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Chemistry Major, B.A.

The chemistry major combines study in the discipline with a broadly based liberal arts education. Students gain valuable experience with modern instrumentation and the methods of scientific investigation through their coursework. The department focuses specifically on providing extensive laboratory experience to all students, to complement a thorough grounding in chemical theory. Class projects and presentations develop the students’ ability to speak clearly and write cogently on scientific topics. Advanced students are encouraged to conduct independent projects and to participate in the wide variety of internship positions available at professional laboratories in Frederick and in the Baltimore-Washington, D.C., technology corridors.

Requirements for the Major
  • CHEM 101, 102 General Chemistry I, II
  • CHEM 209, 210 Organic Chemistry I, II
  • CHEM 215 Quantitative Analysis
  • CHEM 270 Chemical Literature
  • CHEM 301 Biological Chemistry I
  • CHEM 324 Instrumental Methods of Analysis
  • CHEM 405 Inorganic Chemistry
  • CHEM 431, 432 Physical Chemistry I, II
  • CHEM 433, 434 Physical Chemistry Lab I, II
  • CHEM 470 Senior Seminar
  • MATH 201, 202 Calculus I, II
  • PHYS 101, 102 General Physics I, II or PHYS 203, 204 Introductory
  • Physics I, II

Additional courses in mathematics, computer science and intermediate-level physics are recommended for all chemistry majors. MATH 253 Multivariable Calculus; MATH 304 Differential Equations; and MATH 339 Linear Algebra are especially useful courses. Students interested in physical, analytical or theoretical chemistry should consider taking at least two of these courses. Students who plan to enter graduate school in chemistry should have a reading knowledge of a foreign language.

Curricular Directions In Chemistry

The chemistry major provides excellent preparation for a wide variety of careers. Many students find professional positions immediately following graduation. In addition to laboratory research positions, chemistry majors are in demand in such fields as toxicology, public health, patent and intellectual property law, forensics, teaching, marketing, technical writing, art restoration and scientific information retrieval. Chemistry majors are well prepared to pursue graduate degrees in chemistry, biochemistry and related biotechnology fields; or medicine, veterinary medicine, dentistry, pharmacology, physical therapy and the range of allied health fields. Students with specific career aspirations can consider the following recommendations as they develop their undergraduate schedules.

Pre-medical Studies

The chemistry major will provide excellent preparation for students who are pursuing a career in medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, pharmacology, nursing or an allied health field. In order to prepare for the Medical College Admission Test or the Dental Admission Test, students should complete the following courses by the end of their junior year:

  • BIOL Courses 8 credits in biology at the 200 level (BIOL 202 and BIOL 203 are recommended)
  • CHEM 101, 102 General Chemistry I, II
  • CHEM 209, 210 Organic Chemistry I, II
  • PHYS 101, 102 General Physics I, II or PHYS 203, 204 Introductory Physics I, II (requires calculus)
  • PSY 101 Introduction to Psychology
  • SOC 101 Principles of Sociology

In addition, some schools will recommend or require additional courses, which most frequently include anatomy and physiology, genetics, microbiology, biochemistry, a year of English, some calculus and philosophy or ethics. The Health Professions Advisory Committee works closely with the Catherine Filene Shouse Career Center to assist students in the medical school application process.

Environmental Chemistry Studies

For students interested in environmental issues, we offer a concentration in environmental chemistry in association with the Department of Biology. Students declare a major in environmental science and policy–chemistry track, and undertake substantial coursework in chemistry providing a technical enhancement to the broad interdisciplinary preparation inherent in the program. In addition to the general requirements of the major, students interested in environmental chemistry take:

  • CHEM 209, 210 Organic Chemistry I, II
  • CHEM 215 Quantitative Analysis
  • CHEM 324 Instrumental Methods of Analysis
  • CHEM 401 Environmental Chemistry
  • MATH 201 Calculus I

The following courses, which provide stronger preparation in math and theory for those interested in post-baccalaureate study, are highly recommended:

  • CHEM 431 Physical Chemistry I
  • MATH 202 Calculus II
Forensics Studies

For students interested in forensic sciences, the chemistry major provides excellent preparation for a variety of career paths. Chemistry classes will give you a thorough grounding in the analytical techniques laboratory forensic chemists utilize on a daily basis. Our explicit pedagogical focus on the scientific method helps students develop the deductive reasoning skills necessary for a successful forensics career. In addition to the courses required for the major, and depending upon specific areas of interest, students can consider taking:

  • ANTH 201 Introduction to Anthropology
  • BIOL 203 Introduction to Cell Biology and Genetics
  • CHEM 301 Biological Chemistry I
  • CMA 207 Principles of Speech Communication
  • CMA 306 Writing for Business and Management
  • LWPS 230 Introduction to Law
  • PSY 101 Introduction to Psychology
Secondary Education Studies

Students who intend to pursue a career as a chemistry teacher at the secondary level will need to complete the major in chemistry in addition to the required education courses. The faculty of the education department and the chemistry and physics department will work closely with you to ensure that you are able to meet the requirements of this program. At this time, in addition to the courses required for the chemistry major and the education major, in order to earn certification, the state of Maryland requires that students complete:

  • BIOL 110-129 Any introductory topic course and
  • BIOL 202 Physiology of Plants and Animals

More information about secondary education requirements is available in the Department of Education listings. Completing the teacher education requirements may require time beyond the four years of a B.A. program.