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Choosing a major

Chemical, Molecular & Cellular sciences (CMCS)

Careers in CMCS

Graduates with good degrees in chemical, biochemical or molecular and cellular sciences are essential in just about every manufacturing, extractive, agricultural and energy industry. They include:

  • Analytical or industrial chemist
  • Biochemist
  • Biotechnologist
  • Cell biologist
  • Crops/agricultural scientist
  • Dietician
  • Environmental chemist, marine chemist
  • Exercise scientist
  • Geneticist
  • Immunologist
  • Inorganic chemist
  • Materials chemist
  • Medical researcher
  • Microbiologist
  • Molecular biologist
  • Organic chemist
  • Pharmaceuticals chemist
  • Physical science/chemistry teachers and lecturers
  • Physiologist
  • Plant Pathologist
  • Virologist

Major employers include the large oil companies, SASOL, AECI, Sentrachem, and all industries dealing with pharmaceuticals, agricultural products, foods, biotechnology products, paints, plastics and polymers, cleaning agents, cosmetics, and textiles. Exercise scientists advise sports players in sports clinics while dieteticians and physiologists work in hospitals or private practice, clinics and food companies.

Many graduates are engaged in Research and Development in these companies as well as in large public research institutions including the National Laboratories (CSIR, Agricultural Research Council, Onderstepoort), Medical Research Council, Government and parastatals (eg Blood Transfusion Services), hospitals, universities, and technikons. Graduates would also be responsible for quality control in the related manufacturing industries. Environmental and marine chemists, and geochemists are sought after in the growing areas of environmental management and pollution control.

Because of their analytical skills and knowledge of the fundamental bases underlying these industries, many graduates are ideally placed to assume leading management positions, or to seize the advantages of novel discoveries and become the founders of new industries. Entrepreneurs and managers in biotechnology, polymer, paint, pharmaceuticals and other manufacturing businesses, are often chemists, biochemists, or biotechnologists.

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