Our program focuses on preparing you to succeed in industry and academia by helping you develop the skills to solve chemical problems, to read meaningfully and to utilize properly chemical literature, to work effectively and safely in the laboratory, to communicate scientific ideas and discoveries both orally and in writing, to function well as a member of a team, and to make ethical decisions in the area of science.
Chemistry is the study of matter and its changes. As a chemistry major, you will start with the science and math courses that provide the background necessary to study chemistry. Those courses include General Chemistry I &II, Organic Chemistry I &II, Calculus I &II, College Physics I &II, and Integrated Chemical Analysis. In these introductory chemistry courses, you will gain a broad overview of the many different topics in chemistry, including stoichiometry, bonding, gases, the structure of atoms and molecules, acid-base theory, organic synthesis, error analysis, ethical issues in science, and quantitative analysis. Then you will go on to study further in the areas of inorganic chemistry, physical chemistry, biochemistry and chemical instrumentation, where you will learn about thermodynamics, kinetics, quantum chemistry and spectroscopy, the structure and formation of coordination compounds, group theory, some of the major categories of structures that make up biological systems (including peptides/proteins, carbohydrates and nucleic acids), and the chemical instrumentation that can be used to study the structure and function of molecules.
As a senior, you will research a chemistry topic in great depth as part of your capstone course, Senior Seminar. You will have two options: you may either prepare a major report on the topic or develop a related research proposal (modeled after the process whereby scientists procure funding for research). For examples of recent chemistry senior projects, go to Seminar Projects. You will also be strongly encouraged to conduct academic research or complete an internship as part of your education.
Course Sequence for Chemistry Majors
||General Chemistry I and lab
|Organic Chemistry II and lab
Physics I and lab
|Biochemistry I and lab
Physical Chemistry I and lab
|Senior seminar (counts as half of a course)
Chemical Instrumentation and lab
||Organic Chemistry I and lab
|General Chemistry II and lab
Integrated Chemical Analysis and lab
Physics II and lab
|Physical Chemistry II and lab
Inorganic Chemistry and lab
|Senior seminar (counts as half of a course)
The Chemistry Department at Saint Michael's College strongly encourages students to pursue research opportunities based upon their interests and career goals. There are numerous opportunities to conduct research in all areas of chemistry, either with Saint Michael’s faculty members or off campus at national laboratories and at institutions throughout the country.
In fact, most chemistry majors graduate having spent one or more summers conducting research. They also have opportunities to present their research results at local and national meetings.
An excellent site for finding research opportunities for students can be found at the National Science Foundation.
Current and prospective students in the natural sciences, math and engineering can find other research opportunities at the Web Guide to Research for Undergraduates.
Chemistry and biochemistry faculty members encourage interested students to e-mail or call them directly to speak about possible opportunities that exist in the department.
After graduation, our majors go on to careers like:
- Adhesive Chemist
- Animal Nutritionist
- Agricultural Chemist
- Atmospheric Chemist
- Biotechnology Researcher
- Business Development Director
- Ceramics Engineer
- Chemical Consulting
- Chemical Educator
- Chemical Facilities Manager (Local, Global, Military)
- Chemical Information Specialist-Software (Private, Public)
- Chemical Safety Consultant (Academic, Military, Health)
- Chemical Sales
- Chemistry Professor
- Clinical Research
- Consumer Safety Officer
- Environmental Protection Agency (air, water, waste)
- Environmental Chemist
- Food Safety Evaluator (USDA, Private)
- Food Chemist
- Forensic Pharmaceutical Analysis (Private, FDA)
- Forensic Chemist
- Fragrance Chemist
- Glass Chemist (Auto, Consumer, Safety)
- High School Teacher
- Human Resources Director
- Marketing and Communications Consultant
- Materials Chemist (NASA, Private, Military)
- Medical Doctor
- Medical Equipment Developer
- Medicinal Chemist (FDA, Private)
- Metals Manufacturing (Mining, Processing, Alloys)
- National Institutes of Health Researcher
- Vitamin and Supplement Chemist
- Petroleum Chemist (Oil Industry, Auto)
- Paint Specialist
- Patent Agent (Private, Academic)
- Patent Attorney (Private, Government)
- Pharmaceutical Chemist (Develop Drug Molecules)
- Plant Engineering
- Polymer Chemist (Plastics, Fibers)
- Pulp and Paper Chemist
- Rubber Chemist (Recycling, Auto, Synthetic)
- Surface Chemist (Computer Chips, Drug Development)
- Textile Chemist
- U.S. Department of Energy (Solve the Energy Crisis)
- Waste Management (Chemical and Hazardous Waste)
- Water Treatment Chemist (Municipal, Private, Federal)
For many years SMC chemistry majors have enjoyed a 100% acceptance rate to professional and graduate schools. Forty-two percent of our chemistry and biochemistry graduates immediately attend graduate science or medical schools.
The graduate schools they have attended recently include Johns Hopkins University, Georgetown University, University of Massachusetts, University of Washington State, Dartmouth, University of Vermont, University of Rochester, University of Pennsylvania, University of Wisconsin, Notre Dame, MIT, and the University of Virginia.