The Different Branches of Chemistry Every Science Nerd Should Know

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Different Branches of Chemistry

Chemistry, a study of the fundamental units of matter, is subdivided into branches that deal with specialized spheres of the subject. What are the different branches of chemistry? Read on to find out.

Green chemistry is the concept of applying chemical research and engineering to design products and devise processes whereby harmful substances are not produced or used. It intends to derive scientific solutions to environmental problems.

Chemistry is the science that deals with the structure and composition of matter and the chemical reactions that are responsible for changing the state and properties of matter. It is the science of atoms, molecules, crystals, and other aggregates of matter and the chemical processes that change their energy and entropy levels as also their structure and composition. Chemistry has been subdivided into distinct disciplines that deal with specific branches of chemistry. The different branches deal with different aspects of the study of matter. Organic, inorganic, physical, analytical, and biochemistry are considered as the five main branches of chemistry. Theoretical chemistry can be included as the sixth branch. This ScienceStruck article describes the main branches and other fields of study in chemistry.

Agricultural Chemistry

It is the study of chemistry and biochemistry pertaining to agricultural production, processing of raw products into foods, monitoring the quality of the environment, and removal of environmental pollution.

Analytical Chemistry

This is a very important branch of chemistry that deals with the analysis of chemical properties of natural and man-made materials. The study does not restrict itself to any particular type of chemical compounds. Analytical chemistry primarily deals with the study of chemicals present in a substance, in what quantity they are present, and how they define its chemical properties. Instrumental analysis is a prominent part of modern analytical chemistry.

Atmospheric Chemistry

The branch of atmospheric science that studies the chemistry of the Earth’s atmosphere and that of other planets is referred to as atmospheric chemistry.


This discipline introduces biology into chemistry. It deals with the structure and behavior of the components of cells and the chemical processes in living beings. The complex and large biomolecules are usually composed of similar units that repeat. The complex molecules are known as polymers and the basic units they are composed of, are known as monomers. Biochemistry deals with the study of cellular constituents like proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, and nucleic acids as also the chemical processes that occur in cells.

Click Chemistry

The generation of substances by joining small units is known as click chemistry. The term was coined by the American chemist K. Barry Sharpless.

Environmental Chemistry

It studies the chemical and biochemical processes that take place in the natural environment. The study of the chemical conditions of the atmosphere, the aquatic environment, and the soil is also included in environmental chemistry. It deals with the study of the interactions between chemical species and their natural environment (soil, air, or water). It also studies the effects of human activity on the environment.


This branch of chemistry involves the study of reactions and components of the immune system.

Industrial Chemistry

It deals with the design, development, testing, and prototyping of new industrial products.

Inorganic Chemistry

It is the branch of chemistry that relates to the structure, composition, and behavior of inorganic compounds. Substances other than carbon-hydrogen compounds are classified under the group of inorganic substances. Oxides, sulfides, and carbonates form the important classes of inorganic compounds. Industrial inorganic chemistry deals with the branch of applied science such as the manufacture of fertilizers, while descriptive inorganic chemistry deals with the classification of compounds based on their properties. Bioinorganic chemistry studies the role of metals in biology.

Mathematical Chemistry

It applies mathematics to chemistry.


Also known as mechanical chemistry, it combines mechanical and chemical phenomena on a molecular level. It studies the application of mechanical energy to bring about chemical reactions or changes in substances. It also deals with the conversion of chemical to mechanical energy.

Medicinal Chemistry

It is the application of chemistry for medical or medicinal purposes.

Nuclear Chemistry

It is a popular and one of the very important branches of chemistry. It studies radioactivity. It revolves around the study of nuclear properties and chemical processes in radioactive substances. This branch also covers the study of equipment used for carrying out nuclear processes. Effects of the absorption of radiation, the production and use of radioactive materials and radiotherapy come under this branch of chemistry.


It studies radioactive materials. Radioactive isotopes are used to study the properties and reactions of non-radioactive isotopes. This field uses principles of radioactivity to study chemical reactions.

Organic Chemistry

This branch of chemistry deals with the study of organic matter. The substances that primarily consist of carbon and hydrogen are termed as organic. The discipline that deals with studying the structure, composition, and chemical properties of organic compounds is known as organic chemistry. This branch also deals with the chemical reactions that are used in preparing organic chemical compounds.

Bioorganic chemistry applies a combination of biochemistry and organic chemistry to biological processes. Organometallic chemistry is the study of compounds with at least one bond between a carbon atom and a metal. Polymer chemistry deals with the chemical synthesis and chemical properties of polymers. Biophysical chemistry applies the concepts of physics and physical chemistry to study biological systems. Physical organic chemistry is the study of how the structure of organic molecules of a substance is associated with its reactivity.


This branch of chemistry deals with the study of the conversion of crude oil and natural gas into products of industrial use.


It is the study of phytochemicals which are chemical substances derived from plants. It is a branch of chemistry as well as botany.

Physical Chemistry

This branch of chemistry applies the theories of physics to atoms and subatomic particles. When physical chemistry is applied to the chemical interaction between atoms and subatomic particles, the study is known as quantum mechanics. It is a relatively vast field that deals with intermolecular forces, rates of chemical reactions as well the conductivity of different materials. The application of quantum mechanics to chemical systems is dealt with in the field of quantum chemistry.

Astrochemistry combines astronomy with chemistry and studies the reactions of chemical elements in the universe and their interactions with radiation. It also studies the chemical substances in stars and the interstellar space. Cosmochemistry studies the chemical composition of matter in the universe. Electrochemistry studies the interaction between electrical energy and chemical change. Chemical thermodynamics studies how heat and work are related to chemical reactions or with physical changes of state. Rates of chemical processes are studied in the field of chemical kinetics. Femtochemistry is a field of physical chemistry that studies chemical reactions that occur in very short time periods. These are some branches of physical chemistry. Spectrochemistry, as the name suggests, applies spectroscopy to different fields of chemistry.


It studies the growth and collapse of microbubbles in liquids to which an ultrasonic field is applied. This branch of chemistry tries to find how ultrasonic fields affect the chemical activity in liquids.

Supramolecular Chemistry

It is referred to as the chemistry beyond the molecule, which means that it includes the study of non-covalent bonds. This branch of chemistry deals with the non-covalent intermolecular interactions that are relatively weak and reversible. Van der Waals forces, hydrogen bonds, and electrostatic effects are some of the forces studied in this branch.

Theoretical Chemistry

It deals with finding explanations for chemical and physical observations. It applies laws in physics to explain and predict chemical phenomena. Computational chemistry uses computer simulation to solve chemical problems. It uses methods of theoretical chemistry in computer programs that are designed to calculate chemical properties and structures of molecules.

Wet Chemistry

It is the chemistry of substances in the liquid phase. It is also called bench chemistry.

Pure chemistry deals with the study of the pure theory of chemistry done with the intent to gain knowledge of chemical substances. Applied chemistry involves a research undertaken with a specific goal or towards devising a practical application in chemistry. Thus, it can be considered as a link between chemistry and chemical engineering.

Chemistry is a very vast subject that deals with the study of the structure and behavior of matter and also studies the fundamental units that make up the universe.

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