Do science and math get you fired up? If someone says “Bunsen,” do respond with “burner?” If you do, and you’re fascinated by the idea of creating and characterizing new compounds or researching new drugs to cure disease, look no further. At CMU, you’ll get your goggles on and nurture your inner chemist with opportunities for hands-on, undergraduate research. Our chemistry programs are certified by the American Chemical Society.
Points of Pride
- CMU is a Carnegie-classified doctoral research institution. Its faculty and students – including undergrads – work elbow-to-elbow to improve lives through research. Their work has included creating a chemical compound that filters cancer-causing perchlorates from water and a method to capture and process mercury from coal-fired power plants.
- CMU's student chapter of the American Chemical Society has received an outstanding chapter award for eight consecutive years.
Put Your Degree to Work
As scientific research projects increasingly involve multiple disciplines, chemists will work on teams with other scientists, such as biologists and physicists, computer specialists, and engineers. For example, in pharmaceutical research, chemists may work with biologists to develop new drugs and with engineers to design ways to mass-produce the new drugs.
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics sample data
|Job||Median Pay||Job Growth through 2022|
|Chemist||$73,060 per year||6% (96,200 more jobs)|
|Chemical engineer||$94,350 per year||4% (1,500 more jobs)|
|Chemical technician||$42,920 per year||9% (6,000 more jobs)|
The course listings below are a representation of what this academic program requires. For a full review of this program in detail please see our official online academic bulletin AND consult with an academic advisor. This listing does not include the General Education courses required for all majors and may not include some program specific information, such as admissions, retention, and termination standards.
(Click on the course name or number for a complete course description.)
Total: 40 semester hours
Notes: 11 credit hours must be in laboratory courses. (One credit hour each of CHM 131,132,211 and 331, and two credit hours of CHM 161 count as laboratory credit hours). *CHM 521 (3) and CHM 522 (3) may be substituted for CHM 425 (3). Students are urged to consult their major/pre-professional advisor before enrolling for biochemistry courses.
Mathematics and Physics: The following courses are required for students desiring American Chemical Society certification: MTH 132, 133, 223 and 233; PHY 145QR, 146, 175, and 176. Students with inadequate high school preparation may find it necessary to complete additional MTH courses. These MTH and PHY courses are also recommended for students who do not desire ACS certification. The MTH and PHY courses must be completed prior to enrolling in Physical Chemistry.
Chemistry Core I
Select one of the following options:
Chemistry Core II
Analysis and interpretation of quantitative chemical information from volumetric, electrochemical, spectroscopic, and chromatographic techniques. This course may be offered in an online/hybrid format. Prerequisite: CHM 132 or 161. Recommended: MTH 107. Quantitative Reasoning.
Descriptive chemistry of selected main group and transition elements, coordination complexes, structures and properties of solids. Synthesis and characterization of inorganic compounds. Prerequisites: CHM 132 or CHM 161.
Organic Chemistry I
Overview of common organic reactions. Reactions of alkanes, alkenes, alkynes, and alkyl halides, Ultraviolet/Visible, Infrared, and Nuclear Magnetic Resonance spectroscopy, mass spectrometry. Prerequisite: CHM 132 or 161.
Organic Chemistry II
Continuation of CHM 345. Overview of common organic reactions of aromatic compounds, alcohols, carbonyl compounds, and amines. Prerequisite: CHM 345.
Organic Chemistry Laboratory
Laboratory techniques in organic chemistry; methods of synthesis, separation, purification, structure determination - spectroscopic methods; utilization of electronic database (Scifinder) searching techniques. Prerequisite: CHM 345. Pre/Co-requisite: CHM 346.
Physical Chemistry I
Fundamental principles of chemistry based on a quantitative approach. Classical thermodynamics of gases and solutions, chemical equilibria, and electrochemistry. Prerequisites: CHM 211; PHY 146; Pre/Co-requisite: MTH 233.
Physical Chemistry II
Fundamental principles of chemistry based on a quantitative approach. Quantum mechanics, spectroscopy, and kinetics. Prerequisite: CHM 351.
Physical Chemistry Laboratory
Laboratory techniques with advanced data analysis and error propagation in thermochemistry, phase equilibria, kinetics, spectroscopy, surface effects and computational chemistry. Pre/Co-Requisite: CHM 352.
Structure, function, and metabolism of proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, and nucleic acids. Prerequisites: CHM 346.
Culminating experience for chemistry/biochemistry majors: Research; capstone thesis. Development of critical thinking, laboratory skills, instrumentation competence, scientific reasoning and communication skills. Writing Intensive. Prerequisites: 8 credits of chemistry courses and permission of instructor.
Sufficient 500-level advanced courses to meet the minimum credit hour requirement. Select from the following:
Note: Other courses may be substituted only with permission of a chemistry major advisor.
Advanced Analytical Chemistry
Spectroscopic, electrochemical, and other techniques as applied to analytical chemistry. Prerequisites: CHM 211. Recommended: CHM 352 or 355.
Chemistry of Natural Waters
Fundamentals of laboratory and field analysis of water and their application to environmental studies. Prerequisites: CHM 211.
Continuation of CHM 521. Material covered will include in-depth exploration of metabolism of biomacromolecules and biochemical processes requiring their use. Prerequisites: CHM 521.
Isolation, characterization, and analysis of proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, vitamins, and nucleic acids using chromatographic, electrophoretic, and spectroscopic techniques. Prerequisite: CHM 211, CHM 349. Pre/Co-Requisite: CHM 425 or CHM 521.
Bioanalytical Techniques Laboratory
Laboratory analysis of biochemical materials using volumetric, electroanalytical, spectroscopic, and chromatographic techniques. Prerequisites: CHM 211 or graduate standing; Pre/Co-requisite: CHM 425 or 521.
Advanced Inorganic Chemistry
Molecular structure and symmetry, acid-base and oxidation-reduction chemistry, reactivity of inorganic compounds from a thermodynamical basis, catalysis, solid state and organometallic compounds. Prerequisites: CHM 331. Recommended: CHM 352.
Intermediate Organic Chemistry
Mechanisms of organic reactions, emphasizing methods by which these are determined, including kinetics, principles of bonding, stereochemistry, and nuclear magnetic resonance in depth. Prerequisites: CHM 346. Recommended: CHM 351 or 355.
Advanced Chemistry Laboratory
Advanced synthesis, separation, and structure determination of organic and inorganic compounds. Prerequisite: CHM 349, 331.
Materials Chemistry: Inorganics and Nanomaterials
This course will provide a detailed survey of metals, semiconductors, ceramics, and nanomaterials, with a special emphasis on structure-property relationships. Students cannot receive credit for both SAM 700 and CHM 551. Prerequisites: CHM 331 or graduate status. Recommended: CHM 346.
Advanced Physical Chemistry
Advanced development and application of physical theories using a statistical mechanic approach to understanding of molecular energetics and kinetics. Prerequisites: CHM 352 or 355; MTH 233.
An introductory course on polymer synthesis, polymer theory, and basic characterization techniques. Prerequisites: CHM 346, 352.
Treatment of the following three primary areas: 1) actual chemistry of industry, 2) the technology of industry, and 3) the industrial chemical environment. Prerequisite: CHM 346.
A consideration of the major groups of technologically important polymers, including raw material base, the important methods of manufacture, properties, processing, compounding, uses and testing. Prerequisite: CHM 561.
Introduction to Biomaterials
Introduction to biomaterials science, including materials properties, interactions between materials and living tissues, and materials and biological testing. Prerequisite: CHM 346 or graduate standing. Recommended: CHM 352 or 355, CHM 425 or 521, CHM 561, BIO 110.
Polymer Science Laboratory
Treatment of laboratory techniques common to polymer science: synthesis of polymers and the characterization of these materials by spectroscopic, thermal, and mechanical methods. Prerequisites: CHM 349. Co-requisite: CHM 561.
Interdisciplinary introduction to the science of drug formulation, delivery and efficacy. Prerequisites: CHM 346 or 342 or graduate standing. Recommended: CHM 425 or 521, CHM 355, BIO 392.
Topics in Chemistry
Special topics in chemistry presented at an advanced undergraduate - beginning graduate level. Course may be taken for credit more than once; total credit not to exceed nine hours. Prerequisites: See Course Search and Registration.
Seminar in Chemistry
Presentation of technical material and training in the use of chemical literature. Prerequisites: 25 credit hours of chemistry courses or graduate standing.