Importance and relevance of Chemistry

South Africa is rich in minerals and hence there is a demand for chemists in the mining industry. Career opportunities also exist in the fine chemical, pharmaceutical, food and catalytic converter industries. Further careers in chemistry are teaching and research.
Coega will have a very large chemical industry.
The study of chemistry involves investigation, observation, measurement, critical thinking, problem solving and scientific reasoning.
Practical laboratory work and theoretical studies form essential parts of chemistry programmes.
Chemistry, being a central science, is studied together with other science subjects.

For further information see: 

Qualifications in Chemistry at the Nelson Mandela University:

National Diplomas in:
Analytical Chemistry
Polymer Technology

BSc with Chemistry as a major

Post graduate degrees
MTech, MSc
DTech, PhD


Appropriate Chemistry qualifications will allow you to work as a:

  • Chemical technician
  • Laboratory analyst
  • Analytical chemist
  • Polymer technologist in the paint, rubber and plastic industries
  • Teacher or lecturer
  • Industrial chemist
  • Production chemist
  • Research chemist
  • Environmental scientist
  • Forensic scientist
  • Quality controller
  • Sales representative

Certain careers in chemistry require further post graduate studies.

Length of study

The Diplomas require 3 years, of which a maximum of 1 year involves in-service training in industry.

The BSc degree is 3 years full-time and is a double major qualification, meaning that in your final year you take Chemistry 3 with another subject at that level. Popular choices are Biochemistry, Microbiology, Geology, Physics and Mathematics.

Research activities

The Department of Chemistry has the following active research areas:

  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Green chemistry
  • Polymer chemistry
  • Electrochemistry

Innoventon is an Institute of Chemical Technology which does industrial chemistry research.

Admission requirements

To study for a Diploma you need:

  • Minimum NSC requirements
  • English, Afrikaans or isiXhosa (home language or 1st additional language) on at least level 3 ( 40-49%)
  • NSC achievement rating of at least 3 for Maths and 3 for Physical Sciences.

Extended diploma studies available for those who do not meet these requirements.

To study for a BSc:

  • Minimum NSC requirements for degree
  • English, Afrikaans or isiXhosa (home language or 1st additional language) on at least level 3
  • NSC achievement rating of at least 4 (50-59 %)

Extended degree studies available