Frequently Asked Questions

What is Analytical Chemistry?

Analytical chemistry involves separating, identifying and determining the relative amounts of the components in a sample of matter. The analytical chemist ensures that the headache tablets, washing powder or motor oil that you buy today will do the same job as the headache tablets, washing powder or motor oil you bought last time. How does he or she do this? By analysing and testing materials, by looking for impurities in manufactured goods, by gauging the suitability of raw materials required in manufacturing processes and by monitoring production.


What does the Department of Chemical Sciences (DFC) offer?

Begin your career in analytical chemistry by doing the University's three-year National Diploma in Analytical Chemistry. The National Diploma comprises academic tuition and practical work in the campus's well-equipped laboratories as well as experiential training where you will gain practical hands-on experience in industry, thus making you as employable as possible. Once you’ve done the National Diploma, you can go on to advanced studies in chemistry by doing a Bachelor of Technology degree or higher qualifications such as a Master’s or Doctorate degree.


How do you get in?

You need Matric with Mathematics, Physical Science and English (See Faculty of Science booklet for the required grades). You may have to write an entrance examination to test your aptitude for chemistry and you may be asked to undergo a personal interview. The Department offers the diploma and an extended diploma stream for the same qualification, but the extended diploma allows for greater student–lecturer contact and takes one year longer. Closing dates for applications are: 31 October. Please note that spaces are limited, so if you want to get into the first-year class, get your application forms in early!


Yes, but will I get a job?

The Department of Chemical Sciences (DFC) has a long-standing reputation for excellence in tertiary education and has an established record with research in the fields of nanomaterials technology and water treatment. Analytical chemists use a diverse range of methods to investigate the chemical nature of substances. This is usually done to identify and understand the substance and how it behaves in different conditions.

In the pharmaceutical industry, for example, analytical chemists are involved throughout the drug development process; they study the physical or chemical properties of drug substances and formulations, with a view to determining the quality and stability of drug products.

Analytical chemists may be involved in work as diverse as:

  • chemical or forensic analysis;
  • process development;
  • product validation;
  • quality control;
  • toxicology;
  • drug formulation and development.

Techniques used or activities carried out by an analytical chemist may vary depending on the employer or area of specialism, but may include:

  • analysing samples from various sources to provide information on compounds or quantities of compounds present;
  • using analytical techniques and instrumentation, such as gas and high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), ion chromatography, electrochromatography and spectroscopy (infrared and ultraviolet, amongst others);
  • interpreting data and adhering to strict guidelines on documentation when recording data;
  • reporting scientific results;
  • using a range of analytical techniques, instrumentation and software;
  • developing new techniques for the analysis of drug products and chemicals;
  • working collaboratively in cross-functional teams;
  • liaising with customers, staff and suppliers;
  • being aware of, and keeping up to date with, health and safety issues in all aspects of the work undertaken;
  • validating methods and equipment.


Why make the University of Johannesburg your preferred choice of excellence?

Surveys of higher education institutions undertaken by the highly-esteemed Professional Management Review magazine in the past found the former Technikon Witwatersrand to be one of the top institutions of higher learning of its kind in South Africa. These surveys asked one hundred of South Africa’s top human resources directors which institution they thought provided the most relevant and recognised education and the TWR was the overwhelming winner in its class for three years in a row