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Division of Natural Sciences & MathematicsDepartment of Chemistry & Biochemistry

Degree Programs

OVERVIEW

Undergraduate Program

Our professors are both teachers and researchers. While many have international reputations in research, all have a strong commitment to excellence in teaching. In general, classes are small and offer an informal setting that ensures that you receive the personal attention that can vitalize your college experience.

Our curriculum is also innovative. The first quarter chemistry class concentrates on the structure of molecules. Then, in the second quarter, you will begin studying the structure and reactions of organic molecules. (Most colleges do not begin organic chemistry until the second year.) This early introduction of organic chemistry provides exposure to a very different area of chemistry than what you have seen before. It also provides a basis for later studies of biochemistry and the molecules of life.

Chemistry at DU emphasizes hands-on experimental practice in all of the undergraduate laboratories, employing state-of-the-art equipment. Students use many different instruments that are also found in research and/or industrial chemical labs, including IR spectrometers, NMR spectrometers, gas chromatographs, mass spectrometers, atomic absorption spectrometers, etc. A special course in instrumental analysis provides extensive training on many of the more important instruments. We believe the best way to learn chemistry is in the laboratory.

Undergraduate research is an important component of our program. Students are encouraged to undertake research projects directed by a faculty member as early in their undergraduate careers as is feasible. In a real sense, our students are apprentices learning a profession, and many of our undergraduates have co-authored papers published in top scientific journals.

We have a number of attractive majors that provide excellent preparation for a variety of careers. Some of our graduates have chosen to obtain a job in the chemical or biotech industries. Environmental chemistry majors are well prepared to work in the environmental area. Many graduates have gone on to graduate school in chemistry or biochemistry. Others have chosen to attend medical school, veterinary school or dental school. There are many other options available, such as pharmacy school, patent law, and so forth.

Our program emphasizes:

  • Small classes
  • Accessible faculty
  • Innovative, new laboratory/classroom building
  • Early introduction of organic chemistry
  • State-of-the-art laboratory equipment
  • Extensive undergraduate research opportunities
  • Scholarships and awards available for those who qualify.
  • The Chemistry and Biochemistry Program

Each undergraduate is assigned an experienced faculty advisor to help with curriculum choices and career goals. Throughout your undergraduate years, you and this faculty member will plan a program that meets all the requirements for your major and gives you the best background for starting your career. Email inquires on any undergraduate subject may be sent to the Department at cheminfo@du.edu.

Many career opportunities today span the traditional division between chemistry and biology. A career in a field such as biotechnology requires an education broadly based in both fields. A BS degree with a major in biochemistry provides an excellent preparation for these careers. The curriculum for this major is firmly rooted in the traditional chemistry discipline, yet provides the flexibility needed to acquire modern biochemical skills. The student is also expected to take a minor in biology. Our curriculum provides high-tech laboratory skills, ranging from protein purification to genetic engineering. The biochemistry degree program offers a stimulating curriculum that prepares the student for advanced degree programs and career opportunities in biotechnology and biochemistry, and also serves as an excellent pre-professional degree.

A chemistry major can choose from five baccalaureate degrees. The first two years of all of these programs are similar and uniquely structured with an early introduction to organic chemistry to accelerate your progress. The BA degree requires fewer hours of chemistry and is excellent preparation for teachers or careers in interdisciplinary fields. The BS degree, with a major in chemistry or biochemistry, is a popular choice for students who plan to work in the chemical or biochemical fields, and for premedical, predental, and preveterinary students. These degrees also provide an excellent preparation for graduate work in these areas. Our newly developed BS degree with a major in environmental chemistry is designed for students who desire to work in the environmental area. The BSCh degree is accredited by the American Chemical Society and is recommended for students planning graduate study in chemistry. Within these degree choices, our flexible curriculum can be further tailored to your personal interests. Particularly important is the fact that the similarity of the first two years in all the degree programs allows you to delay difficult career decisions until your third year, when you may be able to make a more informed choice about your personal goals.

Click here to view the requirements for all Undergraduate Degree Programs.