The programmes of study

НазваниеThe programmes of study
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Because the aims and the requirements of the academic study programme for the degrees of Master of Natural Science (Master’s degree in Chemistry) and Bachelor of Natural Science in Chemistry (Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry), and Doctor of Natural Science in Chemistry (Doctor’s degree in Chemistry) are closely related, the two programmes are considered together.

The science of chemistry studies compounds, their changes, and the observations accompanying these changes. Chemistry is one of the more important areas of natural science. Since the middle of the seventeenth century, when the science of chemistry evolved, the content, goals, and requirements of chemistry have undergone fundamental changes. Today the concepts of chemistry are closely knit to the study of new pharmaceuticals, the development and application of new materials in agriculture and technology, as well as the study of biological and other natural processes. Depending on the research area and the goal of the study, chemistry is divided into a number of disciplines. The broadest and most important disciplines are inorganic chemistry, analytical chemistry, organic chemistry, and physical chemistry. Chemistry is closely linked to such sciences as physics, biology, geography, etc.

The study of chemistry is an essential part of general education because chemistry helps in the developing an appreciation of the nature of both living and inanimate objects, environmental processes, and the interaction of human beings with their surroundings. The material for the study of chemistry changes depending on the latest accepted developments in the discipline as well as industrial requirements. The extent of the study of chemistry is dictated by the needs of the individual.

In Latvia, tertiary education in chemistry has been available since 1863 at the Department of Chemistry of the Riga Polytechnic which became the Riga Polytechnic Institute in 1896. From 1919 till 1958 chemistry was taught at the University of Latvia, Faculty of Chemistry. In 1958 the Department of Chemistry of the Faculty of Biology of the University of Latvia introduced a program of study leading to a degree in chemistry. In 1964 the University of Latvia re-established the Faculty of Chemistry. The Riga Polytechnic Institute, now known as the Riga Technical University, Faculty of Material Science and Applied Chemistry, presents courses of study leading to degrees in Material Science and Applied Chemistry. The five year course at the University of Latvia led to the degree of Chemist or Teacher of Chemistry and Information Technology. During the academic year 1989-90 the programme of study was changed to resemble the two tier model of Europe: the first degree is the Bachelor‘s degree in chemistry and the second is the Master’s degree in chemistry. Lately the programmes of study have been renamed as the programme for the degree of Bachelor of Natural Science in Chemistry and the programme for the degree of Master of Natural Science in Chemistry (referred in this text as the bachelor’s programme and the master’s programme). In 1999 a third programme of study leading to the degree of Doctor of Natural Science in Chemistry was added.

The graduates of the Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral programmes are academically educated specialists in chemistry who are necessary and able to work in various areas of endeavour in Latvia, such as Food Chemistry, Environmental Science, Education, Synthesis of Pharmaceuticals, Production, etc.

Within the framework of the Bachelors programme in Chemistry, the student receives academic instruction in the basics of chemistry as well as closely related sciences such as mathematics, physics, computer applications etc. The programme presents new study material in the exact sciences and humanities and develops practical skills in laboratory work. During the first year of study, students are given an opportunity to extend their knowledge of a foreign language.

After completing the required courses of study and defence of the thesis for the Bachelor’s degree, the student receives the Bachelor of Natural Science degree in chemistry and is qualified to:

  • continue studies in the two-year master’s degree program,

  • enter a professional programme of study in the areas of environmental protection, food chemistry, and high-school teaching,

  • or enter the labour market as a chemist.

The Masters degree programme in Chemistry was developed during the 1989-90 academic year, at the same time as the Bachelor’s degree programme was developed. The Master’s degree programme is based on previous experience in teaching chemistry at the tertiary level, the tradition of the University of Latvia, the level of development of chemistry in Latvia, and the programmes of study offered at the universities of Europe and North America. Over the years the programme has been amended to ensure that it meets the required level of knowledge needed for the Master’s degree in order that the graduates may continue doctoral studies or enter the work force successfully. The University of Latvia is at present the main institution in Latvia offering an academic Master’s degree in chemistry.

Many students who enter the Master’s programme have found employment in various laboratories.

The aim of the studies for the degree of Master in Natural Science in Chemistry is to give the students an opportunity to extend their theoretical knowledge and practical skills in one of the main sub-disciplines of chemistry (such as Inorganic Chemistry, Analytical Chemistry, Organic Chemistry and Physical Chemistry), and to enable the students to undertake independent research. Upon satisfactory completion of the required course of study and the defence of the Master’s thesis, the students receive the Master’s degree in chemistry. Graduates from the Master’s programme may

  • continue their studies toward the doctorate,

  • or they may elect to enter the work force as specialists in chemistry.

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