Frequently Asked Questions
What is Chemistry?
Chemistry is concerned with the properties, composition and structure of matter and
the changes that matter undergoes. These changes are seen as chemical reactions. Matter
is the physical material of the universe. Chemistry is both a practical and a theoretical
science since solutions to theoretical questions often lead to far reaching practical
What are the special features and strengths of the Chemistry program?
The Department of Chemistry and biochemistry offers two undergraduate degrees focusing
on chemistry and two undergraduate degrees focusing on Biochemistry. The Bachelor
of Science degree is intended for the professional chemist; the program is mathematically
rigorous and meets the standards set by the American Chemical Society. The Bachelor
of Arts degree provides the opportunity for a broader curriculum that can include
some additional preparation in another science. A minor in chemistry is also offered
by the department.
The opportunities for training and enrichment go beyond the lecture laboratory courses.
Many majors are involved in research projects with the faculty, and other independent
study is possible. In addition, there are part-time job opportunities on faculty research
projects and with the teaching staff in undergraduate laboratories, and a program
has been established which allows students to study at the University of Salford,
England. You may request a copy of the "Opportunities in Chemistry,'' booklet for
more details on these matters.
The University provides financial support to qualified students in any area of study
in the form of grants-in-aid, loans, work projects, and scholarships which reward
academic achievement. The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry awards the Henry
R. Kreider and the Arthur H. Black Scholarships to junior and senior chemistry majors
with outstanding scholastic records. Several additional awards and prizes are also
given each year.
The Department of Chemistry shares an unusually well-equipped building with the departments
of Biology and Environmental Sciences and the College of Pharmacy. An excellent array
of modern high-quality instrumentation for use by students is available within the
building in the department, in the Natural Sciences and Mathematics Instrumentation
Center, and in the Ohio Crystallography Consortium.
What strengths do the Chemistry and Biochemistry faculty possess?
The most important asset of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry is its faculty.
Faculty members are personally dedicated to providing excellent undergraduate teaching
from a modern standpoint. They maintain a high level of professional competence by
engaging in chemical research, by directing graduate degree programs, and by other
professional activities. Members of the faculty have established nationally and internationally
recognized research groups. Direct personal interaction between faculty members and
chemistry majors is a significant component of the course of study.
What are the career opportunities for a professional chemist or biochemist?
A chemist usually has a degree at the Baccalaureate, Masters or Doctoral level. Chemists
can be employed in industry where they use their education, skills, and creativity
to solve problems and develop new products and ventures for their employer. Chemists
can be employed in government--either local, state, or federal. Often, government
chemists work in large, specialized laboratories sponsored by specific agencies such
as the National Institutes of Health, Department of Energy, National Aeronautics and
Space Administration, or a Defense Agency. Chemists also can be employed by educational
institutions ranging from high schools to universities. Some chemists start their
own businesses or work as consultants. Many branch out of their field of training;
for instance, a disproportionately high fraction of corporate presidents are chemists
who rose through the Research and Development Department of their company. A former
Prime Minister of Great Britain, Margaret Thatcher, is a chemist by training.
Unemployment among chemists is very low. At the worst of times it rose to 2% on a
national basis. In good times the best candidates have a multitude of choices at attractive
salaries. Chemistry is a field that is challenging and interesting for study. That
it offers a rewarding professional life is a fact.
Many students who complete a B.S. degree continue their studies in graduate school.
In the past few years, our students have gone on to Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State,
and the University of California at Berkeley, and MIT.