Frequently Asked Questions: Chemistry

  1. What sets Purdue's program apart?

  2. What can I do with a chemistry degree from Purdue?

  3. How should I prepare for the chemistry program in high school?

  4. What courses will I take as a chemistry student?


1. What sets Purdue's program apart? (top)

The Department of Chemistry at Purdue University has earned national and world-wide honors. Purdue's own Dr. Herbert C. Brown, along with Georg Wittig from the University of Hedelberg in Germany, was awarded the 1979 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his research on boron. Purdue's Analytical Chemistry specialization has been ranked #2 in the nation, and the chemistry department as a whole regularly ranks in the top 20 nationwide. The department has a small undergrad population, but a very large faculty. This allows major-classes to remain quite small and for students to receive a great deal of individualized attention. It also gives students many more opportunities to be involved in mentoring programs and cutting-edge undergraduate research in a wide range of fields from bioinformatics to nanotechnology.

Chemistry majors can pursue one of two degrees. First is the Bachelor of Science in Chemistry degree, which is accredited by the American Chemical Society. Second is the Bachelor of Science degree with one of eight specialization options:

  • Atmospheric Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Chemistry Teaching
  • Computational Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • General Chemistry
  • Materials Science
  • Dual degree option with Chemical Engineering
  • Dual degree option with Materials Science Engineering

2. What can I do with a chemistry degree from Purdue? (top)

With a degree in chemistry, you can choose many different careers. Many graduates work in research & development in a wide variety of fields, while others choose jobs such as becoming a lab supervisor, entering pharmaceutical sales, analytical services, or quality control. Our graduates also go directly to graduate school and professional schools. Average starting salaries are between $40,000 and $45,000.

Read more about recent graduates from the Careers site.


3. How should I prepare for the chemistry program in high school? (top)

It is very important to take calculus, chemistry, and a wide variety of science courses including physics. Continue taking foreign language and writing courses for as many years as possible.


4. What courses will I take as a chemistry student? (top)

In your first two years, you will take courses in general chemistry, organic chemistry, and inorganic chemistry. You will also take physics, English composition, three semesters of calculus, and two semesters of a foreign language. Later in the curriculum, you will also be required to take:

  • Analytical and Physical Chemistry
  • general education electives
  • additional foreign language courses to demonstrate fourth semester proficiency
  • lab science coursework in another area
  • additional Chemistry classes

Typical Freshman Year Coursework

Semester one:

CHM 125, General Chemistry I, 5 credit hours

MA 161 or 165, Calculus I and Analytical Geometry, 4-5 credit hours

ENGL 106, English Composition, 4 credit hours

General Education course, 3 credit hours (credit hours permitting)

Total: 16 to 17 credit hours

Semester two:

CHM 126, General Chemistry II, 5 credit hours

MA 162 or 166, Calculus II and Analytical Geometry, 4-5 credit hours

PHYS 152, Mechanics, 4 credit hours

General Education course, 3 credit hours (credit hours permitting)

Total: 16 to 17 credit hours

* Students must earn a minimum 124 credit hours to graduate, which is an average of 15 .5 credit hours / semester.

 

Science at Purdue

By phone: 765.494.1771 or 800.804.8061
By web: www.science.purdue.edu
Department of Chemistry: www.chem.purdue.edu
By email: advising@science.purdue.edu (for advisors)
ScienceQuestion@purdue.edu (for current students)

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