Why Choose Chemistry & Physics?

Why Choose a Degree in Chemistry?

Dr. Robert Jackson (Ph.D. Stanford), Adjunct Chemistry Instructor:

"I finished my studies in chemistry just as the microchip revolution was beginning. The demand for ever-smaller and more powerful microchips over the last 30 years has opened fantastic opportunities for chemists, physicists, and engineers to create new materials and new chip manufacturing techniques. I like to think that my small contributions helped drive the microchip revolution, even if all those changes aren't entirely benign (like the powerful computer in your pocket that lures you to Instagram when you should be studying). 

There are new waves that a chemist can ride today. Take, for example, the way that genetics, microbiology, chemistry, and medicine are coming together to revolutionize disease control. Targeted drug therapies that disrupt RNA replication in a specific virus, or that selectively block a particular receptor protein in the human body, are rapidly replacing traditional medications. Chemical researchers at biotechnology companies and universities have the opportunity to make far-reaching breakthroughs in disease control. You can join this scientific revolution, and other revolutions to come, by pursuing a degree in chemistry. Your skills will not only be in high demand, but you have a chance to make the world a much better place. "

Dr. Masanori Iimura (Ph.D. USC), Chemistry Instructor:

"Ever since I was a young child, the questions of ‘how’ and ‘why’ have been the driving force behind my action.  I was that kid who took apart my parents’ alarm clock because I just had to find out how it worked.  (Of course, I wasn’t able to put it back together…)  So, naturally, I have always been fascinated with science. 

It however wasn’t until my first semester general chemistry class (at a community college in Southern California) that I started to appreciate chemistry.  It was there that I finally realized that chemistry is not about memorizing, but about understanding.   What really made me fall in love with chemistry is my sophomore organic chemistry class.  The idea of understanding reaction by studying mechanism was so enthralling that I wrote out the mechanisms for most of the reactions in the organic chemistry textbook that we were using.  Then I came across one reaction that I just couldn’t do the arrow pushing– the oxidation of toluene to benzoic acid with potassium permanganate.  This reaction captivated me and made me want to learn more about organic-organometallic chemistry.  And that’s how my chemistry career started."

Median Salaries of Chemists sourced from the 2014 Analysis of the American Chemical Society's 2014 Comprehensive Salary and Employment Status Survey:

All Chemists   $93,000
  Bachelor’s $72,000
  Master’s $85,000
  Doctorate $102,000
  Industry $108,000
  Government $106,100
  Academic $74,300
  20-29 $52,100
  30-39 $75,100
  40-49 $96,200
  50-59 $112,000
  60-69 $114,000

2014 Nobel Prizes in Chemistry & Physics

Nobel Prize in Chemistry for 2014

Nobel Prize in Physics for 2014