Currently in demand, chemistry majors can expect a wide variety of career choices with good salaries and low unemployment rates.
What is chemistry?
Chemistry is the study of matter (anything that has mass and occupies space) and the changes it undergoes. Most changes in matter are accompanied by changes in energy. Matter and energy are what all of chemistry is about. Chemistry deals with matter from the tiniest parts of atoms to the most minute materials of the human body.
Your body is a miraculous chemical factory. Just think. It takes the food you eat and turns it into blood, muscle, skin, bones, brains, and more. It takes oxygen from the air, combines it with part of the food you ate to provide energy for every activity.
You practice chemistry when you cook, drive your car, take medicine... this is a peek into the world of chemistry.
Chemistry is also about applying this knowledge for the benefit of society. There is chemistry in synthetic dyes creating the multitude of beautiful colors around us unavailable 100 years ago. Chemistry is in the molecules making up our body, in the polymers that clothe it, and pharmaceutical that cure its ills. Chemistry is in our environment, in the molecules that pollute it and the methods that clean it. If you possess a curiosity about our physical world and a desire to improve the quality of life, consider a major in chemistry.
What kinds of careers can I expect?
Approximately half of our students enter industry, business, or government agencies where employment usually involves laboratory testing or research immediately after graduation. Examples are petrochemicals, plastics, pharmaceutical, agriculture, and environmental analysis. Opportunities do not stop here because half of the chemists employed in these areas are involved in management, production, sales, and marketing.
Some of our students complement the chemistry degree with a teaching certificate and pursue careers in secondary education. Others use their strong chemical background in nontraditional areas such as science writing, scientific computing, mass communications, and library and information science.
A chemistry degree also provides access to graduate and professional schools. Half of our students pursue an advanced education. They enroll in programs which lead to careers in university teaching and research, toxicology, forensics, patent and environmental law, as well as health-related professions such as medicine and dentistry. In our scientific and technological society, opportunities abound.
How should I prepare for a chemistry major?
A challenging and demanding major, chemistry requires a sound foundation in scientific fundamentals and methods as well as strong mathematical and communication skills. You can prepare by taking as many courses as possible in science, mathematics, writing, and computer skills.
What is the curriculum?
Approved by the American Chemical Society, the curriculum involves core and laboratory courses in general, inorganic, organic, physical, and analytical chemistry as well as the allied fields of physics and mathematics. You can match courses with career goals by taking advanced courses and concentrations in mathematics, physics, biochemistry, health sciences, polymers, or education. A strong general education program complements your professional training.
Can non-majors take chemistry courses?
Designed for non-science majors, CHM 103 and CHM 105 are available to students wanting a basic literacy in chemistry. Minors in chemistry and biochemistry are also available to students seeking to complement their primary training. A minor in chemistry can provide breadth and increase your potential employment opportunities: a journalism major who minors in chemistry can understand and more accurately report science-related news stories. Interested students should contact their advisors or the chemistry department immediately after they begin at Shippensburg University.
Why study chemistry at Shippensburg University?
Each chemistry faculty member holds a doctorate from a major university, and is noted as an excellent teacher who is focused on your learning. Class sizes are small, and we are proud of our accessibility in and out of the classroom. You will have the opportunity to undertake research to obtain experience in individual scientific investigation. To prepare you to achieve any career goal, we provide a solid background in all areas of chemistry: analytical, biochemistry, inorganic, organic, and physical.