Chemical sciences

Scotland has a world-class reputation for pioneering advances in chemical engineering. This ranges from creating medicine to working out how we can use alternative fuel sources to make our environment greener.

The impact you could make

  • Be part of a team that creates products that we use in everyday life such as medicine, food products and packaging and cosmetics. 
  • Help Scotland achieve net zero ambitions by developing alternative green resources to fossil fuels.

The opportunities within chemical sciences

There are many things you could be working on within the industry. From developing and manufacturing cosmetics or soaps or turning waste into products, process, energy or chemicals. There are endless opportunities.


There are 31,100 people working in the life and chemical sciences industry.

Job availability

Over 1,300 jobs will be created between 2021 and 2024.

Job diversity

There are roughly 65 Modern Apprentices in Scotland training in life sciences and related sciences. There are also 133 Modern Apprentices training in process manufacturing.

*Skills Sector Assessment 2021

I like being able to look at the little tiny changes and see if it works.

Actually I really enjoy when it doesn’t work, because that tends to be where you learn the most.


Biotechnologist, Marine Biopolymers

Explore chemical sciences jobs

We’ve pulled together some popular chemical science jobs for you to explore.

Some things you may not know about chemical sciences

Chemical sciences

Scotland is home to more than 250 chemical science companies.

Chemical sciences

In 2019, Chemical sciences accounted for 14% of Scotland's research and development budget – that totals to £192 million!

Chemical sciences

Our chemical sciences sector exported over £4.4 billion of goods and services in 2018.

* Scottish Enterprise

What subjects to take

We’ve pulled together some examples of subjects that could be useful for getting into a chemical science career.

  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Maths
  • English
  • Physics
  • Computing

For most jobs, you might not need specific subjects. If your school does not provide all of these subjects or you're just unsure — do not worry. There are many more subjects you can explore by using the Option Choices tool or speaking to a careers adviser in your school.

What routes you can take

There are different options you can choose from after school. We’ve pulled together some of them to help you decide which is best for you.