Pursuing a B.A. or B.S. Degree in Chemistry

The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry recognizes the central nature of Chemistry among the Natural Sciences. Undergraduate research leading to publications is strongly encouraged and many of the laboratory-based courses have a research component built into them. Recent graduates in Chemistry have gone on to careers in chemical industry, government, education, and academia.

Our department offers two degree programs for undergraduates seeking to major in Chemistry: the Bachelor of Arts and the Bachelor of Science.  Your academic advisor helps to see your way through your program, and a useful resource in this regard is the Chemistry Student Handbook.

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Chemistry

The Bachelor of Science (B.S.) prepares undergraduate students for careers in Chemistry, Biochemistry, or Chemistry-related occupations or for further study in graduate or professional schools. The B.S. in Chemistry is the only undergraduate program in the State of Alaska approved by the American Chemical Society's Committee on Professional Training. This approval gives national recognition of the program's quality. Our undergraduate majors may also choose to declare a concentration in Environmental Chemistry or Biochemistry.

B.S. in Chemistry with Biochemistry Concentration

Students pursuing a major in Chemistry with a concentration in Biochemistry study the molecular aspects of biology, particularly related to nucleic acids, proteins, membrane structures, and their interactions. A broad range of biomedical research experiences are available including molecular and cellular neuroscience, proteomics, protein structure-function and molecular toxicology. The arctic environment provides additional research opportunities in environmental biochemistry, adaptations and molecular genetics.

Graduates with a Biochemistry Concentration often begin careers in industry or pursue further education in prestigious graduate or medical schools.

B.S. in Chemistry with Environmental Chemistry Concentration

Environmental Chemistry is a diverse and highly interdisciplinary field that focus on the chemical processes influencing the composition and chemical speciation of natural systems (air, water and soils), the chemical fate and mobility of contaminants in the environment, chemical processes that affect the toxicity and bioavailabilty of contaminants, and chemical aspects of contaminant remediation and pollution prevention (green chemistry). The common link to all these areas of study is a focus on the underlying chemical structure, reactivity and mechanisms that dictate the extent and rates of environmentally important chemical reactions. Environmental chemistry is a challenging field requiring core training in physical, analytical, organic and inorganic chemistry and an understanding of how these disciplines can be applied to complex environmental systems. It is also a highly rewarding discipline, as it provides a quantitative and fundamental approach to understanding the processes that influence the quality of our environment.

The Environmental Chemistry Concentration prepares students for public and private sector jobs related to Environmental Science and Technology, or for graduate programs in Chemistry, Environmental Chemistry and related disciplines. Students take additional courses in geology, biology or atmospheric science and work with a faculty advisor to pursue research in their area of interest.

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Chemistry

The Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) provides breadth in the curriculum and requires more humanities courses than the B.S. degree. The B.A. best prepares students for careers in chemistry-related fields such as environmental law, forensic science, science education, or anthropology. Upper division B.A. students are eligible for competitive teaching assistanceships which strengthen leadership and communication skills. Students may choose to declare an optional concentration in forensic chemistry.

B.A. in Chemistry with Forensic Chemistry Concentration

The Forensic Chemistry B.A. Concentration is designed to prepare students for careers or further education using chemistry to problems related to investigation of crime.  The program builds upon our core chemistry courses, adding courses from UAF's Justice program.

Recent Graduate Spotlight

Charlie Stark graduated from the B.S. Chemistry program cum laude in 2010.  While at UAF, he won the Alaska Chapter ACS award.  In Summer 2010, he was an assistant/second chemist at Bristol industries, performing analytical work out on St. Lawrence Island.  In Fall 2010, he began Ph.D. studies at Montana State in Bozeman.

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