In pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry, students 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, or 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.
Our courses demonstrate the interconnectedness of environmental concerns.
Through laboratory courses and research, students use their foundational knowledge to explore specialized areas of chemistry and gain familiarity with the actual practice of chemistry.
In the final two years of the program, students must select one of three Option Areas:
- Biochemistry and Natural Products
The Biochemistry and Natural Products option stresses a chemical approach to problems in the life and health sciences.
- Environmental Chemistry
Learn strategies to stress applications of fundamental chemical principles to describe and predict behavior of chemicals in the environment.
- Natural and Synthetic Polymer Chemistry
Gain an excellent background both for direct entry into industrial chemistry and graduate study in areas such as chemistry, biotechnology, or polymer science.
Learn more about Chemistry Option Areas
The Biochemistry and Natural Products option stresses a chemical approach to problems in the life and health sciences. Students take advanced courses in natural products chemistry, chemical analysis, and biochemistry. Professional electives in physiology, chemical ecology, genetics and molecular biology strengthen connections in the life and health sciences.
Research areas include the elucidation of chemical signals by which organisms communicate with each other, the role of trace metals in the growth of microorganisms, the origin and function of biologically active natural compounds, and synthetic biology and metabolic engineering for the production of value-added products and antimicrobial compounds.
ESF's chemistry courses and programs of study are aimed at preparing the scientists of the future. The Biochemistry and Natural Products option provides particularly good training for students aiming for professional degrees in biomedical fields or careers in biotechnology, forensics, and biomedical sciences.
The senior year culminates in a senior research project – ranging from laboratory to field-intensive studies – undertaken under the supervision of one of the chemistry faculty.
All students are encouraged to start research before their senior year through FCH 495.
Research encompasses fieldwork, laboratory studies, and modeling, and focuses on the atmosphere as well as marine and freshwater systems. Studies are carried out on scales ranging from local to regional to global. Topics include behavior of nutrients in water, food webs, toxic algal blooms, reactive and persistent organic pollutants in air and water, mercury chemistry, and global climate change.
The Environmental Chemistry option stresses applications of fundamental chemical principles to describe and predict behavior of chemicals in the environment. After obtaining a strong foundation in analytical, physical and organic chemistry, students pursue advanced study in air and water chemistry:
A range of specialty courses are taught by our faculty and are offered at regular intervals: Urban Health, Oceanography, Aquatic Organic Chemistry, Stable Isotope Biogeochemistry, Advanced Environmental Analysis. A wide variety of courses in ecology, engineering, geology, and environmental policy are also available.
This program provides particularly good training for students aiming for professional degrees or careers in forensics or any aspect of environmental science.
- FCH 510 Environmental Chemistry I - Aquatic Chemistry
- FCH 511 Environmental Chemistry II - Atmospheric Chemistry
- FCH 515 Methods of Environmental Chemical Analysis
Professional electives provide students exposure to environmental topics in health, engineering, biology, and sustainability. The senior year culminates in a senior research project undertaken under the supervision of one of the chemistry faculty. This gives students the opportunity to experience research ranging from laboratory work to field-intensive studies
Gain an excellent background both for direct entry into industrial chemistry and graduate study in areas such as chemistry, biotechnology, or polymer science. This Natural and Synthetic Polymer Chemistry option offers an excellent background both for direct entry into industrial chemistry and graduate study in areas such as chemistry, biotechnology or polymer science.
Students take advanced courses in mechanisms of polymerization and polymer synthesis, physical properties and characterization of polymers, and laboratory techniques of polymer synthesis and characterization. Special topics courses in contemporary polymer and material science are available as electives. In addition, courses in carbohydrate chemistry provide a solid background for chemists planning careers in paper, plastic, high-tech, energy, membranes, and related areas. Biochemistry is an appropriate elective for students interested in the growth of biotechnologies while environmental chemistry complements this program for students interested in working on problems of biodegradation.
Degree Requirements for the Natural and Synthetic Polymer Chemistry Option
Undergraduates in the Natural and Synthetic Polymer Chemistry option take advanced lecture courses in the following areas:
- Reaction kinetics and mechanisms of polymerization and polymer synthesis (FCH550)
- Physical properties and characterization of polymers (FCH552)
- Laboratory practice in the techniques of polymer synthesis and characterization (FCH551)
Some appropriate professional electives are:
- Biochemistry (FCH530) for students interested in biotechnology
- Environmental chemistry (FCH510 or FCH 511) complements the polymer program for students interested in working on problems relating to the environmental fate of polymers and compounds used in their production and processing.
- Advanced courses in mathematics, statistics.