Chemistry is the science of the composition, structure, properties, and reactions of matter, especially of atomic and molecular systems. It is the basis of the technology for large-scale production of chemicals and chemical materials that are vital to modern society. The study of chemistry helps people understand the physical world and its workings.
Our modern world offers many and varied opportunities for professional chemists. Recent graduates have chosen careers in industry, education, medicine, crime laboratories, hospitals, and environmental protection laboratories. In our changing world, one needs a career providing stable employment. Chemists have historically had unemployment rates well below the rates of the general population.
The department offers a major in chemistry, with students taking courses in organic chemistry, forensic chemistry, inorganic chemistry, analytical chemistry, physical chemistry, and biochemistry. Students in their junior or senior years are encouraged to take research classes in the area of their interest, the results of which are usually presented at scientific meetings. Many results are also published in peer-reviewed journals.
The Department of Chemistry is certified by the American Chemical Society in the areas of chemistry and biochemistry. The ACS, with over 120,000 members, is the largest scientific society in the country. In addition to certification of undergraduate programs, it publishes many primary chemical journals such as Chemical Abstracts. Of the country's 2,000 undergraduate chemistry programs, fewer than 500 meet ACS certification requirements.