Bachelor of Science in Chemistry
Chemistry is omnipresent in our daily lives. Almost every object in your immediate surroundings can be reduced to chemical compositions. Moreover, chemistry is one of the building blocks of many other scientific disciplines.
You may not always be aware of it, but chemistry is omnipresent. As you are reading this, for instance, proteins, carbohydrates and lipids are hard at work in each part of your body. Every object in your immediate surroundings can be reduced to a chemical composition: the pen you use has a plastic case, the glasses you wear probably consist of special alloy, your scooter’s engine needs fuel, ... All of the examples above are the work of chemists who have been able to crack the secret code of molecules. And if that does not win you over, allow us to point out that chemistry is also the bedrock of many other scientific disciplines. Disciplines such as medicine, biology, agriculture, materials studies, ... all make use of the chemist’s basic diagrams. Even archaeologists and art historians have increasingly come to rely on chemistry as one of the fundamental building blocks of matter. As a field of study, chemistry is the focus of many study programmes at university, and beyond. Our Master’s programme, however, is the only one with chemistry an sich as its principle objective. Upon graduation you will have gained an insight into the fundamental principles and models of chemistry, which will in turn enable you to set up your own research.
Our Bachelor’s curriculum is designed in such a way as to allow new students with a very diverse prior education to start the programme without any intrinsic problems. Most of our course units start with the basics and then gradually build on those. For maths, however, we do expect a specific starting knowledge. More important than a broad prior knowledge, though, is your intrinsic interest in acquiring knowledge in the exact sciences, and a healthy dose of analytical thought. A considerable part of our curriculum is devoted to practicals: an aptitude for experimentation and well-developed observation skills will come in handy. When it comes to lab techniques, a certain degree of dexterity and a good sense of timing are welcome assets, too.
The first-year curriculum consists of a general introduction to chemistry as an exact science and as an important player in society. It also contains other exact sciences such as mathematics, informatics, physics, and biochemistry. This is the bedrock you will need to move on to the second and third year, which offer an in-depth study of various subdisciplines of chemistry. In addition to a comprehensive overview of theoretical, inorganic, physical, organic and analytical chemistry, we also offer experimental chemistry and an introduction to entrepreneurship and chemistry. Shaping the second part of the third-year curriculum is entirely up to you. First of all, you will have to complete your Bachelor’s project, which consists of a brief research work placement of your choice. In addition, you choose one of four minors: research and development, a multidisciplinary broadening, education, or a study abroad. Choosing the Education minor will grant you direct access to the ensuing Master’s programme in Teaching (in Dutch: Educatieve Master).
The Master of Science in Chemistry completes your training as a chemist. It is an English-taught programme, containing a choice of three main subjects which each allow for specific academic and professional profiles. The main subjects all follow the same curricular structure. Content-wise, they focus on state-of-the evolutions in chemistry in terms of molecules, materials, or chemical analysis. As the Master’s programme is fully English-taught, it at once familiarizes you with the English chemistry jargon and prepares you for the international dimension of the professional field. It also brings you in touch with the international students in the programme, and with researchers actively involved with world players in academia and the industry.
In addition to the (domain) Master’s programme described above, you can also choose a Master’s Programme in Teaching (in Dutch: educatieve master (120 sp).
The stereotypical image of lab-coated, test tube juggling chemists is largely one of bygone days. In large companies, especially, with their far-reaching specialization and diversity, it is very difficult nowadays to determine where a chemist’s job starts and where it ends. Depending on the company, you may just as well end up in a research department, as in an R&D department, where you will e.g. contribute to product design. Chemists can be involved in production, but also in sales or customer services. Just as easily, they can take up positions in analysis and quality control. Options beyond the industry include positions as a chemistry teacher or a city ecologist. Another option is to go on to do a PhD. Some positions are still exclusively open to holders of a PhD in Chemistry. Be that as it may, there is a shortage of chemists on the labour market, and no immediate signs that this shortage will resolve itself in the near future.
At Ghent University, we strive to educate people who dare to think about the challenges of tomorrow. For that purpose, we provide education that is embedded in six strategic objectives: Think Broadly, Keep Researching, Cultivate Talent, Contribute, Extend Horizons, Opt for Quality.
Ghent University continuously focuses on quality assurance and quality culture. The Ghent University's quality assurance system offers information on each study programme’s unique selling points, and on its strengths and weaknesses with regard to quality assurance.
Ghent University's Education Objectives
Unique Selling Points
- Broad talent development: we offer our students a solid science education based on a wide range of knowledge, skills and attitudes, including experimentation, modelling and simulation, entrepreneurship, sustainability, critical and creative thought, and co-operation.
- State-of-the-art research: our study programme has a long-standing tradition of state-of-the-art international research, in which we involve our students from the very beginning. The strong interrelation between research and education becomes apparent, e.g., in the work placement opportunities, as well as in the Bachelor’s and Master’s dissertation.
- Active co-operation: our students appreciate the innovative and project-based approach or our lecturers, all of whom have internationally recognised research expertise. They are particularly appreciative of the low-threshold contacts between students, lecturers, and PhD students.
- Student-centred approach: student appreciation for our thoroughly revised Bachelor’s and Master’s curriculum is high. The new curricula are versatile, future-oriented and they allow for a significant degree of curricular freedom based on the students’ personal interests, talents and ambitions. The Master’s curriculum is fully English-taught. By means of three main subjects, the Bachelor’s and Master’s curriculum leaves room for professional training as well as further in-depth training.
- Future-oriented approach: in terms of future employment, students see an important added value in the English-taught Master’s programme. Our graduates find work quickly in various (international) sectors and profiles in research (PhD), industry or education.
- Vision and programme: our study programme has a strong future-oriented vision on chemistry, which takes into account the wide range of career opportunities in the field. We have translated that vision into a curriculum in which chemistry is covered in all its aspects, focusing on broad and in-depth knowledge, and on scientific skills and attitudes.
- Participation: systematic quality improvement based on (student) feedback is part of our DNA. Our students, for instance, are actively involved in the day-to-day management of the programme, and our curricular revision is the result of thorough consultations with all our (external) stakeholders.
- Assessment: we use various active assessment methods, which evolve throughout the curriculum as the students grow more independent. The Bachelor’s and Master’s dissertation are high-profile final papers.
- Openness: we place great store by the low-threshold and dynamic culture that exists among lecturers, students and the professional field, and their involvement in our education policy. All of our lecturers are passionate professionals.
- Promoting chemistry: we actively reach out to secondary schools and have various initiatives for bringing secondary school pupils into contact with the beauty of chemistry. In addition, we actively promote chemistry in wider society and international contexts.
- We want to strengthen our individuality further vis-à-vis (international) students, graduates and the professional field by means of our advisory group, staff mobility and network events.
- We want to contribute actively to the reorganization and renewal of a state-of-the-art infrastructure for our practicals.
- We continuously assess the correlation between the Bachelor’s and the revised Master’s curriculum with a focus on the use of digital teaching methods.
This study programme is accredited by the Accreditation Organization of the Netherlands and Flanders (Dutch: NVAO). Accreditation was extended following the positive outcome of the institutional review in 2022. Programme quality was validated by a quality review, i.e. a screening of the Education Monitor by the Education Quality Board. The Quality Assurance Resolution (in Dutch) can be found here.
This information was last updated on 01/02/2023.
In case of questions or suggestions with regard to the publicly available information, please contact the study programme.