General Information

What is Chemistry?

Chemistry is the study of the composition, structure, properties and reactions of matter, so the study of chemistry is central to understanding many other scientific disciplines. All human activities deal with a material world, which consists of chemicals both natural and manufactured. The contributions of chemistry to modern society occur in diverse fields, such as pharmaceuticals, polymers, agricultural chemicals, petroleum products and biotechnology. Chemistry also plays a role in cleaning up the environment; improving methods of producing, processing and packaging food; and making automobiles safer and more fuel-efficient. A world of opportunities awaits the student who majors in chemistry.

The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Ohio State offers both the Bachelor of Science and the Bachelor of Arts degrees in Chemistry. The BS is the degree of choice for the professional chemist. The BA is a liberal arts degree, often chosen by students who want a background in chemistry as a basis for future work in other areas of science or in professional programs such as medicine, secondary education, pharmacy, or law.

Ohio State's faculty and students are engaged in a range of research, including projects in new materials for improving the efficiency of electrical and solar energy conversion, the development and application of computational techniques for modeling chemical and biological systems, the development of novel synthetic methods to create functional materials that can be useful for environmental safety, the synthesis of complexes that undergo photo-induced ligand-loss and disrupt cellular processes to treat cancer, and improving the activity and properties of enzymes that inactivate biological weapons.

What can I do with a degree in chemistry?

Chemists are employed in industrial, governmental, and academic positions. Chemistry graduates find positions in research and development, analytical services, quality control, chemical sales, and marketing. Chemistry graduates with education credentials are in demand to teach in high schools and middle schools. Chemistry majors earning a Bachelor of Science often go on to graduate school to earn a master's or doctorate degree. Graduate students in chemistry usually receive a tuition waiver and a modest salary for their work as a teaching or research assistant while pursuing advanced studies and research. A chemist with an advanced degree qualifies for a variety of opportunities in both industry and education. Chemistry professors at colleges and universities are PhD chemists who teach chemistry to undergraduate and graduate students and conduct research in chemistry. Information on a wide range of career opportunities in chemistry is available at the American Chemical Society’s website. Dozens of career options in industry, government, academia, and non-profits can be found with links to extensive descriptions of each.  Many companies are actively seeking Ohio State chemistry majors. 

Chemistry majors earning a Bachelor of Arts have excellent credentials for admission to professional schools such as medicine, pharmacy, dentistry, optometry, and veterinary medicine or admission to graduate programs in areas such as business, law, education, and journalism.

If you think a chemistry major is the right fit for you, spend some time on our CBC Undergraduate Program Blog, where we post information about department events, spotlights on outstanding students, instructors, and alumni, as well as job postings, internships, and research opportunities. An advisor would love to speak with you to answer additional questions about the major.  Contact the Undergraduate Studies Office to schedule an appointment.

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