Chemistry and Biochemistry are the two majors offered in the Department of Chemistry. The department also offers a minor in Chemistry.
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Additionally, some students pursue teacher certification credentials to teach chemistry at the middle or high school levels. Our programming also provides a mechanism by which students majoring in chemistry can earn a Bachelor's degree with honors upon graduation (titles of past honors theses).
Chemists study atoms and molecules with the goal of understanding the composition, properties and changes that substances undergo. Chemists are interested in synthesizing molecules, identifying individual components of materials both synthetic and natural, and quantifying amounts present. They also recombine atoms and molecules to deduce the rules of combination and to make new substances with interesting or useful properties. Chemistry and/or biochemistry is also central to understanding all other branches of natual science as they are all inherently molecular at their core and they are what they are precisely because of molecular interactions. Fields of biological, earth, medical, and materials sciences, along with aspects of physics and astronomy are dependent on an atomic or molecular level understanding.
Knowledge of chemistry is crucial to understanding the manufacture and use of many common materials such as metals, plastics, fibers, paper, glasses and ceramics; food products and food supplements, flavors and cosmetics; detergents and household chemicals; and pharmaceuticals, pesticides, paints, dyes and inks. Chemistry and biochemistry are used in medical and criminal investigations, and in studying causes, effects, and cures for pollution. Finally, chemistry is central to authenticating, conserving, restoring, and preserving cultural treasures including rare books and documents, fine art, architectural works, and artifacts of the recent and distant past.
Biochemists apply the concepts, understanding and tools of chemistry to the challenges of understanding the structure, functions, and behaviors of living systems.
One great way for students to gain valuable knowledge and practical work experience is to take a position as laboratory assistant.