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Chemistry occupies a central place in the study of matter and life. Chemistry careers span the entire range of contemporary technologies. BS graduates in chemistry work in laboratories developing pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, energy resources, advanced materials for specific applications, solutions to environmental problems, and so on.

A chemistry bachelor's degree is also excellent preparation for professional schools of medicine or dentistry, especially with the increasing dependence of medical research and practice on knowledge of living systems at the molecular level. With the MS in chemistry, a scientist can take responsibility for planning research and supervising laboratories. Excellent career opportunities are found in private industry, in government laboratories, and in college and university chemistry and biochemistry departments.

The Simmons College Department of Chemistry is approved by the American Chemical Society. We offer a number of special programs:

  • Major in chemistry
  • Major in biochemistry
  • Major in environmental science
  • 4+1 BS/MS industrial master's program, in collaboration with the University of Oregon
  • Joint major in chemistry and management
  • MAT in teaching chemistry fast-track
  • MS in science librarianship fast-track

The MAT fast-track program permits students to decrease the time required to obtain a master's degree by starting graduate courses during the undergraduate years. A science major may pursue this program to obtain secondary school teaching credentials. The program in library and information science will appeal to students interested in the application of new technology to science information retrieval.

Facilities and Prerequisites

After declaring a major in chemistry, students select one of the individual laboratory bench-study spaces in S430, where they carry out much of the rest of their work in chemistry. Grants to Simmons have provided the department with instrumentation beyond the scope usually available at undergraduate colleges.

Students considering a major in chemistry should take CHEM 113 and 114 during their first year. In some cases, students with little or no previous high school background may be advised to take CHEM 111 instead of 113. MATH 101 or 102 will be recommended by advisers for students in chemistry who may need to review basic mathematical concepts. By the middle of the junior year, students should have taken MATH 220 and PHYS 112 and 113.

Graduate School Preparation

The American Chemical Society (ACS) suggests a set of standards that it believes will prepare students for graduate study. To meet these standards, the student's program should include CHEM345 and a choice of two additional advanced chemistry courses. Certification that the student's curricular program has met the ACS standards is not required for any career or graduate study; the standards are only a guide in planning a program that will make graduate study easier.