No doubt chemistry
Hi guys. I'm currently a high school senior going to college for biology and planning to take the pre-med route. I really enjoy biology however I wanted to know what courses I can take to help me later on in my life with my fragrance passion. Also I saw a school in England that offers a course and certification. Do you think that when I get to college I could do a study abroad program to this school or will my school have a list of schools I am allowed to visit. Thanks for your suggestions and help.
No doubt chemistry
I watched the 3 part documentary on the BBC about perfume. All the students seem to have chemistry as a background.
Agree with others - definitely a background in chemistry wouldn't hurt.
Biology would certainly help too, as it will help you to later study the olfactory sciences aswel as botany, or ethnobotany.
A college degree is vitally necessary at this time in the world and should be pursued regardless, but a chemistry degree won't increase your chances of being a successful perfumer any more than a literature major would.
Perfumery is an art, no less than it is a science. Walkdogg is correct. Self-teaching is the best way to go. You can pay top dollar at the highest prestiged university you want, and it won't teach you half of what you can learn yourself for free if you have discipline and a curious mind.
Virtually all the perfumers currently working in the major fragrance manufacturers and Houses were first trained as organic chemists, at least to degree level, often further. This isn't coincidence.
I, however, do not have a degree in organic chemistry and I've had to learn huge amounts of chemistry to catch-up with those who do and so practice the art effectively. Without it you are like a painter attempting to paint, without any of the techniques of colour blending or brush-strokes: it isn't impossible to produce great art, but it's much less likely.
good point social woman.
The question that the OP asked was what classes will help him achieve his goals to become a perfumer. I think the answer to that question is unequivocally a degree in chemistry. While some responses have focused on whether a degree is necessary to become a good or great perfumer those responses miss the point that fragrance industry employers expect and/or demand their employees to have a scientific degree to even be considered for employment.
On a related note the fragrance industry is very small, and breaking into it can come down to dumb luck. A degree in organic chemistry is a respected degree and would be applicable to other creative sensory jobs like the flavor industry. I don't think you can go wrong with either of those industries. Good luck.
I wouldn't trade those hours though: it has been, and continues to be, a fascinating experience.
You should probably major in biochemistry, and while you are in college, in your spare time (if you have any) buy raw materials and research and practice perfumery on your own. Once you try learning to make perfume, then you'll really know that you love it. And if you don't love it, and change your mind about what you want to do, use your biochemistry degree to go to med school. Biochemistry seems better suited for the fragrance industry anyways because you will be studying organic chemistry. If you really love biology, you could double major in that as well.
This way, you have a safety net, and if you can't or don't want to go into the fragrance industry, you can still do something you enjoy and try to go to med school. I am a biochemistry major and this is exactly what I am doing. After you graduate, if you still want to study perfumery, you can go to the ISIPCA or work for a company and can learn in that company.