
  • Environment, health & safety specialist
  • Forensic laboratory analyst
  • Lab technician
  • Medical lab technician
  • Patent examiner
  • Science writer

With additional study

  • Astrochemist
  • Chemical analyst
  • Chemical engineer
  • Chemist
  • Coatings chemist
  • Dentist
  • Doctor
  • Electrochemist
  • Food chemist
  • Geochemist
  • Laboratory Manager
  • Oceanographic chemist
  • Pharmacologist
  • Pharmacist
  • Pharmacological chemist
  • Plant manager
  • Soil chemist
  • Teacher/Professor
  • Toxicologist

UBC Science Chemistry Graduates Work As

  • PhD Student in Medicinal and Materials Chemistry, University of Copenhagen
  • Medical Student, University of British Columbia
  • Senior Editor and Chocolate Expert, Edible Vancouver & Wine Country Magazine
  • IB Chemistry Teacher, New Westminster Secondary School
  • MD/PhD Student in Interdisciplinary Oncology, University of British Columbia
  • Quality Control Laboratory Technician, Viva Pharmaceutical Inc
  • Data Scientist, Foundation Medicine
  • Lab Analyst, ALS Environmental
  • Post-Doctoral Fellow, BC Cancer Research Centre

Related Professional Groups

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