Analytical chemistry is the area of chemistry responsible for characterizing the composition of matter, qualitatively and quantitatively.

The techniques of this science are used to identify the substances which may be present in a material and to determine the exact amounts of the identified substances. The contributions made by analytical chemists have played critical roles in the sciences ranging from the development of concepts and theories (pure science) to a variety of practical applications, such as biomedical applications, environmental monitoring, quality control of industrial manufacturing and forensic science (applied science).

In medicine, analytical chemistry is the basis for clinical laboratory tests which help physicians diagnose disease and chart progress in recovery. In industry, analytical chemistry provides the means of testing raw materials and for assuring the quality of finished products whose chemical composition is critical. Many household products, fuels, paints, pharmaceuticals, etc. are analyzed by the procedures developed by analytical chemists before being sold to the consumer.

Environmental quality is often evaluated by testing for suspected contaminants using the techniques of analytical chemistry. The nutritional value of food is determined by chemical analysis for major components such as protein and carbohydrates and trace components such as vitamins and minerals. Indeed even the calories in a food are often calculated from its chemical analysis.