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What does a chemist do? We want to create the best possible foundation for your future career!

While your are studying it is a good idea to start thinking about what you want to do when you finish. This can help you choose which courses to study so that you can prepare early for the next step.

It can be difficult to know what you can work with as a chemist, but there are many different types of companies that need chemists. Among other things, you can work with the environment, food, pharmaceuticals, material production and development. Everything from plastic to paint to shampoo and ice cream has had chemists as part of development and production. Most chemical companies have their own research departments and therefore need highly trained chemists to develop their future products. There is therefore a need for chemists at all levels of education, right up to postgraduate degrees.

Here you can read a little more about different career paths for chemists.

The majority of those who pursue a chemistry education start working in industry in different positions at a large number of different companies, both in Sweden and internationally. Examples of positions include process technician, researcher, synthesis specialist, analytical chemist, microbiologist and quality control analyst and companies like AkzoNobel, Galencia, Höganäs AB and Pfizer. 

If you want to become a teacher in Sweden in chemistry and other areas of science it is possible to complement your chemistry with an education in pedagogics. This is called "Kompletterande pedagogisk utbildning" (KPU, Complementary Pedagogical Education in English), and covers three semesters, or 90 ETCS credits. You are taught how to teach your subjects both through theoretical study, but also through work placements. Further information can be found below, but as the KPU is only available in Swedish the information about it is also only in Swedish:

Read more about kompletterande pedagogisk utbildning (KPU)

Do you have an idea for a product or service? Then maybe you should consider starting your own company. As a student or recently graduated you can turn to VentureLab, which helps students considering starting their own company with everything from finances and office space in their 3-month startup programme, to courses and workshops about marketing and economy.  

Read more about VentureLab


To continue with an academic career you are required to do a PhD (see below). After that you usually do one or two shorter research projects you are responsible for in different research groups, so called postdocs. These should not be at the same university that you did your PhD. After that there are a number of different possibilities, for example to work as a lecturer, when you teach and research, or to work as a researcher. You should at this point have found your area of focus and can start to build your own research group with students, PhDs and postdocs.  

Just because you are an academic does not mean you are completely separated from the industry. Many academics collaborate with industry and there are many companies that have been founded by researchers at Kemicentrum.

Post graduate studies (PhD)

The Department of Chemistry at Lund University offers high quality research on a wide range of topics if you want to continue your studies and do a PhD.. Roughly half of those who finish their master's degree continue with a PhD. It covers 240 ETCS credits, corresponding to four years full time studies during which you are employed, get paid and work as a researcher under the guidance of a supervisor. During this time you also take courses at the PhD-level, included in the total amount of credits, usually 45-60 ETCS credits. Often you also get the opportunity to teach practicals or theoretical excercises on our basic or advanced level courses och you have probably come across several PhDs teaching on different courses yourself.  

Becoming a PhD is the highest academic degree. To be able to start a PhD you need a degree certificate at advanced level or courses totalling at least 240 ETCS credits, out of which 60 must be on advanced level. There are also specific requirements for each subject and area of chemistry. As a general rule you should have at least 90 credits in the area where you want to do research. 

It may be easy to think that everyone who does a PhD continues in academia, but today those who do so are in a minority. Many companies want PhD level researcher for their own departments for research and development. 

Post graduate studies at the Department of Chemistry

Post graduate studies at Lund University

Employers in and around Lund

Lund and the Öresund region has a good job market for chemists, whether you want to work in industry, acadeima or teaching. Copenhagen has many large comapnies that employ chemists, such as Carlsberg and NovoNordisk. 

Next to the Chemical Centre is Ideon Science park where hundreds of companies, primarily in technology, food and biotechnology, are situated. Medicon Village is another large research centre in Lund for research in life science. Both Ideon and Medicon Village have many employed chemists. 

MAX IV is in operation and in a near future ESS will be complete, which is a huge asset for research in materials, as well as contributing to a positive development on the job market for chemists and other scientists. 

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