Chemistry - BA, BS

College of Science

About This Degree

Chemistry is the scientific study of matter, its properties, and interactions with other matter and with energy. It is a science applicable to a wide range of career goals, including medicine, law, physical and social sciences, engineering, and public health and policy.

What You Will Learn

At USU, chemistry majors have the opportunity to conduct undergraduate research from the beginning of their studies, first as laboratory assistants and eventually moving on to their own research projects. Unique to USU, many undergraduates in the department are able to publish research papers. This gives USU students a competative advantage should they apply for graduate programs.

Students can choose not to have an emphasis if they obtain a bachelor of arts. To receive a BA, students must also gain proficiency in one or more foreign languages. This is an appropriate choice for students who wish to combine strong interest and preparation in chemistry with graduate study in law or business.


Professional Chemistry (BS):

This emphasis is for students who wish to be chemists with careers in test laboratories, such as government laboratories and hospital laboratories. Students graduating with this emphasis will also find jobs in research development, quality control, and manufacturing. This emphasis meets requirements for certification by the American Chemical Society, which can result in higher-paying careers for graduates than those without ACS certification.

Biochemistry (BS):

Biochemistry is the study of chemical processes in living organisms and the structure and function of cellular components. Students study carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, nucleic acids, and other biomolecules. This emphasis meets requirements for certification by the American Chemical Society, which can result in higher-paying careers for graduates than those without ACS certification.

Environmental Chemistry (BS):

This is the study of chemical alterations in the environment. Principal areas include studying soil contamination, water pollution, and air pollution. This emphasis meets requirements for certification by the American Chemical Society, which can result in higher-paying careers for graduates than those without ACS certification.

Chemical Education (BS):

The chemistry major with a chemical education emphasis requires students to follow the ACS certification requirements and is for students wishing to teach chemistry and advanced placement chemistry in high school or for those who will enter employment emphasizing professional training in chemistry or biochemistry.

Life Science (BS):

The life science emphasis is popular for students wishing to go on to medical or dental graduate programs. A major in chemistry gives these students a strong base for understanding the nature of chemical reactions in the body and the behavior of the drugs they will prescribe.

Education Component

This is for the chemical education emphasis only. In order to obtain a secondary teaching license for grades 6-12, students must complete the 35-credit Secondary Teacher Education Program (STEP), which includes one semester of student teaching in a public school. This program is administered by USU’s School of Teacher Education and Leadership (TEAL) within the Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services. Student must apply to the School of TEAL the semester before taking STEP courses. This is usually the fall of their junior year. Students learn subject content through the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department, and spend the last year or two studying education techniques through the STEP program.

Students with a chemical education emphasis are required to select an approved teaching minor in order to expand their career options.

Career And Outcomes

Career Opportunities

Those who emphasize in chemical education are prepared to teach chemistry and advanced chemistry courses in high schools. In general, a degree in chemistry also prepares students for further postgraduate studies in a variety of subjects, including chemistry, biochemistry, molecular biology, medicine, and patent law. Students can also pursue the following careers:

  • Work in research and development
  • Work as a biotechnician
  • Work in the pharmaceutical industry
  • Medical laboratory technology
  • Quality control technician
  • Associate chemist
  • Technical sales representative
  • Analytical chemist
  • Clinical technician

The Career and Design Center provides counseling and information on hundreds of job and internship opportunities and even helps students apply and interview.

Job Outlook



We will build on your goals and experiences while working together to design an individualized semester-by-semester plan. Your personalized plan will help you see a path from where you are now on to graduation. Even if you are unsure of the major you would like to pursue, we can help with resources and ideas.

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Admission Requirements

In addition to Utah State University’s admissions requirements, the chemistry program has additional requirements:

  • Freshmen: New freshmen admitted to USU in good standing qualify for admission to this major.
  • Transfer students: Transfer students from other institutions need a 2.2 total GPA for admission to this major. Students transferring from other USU majors need a total GPA of 2.0 for admission to this major.
  • STEP Requirements (chemical education emphasis only): Please visit for more information.

International students have additional admissions requirements.

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