• what can I do with a degree in analytical chemistry other than working in the lab?

  • And what is the future of being an organic chemist?

  • Can I be a researcher in both of them?

  • Or it's better to take organic chemistry if I want to be a researcher?


closed as primarily opinion-based by ron, Klaus-Dieter Warzecha, user15489, M.A.R., jerepierre Jul 20 '15 at 14:41

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Welcome to chemistry.SE! If you had any questions about the policies of our community, please ‎visit the help center. I'm wondering if our community will accept this question and not believe it to be off-topic, since the future of being an organic chemist is well-dependent on the academic process in your country rather than the subject itself; it's not 1800 now. :) $\endgroup$ – M.A.R. Jul 19 '15 at 16:46
  • $\begingroup$ Answers trying to weigh the merits of one field of chemistry against another will certainly be opinion-based, an ultimately unhelpful for the community. An answer that describes how to figure this out for one's self will be useful for others in a similar situation. $\endgroup$ – Ben Norris Jul 19 '15 at 19:36
  • $\begingroup$ Shayma - there is a future in analytical chemistry beyond lab work. An acquaintence of mind from undergrad got her PhD in analytical chemistry and is now a senior manager in PPG Industry's analysis labs worldwide. $\endgroup$ – Ben Norris Jul 19 '15 at 19:38
  • $\begingroup$ If you want to have advice on an academic career, this is probably not the best place to get it, since the site is primarily about the science of chemistry. It might be a better fit at academia.se, but please check the scope of their site how to address questions like that. $\endgroup$ – Martin - マーチン Jul 20 '15 at 9:27

The answers to this question are going to be as varied as the people answering them. Let me give you the advice I give my undergraduate advisees.

The future is what you make of it. Don't let random people on the internet tell you which field to specialize in or which research to do. The decision need to be personal, because you need to care about what you are doing so that you are motivated to excel.

Instead of worrying about which type of chemistry to study, find the problems you want to solve.

Research in chemistry is pretty interdisciplinary nowadays, both across the old subfields of organic, analytical, physical, etc. and between chemistry and the other sciences. Rather than become obsessed about organic vs. analytical or whatever, read about current research in chemistry. Think about the types of research problems you want to solve. Usually that will help you figure out which pathway to follow (i.e. which courses you need to take, which specializations to pick up, which lab to join, etc.). Research, both in academia and elsewhere is going to be more problem- than field-focused.

As an undergraduate, I was torn between organic and physical chemistry. I chose organic chemistry as a focus in graduate school, joined a research group focusing on polymer synthesis, and did a lot of analytical work as part of my research. We collaborated with a theoretical group to understand how monomer sequence would affect optoelectronic properties of conjugated oligomers and polymers, so I also had to learn a lot about the physical models of my conjugated systems. Another part of my group was working on polyesters with controllable biodegredation pathways for applications in medicine. The team on that project included grad students focusing on organic, inorganic, and analytical chemistry collaborating with engineering students in another group.

  • $\begingroup$ By the way, questions of the type Which chemistry courses, skills, etc. should I pick up if I am interested in doing research on Problem X? are much less likely to be considered too opinion-based. $\endgroup$ – Ben Norris Jul 19 '15 at 19:46
  • $\begingroup$ Very helpful answer -- thanks for sharing! I disagree with your emphasized statement "The future is what you make of it." I am siding with Ϻ.Λ.Ʀ. since the future of being an organic chemist (or any other type of researcher) seems to be highly dependent on the academic/industrial/economic processes in the country one lives in. $\endgroup$ – Anton Antonov Nov 13 '15 at 23:22

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