2020-2021 Undergraduate Catalog 
    Jul 19, 2024  
2020-2021 Undergraduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

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Chemistry (B.S.)

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Program Coordinator/Contact

Douglas Raynie, Department Head
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Avera Health and Science Center 131, Box 2202

Program Information

Chemistry is often referred to as the central science because of its strong connections to the other natural sciences and mathematics. Chemistry is therefore an area of study that allows students vast opportunity to explore the unknown and to address some of society’s most pressing scientific problems. Professional chemists are employed in a number of diverse fields: governmental policymakers, pharmaceutical and industrial chemists, intellectual property attorneys, high school teachers, and physicians. The curriculum reaches both the breadth and depth of the discipline. Students take a foundational course in each of the five subdisciplines (analytical, biochemistry, inorganic, organic, and physical chemistry) and advanced courses in these subdisciplines based on the student’s individual interests and career goals. Undergraduate training in chemistry at SDSU provides students with enhanced critical-thinking skills and problem-solving abilities, attributes that are highly desired in the modern workforce. The chemistry major is also excellent preparation for professional study in medicine, dentistry, business, and law. The American Chemical Society (ACS), in recognition of the quality and rigor of the curriculum, certifies the B.S. degree in chemistry offered by the Department. In addition to completing the degree requirements listed below, students engage in independent research projects in collaboration with departmental faculty; this capstone experience affords students a means to apply the knowledge of the discipline to questions for which the answers are unknown.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completing a B.S. in Chemistry, graduates will:

  • Understand the basic concepts fundamental to chemistry.
  • Be properly prepared for laboratory investigations.
  • Develop in-depth knowledge of at least four of the five subdisciplines of chemistry (analytical, biochemistry, inorganic, organic, and physical).
  • Demonstrate knowledge of modern chemistry topics, which could include catalysis, environmental chemistry, green/sustainable chemistry, materials science, and toxicology.
  • Be able to design and execute experiments, analyze data, and use the chemical literature. (Cross-curricular Skill: Inquiry and Analysis)
  • Be able to synthesize the curricular knowledge and skills in a capstone (research) experience. (Cross-curricular Skill: Inquiry and Analysis; Information Literacy)
  • Understand the scientific process and develop problem-solving skills. (Cross-curricular Skill: Problem Solving)
  • Retrieve information effectively. (Cross-curricular Skill: Information Literacy)
  • Develop chemical safety skills.
  • Be able to rely on collaboration, effective teamwork, safety, and ethical practices. (Cross-curricular Skill: Teamwork; Diversity, Inclusion and Equity)
  • Learn professional ethics. (Cross-curricular Skill: Ethical Reasoning)
  • Have proficiency in essential green chemistry competencies.
  • Be able to assess, comprehend, and communicate science. (Cross-curricular Skill: Inquiry and Analysis)

Academic Requirements

A grade of “C” or better is required in all courses required for the major.

Accreditation, Certification, and Licensure

The B.S. in Chemistry is certified by the American Chemical Society (ACS), whose certification serves as recognition of a high quality and rigorous curriculum.

Course Delivery Format

Courses offered in the B.S. Chemistry curriculum are taught in a variety of formats which address student learning outcomes. Didactic (lecture) methods ensure the development of foundational knowledge of chemistry. Practical (laboratory) methods ensure the development of laboratory skills and training. A combination of didactic and practical methods ensures the successful completion of the undergraduate research project.

Requirements for Chemistry Major: 120 Credits

Bachelor of Science in Natural Sciences

Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry Requirements

Bachelor of Science Requirements: 13+

  • Natural Sciences  Credits: 10+
    • Any two lab sciences.
    • Coursework must include 2 prefixes.
    • MATH and STAT courses do not count toward the science requirement.
  • AHSS 111 - Introduction to Global Citizenship and Diversity Credits: 3  
  • One declared minor outside of the major prefix OR a second major OR a teaching specialization. The minor may be a traditional minor within one department or it may be interdisciplinary involving more than one department. The minor can be in a different college. The minor must be declared no later than the student’s third semester of enrollment.
  • Capstone course in the major discipline
  • Upper division coursework Credits: 33

System General Education and/or major coursework may satisfy some or all of the above requirements. Consult program advisor for details.

Advanced Chemistry Electives

Select from the following courses:  Credits: 9


Taken as needed to complete any additional degree requirements.


Within the major, electives may be selected to develop a multidisciplinary emphasis area.  Students who wish to pursue multidisciplinary emphasis should consult their academic advisor early in their academic career to plan courses and electives in support of the intended multidisciplinary emphasis.

Total Required Credits: 120


1CHEM 498 - Undergraduate Research/Scholarship (COM)  - The required undergraduate research project must be in chemistry and for a minimum of four credits. The research credits are to be completed over the course of at least two semesters. CHEM 498 credit is given for the research that is completed during the semester or summer. CHEM 490  is reserved for completing a written paper of the research project and presenting the paper to the department in the semester after the project is completed. Students are still encouraged to present their research at a regional or national meeting. Refer to the department for information about additional summer research experiences.

Summary of Program Requirements

Bachelor of Science in Natural Sciences

System General Education Requirements 33 Credit Hours
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry Requirements* 13+ Credit Hours
Major Requirements 39 Credit Hours
Supporting Coursework 16 Credit Hours
Electives** 29 Credit Hours

*System General Education Requirements, Major Requirements, and Supporting Coursework may satisfy some or all of the above requirements.  
**Taken as needed to complete any additional degree requirements.

Academic Advising Guide Sheet

The goal of the academic advising guide sheets and sample plans of study is to promote undergraduate student success by guiding all students to timely completion of an undergraduate degree. Students are not limited to the course sequence provided for their academic program. Instead, the sample plan of study is one possible path to completing your degree and is meant to be used as a guide for planning purposes in consultation with an academic advisor. The plans also help students prepare for meetings with their academic advisor and track their progress in their selected academic program.

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