Students in Chemisty 108 burn various alcohols in labChemistry Major

The undergraduate chemistry major leads to a bachelor of science or a bachelor of arts degree awarded by the College of Letters & Science. The curriculum provides excellent preparation in chemistry, along with a wide breadth of liberal arts coursework. At the same time, the program provides significant opportunities for students to participate in scientific inquiry, within both laboratory courses and research laboratories. Students from other colleges within the university may pursue the chemistry major as an additional major. When pursuing a chemistry major, the undergraduate student must meet university general education requirements and breadth requirements of their own college, along with the specific requirements for the chemistry major. View the Chemistry Curriculum Guide to learn more.

Learning Goals for the Chemistry Major

The chemistry major curriculum provides students with a sound foundation in chemical principles along with significant opportunities to participate in scientific inquiry in a creative environment. Students majoring in chemistry gain knowledge, skills, and experiences that enable them to address real world chemical problems. These skills include the ability to solve problems, think critically, and act ethically. Specific learning goals for the major are detailed below.

  • Students will identify, formulate and solve integrative problems using appropriate information and approaches. 
  • Students will demonstrate an understanding of basic chemical transformations, including the ability to predict chemical reactivity and properties.
  • Students will recognize the relationship among structure, bonding and the properties of molecules and materials.
  • Students will model chemical systems and experimental data using relevant quantitative, mathematical and computational methods.
  • Students will be able to design, conduct and analyze experiments safely and successfully.
  • Students will be capable of locating, evaluating and using information in the chemical literature.
  • Students will communicate chemical knowledge effectively through written reports, oral presentations and visual aids.
  • Students will be able to work collaboratively with others, both chemists and those from other disciplines, to solve problems and create new knowledge.
  • Students will recognize how chemistry relates to contemporary issues in our society.
  • Students will have an understanding of professional and ethical responsibility

Careers and Graduate Studies: Next Steps for Chemistry Undergraduates

The chemistry major provides students with the critical thinking and problem-solving skills necessary to be successful in a wide variety of careers in the chemical industries (e.g., consumer and agricultural products, materials, energy, petroleum, paper, food, etc.), as well as environmental, pharmaceutical, and other health-related sciences. Students are also well-prepared for graduate-level work in chemistry, chemical physics, biochemistry, biophysics, materials chemistry, and other related fields.  Students who excel in undergraduate chemistry coursework are often able to obtain funding for their graduate work through teaching or research assistantships and fellowships. Combined with a master's program in secondary education, the major qualifies the student to teach chemistry in secondary schools. Chemistry majors have also been successful in a variety of professional programs where they have studied medicine, pharmacy, dentistry, veterinary medicine, business, or law.

Learn more about Chemistry Department Career Services.