We owe our current quality of life to developments in the exact sciences in general and more specifically to chemistry. Chemistry has had, and continues to have a major influence on numerous branches of science, such as medicine, biology, agriculture, and geology, but also connects to sciences such as physics and mathematics, establishing it as a truly central science. The impact of chemistry is omnipresent in the industry: numerous areas of industry involve chemistry, including for example production, quality control but also product improvement and waste processing. Innovation and the development of new products and processes are simply not possible without fundamental knowledge of chemistry. The structure of matter and insights into molecular processes and reactions contribute to scientific breakthroughs that will address current and future challenges.
The Master of Science in Chemistry provides a broad scientific education and experience in chemical research. The English-taught program is comprised of scientifically and profession-oriented courses. It is also structured to develop a critical attitude, logical and analytical reasoning skills, and a sense for generalization and abstraction. It is organized to initiate students to research and seek scientific progress.
The two-year master’s program (120 credits) consists of four modules, of 30 credits each. Each module is comprised of:
- general courses (incl. elective courses),
- a major,
- a minor and
- a master dissertation.
The general courses (incl. elective courses) are, on the one hand, general advanced level chemistry courses or, general courses that are considered as essential for a master in chemistry. There are four majors offered: Molecular and Macromolecular Design, Materials Chemistry, Analysis and Characterization, Environmental Chemistry (VUB). Each major involves performing research in one of the more specialized branches of chemistry: analytical, inorganic, macromolecular, organic, and physical and theoretical chemistry.
In the second year, a research project (master’s dissertation) is planned. The topic of the master’s dissertation corresponds to the chosen major. The master’s dissertation is an original piece of research work. It aims to develop and strengthen the research skills of the students. The student selects a topic and is given guidance by a promoter or supervisor. The master’s dissertation consists of a literature review section, practical research and an original analysis of the topic. Students have the possibility to do a part of their master’s dissertation abroad. The minor is a reflection of a specific career branch (Research and Development, Industry and Management). The minor you choose has no impact on the final degree. The minor in research and development is particularly interesting for English speaking students.
It is a fact that chemistry is unquestionably central to numerous industries and vital to the world economy. Areas such as the bulk and fine chemicals industry, the pharmaceutical and agrochemicals sector, performance and biological materials fields, all require chemistry in its numerous incarnations. Thanks to the broadness of the scientific program, master graduates in chemistry are fit to apply for jobs in different sectors of industry and their opportunities on the job market are very diverse.
Masters in chemistry can, for instance, be involved in scientific research, product development and quality control, and they can take on managerial functions, and this in companies as well as in governmental institutions. Additionally, because of the environment in which the students operate and develop, they are also well prepared for a career in the public sector (including education).
The most important assets of a Chemistry university graduate are that they are critical thinkers, are research-minded, have good problem-solving skills and are polyvalent.