Top 5 Countries to Study Chemistry Abroad

by Emily Hurt

Chemistry is as challenging a subject as it is rewarding, so why not experience both the challenges and rewards abroad? Students who study chemistry abroad are exposed to new laboratory techniques and study skills, but more importantly new languages, foods, and cultures. Studying chemistry abroad can also provide students with the chance to get involved in life-changing research or work alongside a professional chemist in practically any country in the world, and gain incomparable experience in the field. Another benefit of the field, it has a language all of its own, so language barriers usually aren’t an issue for chemistry students who study abroad. Studying chemistry is not only practical it is possible, as there are plenty of internationally ranked chemistry programs to choose from.

If you are a chemistry student and you are ready to take your education to the next level, then consider studying chemistry abroad in one of these top countries:

Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany

Neuschwanstein Castle

1.  Germany

A country famous for welcoming international students with open arms, Germany tops the list of places to study chemistry abroad. Germany has the largest chemical industry in Europe, and therefore many universities offer technical courses, focused for students looking to enter the workforce upon graduation. Many German universities offer students a chance to sample a large variety of classes, from typical theoretical courses to specialized macromolecular chemistry, the majority of which are taught in English.

Germany has also seen a great deal of education reform over the last two decades, making studying in Germany more affordable than ever. Most of Germany’s 16 states offer free tuition, and in situations where they don’t, students are rarely expected to pay over $1,000 per semester. Whether you choose a university in a big city, rich with centuries of history, or smaller, up-and-coming college cities, German universities will expose you to new people, introduce you to the German language and the German work ethic, and leave you with experience in a top chemistry academic program. 

2.  The UK - England & Scotland

Boasting several of the top research universities in the world, studying chemistry abroad in the UK is an endeavor that will surely pay off. If you’re interested in chemistry research specifically, this is the place to be. Universities in the UK are tasked with major projects, such as developing products used in cancer medicines, mimicking receptor signals, or taking a closer look into the chemistry of neuroscience. Therefore, universities are equipped with state-of-the-art equipment so studying chemistry in the UK means studying under some of the brightest minds and in the best facilities in the world. 

Chemistry classes in the UK are all taught in English, but that doesn’t detract from the cultural experience of studying abroad. Living and studying abroad in the UK, whether in bustling London or unique Glasgow, provide students with numerous cultural opportunities. The only major downside to studying chemistry in the UK is the cost, as the UK is one of the most expensive locations for study abroad due to the overall prestige of the regions academic institutions.

3.  Australia

A country and a continent, Australia is a huge area to explore and a huge center of innovation in the field of chemistry. Chemistry is such a popular area of study in Australia that students will be able to find a range of specialized courses to enroll in, such as polymer chemistry, pharmaceutical chemistry, environmental chemistry, and synthetic chemistry.

Bondi Beach, Sydney Australia

Bondi Beach, Sydney

Additionally, Australian universities tend to focus on hands-on experience. If you plan your study abroad semester(s) correctly and have the necessary prerequisites, you may find yourself working on a large, fully-funded research project or a unique niche project, such as studying the chemistry of winemaking or examining chemicals found in ocean organisms, during your time in Australia. Studying chemistry in Australia provides students with a once-in-a-lifetime experience in many ways, from the courses you may not normally be exposed to, to the adventures you can have outside of the classroom exploring the coastal beauty and life “down under”.

4.  China

A hub of economical, technical, and industrial growth, China is home to many of the world’s foremost chemistry degree programs, therefore it is a great place to study chemistry abroad.  Chemistry is an integral part of China’s growth, in both medical and developmental applications, so universities take pride in their chemistry and chemical technology courses. 

Studying chemistry abroad in China will not only open your eyes to new applications of the science you love, but new ways of living as well. Many chemistry courses in China can be taken in English, but elective courses may not always be available. However, studying in China can be a chance to broaden your mind by learning the basics of another language, traveling to see the remnants of the history of a global power, and change your perspectives of the world, even in the hours you’ll spend in the chemistry lab.

5.  Ireland 

Ireland is one of the most popular destinations for students looking to study chemistry abroad, largely due to the similarities between Irish chemistry curriculums and American ones. Chemistry classes are taught in English in Ireland, and include all the relevant material needed to keep your degree courses on track, so students need not fret over the thought of tacking on extra semesters or years because of study abroad.

Lake in Conemarra, Ireland

Lake in Conemarra, Ireland

Photo by Lucy Remitz

Ireland is an appealing country in many ways. Students often choose Ireland for study abroad to explore their own cultural heritage, but end up staying because of the impeccable environment and warm Irish people. Studying chemistry in Ireland is a wonderful way to see the world, while staying on-track in your degree program.