Pursuing a B.S. Degree in Chemistry
The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry recognizes the central nature of chemistry among the natural sciences. Undergraduate research leading to publications is strongly encouraged and many of the laboratory-based courses have a research component built into them. Recent graduates in Chemistry have gone on to careers in chemical industry, government, education, and academia.
Our department offers several flavors of chemistry bachelor degrees as described below. Your academic advisor will help you choose one of these, and will provide guidance each semester along the road to graduation.
Bachelor of Science
B.S. in Chemistry
The Bachelor of Science (B.S.) prepares undergraduate students for careers in Chemistry, Biochemistry, or Chemistry-related occupations or for further study in graduate or professional schools. The B.S. in Chemistry is the only undergraduate program in the State of Alaska approved by the American Chemical Society's Committee on Professional Training. This approval gives national recognition of the program's quality. Our undergraduate majors may also choose to declare a concentration in Environmental Chemistry or Biochemistry.
B.S. in Chemistry with Biochemistry Concentration
Students pursuing a major in Chemistry with a concentration in Biochemistry study the molecular aspects of biology, particularly related to nucleic acids, proteins, membrane structures, and their interactions. A broad range of biomedical research experiences are available including molecular and cellular neuroscience, proteomics, protein structure-function and molecular toxicology. The arctic environment provides additional research opportunities in environmental biochemistry, adaptations and molecular genetics.
Graduates with a Biochemistry Concentration often begin careers in industry or pursue further education in prestigious graduate or medical schools.
B.S. in Chemistry with Environmental Chemistry Concentration
Environmental Chemistry is a diverse and highly interdisciplinary field that focus on the chemical processes influencing the composition and chemical speciation of natural systems (air, water and soils), the chemical fate and mobility of contaminants in the environment, chemical processes that affect the toxicity and bioavailabilty of contaminants, and chemical aspects of contaminant remediation and pollution prevention (green chemistry). The common link to all these areas of study is a focus on the underlying chemical structure, reactivity and mechanisms that dictate the extent and rates of environmentally important chemical reactions. Environmental chemistry is a challenging field requiring core training in physical, analytical, organic and inorganic chemistry and an understanding of how these disciplines can be applied to complex environmental systems. It is also a highly rewarding discipline, as it provides a quantitative and fundamental approach to understanding the processes that influence the quality of our environment.
The Environmental Chemistry Concentration prepares students for public and private sector jobs related to Environmental Science and Technology, or for graduate programs in Chemistry, Environmental Chemistry and related disciplines. Students take additional courses in geology, biology or atmospheric science and work with a faculty advisor to pursue research in their area of interest.
Charles Stark graduated from the B.S. Chemistry program cum laude in 2010. While at UAF, he won the American Chemical Society Alaska Chapter Award. After graduation, he worked as an analytical chemist at Bristol industries on St. Lawrence Island. Currently (2019) he is a Ph.D. student in Chemistry at Montana State University.