Studying chemistry is a common pursuit for many Canadian postsecondary students. Known as a "central science", chemistry links other areas of science and is focused on the study of matter, its properties, and how different matter interacts with other substances. Chemistry courses are an essential part of learning in so many different subjects and professions: science, medicine, dentistry, engineering, technology, biology, zoology, and pharmacy, just to name a handful.

With subbranches like inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry, biophysical chemistry, and biological chemistry, the study of chemistry may often seem overwhelming and difficult. However, your knowledge of the subject may be deeper than you think. We start learning chemistry at a young age, when we start tinkering with different materials in the sandbox and the kitchen. You probably remember creating muddy mixtures with sand and water, preparing a batch of 'bakers clay' to mould, or learning how to cook different meals with a parent or grandparent. All of these activities build our knowledge of how different things mix and react. Even in elementary school, we learn about fluids and solids, and are introduced to the basic components of a chem lab: beakers, test tubes, bunsen burners, and gas connections start to enter our learning environment.

By the time we get to secondary school, we come across chemistry regularly in general science courses, and can finally choose whether or not we want to take chemistry specific courses in grades 11 and 12. This is where we really start to take the subject seriously, as these secondary school credits are often critical to university and postsecondary program admissions.

If you're wondering whether or not you should take chemistry courses in Canada, and are not sure which classes to take, you have come to the right place. This article will explore the top reasons for taking chemistry courses and the best places in Canada to learn chemistry at the postsecondary level. Let's start by looking at some of the best reasons to learn chemistry.

Calgary is a fantastic city with so much to offer students of chemistry. Learn everything you need to know about studying the sciences in Alberta’s most exciting city!

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Why Students Love Taking Chemistry

Chemistry is Fascinating

Chemistry has fascinated people for years, from thinkers in ancient Greece like Aristotle to early chemists like Robert Boyle in the 17th century to the powerful pharmaceutical and technology companies of today. Chemists are concerned with inquiries that have completely changed modern life. What is matter made of? What makes a material stronger, more fluid, or fire resistant? How can we make food taste better and safer? How can we stop viruses from spreading? How do I make something volatile or explosive? Chemists are constantly experimenting, innovating and developing solutions to big problems, answering questions that only close study and experimentation can.

Chemistry is Hands-on

Unlike other subjects like history and English, Chemistry is much more hands-on and practical. Yes, you will spend plenty of time studying books and listening to lectures in chemistry, but you will also spend lots of time experiment in the laboratory. Those that love applying their learning in real-world contexts will find that chemistry is an area of study that makes learning tangible from the start. You will spend hours mixing and testing fluids, treating substances with heat and other elements, and discovering new things rather than simply reading about them.

Chemistry Changes and Improves the World

Chemists are responsible for some of the greatest discoveries the world has seen: the discovery of dynamite, vaccines, fermentation, fuel, and the materials that make up our every day lives. As a chemist, you will be part of a long line of innovators that have saved lives and have ultimately made the world a better place. Medicines that do everything from alleviate a headache to mitigating the impacts of cancer were developed by chemists. The chemicals you use to clean your home, sanitize surfaces, or power your vehicle were engineered by someone with a chemistry background. What could be more rewarding than joining a group of professionals so integral to the advancement of knowledge?

Chemistry teaches Important Skills

Chemistry courses will do more than just teach you science. You will also develop a skill set that you can apply to other professions and disciplines. In a chemistry class, you will learn how to document research thoroughly, ways to think critically, how to work with a team effectively, and how to assess and analyze data. Many other disciplines and areas of learning require coursework in chemistry because the learning is so interdisciplinary: dentists, nurses, doctors, nutritionists and veterinarians must all learn chemistry formally at some point in postsecondary school.

You might be surprised to learn that Windsor is a top choice for university students today. If you are thinking of doing a chemistry degree, you’ll want to learn all about this wonderful town!

Is it Better to Take Science College Courses or University Courses?

Determining whether or not you will take college or university courses can be a major decision. There are advantages and disadvantages to either pathway! The most important thing to do is keep your long term goals in mind, as there are significant differences to having a degree versus having a diploma.

University: Advantages and Disadvantages

University study can be a longer journey for students, as a degree will typically involve 3-4 years of study and in many cases a much larger financial investment. However, if your goal is to become a doctor, researcher, dentist, or pharmacist, you will require a degree as a baseline requirement to get into the appropriate professional school.

In general, university degrees are highly respected by society, employers, and institutions, so having a degree will give you an advantage if you are applying for jobs with those who do not have a degree. University study can be more rigorous than college, as you will be expected to learn a broader scope of knowledge that may include theoretical and historical aspects of chemistry and science. The experience of going to university can also be an important one in life - the friends you meet can be ones you have for life, and the connections you make can make a big impact on your future.

A disadvantage of university is that it can be expensive, and that it isn't necessarily a guarantee you will get a high paying job or into medical school. University study can also be quite stressful, expensive, and if the program you choose is a bad fit. Always consider your own resources, your goals and what your personal priorities are.

science college courses
Depending on your long term goals, either college or university can be great options for learning chemistry.

College: Advantages and Disadvantages

If you have a very strong sense of what chemistry related job or career you want to pursue, and that you can achieve those goals through a college diploma or certificate, then college may be the right pathway for you. You may have even completed a degree already, and are looking for a specific type of training as a lab technician.

College is a great option for those who are looking to apply their knowledge immediately to the workforce. College courses are generally more practical and hands on compared to university, and will have a shorter duration of study. College is also less expensive than a degree. If you decide that you want to pursue a degree in the midst of college or after you have already graduated, you can always apply to university with your college grades or take bridge courses to an undergraduate program. Some chemistry related college programs include:

  • Chemical Laboratory Technology
  • Chemistry Diploma
  • Chemical Engineering Technology
  • Chemical Production

Beautiful Vancouver has some of the most beautiful university campuses for chemistry students. Learn everything you need to know about studying in Vancouver.

What are the Best Canadian Cities for Studying Chemistry?

Canada is one of the best places to live in the world, thanks to its stable economy, government, education system and high standard of living. While there are cold and snowy winters, Canadians get to enjoy beautiful ice skating trails, skiing, sledding and other winter sports. Though summer and fall can feel awfully short, the 'patio' season is well loved and lively, with plenty of beaches and cottages to enjoy the warm weather.

In terms of learning, Canada boasts a number of world-class universities in generally safe and modern cities. Here is a closer look at some of the best places to learn chemistry in Canada.

chemistry course
If big cities excite you, Toronto is the perfect place to study. Source: Unsplash.

Toronto

Toronto is Canada's largest city and economic heart. The city is deeply multicultural, and students can easily find their own cultural communities, a diverse array of restaurants, and plenty of festivals that celebrate different identities and nationalities. For chemistry programs, universities like York, the University of Toronto, and Metropolitan Toronto University all offer amazing science undergraduate and graduate programs. Those looking for science related college programs can choose from schools like Sheridan, George Brown, and Seneca Colleges.

Students love Toronto for its energetic nightlife, galleries and museums, and numerous parks. If the high rises of downtown Toronto do not appeal, you can find plenty of quiet and unique neighbourhoods where you can rent an apartment or a house. Finding part time work is easy, and those looking to build a career after graduating are in one of the best places to get work experience and network.

Love big city living? Put Toronto on your list for places to study!

Windsor

Windsor is a small city located at the tip of Southwestern Ontario on the American border facing Detroit. Those that can appreciate both small town life and big city living will love the choices available to Windsor residents. You can drive to the heart of downtown Detroit in minutes and enjoy landmarks like the Detroit Institute of Art, and be in Windsor's charming riverside all in the same day. Students love Windsor for the fantastic University of Windsor and colleges, lively social life, relatively low cost of living, and access to local beaches.

Montreal

Montreal is a bustling Canadian metropolis with French Canadian roots and a unique bohemian energy. The city is known for its blend of modern architecture and historic, cobbled districts. Students will love the array of chemistry programs available at top universities like McGill, Laval, the University of Montreal, HEC, and Polytechnique Montreal. Compared to large cities like Toronto and Vancouver, Montreal has a relatively lower cost of living with all the benefits of a cosmopolitan downtown, exciting bar and club scene, shopping and numerous international residents. The city is also a hub for many pharmaceutical companies, and chemistry students that want to enter the industry will find no shortage of opportunities.

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Montreal is a great place to learn the sciences. Source: Unsplash

Calgary

Heading into Alberta is Calgary, where chemistry students will find plenty of places to learn in schools like the University of Calgary, Mount Royal, and the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology. Students that love nature will love that Calgary is at the gateway of Banff National Park, with spectacular mountain views and pristine lakes and forest. Calgary itself is filled with beautiful parks and plenty of urban life. Summers bring the famous Calgary Stampede, where you can find your inner cowboy and attend rodeos and other animal themed shows.

Vancouver

The final stop out west is Vancouver, a modern 'city of glass' situated between mountains and gorgeous Pacific coastline. Chem students will adore the gorgeous University of British Columbia, integrated beautifully into the coastal mountains and forest. Vancouver has a unique downtown core where you will find both dramatic skylines and the natural backdrop of Stanley Park, filled with trails and bike paths that will have you forget you are in the middle of a big city. Spend a day kayaking near Olympic Village, head out for some amazing food in the many culturally diverse and trendy eateries, or do a short trip out to walk the area's famed suspension bridges.

Like Toronto, Vancouver has a higher cost of living compared to much smaller cities but if you can make it work you will have an unforgettable postsecondary experience.

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Is a Chemistry Course Challenging?

Chemistry is considered one of the most difficult and challenging subjects to learn, requiring long hours of study and laboratory time. With discipline, focus, and other strong learning habits, you will be able to graduate your chemistry program and pursue the career of your dreams.

Chemistry can involve a lot of abstract concepts, and much learning is built upon your knowledge of the fundamentals. You may be asked to complete a lot of textbook readings, in addition to your lab work, research and exams. To be successful in chemistry, you will also need a strong knowledge of mathematics and algebra. It's not uncommon to see chemistry students experience stress as they struggle to master the subject en route to a degree or diploma.

For those who want to study Chemistry in a vibrant, European-like city, look no further than Montreal!

tuition for chemistry
Chemistry studies can get expensive, especially in graduate school. Source: Pexels.

It's important to keep in mind, however, that easy is not always better when it comes to learning. Chemistry is challenging, but it is also stimulating and one of the most fundamental areas of knowledge. Lifesaving vaccines and medicines come from the work and innovations of chemists, and much of our understanding of the physical world is derived by chemistry research. Chemistry truly changes the world, and if you have a passion for learning, a desire to understand the world, and a desire to change society you have entered the perfect field of study.

Here is a sample list of university chemistry courses:

  • General Chemistry
  • Structure and Bonding
  • Organic Chemistry for Laboratory
  • Projects in Experimental Chemistry
  • Synthetic Chemistry
  • Science and Human Values
  • Environmental Chemistry in a Sustainable World
  • The Molecular Science
  • Science of the Modern Kitchen
  • Instrumental Methods of Analysis
  • Quantum Mechanics and Spectroscopy
  • Atmospheric Chemistry

Will Tuition for Chemistry Be Expensive?

Depending on the level of study you engage in, you will find chemistry tuition costs to be as costly as any other university program. Those studying at the undergraduate and graduate level can expect to pay more than students in vocational colleges. Tuition may also vary according to the school you choose: large, research institution will typically cost more than schools in smaller towns. If you are not living at home, you will also find the cost of learning increase with costs of living: rent, food, transport and entertainment are just a few areas that can make your postsecondary years feel like expensive ones.

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Pharmaceutical companies offer amazing careers for chemistry grads. Source: Unsplash.

Those determined to study in the best schools may want to consider applying for scholarships and bursaries from private organizations and government agencies at the provincial and federal levels. If possible, live at home with family or if you have to live away from home, find reliable roommates who can should the cost of an apartment or house with you. As tempting as it can be to enjoy the local night life, focus on conserving your resources by cooking at home and saving your nights out for special occasions.

While the life of a university student is understandably busy, work-study programs at your school can defray your costs while providing you with valuable and relevant professional experiences. You can also look into tutoring high school students: set up a profile on Superprof Canada and connect with younger learners that are looking for extra help in school. As an independent tutor, you can also dictate your own work hours, see your students remotely, and experience the joy of being an educator and watching your learners improve.

To set up an account on Superprof, simply visit the site and follow the prompts for tutors. Post your background, a profile picture, and your rates, and you could very well establish a new and reliable stream of income.

Toronto remains a top choice for international students and locals who prefer the amenities of an urban metropolis with multiple universities and lots of multicultural flair.

Where Can I Find Chemistry Tutoring Near Me?

Though you may be qualified to tutor high school students as a university student, you may discover that you could benefit from some chemistry tutoring yourself. Of course, we recommend that you visit Superprof as a student to find an appropriately qualified chemistry tutor near you.

Having a tutor at the highest levels of your education can put you at a major advantage. You will have someone to help you understand challenging new chemistry concepts, assist you in preparing for exams and tests, and someone who can provide you feedback on your learning and work. You can work with a tutor for as much or as little as you need to, and focus solely on areas that you know you are struggling with.

chemistry course
Chemistry can be a very hands-on subject, but it is possible to learn online. Source: Pexels.

To find a great chemistry tutor, visit Supeprof Canada and use the search tool to find someone who has an educational and professional background that suits your needs, be it a course on inorganic chemistry or Thermodynamics and Kinetics. Determine whether or not they can meet the needs of your schedule by messaging them directly through the site, and you will be well on your way to academic success.

Can I get Chemistry Help Online?

Chemistry help is widely available online thanks to the accessibility of virtual learning platforms and live streaming services. Online chemistry help is great for those students that would prefer not to commute and like the flexibility and comfort of learning from home. Getting set up for online learning is easy! You will need a reliable laptop or desktop computer, a strong internet connection, and ideally, a dedicated workspace where you can do your work without any interruptions.

Most Superprof tutors are equipped to support your learning needs in an online environment. With online tutoring, you can also pick your tutor from anywhere across Canada, so you won't have to feel restricted to a local pool of options.

Find your online chemistry tutor on Superprof today!

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Colleen

Colleen is a Toronto-based educator, mom and freelance writer who believes in lifelong learning and strong coffee.