Is chemistry major hard?

Chemistry undoubtedly has a bad reputation, being considered one of the most difficult majors. Even pre-med students when finding organic chemistry decide to change their major.

In this brief article we are going to answer the question ‘’Is chemistry major hard?’’ We will discover the main aspects of chemistry and what makes it a ” hard ” science. In turn, we will highlight the advantages and disadvantages of studying chemistry, as well as its job opportunities.

Is chemistry major hard?

Yes, chemistry is a major hard. Maybe the hardest. In chemistry major you will come across pure math, and lots of abstract concepts.

Chemistry as a discipline allows us to know and understand how the world around us works. Thanks to it, research and progress are carried out in areas such as health, food, computer science and in various industries.

Chemistry is considered one of the basic sciences within the Natural Sciences since it’s present in all beings and elements of our planet. It’s the scientific discipline that is responsible for studying the properties of matter, its composition and all the transformations and reactions that take place in it.

Chemistry Branches

In order to address such a broad scientific field, it is necessary to distinguish various branches according to their object of study:

  1. Inorganic Chemistry: this branch is responsible for the study of the formation, composition and reaction of inorganic elements and compounds such as metals and minerals.
  2. Organic Chemistry: it’s in charge of studying all organic compounds that are formed mainly by atoms with carbon and hydrogen bonds.
  3. Biochemistry: it’s dedicated to the investigation of the chemical composition of living beings from a molecular point of view. For example, plants, animals, microorganisms or humans.
  4. Physical chemistry: it’s a branch that is dedicated to the study of matter and its transformations through physical knowledge, such as movement, time, energy, etc.
  5. Chemical Engineering: this branch of chemistry comprises an independent career since the principles of engineering are applied to chemical processes in the industrial field. The chemical engineer can work in the planning and development of industrial processes and in the elaboration of products of the chemical industry and similar sectors.

What does the Chemistry major consist of?

The major in Chemistry consists of training professionals who are capable of working with substances of any kind and actively participating in scientific research. This profession provides the student with a solid theoretical and practical training on chemical knowledge and its complementation with mathematics and physics.

In addition, it prepares them to be able to study the composition and structure, as well as the properties and changes that matter undergoes during chemical reactions. 

These academic studies guarantee the preparation of professionals who will meet a whole series of essential competencies, including:

  • Understanding and application of the knowledge of Chemistry, Biosciences and Engineering applied to Chemical Science.
  • Conducting experiments for the investigation of established scientific objectives.
  • Creation of methods for the physicochemical analysis of substances.
  • Identification, formulation and resolution of all kinds of problems in the field of Chemistry, Biosciences and Engineering, as well as basic problems in fields such as Mathematics, Physics or Biology.

The training provided allows you to fully develop in basic and applied research, in production processes, in management and quality, creating knowledge and solving problems in complex and changing scenarios in the logical framework of the scientific method.

In addition, the graduate is prepared to incorporate and apply new knowledge, technologies and developments in the area.

How long is the chemistry major and what courses will you take?

A chemistry major lasts 4 years. Then you receive a Bachelor Degree of Science / Arts in Chemistry. During the course you will find some subjects such as:

  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Math
  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Organic chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Thermodynamics
  • Biochemistry

Your classes will be divided into theoretical classes, practical classes, laboratories and conferences.

Chemistry Student Profile

The students of this career are people who feel a special inclination to understand how chemical processes work. They tend to have a curious, proactive profile and a special motivation to apply the knowledge incorporated throughout life.

In general lines, the student of the Chemistry Career is characterized by:

  • Have a practical interest and taste for laboratory work
  • Predilection for technological advances and their application in Science
  • Innovative and observant personality with a particular interest in understanding how the world works
  • Interest in caring for the future and in providing solutions to current problems
  • Analytical and synthesis thinking

Are you thinking of studying chemistry and do you have those skills? Don’t hesitate any more!

Advantages and Disadvantages of studying Chemistry

When choosing which career we want to study, some factors may arise that we must take into account to identify the advantages or disadvantages that may arise. Depending on your interests and needs, some benefits are:


  • Although it has a theoretical load, it is an extremely practical career, with many hours devoted to laboratory work
  • Provides the graduate with a very versatile job offer
  • Being a scientific career is never out of date thanks to the continuous new advances and discoveries in research
  • These scientific and technological advances can contribute to producing positive changes in our health and quality of life
  • It’s a very important career for the development of industries


While some of the disadvantages are:

  • Although it’s a career with great practical content, it requires a lot of study time since the theoretical part is just as important in this discipline
  • There are many complex subjects. It will be essential that you feel a particular interest in Physics and Mathematics
  • The degree is a long career, the average duration of study varies between 4 and 6 years.

Why is chemistry considered a difficult major?

Chemistry is the science that studies the composition, structure and properties of matter, based on its reactions and transformations. It is important because everything that surrounds us is matter and chemistry allows us to know a large part of that environment.

Everything that we perceive with our senses makes up matter, that is, it is composed of molecules and atoms capable of reacting to different chemical actions or in relation to energy.

But what makes it so difficult?

Chemistry has a reputation as a tough major. We will see why:

Chemistry uses math

You must have a good command of mathematics to understand chemistry, calculation is essential. Geometry also comes into play. That is one of the main reasons why chemistry is considered difficult. Practically, chemistry students must re-learn math while you learn chemistry itself.

Chemistry is not just in the classroom

Chemistry is not only the theoretical, it is also the practical. You will have to attend conferences, not to mention the labs you will have to take. Maybe you will find yourself with laboratory tests, pre-practices or extra classes. This causes many students to burn out sooner, since you do not even have free time to process the information on your own.

Chemistry has its own language

In chemistry a special language is used based on symbols, chemical symbols, chemical formulas and chemical equations.

The periodic table contains 118 chemical elements. Also, chemistry is not just about learning concepts. You must understand those concepts, interpret them and communicate them in their special language.


Another difficulty is that there are different levels of representation of matter (macroscopic, microscopic, symbolic level …). These concepts can confuse you or make you navigate a pool of ideas. There is a lot to learn, and it may seem like a short time. You will need to memorize many concepts, but also really understand them.

It’s hard because I think it’s hard

Yes, if you are convinced that chemistry is difficult, you are prepared to meet that expectation. It is very common; psychologists have told us about this fallacy. What is the solution? Go with an open mind, keep in mind that you can really learn chemistry.

Improve your schedule, take notes, practice daily and talk with your classmates. Give chemistry a chance and you will be fine.

Although chemistry is a challenge, if you are really interested or consider that it will give you a lot of knowledge, cheer up! It is possible to master it.

Career opportunities and work areas of a chemist

The training of a student who has passed the Chemistry career is very solid. Their knowledge of chemical compounds and their behaviors make laboratories, the chemical industry or the teaching field compete with these university students.

Chemical Industry

Petrochemical compounds are part of today’s world. There are large international conglomerates that develop these types of products, manufacture materials and chemical and energy products … for this reason, this is one of the most popular career opportunities for those who decide to study Chemistry.

These are job positions with a great projection and in high demand: in fact, companies look for professionals on the job boards of the universities themselves.

The pharmaceutical industry

Large pharmaceutical companies are working on the development of new compounds that offer a solution to diseases that can harm the population. In this company, an increasing number of chemists, but also undergraduate students in Chemistry, tend to demand. That is why it is one of the most tempting outings.


Chemist profile is sought in both public and private institutions to be in charge of works and projects related to agricultural control, the sanitary industry, customs controls and export and import of products or environmental control in the discharge waste and water quality.


Another of the most interesting professional opportunities in the Chemistry career is teaching, covering both the university field and secondary education in vocational training cycles or in courses for companies. They also have a place in cultural activities and in the development of dissemination programs in museums and scientific institutions.

New technologies and research

Currently, chemists are in demand in the research sector and new technologies for the Chemical manipulation of living organisms, simulation of molecular chains or the creation of new substances and medicines with application in the food and sanitary field.

Innovation and gene therapies

Chemistry laboratories at universities attract a large number of researchers. There are many scholarships in the field of research within the specialty in Chemistry.

So, do you see yourself working in any of these fields? Remember that for this you will need to continue your academic career in chemistry, complementing it with a Master or a Doctorate. The major is just a start.

Where to study the best chemical majors?

Year after year, the prestigious British consulting firm Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) produces a ranking in which it classifies universities around the world according to the quality of their careers. 

According to this classification, these are the 10 best universities in the world to study a chemistry career in 2020:

1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, United States

2. Harvard University, United States

3. University of Cambridge, UK

4. Stanford University, United States

5. University of California Berkeley, United States

6. University of Oxford, UK

7. ETH Zurich, Switzerland

8. California Institute of Technology (Caltech), United States

9. Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland

10. Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore

Now that you have everything under consideration, don’t get carried away by a bad reputation, if you are really interested in chemistry, take the major. Nothing will be impossible to achieve, if you have a good base in mathematics, you will go with a good rhythm, if you still don’t have it, try to improve it and don’t let yourself be beaten.

FAQS: Is chemistry major hard?

Is chemistry major harder than biology?

Biology and chemistry are related. Which is harder than the other? It depends who you ask. Many people will tell you that Biology is easier than Chemistry, as it requires more memorization. Others say that chemistry is more difficult because of its high level of mathematics. So it depends on where you look at it.

Is chemistry the hardest degree?

Yes, it is one of the most difficult. And the expectations are high, to get honors, you will need a GPA above 3.25.

Is a chemistry major good?

Yes, without a doubt it is a good major. Since it has many fields and branches, it’s basically the central science. You can specialize in multiple fields.

What is the hardest chemistry class?

Organic chemistry. Organic chemistry studies the structures and reactions of carbon-based compounds. And it is the n ° 1 of the classes that give more headaches in chemistry.

What science is the hardest?

Many students and teachers agree that chemistry is the hardest science. Since it combines high components of biology with the mathematics that you would need for physics.

In this brief article we answered the question ‘’Is chemistry major hard?’’ We discovered the main aspects of chemistry and what makes it a ” hard ” science. In turn, we highlighted the advantages and disadvantages of studying chemistry, as well as its job opportunities.

If you have any questions or comments please let us know!


Kowarski, I. (2020). What Can You Do With a Chemistry Degree? Retrieved October 14, 2020, from US News & World Report website:

‌Top Universities. (2012, November 5). Retrieved October 14, 2020, from Top Universities website: