Chemistry is the branch of science which studies the matter properties, composition and structure, as well as the transformations experienced and the energy involved in the chemical reactions. Chemistry has evolved since the 18th Century until turning into a wide science which covers from the submicroscopic atomic and molecular world to the area of materials that we use on daily bases. The permanent capacity for innovation of Chemistry had a great impact on the progress, developing products and technologies which impacted on every field of human activities, turning into one of the pillars of the competitiveness of a country and of the maintenance of the high levels of life of current society. Therefore, it could be said that Chemistry plays an important role in health and environment protection, in hygienic and sanitary conditions improvement, in qualitative and quantitative food procurement for every one and in the development of products which can improve our life’s quality. This social relevance of Chemistry determined Chemistry studies to be taught traditionally in most of the Spanish public universities, as well as at the European level.
The Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry currently taught in the University of Vigo is a modification performed in the year 2019 (BOE/BOE) of the one being taught since 2009/2010 (BOE/BOE 01/10/2010)
University studies on Chemistry in Vigo started in 1973 in the University College of Vigo, dependant on the University of Santiago de Compostela, where only the first cycle (3 years) of the five-year degree in Chemistry was taught. After the establishment of the University of Vigo due to the segregation of the University of Santiago de Compostela (BOE/BOE 01/01/90), the five-year degree in Chemistry was taught from the year 1993 to the year 2010, following the study plan of 1973 (BOE/BOE 22/11/1973 and BOE/BOE 13/08/1977) and of 2001 (BOE/BOE 25/08/2001). Finally, in compliance with the Royal Decree 1393/2007 which establishes the new arrangements for official university teaching as a consequence of the adequacy of the Spanish University System to the European Higher Education Area, from the year 2009/2010 until now, in the Faculty of Chemistry of the University of Vigo, the Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry modified by this report is being taught.
The studies in the Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry in the University of Vigo are widely consolidated. Since its implementation in the year 2010/2011, the demand for the Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry and the enrolment of new students has been steady and the places offered in the Initial Degree Report (60) have been completely covered, and the total number of students studying the Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry has continued slightly growing.
In addition to this, in order to provide graduated students with a coherent academic continuation to the Bachelor’s Degree, as well as to prepare experts in specialised fields of Chemistry, the Faculty of Chemistry also offers the Master’s Degree in Chemical Investigation Research and Industrial Chemistry, the Master’s Degree in Theoretical Chemistry and Computational Modelling, the Master’s Degree in Science and Technology of Conservation of Fishing Products as well as the PhD Programmes in Chemical Science and Technology, in Science and Technology of Colloids and Interfaces, in Nanomedicine and in Theoretical Chemistry and Computational Modelling.
An important aspect when establishing the interest of a degree is the situation of the professional sector and of the labour market to which graduated students are entering. In the case of the chemical field, according to the data included in 2018 Radiography and Perspectives of the Spanish Chemical Sector, elaborated by the FEIQUE (Spanish Chemical Industry Business Federation), the Spanish chemical industry, integrated by the chemical and pharmaceutical activities, us an essential sector for the Spanish economy. Its activity directly and indirectly generates the 5.6% of the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and the 12.8% of the industrial GDP, with a volume of business of 63,100 millions of Euro. This sector employs 3.5% of the working active population, meaning 660,000 direct, indirect and induced jobs. In this aspects, it should be highlighted the quality of the direct employment generated by this sector, both because of its stability (94% are permanent contracts) and because of its level of retribution (37,618 Euro per worker and year) and because of the investment in training (248 Euro annual per worker). In addition to this, two key aspects in the future of the chemical industry: its exporting capacity and its innovator leadership. In the first case, the chemical sector is the second main exporter in the Spanish economy after the automotive sector and destinies the 56% of its production to foreign markers. Regarding innovation, chemistry leads the investment and spending in R&D&i in Spain, as well as the researchers’ recruitment.
On the other hand, the Final Report on the Chemical-Pharmaceutical Chain of the 2007 Caixanova Forum of Business Strategies reflects that the chemical-pharmaceutical sector in Galicia mainly rests in the province of Pontevedra, specially in the metropolitan area of Vigo. It is constituted by small and medium companies in activities like plastics and synthetic resins, paints, varnishes and coatings, glues, adhesives and stickers, cleaning products, pesticides, fertilizers, perfumery and cosmetics, etc. Also, the chemical-pharmaceutical chain is the fourth chain regarding importance in the metropolitan area of Vigo, after the automotive, construction and ship repair sectors and after fishing and sea production transformation. Lastly, the gross value added (GVA) in the chemical-pharmaceutical chain in the metropolitan area of Vigo represents the 43.68% of the GVA in the chain in Galicia being way over the average of other sectors (30.86%).
Among the available data on employment among students graduated in Chemistry it should be pointed out the results of the 2014 Survey of Labour Insertion of University Graduates performed by the National Institute of Statistics over 30,000 graduated in the year 2009/2010, which show that the activity and employment of the graduated in Chemistry are of 70.3% and 92.0%, respectively.
In addition, the Study of Labour Insertion of the graduated in the Galician University System performed on graduated in the year 2010/2011, published by the ACSUG in the year 2015, indicated that 55% of the graduated in Chemistry are working and that the average time to find their first job is 13 months.
On the other hand, the Study on professional situation of graduated in the University of Vigo in the years 2005 and 2010 published by the Social Board of University in the 2015 shows that 72% of the graduated in Chemistry are working and that they do so mainly in the R&D&i/Research (42%) and in tasks related with production (26%).
The regulation on the professional competences of the chemists can be found in the following official documents:
a) Decree of September 2 which regulates the professional situation of those graduated in the five-year degree in Chemical Sciences (BOE/BOE 25/09/1955):
Article 1. Those graduated in the five-year degree in Sciences, Chemical Section, are empowered to carry out professional activities of scientific and technical character on their speciality. This professional activities include the action in executive management tasks or of counselling in entities which require assistance and collaboration of scientific character in the speciality of Chemistry, being its aims commercial or of other nature; and the free exercise of the chemist profession defined by the performance of research, studies, facilities, analysis, tests, valuations and similar activities and issuing of expert opinions, certifications or analogue documents in topics of chemical character.
Article 3. PhD Programme in Industrial Chemistry will have the rights point out in the previous articles and they can also sign execution projects on facilities and industrial activities execution in of chemical character, which would be equally considered by the Public Corporations.
Article 4. The five-year Degree in Sciences, Chemical Section, enables graduated to take places in national, provincial or municipal Administrations as technical staff, whose missions are equivalent in category and responsibility to the ones pointed out in the first article.
Even specific qualification fields are defined, since the title of the five-year Degree Science (Chemistry Section) qualifies for the following positions:
a) Municipal and provincial chemists
b) Institutes of hygiene chemists
c) Customs chemists
d) Chemists in every State, Provincial or Municipal organisms, monopolies and companies depending, even indirectly, of the state, which require this specific function.
e) Chemists in private companies.
b) Decree 2281/1963 (BOE/BOE 10/08/1963), which equates the professional faculties of the Five-year Degree graduated in Chemical Sciences with the ones of the PhD Programme in Industrial Chemistry, recognising for the first ones also the faculty of signing products.
Article 2. The Five-year Degree graduated in Sciences, Chemistry Section, will have the same professional faculties than the PhDs in Industrial Chemistry in the Article 3 of the Decree of September 2, 1955.
c) Decree of July 7 on the Ordinance of the Faculty of Sciences (BOE/BOE 04/08/1944)
Article 8. In accordance with other similar professional graduated, it will enable to provide analytical experts opinions with an official effect, which will be valued to established laboratories of chemical analysis
d) Decree 1163/2002 of November 2 (BOE/BOE 15/11/2002), which create and regulate the sanitary specialities for chemists, biologists and biochemists. It establishes that the Five-year Degree graduated in Chemistry can access the following specialities: Health Specialities:
- Clinical Analyses
- Clinical Biochemistry
- Microbiology and Parasitology
e) The profession of Chemist in Spain is a regulated profession (Royal Decree 1754/1998 of July 31; BOE/BOE 07/08/1998). Recently, this regulated profession was confirmed and recognised by the Royal Decree 1837/2008 of November 8, which incorporates to the Spanish legal system the Directive 2005/36/CE of the European Parliament and Council, of September 7, 2005, and the Directive 006/100/CE of the Council, on November 20, 2006, regarding the recognition of professional qualifications,…” (BOE/BOE 20/11/2008) and here the profession of Chemist appears explicitly.
The range of professional activities for chemists is wide and includes, among others, the following fields:
- Research, development, design, engineering and control in industrial chemical processes.
- Research, development, production, transformation and control on substances and compounds in human and veterinary drugs.
- Research, development, production, transformation, control and conservation of every type of food.
- Research, development, production, transformation, control, conservation, storage and distribution on basic chemical products.
- Research, development, production, transformation, control, distribution of cosmetic and perfumery products, soaps, detergents and other cleaning and polishing products.
- Research, development, production, transformation and control of a rational and sustainable industrial exploitation of natural resources (petrochemistry, steel, timber and paper industries, cement plants, ceramics and glass industries, etc.)
- Research, development, production, transformation and control of auxiliary products for industry (solvents, additives, catalysts, lubricant, etc.)
- Research, development and control of agrochemical products (fertilisers, pesticides, etc.)
- Research, development and control of materials for the electronic industry.
- Research, development, production and control of products related with radiochemistry, stable and unstable isotopes.
- Research, development and control in restoration processes.
- R&D&i in businesses and public and private institutions.
- Teaching Chemistry in the terms and educational levels established by the current legislation.
- Chemical, physical, biochemical and immunochemical test and analysis in biological samples, including human samples.
- Dating studies
- Research and development in Biological, Genomic and Proteomic Chemistry.
- Higher Technician in the Analyse or Quality Control Departments, design of working and control protocols, etc.
- Product quality manager.
- Responsible for laboratories and process facilities accreditation and validation processes. Quality inspector and auditor (both in process as in environment).
- Projection, installation, direction, management and analysis and quality control laboratory control and management, being this chemical, industrial, etc.
- Pilot plans projection, installation, direction, management and control.
- Environmental impact studies and evaluation.
- Installations related with Environmental Management Systems (SIGMA) in companies (gas control, water treatment, waste management, etc.)
- Nuclear, industrial, urban and agricultural waste processing, storage and/or removal.
- Water purification and processing.
- Transportation of dangerous goods technical manager.
- Labour Risk Prevention-Higher Technician in Industrial Hygiene.
- Administration in positions of their professional competence and their academic level
- Scientific and technical counselling on chemical topics.
- Commercialisation and technical assistance to the costumer, buyer or user of de product, equipment, etc.
- Positions in hospitals and health centres, for which the specialisation in Health Sciences is required, obtained through the QIR exam and a residency.
- In general, in all the activities related with chemical science and technology in communitarian, state, autonomic or provincial levels.
During the elaboration of the Initial Verification Report of the Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry by the University of Vigo and of this modification, the following external references were taken into account:
a) Royal Decree 1393/2007, which establishes the arrangements for official university studies (BOE/BOE 30/10/2007).
b) The Support Guide for preparing Degree Proposals with a view to applying for the accreditation ex ante of official degrees (bachelor-master) elaborated by the National Agency for Quality Assessment and Accreditation (ANECA), updated in the year 2015. This guide intends to orientate universities while preparing the Verification Request Report or the modification of official degrees.
c) The Support Guide for Writing, Implementation and Evaluation of Learning Outcomes published by the ANECA in 2013. This document intends to orientate those responsible of the degrees’ design, teaching staff, students, evaluators and agencies in the complete process of design, implementation and review of the study plans.
c) The White Book of the Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry, elaborated by the Spanish Conference of Deans in Chemistry (CEDQ) within the European convergence programme of the ANECA.
This was one of the main external references to elaborate the report that the Spanish Conference of Deans in Chemistry agreed unanimously in 2007 the model for the Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry for Spanish Universities which can be found in the White Book published by the ANECA. This model considers a Bachelor’s Degree of 240 ECTS credits and defines the Degree’s objectives and the competences expected for the students, its structure, content distribution and the assignation of the ECTS credits.
The White Book of Chemistry is a good reference due to three main reasons:
- Because of the description and analyse of the study plans from different European Universities. This research is useful to understand the distribution of subjects in different years and the necessary depth of knowledge.
- Because of showing representative data regarding labour insertion of the graduated students and their opinion, as well as teachers and professional associations opinions on the specific and general competences according to different professional profiles.
- Because of the proposal, arising from the agreement from different Spanish centres teaching the five-year degree in Chemistry on the general structure of the degree and the objectives, ECTS assignation and the contents of the different subjects in the Bachelor’s Degree.
D) The verification reports of the Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry currently taught in the Spanish public universities:
Autonomous University of Madrid, Autonomous University of Barcelona, Complutense University of Madrid, University of Coruña, University of Alcalá de Henares, University of Alicante, University of Almería, University of Barcelona, University of Burgos, University of Cádiz, University of Castilla La Mancha, University of Córdoba, University of Extremadura, University of Girona, University of Granada, University of Huelva, University of the Balearic Islands, University of Jaén, University Jaume I of Castelló, University of the Lagoa, University of the Rioja, University of Málaga, University of Murcia, National University of Distance Education, University of Navarra, University of the Basque Country/ Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea, University of Oviedo, University Rovira i Virgili, University of Salamanca, University of Santiago de Compostela, University of Sevile, University of Valencia, University of Valladolid and University of Zaragoza.
e) The information regarding the Eurobachelor label in Chemistry developed by the European Chemistry Thematic Network (ECTN), in which a common core of mandatory subjects is defined and in which the prospective learning achievements are established.
f) The professional activities acknowledged for five-year degree in Chemistry graduated in the different Decrees (BOE/BOE 04/08/1944, BOE/BOE 25/09/1955, BOE/BOE 09/09/1963 e BOE/BOE 15/11/2002)
The design the study plan included in the Initial Verification Report of the Degree the Faculty of Chemistry appointed in March 2008 a committee comprised by representatives of the fields of Analytical Chemistry, Physical Chemistry, Inorganic Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Mathematics and Physics, a student from the old five-year degree in Chemistry, a student from third cycle, an ASS representative and the Dean Team. In parallel to the preparation works for the study plan, Deans from other centres (from Biology and Sea Sciences in the Campus of Vigo and of the Faculty of Sciences of Ourense) and Vice Chancellor for Degrees and European Convergence were consulted, standardising criteria to prepare the report and to implement a shared basic credits structure in all the degrees from the branch of Sciences in the University of Vigo.
Also in parallel, the Dean of the Faculty regularly attended the meetings of the Conference of Deans in Chemistry in which shared criteria on the studies in the Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry in Spanish University were established.
On the other hand, during the preparation of the Initial Verification Report of the Degree, the documentation prepared by the Agency for Quality Assurance in the Galician University System (ACSUG) on researches on employability of university graduated in Galicia was consulted. Also documentation published by various agencies and institutions on the chemical industry in Galicia condition were consulted. In addition, the committee designed a survey which was sent to different companies in order to know their point of view on the competences that a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry student should develop for a successful professional future.
The Initial Verification Report of the Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry was passed by the Faculty Board on September 30, 2008.
In addition to the consultation procedures pointed out in the Initial Verification Report of de Degree, after receiving the Final Evaluation for the Accreditation Renewal Report for the Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry issued by the ACSUG, in October 2017, the Faculty of Chemistry passed the establishment and composition of a Committee to Modify the Report of the Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry. The Committee, chaired by the Faculty’s Dean, was composed of two representative of each of the departments of Analytical Chemistry, Physical Chemistry, Inorganic Chemistry and Organic Chemistry, a representative of each of the areas of Mathematics, Applied Physics, Biochemistry, Chemical Engineering, a representative of the Department of Marine Geosciences and Territorial Planning, two representatives of the students from the Faculty Board and a representative of the Administrative and Service Staff. With this wide composition it was intended that all the collectives implied in the teaching-learning process of the Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry were represented. During its duties the Committee was assisted by the Vice-chancellor of Academic Planning and Teaching Staff and by the Quality Area of the University of Vigo. The members of the Degree Committee continuously informed their represented and requested opinions that were afterwards discussed in the Committee.
The modification proposal of the Report of the Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry was passed by the Faculty Board on July, 2018.