Bachelor of Science in Chemistry

Bachelor of Science in Chemistry

Contribute to Society-Transforming Advancements

The breakthroughs that drive society depend on chemistry. From advanced medicine to renewable energy to wearable electronics, this "central science" is at the core of each.

With a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from Clarkson University, you'll look closely at atoms, molecules and materials. You'll learn to synthesize new compounds and study their properties, interactions and how they can be used in our everyday life — for example, to prepare pharmaceutical formulations, fertilizers, polymers and plastics, electronics, solar cells, catalysts for catalytic convertors, materials for environmental cleanup and more.

A bachelor's in chemistry from Clarkson University prepares you for leadership in the chemical and materials industries, as well as entrance to graduate and professional programs.

Why Study Chemistry at Clarkson?

Books take you only so far. The best way to understand chemistry is by doing it. As an undergraduate at Clarkson, you'll have remarkable opportunities to participate from day one in research that makes a real difference.

You'll work alongside faculty as well as graduate students who are ready to incorporate you into their work. As they work on the development of next-generation technologies in our state-of-the-art labs, so will you.

And you'll do it in our small, close-knit department, where you'll get to know our faculty members (and they'll get to know you).

By the time you graduate, you'll be in a position to put your skills to work at one of the dozens of employers that turn to Clarkson for students or in leading graduate programs across the country.

What You'll Learn

Your undergraduate chemistry courses account for 68 of the overall 120 credit hours needed to graduate. Some of the classes you will take include:

  • Better Materials Through Chemistry
  • Carbon Capture and Sequestration
  • Electrochemistry and Separation
  • Food Chemistry
  • Forensic Chemistry
  • Intro to Biomaterials
  • Nanostructured Materials
  • Organic Chemistry

The chemistry program is composed of 68 of the 120 required credits for a bachelor's degree. This leaves 52 credits available for student electives and the Clarkson Common Experience. Of the 68 credits in the chemistry program, you will take 45 credits in chemistry, 17 credits in math and physics, 3 credits in biology and 3 credits in statistics.

All courses are 3 credits unless noted.

Clarkson Common Experience

The following courses are required for all students, irrespective of their programs of study. These courses are offered during the fall semester, with FY100 First-Year Seminar required only of first-year students. Both FY100 and UNIV190 are typically taken during the fall semester of the first year at Clarkson.

  • FY100 First-Year Seminar (1 credit)
  • UNIV190 The Clarkson Seminar (3 credits)

Chemistry Core Requirements

Students majoring in chemistry are required to complete the following courses:

  • CM103 Structure and Bonding
  • CM105 Chemistry Laboratory I (2 credits)
  • CM104 Chemical Equilibrium and Dynamics
  • CM106 Chemistry Laboratory II (2 credits)
  • CM121 Freshmen Seminar (1 credit)
  • CM221 Spectroscopy
  • CM223 Spectroscopy Laboratory
  • CM241 Organic Chemistry I
  • CM242 Organic Chemistry II
  • CM244 Organic Chemistry Laboratory I
  • CM300 Instrumental Laboratory
  • CM312 Survey of Inorganic Chemistry
  • CM320 Separations and Electrochemistry
  • CM345 Advanced Laboratory (4 credits)
  • CM371 Physical Chemistry I
  • CM372 Physical Chemistry II
  • MA131 Calculus I
  • MA132 Calculus II
  • MA232 Elementary Differential Equations
  • PH131 Physics I (4 credits)
  • PH132 Physics II (4 credits)

Professional Experience

The professional experience can include directed research in research labs with Chemistry & Biomolecular Science faculty in the fields of physical chemistry, organic chemistry, inorganic chemistry, electrochemistry, analytical chemistry, biochemistry, materials and colloid chemistry; and internships or co-ops at other universities and in industry settings, as well as with organizations specifically involved in chemistry-related efforts.

Chemistry Core Electives

The following electives are required to complete the chemistry major:

Biology Elective
Students must complete one 3-credit course from the biology (BY) subject area.

Statistics Elective
Students must complete one 3-credit course from the statistics (STAT) subject area.

Knowledge Area/University Course Electives
Students majoring in chemistry will have approximately 15 credit hours available to use for Knowledge Area and/or University Course electives.

Free Electives
Students majoring in chemistry will have approximately 32 credit hours available to use for courses of their choosing.

In their senior year, students who elect the research thesis option will be paired with faculty thesis advisors to support them in selecting a research topic which reflects students' focuses and interests. Students are also required to complete CM491 Senior Thesis (fall, 6 credits) and CM492 Senior Thesis (spring, 6 credits) and to submit a completed thesis.

Every chemistry student completes a professional experience, which can include a co-op or an internship. Clarkson has relationships with dozens of research institutes, labs and corporations where you can put your interests to work.

In recent years, Clarkson students have interned at places including:

  • Beckman Laser Institute
  • Corning
  • Goodyear
  • Intel
  • Procter & Gamble
  • Regeneron Pharmaceuticals
  • Saint-Gobain
  • Swift Labs
  • Trudeau Institute

Career Development Opportunities

Alumni tell us often: The research they did with faculty was the most valuable part of their time here. You'll have the same opportunities. Working alongside our faculty, you might design nanoscale devices, seek disease biomarkers in bodily fluids or build metal-organic frameworks.

Faculty research interests include:

  • Analytical, electrochemistry and sensors
  • Biochemistry and biotechnology
  • Inorganic and solid-state chemistry
  • Nanotechnology and nanomaterials
  • Organic, polymers and soft materials
  • Physical and computational chemistry

Explore Research

Cutting-edge research requires cutting-edge tools. You'll use the latest instrumentation, such as nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) and high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC).

Other instruments include:

  • Electron microscopes
  • Mass spectrometers
  • Gas chromatography (GC) and high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC)
  • Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR)
  • Raman spectroscopy
  • Thermal and mechanical analyzers
  • UV/visible, fluorescence and atomic adsorption spectrometers
  • X-ray diffractometers

Learn About Our Facilities

A minor in chemistry is composed of 8-10 credit hours in a first-year sequence, and at least 15 credit hours from a list of chemistry courses provided below, which totals to about 23-25 credit hours out of the 120 for a bachelor's degree.

All courses are 3 credits unless noted.

Chemistry Minor First-Year Sequence

Students are required to take the following courses:

CM103 Structure and Bonding
CM104 Chemical Equilibrium and Dynamics
CM105 Chemistry Laboratory I
CM106 Chemistry Laboratory II
or CM131 General Chemistry I
and CM132 General Chemistry II

Chemistry Minor Core Electives

Students must take five of the following courses, including at least one of the labs:


CM221 Spectroscopy 
CM241 Organic Chemistry I 
CM242 Organic Chemistry II 
CM312 Introduction to Inorganic Chemistry 
CM320 Separations and Electrochemistry 
CM371 Physical Chemistry I 
CM372 Physical Chemistry II 
CM460 Biochemistry I 
CM461 Biochemistry II 


CM223 Spectroscopy Lab 
CM244 Organic Chemistry Lab 
CM300 Instrumental Lab
CM345 Advanced Lab (4 credits)
CM470 Biochemistry/Biotechnology Lab

You can customize your chemistry degree with a minor or professional concentration or select a specialized advising track if you're considering grad school.

Some popular options include:

Environmental Health Science Minor

Learn the science behind sustainability in this minor. Choose from courses in industrial hygiene, wastewater treatment, anatomy and more. Learn more about the environmental health science minor.

Medicine and Healthcare Minor

Effective healthcare practitioners go beyond basic science. They also bring perspectives from the social sciences and humanities into their work. In this minor, you'll gain field experience that will prepare you for a career in medicine, dentistry or several other healthcare disciplines. Learn more about the medicine and healthcare minor.

Pre-Teaching Minor

Considering a teaching career? This minor aligns with Clarkson's Master of Arts in Teaching program, a one-year master's degree that leads to New York State certification in most disciplines. Learn more about the pre-teaching minor.

Business Minor or Dual Major

Chemistry with a business degree track leads to a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry with a minor or second major in business. This structure provides a strong foundation in chemical sciences with additional exposure to the principles of business functions, including accounting, economics, finance, law, organizational behavior, operations management, entrepreneurship and marketing. Successful completion of this track will prepare students for jobs in industry, business administration and entrepreneurial activities, as well as for entrance to graduate programs in the sciences or professional programs in business. Learn more about business studies and minoring in business.

BS in Chemistry + MBA (4+1)

This five-year program allows students to complete the requirements for the Bachelor of Science in Chemistry along with the Master of Business Administration in five years. The residential MBA consists of foundation courses in 10 specified areas and 38 credit hours of advanced graduate work. Through careful planning, students in the chemistry program may complete the MBA foundation courses as part of an undergraduate minor in business. Learn more about the residential MBA.

Pre-Health Sciences Advising Track

A chemistry degree is a natural fit for a career in the health sciences. Once you choose a specialized track, advisors will help you select classes and activities that can make it easier to get into a graduate program.

Available advising tracks include:

Clarkson students participate in more than 200 student-run clubs and organizations, from professional societies to intramural clubs and sports. Some focused on chemistry include:

  • American Chemical Society
  • American Indian Science and Engineering Society
  • American Institute of Chemical Engineers
  • Clarkson ChemE Car

All Clubs and Organizations

“I feel like I have a supportive community here at Clarkson, especially due to the CUPO (Community of Underrepresented Professional Opportunities) program and my research mentor. Everyone has patience and directs me to every possible resource there is on campus. You can tell they want you to succeed and not just get a good grade.”

Ivy Dong '25, BS in Chemistry

Career Possibilities

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for chemists and materials scientists is expected to grow by 6 percent over the next decade. But, that just hints at the directions you can take with your degree, especially when you combine your studies with another discipline.

Fields you might consider include:

  • Agriculture
  • Food chemistry
  • Forensics
  • Journalism
  • Laboratory management
  • Nanochemistry
  • Pharmaceutical research
  • Product development
  • Teaching

Recent Employers and Grad Schools

Our focus on hands-on experience pays off when you graduate. Clarkson maintains a network of nearly 400 employers, many of whom routinely recruit our students. You'll find Clarkson alums in places like:

  • Applied Materials
  • Biogen
  • Clinilabs
  • DEKA Research and Development
  • Ethera Biotech
  • Epic
  • Freedom Farms, LLC
  • Ichor Life Sciences
  • Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT
  • Mylan
  • Pat's Pizza
  • Regeneron Pharmaceuticals
  • ThermoFisher Scientific
  • Unither Pharmaceuticals

Many chemistry majors go on to pursue graduate work in business, the health sciences, environmental science, education or chemistry. In recent years, our alumni have gone to places such as:

  • Boston University
  • Cornell University
  • Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • SUNY Upstate Medical University
  • The Ohio State University
  • University Of New Haven

Contact Us

Department of Chemistry and Biomolecular Science
Phone: 315-268-2389

Interested in learning more about earning a BS in Chemistry at Clarkson? Contact us today!

100 Percent Placement Undergrad - Program Specific

Summer Research

Our five-week pre-frosh summer program gives you research experience even before classes start. Or, sign up for a 10-week summer program after your first, second or third year, when you can dive even deeper into work you've already started. And in summer, spend your evenings and weekends exploring: kayak right off campus, or swim in the clear waters of an Adirondack river.

More About Summer Research

Take the Next Step

At Clarkson, you don't have to wait to get the kind of research experience that will shape your future. Learn more about earning a BS in Chemistry at Clarkson today.