Bachelor of Science in Chemistry
Department of Chemistry and Physics
College of Science and Technology
Overview of the program
The Bachelor of Science (BS) curriculum in Chemistry is a rigorous program in the quantitative physical sciences. It requires advanced mathematics and elementary physics for technical students as well as advanced courses in inorganic, analytical, organic, and physical chemistries and biochemistry.
The BS degree in chemistry is designed as a four year degree, and graduation requires 120 hours, broken down as follows:
Math: 10 hr of calculus
Physics: 8 hr
Biology: 4 hr
Computer Science: 3 hr
English & Communication: 12 hr
Foreign Language: 6 hr
Social Science: 6 hr
History & Arts: 6 hr
Freshman Orientation: 0-2 hr
Elective: 12-14 hr (typically math, physics, biology, and chemistry)
Chemistry: 51 hr (including 15-16 hr in concentration)
- American Chemical Society (ACS) Concentration
- Biochemistry Concentration (includes pre-professional programs in medicine, dentistry, optometry and pharmacy)
- Business and Industry Concentration
- Political Science/Pre-Law Concentration
- Advising in Chemistry Education (see College of Education and Human Development for further details)
- Forensic Science
Strengths of the program
The mission of the Department of Chemistry and Physics is to maintain the highest academic standards as a premier teaching and undergraduate research institution, producing quality undergraduates through individual attention from highly qualified, motivated faculty utilizing modern equipment and technologies. Toward this mission, our department offers small classes and utilizes advanced, state of the art equipment for instruction. Because our classes are small, students get direct interaction with faculty and hands on experience, both of which greatly enhance education. In addition, our faculty maintain modern and active research laboratories where students can gain hands on experience in laboratory research, either for credit or for salary. Our undergraduate students often obtain grants to present their research work at meetings across the country, thus gaining exposure to and recognition from the chemistry community.
Preparing for a job in the program
Students planning careers in chemistry must have a minimum of a Bachelor of Science degree in an ACS approved curriculum like the one at Southeastern, although many of the higher paying jobs require a Ph.D. Students should strive to acquire the following general skills and qualifications as part of any BS program:
- Perseverance in completing projects.
- A curiosity about nature and its chemical composition.
- The ability to concentrate on detail(s).
- The ability to work independently.
- The ability to interact/communicate with other scientists.
- To master required courses in analytical, biological, inorganic, organic, and physical chemistries, and biology, math and physics.
- To be comfortable working with computers, including compiling and analyzing large groups of data, and the modeling of basic structures and their chemical properties.
- To gain experience working in academic, government, or
industrial chemical research laboratories through appointments,
summer jobs, internships, or scholarships.
Careers in the program
According to the US Department of Labor, chemists held about 84,300 jobs in 2008, and they predict that employment opportunities will grow at a rate of 3% per year. Many of these are in industry, with chemistry and related positions being located in heavily industrial regions of the country. Louisiana has a strong chemical industry due to petroleum and wood-based production of chemicals and chemical precursors (e.g., dyes, soaps, polymers, solvents, etc.), and associated chemical industries, such as analytical and forensic/genetic laboratories.
Chemistry majors often go to graduate school and complete their education with Masters or PhD degrees. Chemistry majors also find rewarding careers in the medical, dental, and pharmaceutical industry, and many are involved in teaching at all levels (K-12 and college).
Starting Salaries after completing the program (estimates only)
According to our accrediting body, the American Chemical Society, the median starting salary for chemistry graduates with a bachelor's degree was $37,500 in 2007; those starting with a master's degree earned a median salary of $50,000; and those starting with a Ph.D. made median earnings of $70,000. Salaries are typically highest in industry and lowest in academia.
Campus organizations and activities affiliated with the program
SCUMS: Society for Chemistry Undergraduate Majors
Related fields that might interest you
- Agricultural and food science
- Environmental science
- Biological science
- Medical science
- Medicinal and pharmaceutical science
- Chemical engineering
- Materials engineering
- Science technicians
How do I know this is the degree for me?
Common Strengths and interests of students in the program
- Strong interest and demonstrated accomplishment in high school math and science
- Good problem solving skills
- Good common sense
- Pays attention to details
- Follows projects to fruition
- Curiosity about the world around them
- Excels at complex tasks requiring mental visualization
On Campus: 210 Pursley Hall