Find out how chemistry will equip you to change the world

Department of Chemistry offers broad-based and rigorous chemistry education that gives students the problem solving, teamwork and communication skills to become effective scientific professionals. We offer a program that incorporates technology, green chemistry practices, and perspectives that favor diversity and global awareness essential elements of a modern chemical education.

With a Chemistry degree, graduates can play an important role in how the world progresses forward.

Students in the Chemistry program are interested in:
  • Finding cures for disease
  • Creating new materials for product innovation
  • Teaching chemistry to the next generation
  • Analyzing evidence and samples for clues to solve crimes
  • Producing nutritious food and feed to support the population in a sustainable way
  • Monitoring sources of pollution and contamination of chemicals that affect the environment
People who enjoy careers in chemistry often have these attributes:
  • Analytical
  • Comfortable handling data
  • Good at observing
  • Creative
  • Logical thinker 
  • Passionate about solving problems

 

Tracks

Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in Chemistry

  • The Bachelor of Arts provides more opportunities to take non-science-related courses for a broader-based education.
  • The Bachelor of Science is a more science-intensive degree.
  • Both degree plans provide comprehensive exploration of chemistry that will prepare students for advanced programs or professional careers. Coursework spans the breadth of each of the five chemistry sub-disciplines: analytical, organic, inorganic, physical and biochemistry.

Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry

  • This interdisciplinary program offers students a mix of coursework grounded in both chemistry and biology.
  • You will explore the chemical processes and reactions taking place within living organisms at the molecular level.
  • This program emphasizes a molecular approach to the study of biological processes.

Bachelor of Science in Forensic Chemistry

  • This degree offers a strong background in chemistry and instrumental analysis in addition to providing good grounding in forensics and criminal justice.
  • Many students select this degree to prepare for entry level positions examining evidence related to crimes or to apply to graduate programs in forensic chemistry or chemistry.

Bachelor of Science in Environmental Chemistry

  • This degree prepares students to address the century's most critical and challenging environmental issues.
  • Graduates are prepared to pursue graduate school, conduct research and seek professional employment in environmental analysis and environmental remediation positions.

Learning Goals

The liberal arts experience offers an education that is both broad and diverse.

General education coursework complements the Chemistry major by teaching students to: 
  • Synthesize a range of knowledge, perspectives and creative methods
  • Identify and respond creatively and effectively to local and global challenges
  • Address complex societal issues
  • Understand the importance of and develop the capacities for self-assessment and ethical reasoning 
  • Evaluate arguments and address complex issues using quantitative and qualitative analysis and scientific reasoning

Outcomes

Students can select from any of the following chemistry degrees to prepare for a professional career, graduate study, or a professional program in medicine, pharmacy or dentistry. Our students have gone on to pursue graduate and professional degrees at universities such as Stanford, Vanderbilt, University of California at Davis, University of Texas Health Science Center–Houston and Texas A&M.

Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in Chemistry

The BS in Chemistry is a rigorous course of study that incorporates more math and laboratory experience than the BA. Graduates may work as analytical chemists in food chemistry, pharmaceutical labs, or as research assistants or medical technologists.

The BA in Chemistry gives students more options to take non-science-related courses for a broader-based education. Typically graduates are interested in teaching at the secondary school level, but may also work in pharmaceutical sales, or as lab technicians or research assistants

BS in Biochemistry 

Professional career options for graduates with a BS in Biochemistry include working as lab technicians or research assistants in pharmaceutical or agribusiness companies, biotech firms, hospital and forensic laboratories or even the Food and Drug Administration.

BS in Forensic Chemistry

Professional career options for graduates with a BS in Forensic Chemistry include working with private labs, police departments, coroner’s offices or fire departments, examining evidence related to crimes. They may also work with bomb squads, in the military or at national agencies like the FBI or CIA. Some forensic chemists become specialists in certain kinds of identification, such as chemicals associated with explosives or toxic substances.

BS in Environmental Chemistry

Professional career options for graduates with a BS in Environmental Chemistry include employment by private consulting firms, corporations or research labs to help clean up yesterday’s waste and prevent tomorrow’s pollution. They may help reduce the depletion of natural materials by creating synthetic substitutes or developing new recycling technologies. Environmental chemists may even work with governmental agencies to create and implement environmental policies.

Research

The Department of Chemistry has an active, externally funded undergraduate research program. In addition to performing research over the academic year in one of the faculty-led research groups, students are encouraged to apply for participation in the full-time summer research program. The department's summer program is fully funded and successful applicants receive competitive student stipends. Students are encouraged to present their results at professional meetings, such as regional and national meetings of the American Chemical Society and the Texas Academy of Science.

The Chemistry faculty have been very successful in securing external funding in support of curricular innovation, modern laboratory instrumentation and undergraduate research. In addition to an ongoing departmental research grant from the Welch Foundation, the department has secured curricular and equipment grants from the National Science Foundation, the Keck Foundation and the Educational Advancement Foundation. We are funded through the U.S. Dept. of Education under the Title V provision and through a five-year, $2.75 million grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences as part of a consortium that includes St. Edward’s, Southwestern University and the University of Texas at Austin. We are proud to be considered one of the best-equipped and best-funded small college chemistry departments in the country.

Meet the Faculty

Chemistry Faculty Specialties:
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Physical Chemistry
Chemistry Faculty Research:
  • The synthesis and characterization of metal complexes aimed at reproducing and studying the activity of metalloenzymes
  • Using molecular modeling to design structure-activity probes for the purpose of elucidating enzymatic activity
  • Using molecular dynamics simulations and coarse-grained models to investigate the properties of confined aqueous systems
  • Identification of volatile compounds in essential oils of shrubs to establish the grazing patterns of herbivores

Minor in Chemistry

A Chemistry minor is available for students interested in the field of chemistry, or for students who would benefit from adding courses in chemistry to their education for their future endeavors. 

Required coursework:
  • General Chemistry, Lab
  • Analytical Chemistry, Lab
  • Organic Chemistry I, Lab
  • Organic Chemistry II
  • Two Upper-Division Chemistry Electives