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Chemistry Curriculum

Current students: See the Recommended Academic Plans for detailed course recommendations for each option and refer to the University Bulletin for course descriptions and more degree requirements. Or find other resources on the Current Students page.

Chemistry Options

With a large number of supporting courses and free electives, the chemistry major at Behrend provides our students the opportunity to tailor their degree to suit their personal career goals. To help achieve their objectives, students can choose one of several options within the chemistry major. Each option is described below. For complete requirements, please refer to the University Bulletin.

Recommended Academic Plan - Checksheet

The general option is the most traditional and flexible version of the Behrend chemistry major. It has been designed to suit any student and their personal career goals. Students who choose this option can select from a wide range of supporting and related courses which will prepare them for employment in the chemical industry or acceptance into graduate programs including health related careers or graduate school in chemistry or another related physical science such as but not limited to forensics, materials science and polymer science. This option fulfills the requirement for an ACS-approved degree in Chemistry.


Recommended Academic Plan - Checksheet

The biochemistry option is designed for students with interests at the interface of chemistry and biology. It is structured to prepare graduates for work in industry or further training in graduate school. The curriculum provides a broad fundamental background in biochemistry with the introductory biochemistry courses stressing the application of chemical principles to biological systems. The upper-level courses can be tailored to suit a student’s interests by choosing optional courses in molecular biology, genetics, proteins or microbiology. Students opting for two 400-level biology courses as electives meet the requirements for a minor in biology. This option fulfills the requirement for an ACS-approved degree in Chemistry.


Recommended Academic Plan - Checksheet

The national and global need for graduates with strong marketing and sales skills coupled with a solid technical background is increasing as the business climate changes. Many students who graduate in business frequently have little or no technical background. The business option is designed for those who enjoy and value chemistry as their primary goal and also see the excitement and potential in the business applications. By selecting the business option, students will earn a technical degree while preparing for careers in sales and marketing of products in the chemical industry or entrance into an MBA program. Graduates will have the skills to obtain positions in any company competing in the global market place including but not limited to the pharmaceutical industry, speciality chemicals, the food industry, cosmetics and many more.


Recommended Academic Plan - Checksheet

The education option is recommended for students who are interested in teaching science in a secondary school setting. After completing a four year degree in chemistry, students can then pursue their Pennsylvania Teacher Certification at another university. There are many universities close to Penn State Behrend that students can choose for their certification. The student who chooses the education option will have a strong background in chemistry that will be very beneficial when teaching secondary education. It should be noted that the CHMBD education option has specific course requirements required by the state of Pennsylvania which include PSY 100, CHEM 472, HDFS 129 and PSY 212. In addition, a minimum GPA of 3.00 is mandatory in the state of Pennsylvania in order to be certified to teach.


Typical Course Sequence

The chemistry major consists of four options: Biochemistry, Business, Chemistry Education Precertification, and General Chemistry. Below is a typical course sequence for the Chemistry bachelor's degree program. Schedules will vary by student, depending on option choice.

Semester 1Credits Semester 2Credits
Chemical Principles I3General Physics: Mechanics4
Rhetoric and Composition3Calculus with Analytic Geometry I4
Experimental Chemistry I1Experimental Chemistry I11
Calculus and Analytic Geometry I4Chemical Principles II3
Health and Physical Activity1.5Health and Physical Activity1.5
Arts course3Humanities course3
First-Year Seminar1Total Credits16.5
Total Credits16.5  
Semester 3  Semester 4 
Quantitative Analysis4General Physics: Wave Motion and
Quantum Physics
Organic Chemistry I3Organic Chemistry II3
Laboratory in Organic Chemistry3Laboratory in Organic Chemistry1
General Physics: Electricity and Magnetism4Effective Writing: Technical Writing3
Ordinary Differential Equations3Arts Course3
Total Credits15Social and Behavioral Science course3
  Total Credits15
Semester 5  Semester 6 
Physical Chemistry—Thermodynamics3Physical Chemistry—Quantum Chemistry3
Experimental Physical Chemistry1Experimental Physical Chemistry1
Chemical Literature1Instrumental Analysis3
Upper level Chemistry course3Elemental Analysis and Instrumental Design Lab1
Humanities course3Upper level Chemistry course3
General Physics: Fluids and Thermal Physics2Chemical Research or Independent Studies1
Supporting course for option3Supporting course for option3
Total Credits16Total Credits15
Semester 7  Semester 8 
Chemistry of the Elements4Chemical Research or Independent Studies1
Electrochemistry and Chromatography Lab1Effective Speech3
Chemical Research or Independent Studies1Social and Behavioral Science course3
Supporting course for option3Supporting course for option3
Supporting course for option3Supporting course for option3
Total Credits15Elective3
  Total Credits16
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