Department of Chemistry
Oregon State University

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Chemistry Degrees, Tracks, and Options

Several degree programs available to undergraduate chemistry majors that fit different goals.

All curricula involve general, organic, analytical, physical, and inorganic chemistry course work, plus two to three years of laboratory work in chemistry.

There are two tracks for the B.S. degree. Students in either track or any option with good academic records and letters of recommendation will be well prepared and competitive for continued graduate education in chemistry or related areas. 

Track One is certified by the American Chemical Society (ACS) and has two options: advanced chemistry and advanced biochemistry. This track is well suited for students intending to pursue a graduate degree in chemistry or a closely related area.  It provides the most rigorous and complete chemistry, physics, and math background and the most extensive laboratory experience.

Track Two for the B.S. degree consists of a core of chemistry courses plus a combination of 8 to 11 courses (30 to 36 credits) that defines the option. This track does not lead to a degree certified by the ACS.  The following options are available: biochemistry, business, chemistry education, chemical engineering, premed, environmental chemistry, forensic science,and materials science. These options are structured to provide a chemistry major with a second area of expertise. This multi-disciplinary approach is designed to enhance preparation and opportunities for employment in areas such as electronics, polymers, or biotechnology (materials science, chemical engineering, or biochemistry option), for careers in environmental science (environmental chemistry option), for graduate study in applied areas or professional schools (premed or business option), or for teaching in high schools (chemistry education option). The coursework for track-two students provides an good background for continuing education in graduate school in chemistry or related areas. Chemistry students with any option and a good academic record will be competitive for positions in graduate school.

The B.A. degree includes a second language requirement and additional liberal arts courses (9 credits). The B.A. degree is appropriate for chemistry students interested in obtaining a broader background including a foreign language and may lead to international opportunities, especially if coupled with the International Degree Program at OSU.

The similarities and differences in the core courses for the two tracks are shown below.

Subject Area Chemistry Core for Track-Two
B.S. Degree (79-81 cr) a
(also for B.A. degree)
Chemistry Core for Track-One
(ACS-certified) B.S. Degree (76 cr)
General Chemistry (15 cr) CH 221, CH 222, CH 223 CH 221, CH 222, CH 223
Analytical Chemistry
(quantitative or instrumental analysis)
CH 324 (4 cr) or CH 428 (4 cr) or
CH 421, 422, & 461  (6 cr) b
CH 421, 422 (6 cr), also in option courses
Organic Chemistry (9 cr) CH 334, CH 335, CH 336 CH 334, 335, 336
Experimental Chemistry I (6 cr) CH 361, CH 362 CH 361, CH 362
Experimental Chemistry II (3 cr) CH 462 or CH 463 or CH 463 in the option courses
Inorganic Chemistry (6 cr) CH 411, CH 412 in the option courses
Physical Chemistry (9 cr) CH 440, CH 441, CH 442 CH 440, CH 441, CH 442
Math MTH 251, MTH 252, MTH 254 (12 cr) MTH 251, MTH 252, MTH 253 (or MTH 306), MTH 254 (16 cr), also in option courses
General Physics (15 cr) PH 211 & 221, PH 212 & 222, PH 213 & 223 or
PH 201, PH 202, PH 203
PH 211 & 221, PH 212 & 222, PH 213 & 223

a  For the chemical engineering, environmental chemistry, forensic science, and materials science options, the core requirements (math, physics, analytical chemistry, experimental chemistry II) are slightly modified

b The combination of CH 421, 422, & 461, which is 9 cr, can be substituted for CH 324 and provides a stronger background in analytical chemistry. With the substitution only one inorganic chemistry course (CH 411) is required which increases the core credits by only 2 cr.

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last updated 03/01/2010