Analytical Chemistry Degree

What do Analytical Chemists Do?

Analytical chemists examine the chemical compositions of various materials to determine their contents and construction. They carry out detailed research projects which involve the development of new products and testing chemical materials. They also direct technicians and other trained personnel regarding the testing and analysis of complex chemicals along with the physical properties of materials. They prepare solutions and compounds that are used in industries such as the pharmaceutical industry. These analytical chemists are also responsible for conducting tests on materials to determine their safety and quality. Along with this, they write reports and statements on their findings to educate other scientists and engineers.

Analytical Chemistry Degree

To get an entry level job in this field, you will need at least a 4-year bachelor’s degree in a relevant field. If you want a research level position, it will require a master’s or a doctoral degree.

Bachelor of Science in Analytical Chemistry

This degree would teach students the foundational courses in analytical chemistry and how chemical compounds are found in various aspects of modern life. It will also deal with topics such as processing and communication of information about the composition of matter.

This degree would typically require at least a high school diploma before applying. Courses in this program could include the following:

  • Communication skills
  • HIV and AIDS
  • Safety in the Laboratory
  • Introduction to Organic Chemistry
  • Elements of Physics
  • Calculus
  • Chemistry of the Main Block Elements
  • Introduction to Reaction Kinetics and Electrochemistry
  • Thermodynamics
  • Chemical Toxicology
  • Statistics for Chemists
  • Organic Acids, Amines, Esters and Phenols
  • Ordinary Differential Equations
  • Chemical Toxicology
  • Algebra
  • Statistical Thermodynamics
  • Applied Organic Chemistry
  • Thermal Analysis and Polymer Characterization Methods

The degree would also involve some core courses and some humanities electives.

Master of Science in Analytical Chemistry

This is a 2-year degree that deals with advance level concepts in analytical chemistry. For admission eligibility, you would need to have a bachelor’s degree and a certain amount of work experience. Letters of recommendation and GRE scores would also be required by universities, along with the official transcripts of all college level institutions attended.

A master’s program would give students a good understanding of topics such as separation science, method development and spectroscopy. Courses would help prepare students in communication, industrial leadership and chemical statistics. Typical courses at this degree level would include:

  • Advanced Analytical Chemistry
  • Spectroscopic Methods
  • Physical Methods of Characterization
  • Liquid Chromatography
  • Statistics for Analytical Chemists
  • Liquid Chromatography
  • Gas Chromatography
  • Polymer Characterization and Analysis
  • Colloids and Colloid Analysis
  • Industrial Leadership

Most masters’ level programs would require students to submit a well-researched thesis.

Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry

This is a research oriented degree which is awarded to recognize the distinguished scholarship and original contributions to the field of analytical chemistry. You will be required to select a research advisor to help guide your dissertation. A Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry can last between 4-8 years, depending on your research. Admission would require at least a bachelor’s degree in a related field, though most institutes would only accept candidates who have completed a master’s degree. Typical courses in this degree would include the following:

  • Quantitative Instrumental Analysis
  • Introduction to Proteomics
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Electrochemistry
  • Radiochemistry and Radiotracers
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Chromatography
  • Applied Spectroscopy
  • Special Topics in Nuclear Processes and Radioactive Waste Management

Careers in Analytical Chemistry

Analytical chemists typically work in laboratories and operate instruments like chromatographs and spectrometers. They often work in teams to perform tests and other processes on compounds to determine their nature and design procedures to form results. Some Analytical Chemists may perform basic research, while others may find employment in applied research. In basic research, chemists would be investigating the properties and composition of matter. They would experiment with various combinations of elements and analyze the ways in which they react with each other. On the other hand, in applied research, chemists would investigate possible new products and new ways to improve upon the existing products. Research in this sector has led to the discovery and development of better, more improved drugs, cleaners, plastic and many other products.

The job of an Analytical Chemist requires a solid understanding of sophisticated laboratory equipment used for modeling, experimental analysis and simulation. Understanding and frequently using these technical instruments is something most Analytical Chemists would have been exposed to at the college level.

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics provides the following data for chemists and materials scientists:

2016 Median Pay

$75,420 per year

Typical Entry Level Education

Bachelor’s Degree

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

None

On-the-job Training

None

Number of Jobs, 2014

98,400

Job Outlook, 2014-2024

3%

Employment Change, 2014-24

2,600

As of 2014, there were almost 91,100 jobs in the US in this field and the largest employers were as follows:

Research and development in physical, engineering and life sciences

18%

Pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing

16%

Testing laboratories

10%

Federal government, excluding postal service

7%

Basic chemical manufacturing

5%

Material Scientists held nearly 7,300 jobs in 2014, and their largest employers were:

Research and development in the physical, engineering and life sciences

27%

Colleges, universities, and professional schools

9%

Computer and electronic product manufacturing

7%

Architectural, engineering and related services

7%

Basic chemical manufacturing

6%

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

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