Nav: Home | Inst. | Burs. | Careers
Chemists examine the composition, structure and properties of different materials, as well as the processes and changes they undergo. They work in research and development, as well as production and inspection.

In the research and development field, the properties, the composition of matter and the laws that govern the combination of elements are investigated. Chemists use research findings to help create or improve products.

They are instrumental in the development of new products, for instance, paint or drug products. In the fields of production and inspection, instructions are prepared for plant workers, specifying the kind and quantity of ingredients to use and the mixing time for each stage in the process. In the inspection area, chemists test samples to make certain that industry and government standards are met.

Chemists may specialize in one or more of the following disciplines: organic, inorganic, physical, analytical and theoretical chemistry, as well as biochemistry and industrial chemistry. Some chemists work as teachers and lecturers while others are consultants or technical journalists.

Satisfying Aspects
- working as a member of a scientific team
- creating or improving products which benefit others
- variety of work
- the large number of specialities available

Demanding aspects
- working long hours to solve problems
- frustrations at unsuccessful resolution of problems or research
- having to continue upgrading knowledge throughout career to keep up with developments

A chemist should:
- be curious and imaginative;
- be able to accept responsibility;
- be thorough, patient and persistent;
- work well with others;
- be able to communicate well in speech and in writing;
- enjoy learning and studying;
- enjoy working with his hands;
- have above-average scientific and mathematical aptitude;
- have good eyesight and eye-hand coordination.

School Subjects
National Senior Certificate meeting degree requirements for a degree course

Each institution will have its own minimum entry requirements.

Compulsory Subjects: Mathematics, Physical Sciences
Recommended Subjects: Life Sciences

Degree: A 3-year BSc degree in Chemistry is offered at all universities - UR, NWU, UJ, UP, UKZN, UZ, UCT, UNISA, UWC, UFS, NMMU, UFS, UV.

Diploma: Various universities of technology offer diplomas for technicians and technologists in Analytical Chemistry - eg. CPUT, DUT and VUT. Persons in possession of a N.Dip. Analytical Chemistry may register as an associate member of the SA Chemical Institute, and a person with a N.H.Dip. Chemistry may register as a professional chemist at the SA Chemical Institute.

Post-graduate study: Further training can be undertaken at UZ, UNISA, and NMMU.

A masters degree or doctorate is needed for higher positions in lecturing, research, and administration.

A person with a BSc (Hons) degree in Chemistry may register as a corporate member and professional chemist at the SA Chemical Institute.

- Chemical or other manufacturing industries
- Educational institutions
- Research institutes
- Council for Mineral Technology
- Sasol
- Mittal Steel
- Government departments
- self-employment, as a consultant

South African Chemical Institute      
School of Chemistry
University of the Witwatersrand
Private Bag X3
Wits, 2050
Tel: (011) 717-6741 (from 8am -1pm)
Fax: (011) 717-6779