A primary goal of the undergraduate Major program in chemistry is to provide a quality educational foundation for productive and creative careers in chemistry and in such related professions as biochemistry, medicine, and engineering. Many graduating chemistry majors proceed to graduate work in chemistry or biochemistry, to medical school, or occasionally to business school or law school. Other graduates choose to proceed directly to positions in government, industry, or education.
To satisfy the needs of those interested in this most central of sciences, the Department of Chemistry offers a broad range of courses and two slightly different degrees. A student may elect to pursue a regular chemistry major or to concentrate in the area of biochemistry. The course offerings and requirements for these degrees are detailed in the Handbook for Chemistry Majors (pdf). Advanced undergraduates often elect to take one or more graduate courses (500 level) if the prerequisites are fulfilled.
In order to qualify for graduation with Latin honors (cum laude, magna cum laude, summa cum laude), a student must follow a more rigorous program. The course requirements for honors eligibility are also provided in the Handbook for Chemistry Majors (pdf).
Aside from fulfilling the course requirements and achieving an appropriately high grade point average, performance in undergraduate research is an important consideration for awards and Latin honors. Credit can be obtained for performance of undergraduate research through Chem 490 and Chem 495.
It is emphasized that taking and passing one of the course programs merely qualifies the student to be considered for Latin honors. Granting these honors is at the discretion of the Department and depends on the distinction of the student's entire record.
A checklist of the Chemistry Majors programs and options is provided for convenience on the last page of the Handbook for Chemistry Majors (pdf).