Chemistry student working in one of Saint Mary’s state-of-the-art labs

Chemistry Major/Minor

Chemistry is the study of the structure, properties, and reactions of matter. A core understanding of physical nature gives you the knowledge to go out into the world — and explore everything about it.

The chemistry major serves those students who wish to build an educational background for a variety of interesting careers. 

Career opportunities for chemistry graduates are rapidly growing, as the physical world changes and human behaviors are evolving. Pharmacology, forensic science, and environmental science jobs are in high demand and are both challenging and rewarding. Entry-level careers in the sciences are indispensable, including chemical engineers, research scientists, and analytic chemists.

Chemistry is a preferred major for pre-professional programs including medicine, dentistry, veterinary science, and pharmacy.

Program Studies

The chemistry major involves course studies in general, organic, and physical chemistry. Calculus and physics courses are also required, with optional studies in biochemistry, molecular chemistry, and polymer chemistry. Several courses combine hours of laboratory work with multiple lectures each week.

Potential Careers

  • Agricultural and food scientist
  • Middle or high school teacher**
  • Environmental scientist
  • Forensic scientist
  • Materials scientist
  • Clinical laboratory technologist
  • Chemical engineer*
  • Biomedical engineer*
  • Scientific writer
  • Pharmacist*
  • Medicinal chemist
  • Pharmacologist
  • Brewing scientist
  • Toxicologist
  • Scientific laboratory technician
  • Chemical sales representative
  • Patent attorney*
  • Biomedical scientist
  • Physician*
  • Industrial chemist

* Requires advanced degree
** Requires a double major in Secondary Education

High School Preparation

Advanced Algebra; Biology; Chemistry; Computer Science; Physics

Enhance Your Experience

Students who major in chemistry often pursue a minor in scientific computing, math, or physics.

Chemistry Minor

The chemistry minor explores environmental issues caused by chemicals, the chemical basis for life, and the deep study of the physical behavior of nature. These topics complement the biology major. Many biology majors pursue a chemistry minor because they already satisfied many of the requirements of the minor for their biology major.