Subject Group: Science
These subjects demonstrate how to explore nature using carefully planned methods, and teach the basic methods and findings of scientific investigation.
What is Chemistry?
The Leaving Cert. course follows directly from Junior Cert Science, and deals with more topics in a lot more depth. The course includes 28 mandatory practical experiments which must be completed in the lab, as well as a written paper including questions on the experiments and examining the theory and applications of chemistry.
Why do Chemistry?
Chemistry exists everywhere not just in laboratories but in every living thing on land and sea and in our bodies. It is often described as 'the central science' containing a lot of formulas. So, if you enjoyed junior cert Science and you have done well in this and honours Maths you should be a good Chemistry student. Chemistry is an essential element in the study of careers including: Medicine, Denistry, Veterinary Science, Physiotheraphy, Nursing, Pharmacy and Medical Laboratory Technology. For more information on why you should choose chemistry as a subject: Click here.
What kind of student might Chemistry suit?
Students considering a career in any scientific discipline, such as chemistry, biology, environmental science, medicine, pharmacology, or material science.
Students who were successful in Junior Cert. Science, particularly in the chemistry section.
Third Level Entry Requirements This subject is a requirement for entry into a number of third level courses and a higher level C grade is now needed for some scientific degrees.
Click on the link below to view courses that definitly requires, or may require this subject for entry:
Note: Click on course titles to view the exact requirements for each course listed.
While Chemistry might not be an entry requirement for all of the following courses in every third level college (it is in some - see above link) it is highly desirable for the study of the following 3rd level courses.
Leaving Cert. Chemistry is comprised of all the essential and relevant topics within general chemistry. The major topics involved include the following:
There also is an option to be taken as part of the course which involves the study of atmospheric and industrial chemistry or the study of materials and electrochemistry.
Experimental investigations are an essential part of the leaving certificate course. Each student must complete at least 28 experiments over the duration of the course.
Experimental work is examined as part of the leaving cert exam and forms the basis for a minimum of three questions on the exam paper.
The leaving cert exam is three hours in duration. Each candidate must answer at least two questions from Section A (experimental section) and a maximum of six questions from Section B.
There are eleven questions in total on the exam paper, each carrying fifty marks.
There is no element of continuous assessment but experimental copies must be available for inspection by the State Examinations Commission. Students taking chemistry have to memorize the chemical components of a series of prescribed experiments. They will need to present the elements of four such experiments in their exam.
It is recommended that a student undertaking the course has a good understanding of Junior Cert Science at the higher level.
Each student should have an aptitude and interest for laboratory work.
A student would be expected to have a reasonable level of Junior Cert Maths, either at higher or ordinary level.
Recent observations from journalists writing about careers have suggested that the Irish Economy is experiencing a shortage of people with Chemistry skills. Yet points requirements to get into Applied Chemistry courses in Institutes of Technology are among the lowest. This is the case because the demand for these courses among school leavers is low.
Data Sources: The information on these pages has been compiled from a variety of sources including the NCCA, Newbridge College / Brian Howard, Dept. of Education & Skills, and student interviews. Information in the 'People who took this subject' section reflects the views of those people interviewed on this website and is offered as informal and potentially useful information only.
While CareersPortal.ie attempts to keep this information as up to date and accurate as possible, we do not accept any responsibility for the accuracy of this information or decisions made on the basis of this information. Students should always discuss subject options with parents / guardians / guidance counsellors..
Science Subjects: Maths, Physics, Biology, Tech drawing, chemistry I loved these and they are very applicable for my current career path.
Data analysis and problem solving is all about number crunching at the end of the day when working on technical problems.
Arts, English, English Literature and French I was never really interested in at school but have become more interested in the last 10 years as they are very useful for communication purposes that is now a very big part of my job.
In Leaving Cert I chose to study French, German, Physics and Chemistry. The languages are relevant to my current career, where there is an emphasis on languages and communication. On hindsight, it would have been very useful to have studied History, as an in-depth knowledge of the past would be helpful.
The Sciences I believe, though not obviously applicable, did aid me in the development of analytical and logical thinking.
As I chose my subjects for Leaving Cert I had already identified that it was Science that I wanted to pursue. For Leaving Cert I took Chemistry, Physics and Economics as my choice subjects. My dad was concerned that I was placing all my eggs in one basket!...but in hindsight it was a good choice for me.
In university I continued to study Physics, Chemistry and Maths in first and second year. I then specialised in Science of Materials that incorporated, physical and inorganic chemistry; semiconductor electronics; physics and material science. I then studied for a Ph.D in the Physics Department and specialised in Polymer Physics which is very close to both Physics and Chemistry disciplines.
To date my interest in science has been correct for me! It is what I am good at and enjoy and I earn a living from these interests. The only thing I would have done differently is I would have studied a foreign language. It does not affect my career but I do wish that I had a language such as French or German. It also effected my choice of university at the time I could not attend any of the NUI colleges as I did not meet the minimum criteria of English, Irish and another language.
I studied general science for Junior certificate and biology for leaving certificate. In first year of the third level science course all science subjects - biology, chemistry, and physics were covered in addition to maths.
While I did not complete the subjects for leaving certificate I did pass all subjects at the end of first year. The modules in each subject were covered at a more basic level for the leaving certificate and in some cases the subject matter was the same.
I did feel that if I had studied Chemistry in school it would have been of benefit to me in third level. However it did not hinder my career once I started employment in the industry.
I took honours Engineering, honours Physics, and honours Chemistry. The other subject I had was Technical Drawing.
If I was to do it again, I would do French and Home Economics, and the Engineering because it did help me in this role, and probably Business. I would take more on the finance side if I knew I was taking this route.
For my Leaving Cert. I took Maths - higher, Applied Maths - higher, Physics - higher, Chemistry - higher, Music - higher, English - higher, German - higher, Irish - ordinary As you can see my abilities and interests were more in the maths+science sphere than anything else.
I was very lucky that at the time Mt. Temple had very capable maths+science teachers, which certainly made things easier for me. To be honest, in school I didn't really think about 3rd level or careers or anything until I was in 6th year (by which stage I'd already picked my subjects). I just picked the subjects I enjoyed and felt I had a natural knack for.
For the career I'm in now I don't think I could have picked better school subjects. It might have helped me to know a bit more about business-related subjects, but I had no interest in accountancy or commerce at the time.
I am considering taking an evening course in the legal+financial aspects to running a business to make up for this. However, as a teenager I think I was better off studying subjects that I had a genuine interest in, otherwise I would have found it very hard to motivate myself to study.
I chose mostly science related subjects for the Leaving Cert predominantly because I found them the most interesting rather than really knowing what I wanted to do going into 5th year.
Doing Maths, Physics and Chemistry definitely set me up well for Engineering and helped me decide that it would be an area of interest.
In hindsight, I would have liked to have done Business Studies or Economics instead of Technical drawing. I think I had enough technical subjects and that was the one I liked least. I've been more interested in Economics and Business at later stages of my career and learning more at that time may have given me more pause for thought when going to college and a better balance of subjects.