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Chemistry involves the study of solids, liquids, and gases; and the transformations they undergo in combination with each other. Chemists engage in observation, analysis, synthesis and experimentation, breaking natural substances down into their component parts, replicating in the laboratory chemical processes that occur in the physical world, and creating new substances to fulfill specific needs. Chemical discoveries have played an important role in helping us understand the world around us. Biochemistry, the study of chemical compounds and processes that occur in living organisms, has emerged as a field with a growing impact on our ability to diagnose and treat diseases in animals, plants, and humans.
The courses offered in the Department tend to emphasize the practical application of the principles of chemistry. Students learn more than theory and facts; they are also encouraged to consider how this knowledge can be put to use for the benefit of humankind and society. Computers are widely used throughout the Department for data collection and analysis, simulations, and computer-assisted teaching.
The chemistry major prepares an individual for advanced study in graduate or professional school or for an entry-level position in the chemical industry and chemistry- related fields such as pharmaceuticals, oil, health care, agriculture or government laboratories. Some students go on to medical, dental or pharmacy school, while others continue their studies in graduate programs for chemistry, biochemistry, or related areas. In business, they may choose a path in research, marketing, technical sales, quality control, production, or management. The demand for lab chemists in industry is high, and starting salaries for graduating students with the Bachelor of Science degree may be as high as $35,000 or more. Students who have a definite interest in business may go on to earn their Master of Business Administration. The specialized knowledge of chemistry may also be combined with a law degree in preparation for a career in environmental or patent law. Other possible combinations include art conservation (chemistry and art history), forensic chemistry (chemistry and criminal justice), geochemistry (chemistry and geology), and chemical oceanography (chemistry and marine science).
Chemistry and biochemistry majors are advised according to their classification. Students are encouraged to visit and talk with their advisors frequently for general academic and career-related advice. Discussion may include course selection, undergraduate research opportunities, or credited internships, among other topics
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