Student working in a chemistry lab with a professor

Chemistry Major

Earn your degree in chemistry

Build on an understanding of general principles to specialize in the different areas of chemistry. Perform research and present your findings. You have a world of opportunities waiting for you.

Student and professor working together in a lab

What to Expect

  • 47-50 credit hours of courses designed to provide a solid foundation in the basic areas of chemistry.
  • Students get hands-on experience with working with instrumentation and participating in research.
  • A close-knit department where students get a high degree of interaction with knowledgeable faculty.


Students build a firm understanding of chemical principles in general chemistry (first year) and organic chemistry (second year). In the junior and senior years, students take classes from each member of the department who specialize in different areas of chemistry, resulting in chemistry graduates who are well-prepared for their career.

Forensic Chemistry

This course focuses on the chemical techniques that are used in forensic sciences. Content includes a brief historical context, advanced data processing, instrumental techniques, and an overview of drug and food analysis.

Instrumental Analysis

Exposure to methods of quantitation, signal-to- noise enhancement, instrumental design and function, methods of spectroscopy, chromatography, and mass spectrometry.

Medicinal Chemistry

This course teaches the basic concepts of drug structure, interactions, and metabolism. Drug design, development and synthesis, structure and physicochemical properties of drugs and their targets, drugs’ mechanism of action, and the body’s response are also covered. 

Required Courses Meet the Faculty

7 people sitting in front of large sign that says proud to be a chemist


The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry has high rates of participation in research experiences for undergraduates.

And as a senior, present your research at the undergraduate research symposium sponsored by the Virginia Section of the American Chemical Society. Non-presenting students also have the opportunity to attend these conferences.

Interested in teaching chemistry?

You can also earn a teaching endorsement in chemistry in conjunction with the teacher education program.

Student in black shirt pointing to project board

Like many BC graduates, you might enter graduate schools such as:

  • Boston University
  • George Mason University
  • Georgetown University
  • University of Illinois-UC
  • University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
  • Shenandoah University
  • University of Oregon
  • University of Tennessee
  • University of Virginia
  • West Virginia University
Student posing in front of large brick sign that reads Merck & Co. Inc. Elkton Campus. Employee & Visitor Entrance.
Merck Sprinter Internship Program
A paid, competitive internship that can be entered in June that lasts all summer and through the fall semester OR entered in January for spring semester work only.
Engage in activities such as product quality analysis, process development, regulatory compliance, instrumentation and data flow optimization.


Naval Research Enterprise Internship Program

The Naval Research Enterprise Internship Program (NREIP) gives academically talented college students, graduating seniors, and graduate students pursuing STEM careers the opportunity to learn about Naval research and technology while receiving first-class mentoring by top scientists and engineers. Recent BC students have been successful applicants in this program. 

Through the Martin Science Research Institute, student and faculty teams receive up to $5,000 to conduct a summer research project in the natural sciences. A stipend and free housing on campus enables students to make their summer job one of research and exploration. You’ll be guided by faculty in an area they know well and have opportunities that go way beyond a typical class.

Spend your summers at a major university doing research in an area of chemistry or biochemistry which fits your interests or career goals. These paid Research Experiences for Undergraduates are federally funded through the National science Foundation.


Pursue careers in fields such as environmental protection, field analysis, forensics, government, higher education, law secondary education, technical writing and editing, water and wastewater studies and more.

  • Enzymologists
  • Lab Manager
  • Quality Control Technician
  • Drug Product Development
  • Forensic Scientist
  • Research and Development Analyst
  • Chemical Engineer
  • Science Teacher
  • Science Writer
  • Environmental Chemist
  • Health and Safety Officer

Chart your path

Learn more about career paths, employment and advancement in the field of chemistry from the American Chemical Society.

Want an inside look at the department?

Follow the department’s Instagram page. The main goal of the page is to showcase experiments done in labs, research projects, fun activities and the student experience. Social activities within the department include joining the chemistry and biochemistry club and Caffeine Before Chemistry, a weekly social gathering before classes.

Questions? Contact Us!

Dr. Ellen Mitchell, Department Chair

Similar Programs
Consider double majoring, adding a minor, or focusing on a certain area of study.