Chemistry Major Overview

Prof Paradise with chemistry majors

UMass has Great Chemistry!

Our undergraduates are an ambitious and energetic group, who often find creative means to create special opportunities through personal and departmental connections.

Chemistry is about doing science and our faculty teach through doing, as well as talking. Our courses are taught by faculty whose commitment to education has been recognized by numerous awards, and our research prominent faculty are also heavily involved in undergraduate research, discussion sections, and lectures. Faculty present all lectures, and chemistry majors’ courses typically contain 15-40 students. The large laboratory component of the curriculum emphasizes hands-on experience with modern methods as a vital part of being a practicing chemist.image of Ruthanne Paradise

Employment opportunities remain plentiful for bachelor’s degree chemists. A large percentage of our graduating majors have found jobs carrying out research and development in pharmaceutical, biotech, and other companies throughout the nation. Many others have pursued advanced degrees.

What can you do with a chemistry degree? A variety of jobs!

image of Prof. Michael Knapp
RESEARCH: Experience in a research laboratory is now considered a vital part of any course of studies within the sciences. Although course work within chemistry exposes image of former student Elisa Guzman in the laba student to its corpus of knowledge, it is the immersive nature of the research experience that enables a student to understand what it is to do chemistry. A student learns to focus their intellect upon a specific literature; to work independently within a group; and receives mentoring from faculty that are among the best in their fields. Research opens the door to a career in chemistry and its related fields.

We advise our majors to become involved in research as soon as their course of studies allows. Generally this means finding a research advisor and beginning a project by Spring semester of the Junior year. However, there are faculty members within the Chemistry Department who eagerly accept Freshmen and Sophomores in their research groups. quotes from former students about positive UMass chemistry experiences

Curriculum: Chemistry offers BA, BS, and minor degrees. Course sequences and checklists. The chemistry minor requires a minimum of 15 credits of passed chemistry (CHEM) courses numbered 200 or higher, see full details on our curriculum page.

To declare a chemistry major, review the degree requirements, and make an appointment with our Chief Undergraduate Advisor, Prof. Ruthanne Paradise, via EAB Navigator.image of Alex Hamelimage of Elizabeth Troll

Clubs: UMass Amherst ACS Student Chapter focuses on professional development, and the UMass Chemistry Club (Chem Club) has an emphasis on outreach. Both clubs are registered student organizations.

iCons: iCons faculty recruit top tier students across a diverse range of science and engineering disciplines to identify global problems and find cutting edge solutions. The iCons program positions students for high achievement in graduate school and in their careers.

iCons does not replace a major, the 20 credit program enhances a major by providing opportunities to engage with real world issues as part of interdisciplinary teams - skills that translate directly to careers at the leading edge of science. With strong faculty representation from the Chemistry department, iCons provides valuable role models for students to see themselves as problem solvers.