Skip to main content
5 answers
5
Updated 147 views Translate

Is it better to major in general chemistry or major in a more specific part of chemistry?

An example of a more specific major would be chemical engineering or organic chemistry.

+25 Karma if successful
From: You
To: Friend
Subject: Career question for you

5

5 answers


0
Updated Translate

Ryan’s Answer

It depends on what you're planning to do with the degree. Chemical engineering is very different, as it deals with equipment and processes, especially in manufacturing, while general chemistry will expose you to more areas of chemistry (organic, physical, inorganic, etc.), and is probably more appropriate if you wanna work in a lab/research.
0
0
Updated Translate

Abhisikta’s Answer

If you are still in school and unsure about your choices, go for general chemistry. You can always specialize later taking extra courses or doing MS.
0
0
Updated Translate

Melanie’s Answer

When you work towards a bachelors degree, as a chemistry major (not chemical engineering), a lot of the time the chemistry courses that you take will cover all of the major fields within chemistry. You will likely take general chemistry, organic, inorganic, analytical, physical, and biological/biochemistry. Its going to vary from school to school, but in most cases you'll see something similar. You will also probably be given opportunities to take more specific classes that fall into one of those fields. This gives you an introduction to the different fields and areas of study within chemistry. Typically, you won't really specialize into one of the fields until you go to graduate school. Hope this helps!
0
0
Updated Translate

Joseph’s Answer

Many of the more specific courses will cover a lot of the same core chemistry material anyway; they just focus more on the specific area than more general courses - so a lot of the time, while there are differences, they're not major; and it probably won't make a massive difference which you choose.

However, there are differences, and the specific focus on certain areas is good if you eventually want to go into that specific area.

My advice is that if you know you want to go into a specific area already, then you're slightly better off choosing a course specific to that area; but if you're not quite sure which area of chemistry you want to go into, you're probably better off with a general course, which might help guide you towards an area you enjoy for the future.
0
0
Updated Translate

Robert’s Answer

As Ryan points out, chemical engineering is not really a "specific part of chemistry," despite the name. This is a common misconception! Please see https://www.careervillage.org/questions/380825/why-did-you-want-to-be-a-chemical-engineer
Chemical Engineering entails a lot of math, especially in alternate coordinate systems (heat flow out of a pipe in cylindrical coordinates, for example), and a lot of empiricism (we don't know exactly why this is, but it works) rather than pure solutions from first principles. It has intense math, but not empiricism, in common with physical chemistry.

In the United States, you usually only narrow down your focus more specifically than just "chemistry" at the post-graduate (masters and doctorate) levels. Where that's not the case, you are usually preparing for a very specific field, like polymer chemistry. That usually helps your job prospects at graduation (these programs are usually created to fill a need) but limits your flexibility down the road.
0