Offered by the Department of Chemistry and Physics
Professors Ramasamy (chairperson) Davis
Associate Professors Ambrosio, Chester, Ganong, Vayansky
Assistant Professors Carson, Kiessling
The Department of Chemistry and Physics is recognized by the American Chemical Society’s Committee on Professional Training as meeting their nationally recognized standards that define high quality undergraduate chemistry programs. Students who complete the ACS approved chemistry degree program will then be certified by the ACS, the largest scientific society in the world. The Department of Chemistry and Physics offers four programs that lead to the baccalaureate degree with a major in chemistry and one program of study that provides an ACS-certified baccalaureate degree. Minors in Chemistry, Physics, and Forensic Science are available as further options.
The ACS-certified B.S. degree in Chemistry follows the nationally recognized standards for undergraduate education in chemistry of the American Chemical Society. Both the ACS-certified B.S. degree in Chemistry and the traditional B.S. in Chemistry place an emphasis on organic and inorganic chemistry, mathematics, general education and provide excellent preparation for students to pursue graduate studies or employment in industry. Students who complete either degree option will be well prepared for advanced studies in medicine, dentistry, optometry, patent law, and related professions. Students who elect this degree are prepared to assume careers with food, pharmaceutical, oil, and chemical industries. Chemists are often involved in quality control, research, sales, monitoring employee environments, and agencies requiring analytical skills. Chemistry graduates are very competitive in the retail and wholesale professions. Over half of our chemistry graduates continue on to graduate school.
The B.S. degree in Chemistry also offers a Biochemistry concentration that recognizes the recent growth of the biotechnology industry and attention in all industrial sectors to biological problems. Students receive broad training in traditional areas of chemistry with additional emphasis in the area of cellular and molecular biology. Graduates are well-prepared for a changing job market or for further study in chemistry, biology, or professional disciplines such as medicine, dentistry, or pharmacy. Career opportunities are available in medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, pharmaceutical, biotechnology, food, and cosmetics industries.
The B.S. degree in Chemistry with a nanotechnology concentration is designed for students who want a chemistry education that concentrates on the rapidly growing field of nanotechnology and nanomanufacturing. This concentration requires a one semester nanomanufacturing lab experience at the Penn State Nanofabrication Facility. Some career opportunities for students completing this program include employment in pharmaceutical, biomedical, semiconductor, microelectronic, and optoelectronic industries. This program is excellent preparation for graduate study in solid-state chemistry, materials science, and microelectronics.
The B.S. degree in Chemistry with a forensic science concentration is designed for students who are considering the growing forensic science field. Students receive broad training in chemistry, necessary for students to fully understand the scope and depth of the science and laboratory skill needed to become a forensic scientist. More specialized courses in forensic science, biology and physics are designed along AAFS standards to give students context in the specifics of the field. Graduates are prepared to begin work in forensic laboratories or to continue training at the graduate level. Due to the generalist nature of the degree, they are fully prepared to continue on in the more traditional training or professions pursued in any of the B.S. chemistry degree concentrations.
Cooperative Education is an opportunity available to junior and senior chemistry majors who are enrolled in any of the B.S. or B.S.E. programs. Students accepted into the program gain valuable career experience, a salary, and up to a maximum of 9 credits toward graduation. To fulfill the requirements of this program, the student usually spends one semester plus one summer on location with a participating industry.