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