two students working in lab

Undergraduate Program in Chemistry

Many Chemistry students are drawn to ESF because of the department's focus on using our varied specialties to find ways to improve our world:

  • Finding better ways to generate energy.
  • Discovering new, useful natural and synthetic materials.
  • Making better use of our natural resources.
  • Finding new medications and ways to deliver medicines.
  • Understanding natural processes and the impacts of human activities on our environment.

ESF Chemistry graduates find outstanding employment opportunities all over the country and right here in Central New York. Many go on to earn advanced degrees in chemistry and related fields, medicine and law. Some continue study at ESF, while others are accepted at top graduate and medical schools such as MIT, Yale, Cal Tech, and Cornell.

ESF Chemistry graduates go on to leadership roles in industry, government, and academia, in roles as varied as biotechnology, forensic chemistry, new process development, etc.

Bachelor of Science in Chemistry

In pursuing a bachelor of science in chemistry, students first receive a strong foundation in analytical, physical, organic and inorganic chemistry before selecting one of three options leading to the degree: biochemistry and natural products, environmental chemistry, and natural and synthetic polymer chemistry. Each option offers an advanced course of studies beyond the basic courses of the classical undergraduate chemistry curriculum. All options are excellent grounding for professional work at the B.S. level or for advanced graduate study.

Learn more about the options:

Students may enter the Bachelor of Science program as first-year students or as transfer students. Students who are preparing to transfer to ESF as juniors must have earned at least 60 credits of college coursework in courses comparable to the lower-division course requirements.

Why ESF for Chemistry?

A Rigorous Education

Chemistry faculty bring their expertise in cutting edge research to the classroom, providing an education that is grounded in the latest knowledge and real-world examples. Also, in addition to the usual chemistry courses, undergraduates take three introductory graduate level classes, which looks very attractive to employers. Opportunites exist to participate in research projects leading to co-authorship of papers in major scientific journals.

Employers value the education our students receive—ESF Chemistry undergrads have been highly successful in gaining employment or acceptance into graduate or medical schools soon after earning their degrees.

Personal Attention

Upper-level courses for chemistry majors usually have enrollments of only 5-15 students, so chemistry majors get personal attention from the professors. All courses are taught by professors, not graduate students.

Jahn Laboratory

The department’s home is the 71,000 square foot, Edwin C. Jahn Laboratory, which was completed in October, 1997. In addition to normal classroom and laboratory instruction, students perform cutting-edge research. Students at all levels are encouraged to become involved with research, and two out of three students do so before their senior year. All seniors must perform an independent research project. Students commonly present their research results at local and even national scientific meetings.

Chemistry undergrad in antarctica websiteChemistry Undergrad in Antarctica
Chemistry Professor David Kieber researched chemical and biological transformations in Antarctica, along with grad students George Westby and Jordan Brinkley, and undergrad John Bisgrove. Read more!

Undergraduate Resources

SUNY-ESF and SU Class Schedules
Some Additional Choices/Possibilities for Undergraduates

student working with chemicals in labContact us

For more information, contact:

Department of Chemistry
Jahn Laboratory
1 Forestry Drive
Syracuse, NY 13210
315-470-6856 (fax)

Ivan Gitsov, Chair

David J. Kieber, Associate Chair for Undergraduate Laboratories

Theodore S. Dibble, Associate Chair for Graduate and Undergraduate Programs

Mark Teece, Undergraduate Curriculum Coordinator


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