Majors

Chemistry

A major in Chemistry (.pdf) provides students with sound training for a professional career in chemistry and in related areas of science and the medical professions. The minimum major consists of ten courses in the department, as well as physics and mathematics courses.

In their junior year, all majors begin the independent study process with a one semester course that allows them to develop their ideas for their senior independent study thesis project. Through this course, each student learns how use on-line data base searches to locate, read and write about the primary research literature to understand the current limits of knowledge within their chosen field and to develop their own experimentally testable hypotheses. In the senior year, students begin two semesters of Independent Study (I.S.) research. Students apply their understanding of theory and laboratory techniques to investigate the original research questions they posed, and present their findings in a professional talk to the entire Department, poster presentation to the entire campus community, as well as write a substantial thesis that they defend in an oral exam at the end of the year. As the student gains experience the initial advisee-adviser relationship usually becomes one of scientific colleagues interested in a common goal.

Chemical Physics

Chemical physics provides an interdisciplinary approach to the fields of chemistry and physics using mathematical techniques.  The major allows students to explore the interface between chemistry and physics by studying structure, surfaces, bonding, atoms and molecules. By combining the methodologies and knowledge of physics and chemistry, many intriguing scientific questions can be addressed by a student with a strong predilection for mathematics and the physical sciences.

Students may not double major in Chemical Physics and in any of the participating departments of Chemistry, Physics, or Mathematics. No minor is offered in Chemical Physics. Any student who anticipates attending graduate school in chemistry of physics should also take additional courses in those disciplines.

Interested students should discuss their plans with the chairperson of the Department of Chemistry or Physics.

Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

A major in BCMB consists of 13 courses taken primarily in biology and chemistry. Biochemists and molecular biologists ask how the molecules found in biological systems function to confer the properties of living organisms.  Study at this interface prepares students well for a myriad of professional scientific careers as well as occupations in health care.

Students interested in this interdisciplinary major should discuss their plans with the current Chairperson of the BCMB Program.