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Chemistry and Biochemistry

Behind the scenes in almost any area—medicine, transportation, agriculture, the environment, computing, entertainment, law, psychology, and the arts—is an army of chemists, biochemists, and chemical technicians who help prepare materials, analyze evidence, create new substances, and answer the "what is it?" questions that are presented each day. They help monitor the environment, convict the guilty, and keep us fed, clothed, sheltered, and healthy. And we will continue to need these scientists to help clean our environment, deliver high-quality health care, and improve our energy efficiency.

The bachelor's degrees in chemistry and biochemistry includes a broad selection of courses in the sciences and in mathematics that provides an excellent background for careers in a wide range of fields in science or teaching, or as preparation for professional schools, especially medicine (including dentistry and pharmacy).

Upon completion of the series of courses prescribed by American Chemical Society guidelines, students may be certified as professional chemists and awarded the American Chemical Society Certificate in Chemistry.

Faculty and Facilities

The Committee on Professional Training of the American Chemical Society has approved the chemistry faculty, facilities, and curriculum. This is a clear statement of the quality of our program and our graduates to anyone in the field.

The permanent faculty have PhDs in chemistry, representing the major areas of the science. The small size of most major courses assures students of friendly, close contact with the faculty, allowing for hands-on learning of techniques and instrumentation. Short-term research projects with faculty are accessible to all chemistry students.

The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry is housed in the newly completed Science Building and includes 10 teaching laboratories, four research laboratories, and a number of specialized instrument rooms.

Career Outlook

A bachelor's degree in chemistry or biochemistry is the minimum requirement for starting a career as a chemist or biochemist. Graduate training is necessary for most research and college teaching positions. Nearly two-fifths of all chemists and biochemists are involved in research and development, extending scientific knowledge and creating new products in industries including pharmaceuticals and biotechnology. Others work in manufacturing, in chemical analysis, in forensics, in environmental laboratories, as professors in colleges and universities, as consultants in industry and government agencies, and as marketing or sales representatives.

Growth in demand for industrial products (plastics, man-made fibers, pharmaceuticals, and fertilizers), the recognition of the need for pollution control, and improved health care programs will increase opportunities for chemists and biochemists. So will developing technologies for a net-zero emissions energy future.

Larger enrollments in chemistry education in the future will increase the need for chemists and biochemists to teach at universities and community colleges. In addition, there is an acute statewide and nationwide shortage of high school chemistry teachers. Our department is one of the only eight in the entire CSU system to have a degree program for future chemistry teachers approved by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. Plus, our campus has financial incentives for future science teachers that can pay for most of your college expenses.

Our department is uniquely poised to make significant contributions to the training of future scientists, engineers, health practitioners, and educators at all levels.

Catalog Cycle:21