Faculty of Science


Please note: Information on this page relates to the 2016 academic year unless otherwise specified.

This subject is taught by the School of Chemical and Physical Sciences.


Chemistry is everywhere. It is fundamental to all living beings, physical processes, materials, and the environment. Chemistry underlies all the functions of the human body, our food, the consumer goods we use, the buildings we live and work in, the energy we generate and consume, and the air we breathe. Understanding chemistry is the basis for understanding the function and structure of all of these, and also for developing new materials, pharmaceuticals, technologies and processes to enhance our lives.

At Victoria, you can start a degree in Chemistry at a level that suits you. If you're a novice, the School of Chemical and Physical Sciences offers an introductory chemistry course over the summer trimester, CHEM 191 Introductory Chemistry.

Chemistry is a pivotal science, and a major in Chemistry for a Bachelor of Science (BSc), or studied within a Bachelor of Biomedical Science (BBmedSc), provides you with a comprehensive knowledge and skill base covering theory coupled with a practical laboratory and technological emphasis. The opportunities for people with a good understanding of Chemistry are enormous.

Undergraduate information

Chemistry major requirements

  1. CHEM 114, 115; 15 100-level points from MATH or PHYS; 15 points from BIOL 111, BMSC 117, BTEC 101, ENVI 114, ESCI 111, 112
  2. CHEM 201, 202, 203, 205, 206
  3. 60 points from CHEM 301, 302, 303, 305, 306

Summer introductory course

CHEM 191 Introductory Chemistry is an open entry summer trimester course and is excellent preparation for CHEM 113. It is taught online course and can be taken by local or distance students. There are two intakes of this course, November and January.

The course has a compulsory one week laboratory programme in late February. The laboratory week of CHEM 191 can also be taken separately through Student Learning Support as the Summer Workshop in Chemistry Laboratory Skills.

First year entry requirements

Advanced entry

Your entry point to 100-level Chemistry courses depends on your background in Chemistry. If you have 18 credits in Chemistry at NCEA level 3, with at least an achieved grade in all  three external grades, you have advanced entry and may begin with CHEM 114 (Principles of Chemistry) in trimester 1 and follow it by CHEM 115 (Structure and Spectroscopy) in trimester 2.

Standard entry

If you have completed NCEA level 2 Chemistry but have not achieved 18 credits in Chemistry at NCEA Level 3, then you have standard entry. You should begin with CHEM 113 Concepts of Chemistry in trimester 1. CHEM 114 can then be taken in trimester 2. If you achieve an A- or better in CHEM 113 you may take CHEM 115 concurrently with CHEM 114 in the second trimester.

Successful completion of CHEM 114 and 115 will allow you to enrol in 200-level Chemistry courses the following year.

Novice entry

Students who have not studied Chemistry beyond NCEA Level 2 have novice entry and are strongly advised to take CHEM 191 in the summer trimester before taking CHEM 113 in trimester 1.

Postgraduate information

Information about postgraduate study in Chemistry can be found on the School of Chemical and Physical Sciences website.

How to find out more

Want to find out more about studying at Victoria? Register now to find out more about your study options and keep updated on application and enrolment information, open days and events.

If you need help deciding what degree might be right for you, or what courses to take, talk with a liaison officer or book a course planning session with us, call 0800 VICTORIA (842 867) or email course-advice@vuw.ac.nz.

If you’re a returning or transferring student, contact the Faculty Student and Academic Services Office, for help with degree planning and for information on admission requirements and transfer credit from other institutions.

Prof James Johnston
04 463 5334

School Office
Phone: 04 463 5335
Email: scps@vuw.ac.nz

Related subjects and careers

Related subjectsCareers
Biomedical Science
Cell and Molecular Bioscience
Environmental Studies
Environmental planner
Food processing
Laboratory technician
Occupational safety and health
Patents and law
Quality assurance
Research Scientist

Course information

Chemistry courses are taught within the School of Chemical and Physical Sciences, Laby Building.