Chemistry is the study of matter. Chemists not only study the nature of all substances that exist, they also create many new substances. Some study the composition, properties, and structure of compounds, and others delight in investigating the reactions in which substances are converted into others. Knowledge of the changes in structure and energy during these reactions, and of how various factors affect the rate of reactions, help chemists to develop theories and techniques to meet the new challenges of our time. Chemists usually specialize in Analytical, Inorganic, Organic, Physical or Biochemistry. The SDSU undergraduate program covers the fundamentals of each of these areas with an emphasis in laboratory study and practical applications of chemistry.

Chemistry is a great career choice because it is fascinating, it contributes to society, and it is readily employable. Production, research, teaching and administration each appeal to many chemists. There are exciting and rewarding chemical careers in evaluating environmental problems, in developing new pharmaceuticals, in finding alternative energy sources, in creating new processes and products, in studying the nature of matter, identifying and characterizing natural products, and in tracing the processes in living cells to name just a few possibilities. Chemistry is referred to as the central science because it intimately overlaps with other sciences, such as astronomy, biology, geology, mathematics, physics, and psychology. Every level of industry and every level of government require chemists, and many chemists go into business for themselves.

Program Overview

The Department of Chemistry offers a variety of degree programs to meet the goals of its undergraduate and graduate students.

The Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in Chemistry, with the certificate of the American Chemical Society, is the core curriculum. It is designed to prepare the student for the broadest range of opportunities in employment or graduate studies. A modification of the B.S. degree leads to an Emphasis in Biochemistry, which is often selected by students preparing for pharmaceutical or medical careers, as well as aspiring biochemists. This major requires some biochemistry and biology courses in lieu of some classical chemistry courses.

The Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree in Chemistry, with the certificate of the American Chemical Society, meets the needs of other students. The B.A. degree requires a foreign language, greater subject matter breadth, and less upper-division chemistry than the B.S. It is a true liberal arts education.

A second Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree in Chemistry is designed for students in a pre-medical, pre-dental or pre-veterinary program. A student in this program is expected to minor in biology.

The department offers a B.S. Degree in Applied Arts and Sciences, which prepares students for the Single Subject Teaching Credential.

The Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in Chemical Physics is offered for students who wish more mathematics and physics. Individual master plans for each student are filed with the evaluations office.

Graduate Programs. The Chemistry Department office will be pleased to provide applications and detailed information about the Masters and Doctoral programs offered by the department. The Ph.D. degree is offered jointly with the Chemistry Department of the University of California at San Diego.

Special Features

The SDSU Chemistry curriculum offers an unusual amount of hands-on laboratory experience. Laboratories provide hours of small class instruction with experienced instructors. Students learn a wide range of current techniques, use sophisticated instrumentation, and gain experience through group problem solving. As a result, our graduates are sought out by graduate schools, government laboratories, and industry.

SDSU has an active chemistry student organization, Student Affiliates of the American Chemical Society (S.A.A.C.S.). These students enhance the social and educational programs of the department. They offer counseling and tutoring services; sponsor barbecues, potlucks and banquets; coordinate field trips, and have fund- raisers. S.A.A.C.S. provides the best way to network with students and faculty.

Most students crown their training with a senior project in which they work in the research laboratory of a faculty member of their choice. Senior projects often lead to presentations at chemistry meetings and publications in respected chemistry journals.

Career Opportunities

A wide variety of career opportunities are open to chemistry graduates. As expected, many chemistry students are employed by chemical and petrochemical corporations. Locally, many of our students are employed by biotechnology, pharmaceutical and electronics firms. There are SDSU graduates in the EPA, the DEA, and crime laboratories. The City and County of San Diego employ many chemists in providing safe drinking water and preventing pollution. Others find careers in management, market research, and sales. The department is particularly proud of the large number of our graduates who are high school, community college, and university teachers.

Although San Diego is not known as an industrial area, the San Diego Section of the American Chemical Society is comprised of over 2,100 local chemists.

To further explore career options in this field, visit the Career Services Web site for more information.

General Catalog

You can view more complete information regarding the Chemistry program in the General Catalog. All students are responsible for reading and knowing the information pertinent to their areas of study available in the General Catalog. It contains requirements for all academic majors, course descriptions, policies, and regulations governing progress at the university. Catalogs are distributed at all New Student Orientation programs. To order a General Catalog, call (619) 594-7535.