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Majors and Minors
Plans of study
Four- or five-year plans of study are available for each major/concentration offered.
A minimum of 18 hours in chemistry courses are required with 50 % at the upper level. There is a general major and three specialized tracks, each with its own focus:
- Traditional Chemistry Minor (popular for Pre-health Professional Majors)
- Biochemistry Minor
- Coal Chemistry Minor
- Nutritional and Food Chemistry Minor
The standard major in chemistry allows for maximum flexibility. A minor or second major is required. Many of our students choose biology or another science. A minimum of 30 hours of chemistry is required for the major. This major is often ideal for students planning for a career as a health professional.
Chemistry Major with Certification by the American Chemical Society
The department offers a degree certified by the American Chemical Society, the largest professional society in the world. The certified major is recommended for those planning to attend graduate school or for those preparing for a career in chemistry that involves laboratory research. Students complete 48 hours of chemistry, including courses in organic, inorganic, analytical and physical chemistry. Many of these additional hours involve hands-on laboratory courses and instrument training; moreover, students complete at least three hours of credit by doing innovative research under the guidance of a faculty member.
In collaboration with the Department of Biology, students may pursue a biochemistry major (64 hours) or minor (18 hours). This program offers the only true undergraduate degree in biochemistry at a public institution in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
Pre-Health Professional (Medical, Pharmacy, Dental, Optometry or Veterinary Schools)
Programs are available for students planning to attend medical, pharmacy, dental, optometry or veterinary schools. Many of these students choose to obtain a major or minor in chemistry in addition to completing other recommended coursework. Pre-pharmacy students who spend three years at WKU and complete a specific series of chemistry classes may opt to transfer credits back from pharmacy school and complete their chemistry degree. Chemistry is the easiest option for the pre-pharmacy. As all chemistry courses required for pre-pharmacy completes 70% of the courses required for a Chemistry Major. If the student plans to continue undergraduate education at WKU to obtain a B.S. degree, can easily be done in four years.
Students interest in teaching High School Chemistry should consider the General Chemistry degree, but with adjustments. More details are available on this modified General Chemistry plan of study.
Joint Undergraduate-Masters Program (JUMP, formerly known as 5-year BS/MS)
Students may obtain both a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry (ACS-certified) and a Master of Science in Chemistry (MS Degree) concurrently through our ground-breaking Joint Undergraduate-Masters Program. The standard plan for this is designed to be accomplished in 5-years. Transfer students should note that specialized plans may be available that suit their needs to transition from an Associate of Science degree through both the BS and MS degrees in as little as three years.
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