Every aspect of the world today – even politics and international relations – is affected by chemistry.
This quote from famous American chemist and peace activist Linus Pauling is a great way to remind ourselves of the importance of study and innovation in the field of Chemistry.
While it's true that, at its core, Chemistry is simply the study of matter and molecular transformations and reactions, this nano-level study has enabled researchers, over time, to find solutions to problems that affect all of society.
If you don't believe this point of view, just think about almost any major world problem and its solution. For example, creating lab-grown food could be a resolution to both world hunger and climate change.
Or, understanding the different types of energy created during chemical reactions could allow us to find alternative power sources that are pollution-free, unlike carbon-based energy production.
Without chemistry, both of these processes, and many more, would be impossible.
Just like Physics, Maths, Biology and other science subjects, studying Chemistry takes time and hard work. It's full of theories, math formulas and confusing concepts that are difficult for a student to memorise.
However, once you start to open up your view and see just how much of our world is affected by what you're learning, you'll be more than happy to spend hours doing the work to learn more, lesson by lesson.
Getting into a university course
In near every state high school curriculum in Australia, from QCE in Brisbane to VCE in Melbourne to HSC in Sydney, Chemistry is an important part of science studies, which usually also include Biology and Physics.
In these courses, students can get a great introduction to basic Chemistry ideas, like atom properties, the rate of chemical reactions, oxidation, reduction and much more.
For students who have found themselves fascinated by their Chemistry lessons at high school, their next choice could be to find a great university course near them and continue on the scientific path.
Let's look at what you'll need to do in high school to qualify for a Chemistry course in Australia...
For the domestic student, there are two important factors that determine which university course a student can start after high school: Pre-requisite subjects and ATAR.
Although every course is a little different, the majority will require students to have studied certain subjects in their Year 11 and 12 study.
For example, Monash requires students to study English and a science subject, while the University of Melbourne requires students to have completed English and Maths Methods or Specialist Maths, as well as Biology, Chemistry or Physics.
Your ATAR is your final score, calculated using all of your official assessment and exam marks during the final two years of your high school study, like VCE, WACE, HSC etc.
Every university course has a different minimum ATAR, but the majority of the best Chemistry courses in Australia require between 85.00-80.00.
If you're interested in this type of course but are worried that your ATAR may be too low, employing the service of a private tutor near you could be a great help during the final years of high school.
Australia is known for being a great study option for students around the world, and most universities offer student pathways, especially in STEM subjects like Chemistry.
For the majority of courses, the most important requirement is that your academic English skills are at the best rate possible. The minimum for most courses is a 6.5 on the IELTS test.
There are a majority of English tests you can try, like Cambridge or Pearson, but IELTS is the one universities generally recommend, as it's accepted by a range of organisations.
If your English skills are at the right level, you could try an online course with a private tutor before you come to Australia, perhaps online via webcam.
Now that we know what students will need to get into a Chemistry course, let's check out the best options in Australia...
Top 5 Chemistry courses in Australia
There are plenty of great undergraduate options that prospective students can choose from, most of which take three to four years to complete, plus extra opportunities for advanced degrees and honours.
Here are the top five, first-rate undergraduate degree courses, as ranked by Top Universities:
Minimum ATAR: 85.00
Prerequisites: English, one Science and/ Maths subject
The top option in Australia, Monash offers three courses where students can major in Chemistry.
The most common is the Bachelor of Science, which can then be extended by a year to become an honours degree, either by research or coursework.
This course offers the most range in terms of possible study majors from Analytical Chemistry to Medicinal and Biological Chemistry.
University of Melbourne
Minimum ATAR: 85.00
Prerequisites: English, Maths Methods or Specialist Maths, one Science subject
At this university students can also choose to major in Chemistry or Chemical Systems through a Bachelor of Science.
One of the more interesting parts of this degree is that it offers 'breadth subjects' each term which is a module or unit that comes from another course stream. This means you can break up the weeks of science with hours of an elective like Introduction to Spanish.
University of Queensland
Minimum ATAR: 80.00
Prerequisites: General English, Maths Methods, one Science subject
The University of Queensland features high-quality tutors who have great experience in both teaching and research roles.
At the undergrad level, students can choose between a Bachelor of Science or of Biotechnology and can extend both to an Honours degree.
Students also have the choice to complete a minor with their Chemistry major such as Physics, Applied Maths and more.
University of Sydney
Minimum ATAR: 80.00
Prerequisites: A Band E3 or 4 Math subject
The University of Sydney also offers three Chemistry study pathways: the Bachelor of Science, the same paired with a Bachelor of Advanced Studies or the Bachelor of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
This third option is unique to the University of Sydney and allows students to get the best of both the Arts world, with language and culture majors available, along with traditional science-based subjects.
The course is designed with a view to giving Science students the skills that they will need beyond the classroom, with tutors focusing on subjects like communication skills.
University of New South Wales, NSW
Minimum ATAR: 80.00
The fifth-highest ranking for Chemistry in Australian universities, UNSW offers similar courses and units to the universities above.
This specialist option does require a higher ATAR of 87.
Each university has different advantages, like the quality of tutors, the opportunity to extend degrees or to minor in other subjects like Biology or English.
For more information about any of these degrees, we recommend looking at the individual university websites, as well as Top Universities.
On both, you can find free information about the tutors, facilities and what's near them, study plans and reviews from past students, which will help to make a more informed decision.
How tutoring can help both before and during your degree
At both the high school level and during a tertiary course, students may consider hiring the service of a private tutor to help them lessen the pressure of their study experience.
Achieving high marks takes plenty of hard work and study time, but the right private teacher can make the experience much less stressful with consistent private lessons.
You might need help with just Chemistry, or perhaps Math or English are problem areas for you. Either way, tutoring can be a big help in many aspects of your study.
Tutoring won't just include reviewing information learned in your normal lessons, but also writing, speaking or math skills.
Of course, the main focus of each tutoring lesson will be completing reviews of concepts studied throughout lessons, especially as final tests and assessments generally include information from across the course.
Similar to other hard science subjects like Biology and Physics, Chemistry is made up of complicated theories and your school teacher or tutor may not explain them in a way that you can easily understand.
If this is the case, your private tutor can spend lessons re-teaching these concepts, making sure that you, as their student, understand even the most complex facets.
Another key aspect of tutoring lessons will be exam and assessment skills. This is especially important if you're studying for a high school qualification, like VCE in Melbourne or QCE in Brisbane.
Choosing a teacher for private lessons
Of course, not every tutor has the same skills or experience as other tutors, so when you are choosing, think carefully about what you need from each lesson.
When looking online as possible tutors, you should view important information like:
- What's their rate per lesson? Do they offer the first lesson free? Is there a special rate for multiple lessons
- What's their teaching or tutoring experience?
- Do they have a specialty, or can they tutor in all subjects from math to English?
- Are the Chemistry tutors near me? Are they in Melbourne? Brisbane? Sydney?
- Do they offer online lessons via webcam?
The platform that connects tutors and students