Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Chemistry, widely regarded as a central science, involves the study of the properties and transformations of matter at a molecular level. A very wide range of consumer products, including plastics, personal care products, pharmaceuticals, etc. owe their development at least partially to modern chemistry. Chemists work in industry, educational institutions, and government laboratories, developing new materials, new pharmaceutical, improved chemical analysis methods, etc.
Biochemistry and molecular biology involve the interdisciplinary study of the chemical and physical properties of living systems and the chemical changes that take place in living organisms. Careers in biochemistry and molecular biology require preparation in chemistry and biology, as well as biochemistry and molecular biology. This is a rapidly advancing field, with many recent developments in the unraveling of the genetic code, forensic science, bioinformatics, etc. This field plays a central role in advances in human health.
The department offers a B.S. degree in Chemistry, with several degree options, and a B.S. degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Students beginning study in these programs should have a strong high school background in science and mathematics.
Graduate study is available in Chemistry (M.S. and PhD. degrees), and Biochemistry (M.S. and PhD. degrees). Students beginning study in these programs must have a strong undergraduate background in chemical science. For the Biochemistry graduate programs, prior training in the life sciences is desirable, but not essential. For more details, see the department web site or the online Graduate Bulletin.
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Major
The Biochemistry and Molecular Biology major is designed to give students a detailed understanding of the chemistry of living matter. Careers exist in medical, pharmaceutical, food processing, and agricultural laboratories. Graduates also will have excellent preparation for graduate school or schools of medicine, dentistry, veterinary science, and business.
A minor in Biochemistry also is available. Contact the department for details.
The ACS certified Chemistry major is the basic chemistry degree designed for students seeking careers in the chemical industry, or careers in law, government, journalism, business, etc., that would benefit from a strong background in the physical sciences and mathematics. Many B.S. graduates go on to M.S. or Ph.D. studies. Other degree options include a biochemistry option (also ACS certified), a polymers option (also ACS certified), a pre-professional option, and a chemistry education option.
Students may apply for scholarships available from the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and the Department of Coatings and Polymeric Materials. See the College/Departmental Scholarships page on the Bison Connection web site.
Pre-Professional Chemistry Option
This option is designed for students interested in medical, dental, optometry, or veterinary professional school, but who wish to have an alternative career path to careers in industry, law, government, journalism, business, etc., that would benefit from a strong background in the physical sciences and mathematics. This option also provides excellent preparation for graduate study in biochemistry, biotechnology, and molecular biology.
Polymers Option (ACS Certified)
This program is for students who wish to prepare for a career as a chemist in coatings and polymers industries, or for graduate school in polymer chemistry. This is the only program in the U.S. that combines an ACS-certified B.S. degree in Chemistry with a coatings and polymeric materials curriculum. Students have numerous opportunities to participate in the summer research and cooperative programs sponsored by the industry. Scholarship support from the Department of Coatings and Polymeric Materials is available to students who elect this option.
Pre-Chemistry Education Option
This option is designed for the student interested in a disciplinary major in chemistry, but who is also considering becoming a chemistry and physics teacher. The curriculum includes physics coursework beyond the usual chemistry major to enable the graduate to teach physics in most states. For teacher certification, students must apply to the School of Education to enroll in the additional requirements. ACS certification may be earned by taking CHEM 471, 429, and 432/432L, as additional courses and choosing BIOC 460 instead of CHEM 260.
Scholarships starting in the sophomore year are available for students in the Chemical Education option.