Throughout your life, you are surrounded by Chemistry – in the air you breathe, the food you eat and the clothes you wear. Chemistry is the study of what things are made of, how they interact and what they are used for. It is a very practical subject, looking at a wide range of everyday substances and how they are made or used, as well as considering new developments and the potential for future materials and products.

Having studied Science in S1 & S2, you can choose to study Chemistry in S3 and beyond. The Chemistry course in S3 builds on the Materials sections of the Science course and gets right to the basics, looking at the structure of atoms and how they join together to make all the substances in everything around us. It also looks in more detail at rates of chemical reactions, acids & alkalis, fuels and starts learning how to write chemical formulae.


In S4, pupils can opt to study Chemistry at National 3, 4 or 5. All three courses look at properties and reactions of substances and a wide range of consumer products, their uses and impact – fuels, metals, plastics, fertilisers and nuclear chemistry. A strong emphasis on practical work, analysis and problem solving continues. Numeracy skills are important in presenting data at all levels and in quantifying rates and composition of substances and reaction mixtures at National 5 level.

If Chemistry is chosen at Higher, there is more in-depth study of how rates of reaction can be controlled, properties of substances and how this relates to their bonding. The chemical industry is used as a context to study many different aspects of more complex chemical reactions and the range of everyday chemistry studied extends to food and cooking, soaps, fragrances and skin care products. Good numeracy skills are increasingly important in considering reaction quantities and efficiency of chemical processes.


Chemistry is also available at Advanced Higher level for those who wish to pursue careers or further study in chemistry or related subjects such as medicine, environmental science, engineering, food science, forensic science, geology and many others. It develops the underlying knowledge of chemical theories and practical skills at university entry level with an emphasis on analytical techniques and interpretation of information.