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Study Chemistry at Otago

Making, measuring, understanding.

Chemistry is so much a part of our lives, sometimes we don’t even notice it! It’s at the heart of cooking and eating, breathing and seeing, the clothes we wear and the materials we use to construct our environment.

While studying Chemistry at Otago, you’ll look at how chemicals interact with each other, with light, and with the environment; how to synthesise novel materials and measure trace amounts of pollutants. Research interests in the Department of Chemistry include nanotechnology and marine chemistry, the development of smart polymers and anti-cancer drugs. Chemistry enables change in our world – in medicine, technology and the environment. Study Chemistry at Otago, and be part of it!

Apply for the Bachelor of Arts and Science (BASc) through the Dunedin campus in 2021

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Apply for the Bachelor of Commerce and Science (BComSc) through the Dunedin campus in 2021

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Apply for the Bachelor of Science (BSc) through the Dunedin campus in 2021

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Apply for the Bachelor of Science with Honours (BSc(Hons)) through the Dunedin campus in 2021

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Apply for the Diploma for Graduates (DipGrad) through the Dunedin campus in 2021

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Apply for the Postgraduate Diploma in Science (PGDipSci) through the Dunedin campus in 2021

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Why study Chemistry?

Chemistry is the science of matter; it’s so fundamental it’s been called the central science. Studying Chemistry will help you develop an understanding of how the universe works. You’ll learn how to synthesise new chemicals that could have a profound effect on people’s lives. You could assist with the discovery of new drugs, agrichemicals and sources of energy, and gain a highly transportable and internationally recognised qualification in Chemistry. Studying Chemistry at Otago means you’ll acquire problem-solving skills within a chemical framework.

Career opportunities

Careers involving chemistry are hugely varied and there’s been a shortage of chemistry graduates in New Zealand in recent years.

Qualified chemists work in industries involving chemicals, plastics, pharmaceuticals, food, textiles and timber. These positions include areas such as research and development, quality control, marketing, sales or management. Chemists also play leading roles in agriculture, horticulture, fisheries, water quality control, and in chemical, biochemical or medical research units. They are also sought after in central and local government agencies, to work on projects such as pollution monitoring, water purification and forensic work solving criminal cases.

Recent changes in environmental and occupational health and safety legislation have also resulted in jobs for chemistry graduates, both in the public sector and industry. Chemistry graduates are in continual demand for commerce-related positions, because employers recognise that people with a background in chemistry have been well trained to handle information and deal with complex concepts. These are qualities relevant throughout the workforce, in areas as diverse as  finance, law, politics and sales. And there is ongoing demand for secondary science and chemistry teachers throughout New Zealand.

Background required

To enter Otago’s Chemistry programmes, you should have studied Chemistry to Year 13 Level. Mathematics and Physics at Year 12 or 13 would also be helpful. If you haven’t studied chemistry to the appropriate level, or you perhaps think your grades are not good enough, we offer two further options:

CHEM 150 Concepts in Chemistry: A six week paper taught as part of the University’s Summer School. The first four weeks are distance taught, the last two are on campus in Dunedin. This course is designed for students with less than 14 Chemistry credits at Level 2.

Introductory Chemistry: A distance-taught programme for those with little or no chemistry background. This can be studied at any time throughout the year and students can take as long as they need to complete it.

Qualifications

Explore your study options further. Refer to enrolment information found on the following qualification pages.

Programme requirements

Bachelor of Science (BSc) majoring in Chemistry

Level Papers Points
100-level

See below.

200-level

At least five 100- or 200-level CHEM papers, excluding CHEM 204. (Both CHEM 111 and CHEM 191 strongly recommended.)

90

300-level

Four of:
CHEM 301  Physical Chemistry
CHEM 302  Organic Chemistry
CHEM 303  Inorganic and Organometallic Chemistry
CHEM 305  Biological Chemistry
CHEM 306  Forensic Chemistry
CHEM 390  Critical Readings in Chemistry

With Head of Department approval other paper(s) may be substituted for one 300-level CHEM paper

72

Plus

198 further points; must include 54 points at 200-level or above.

Up to 90 points may be taken from outside Science

198

Total   360

Bachelor of Science with Honours (BSc(Hons)) in Chemistry

Papers
  • CHEM 490  Dissertation

  • CHEM 461  Topics in Advanced Chemistry

  • CHEM 462  Topics in Advanced Chemistry

  • CHEM 463  Topics in Advanced Chemistry

    Prerequisites: at least five 300-level papers including at least four 300-level CHEM papers.

Postgraduate Diploma in Science (PGDipSci) in Chemistry

Papers
  • CHEM 480  Research Project

  • Four of:

    • CHEM 461  Topics in Advanced Chemistry
    • CHEM 462  Topics in Advanced Chemistry
    • CHEM 463  Topics in Advanced Chemistry
    • CHEM 464  Topics in Advanced Chemistry
    • HAZA 401  Management of Chemical Hazards
    • HAZA 404  Environmental Risk Assessment and Management

Master of Science (MSc) in Chemistry

Papers and Thesis
  • CHEM 495  Master's Thesis Preparation

  • Four of:
    • CHEM 461  Topics in Advanced Chemistry
    • CHEM 462  Topics in Advanced Chemistry
    • CHEM 463  Topics in Advanced Chemistry
    • CHEM 464  Topics in Advanced Chemistry
    • HAZA 401  Management of Chemical Hazards
    • HAZA 404  Environmental Risk Assessment and Management
  • Thesis: CHEM 5

    Note: The papers are normally taken before undertaking the thesis.

Minor subject requirements

Chemistry as a minor subject for a BA, MusB, BPA, BTheol, BSc, BAppSc, BCom, BHealSc, BACom, BASc or BComSc degree

Available as a minor subject for a Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Music (MusB), Bachelor of Performing Arts (BPA), Bachelor of Theology (BTheol), Bachelor of Science (BSc), Bachelor of Applied Science (BAppSc), Bachelor of Commerce (BCom), Bachelor of Health Science (BHealSc), Bachelor of Arts and Commerce (BACom), Bachelor of Arts and Science (BASc) or Bachelor of Commerce and Science (BComSc) degree

Papers Points

Five CHEM papers, at least three of which must be above 100-level, including at least one at 300-level (excluding CHEM 390).

90

Papers

Paper code Year Title Points Teaching period
CHEM111 2021 Chemistry: Molecular Architecture 18 points Second Semester
CHEM150 2021 Concepts in Chemistry 18 points Summer School
CHEM191 2021 The Chemical Basis of Biology and Human Health 18 points First Semester, Summer School
CHEM201 2021 Physical Chemistry and its Applications 18 points First Semester
CHEM202 2021 Organic Chemistry 18 points Second Semester
CHEM203 2021 Main Group and Coordination Chemistry 18 points Second Semester
CHEM205 2021 Biological Chemistry 18 points First Semester
CHEM206 2021 Analytical Chemistry 18 points Second Semester
CHEM301 2021 Physical Chemistry 18 points First Semester
CHEM302 2021 Organic Chemistry 18 points Second Semester
CHEM303 2021 Inorganic and Organometallic Chemistry 18 points First Semester
CHEM305 2021 Biological Chemistry 18 points First Semester
CHEM306 2021 Forensic Chemistry 18 points Second Semester
CHEM371 2021 Special Topic: Chemistry Research Project 18 points Not offered in 2021
CHEM390 2021 Critical Readings in Chemistry 18 points Full Year
CHEM461 2021 Topics in Advanced Chemistry 20 points Full Year
CHEM462 2021 Topics in Advanced Chemistry 20 points Full Year
CHEM463 2021 Topics in Advanced Chemistry 20 points Full Year
CHEM464 2021 Topics in Advanced Chemistry 20 points Full Year
CHEM480 2021 Research Project 40 points Full Year
CHEM490 2021 Dissertation 60 points Full Year
CHEM495 2021 Master's Thesis Preparation 40 points Full Year

Key information for future students

Contact us

Department of Chemistry
Email chemistry@otago.ac.nz
Web otago.ac.nz/chemistry