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Bachelor's Degree in Chemistry

Article by Nicole on 15 Aug 2012

Degree(s) Awarded
Undergraduate students majoring in Chemistry are typically awarded a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Chemistry or a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Chemistry. Not all schools offer both degrees, however, and course requirements usually differ between BA and BS tracks. BA programs are typically geared toward teaching or preparation for graduate school, while BS programs offer more specific scientific training.


Length of Degree Program
3-5 years, depending on course load


Degree Program Overview
Chemistry students undertake coursework covering the in-depth principles of chemistry as they relate to virtually every reaction in the universe, from pharmaceuticals to physics, the environment, and forensics, among other topics. Students studying Chemistry at the undergraduate level must fulfill General Education requirements, as well as courses required for the major, which may include topics in:

  • Applied Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Toxicology
  • Soil Science
  • Environmental Toxicology
  • Statistics
  • Environmental Science and Policy
  • Physics
  • Pharmaceutical Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior


Coursework also often includes electives, and some programs require independent research projects.

Some programs will require additional or different coursework. Be sure to consult the course catalog of the school you are enrolled in or interested in attending for complete details, particularly including the specific differences in major requirements between BA and BS degree programs.

Degree Program Prerequisites
Admission to most Chemistry programs requires fulfillment of any prerequisites needed to enter your school's College of Arts and Sciences, and may also require prerequisite courses, which may include topics in:

  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Chemistry


Graduation Requirements
Depending on the school, 120-150 semester credit hours will be required for graduation, along with a minimum cumulative GPA, and satisfactory completion of all General Education requirements, courses required for the major, and presentation of a final project (if applicable).


Career Opportunities and Earnings Potential
Students graduating with a BS in Chemistry are well prepared for careers in forensic analysis, science education, pharmaceutical research, water quality control inspection, and health and safety direction and inspection. Students graduating with a BA in Chemistry can teach at any educational level up to high school with a teaching license, and are also well prepared for graduate school.


Careers available to Chemistry graduates include:

  • Secondary school teacher ($53,230 2010 Annual Median Salary)*
  • Clinical laboratory technologist ($46,680 2010 Annual Median Salary)
  • Forensic Science Technician ($51,570 2010 Annual Median Salary)
  • Chemist and Materials Scientist ($69,790 2010 Annual Median Salary)
  • Environmental Scientist and Specialist ($61,700 2010 Annual Median Salary)


* May require teaching licensure.

Bachelor's Degrees by Subject Area

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