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Grand Valley State University    
2013-2014 Undergraduate & Graduate Catalog 
  Aug 17, 2018
2013-2014 Undergraduate & Graduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Chemistry - Program Description

For additional information about opportunities your college offers, please refer to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences  section in this catalog.

Chair: McBane; Professors: Baum, Bender, Carlson, Haas, Leonard, Matchett, McBane, Miller, Nikkel, Qi, Smart; Associate Professors: Hart, Henderleiter, Herrington, Karpen, Kovacs, Lawrence, Ngassa, Powers, Rener, Schaertel, Soman, Wallar, Winchester, Witucki; Assistant Professors: Barrows, Biros, Korich, Lantz, Lord, Pentecost, VandenPlas; Affiliate Professors: Denny, Dueweke, Groh, Mack, Morris, Ryan, Siu.


Chemistry is a fascinating and diverse field that affects almost every area of our lives. The clothes we wear, the medicines we take, the food we eat, the fuel we consume, and the materials we use to build our houses are all affected by discoveries made through the study of chemistry.

Students who select a chemistry major must choose one of five emphases: the professional emphasis, the technical emphasis, the education emphasis, the biochemistry and biotechnology emphasis, or the environmental emphasis. The professional emphasis offers a well-rounded education in chemistry and provides a strong background for employment at the bachelor level or entry into graduate school. Completion of the professional emphasis leads to a degree certified by the American Chemical Society. The technical emphasis is designed for students who wish to work in industry and do not intend to enter graduate or professional school. Students interested in attending biochemistry graduate school or in obtaining employment in biochemical and biomedical laboratories may choose the biochemistry and biotechnology emphasis. This emphasis is also appropriate for students interested in attending professional health schools, such as medical school and pharmacy school. Students interested in teaching high school chemistry may choose the education emphasis. This emphasis includes courses in chemistry teaching methods and also requires a certified minor and completion of the Secondary Education Professional Program. Students may select the environmental emphasis if they wish to seek employment in a position related to environmental chemistry or an advanced degree that may be related to environmental issues.

We recommend that students start in the professional emphasis, because it is easier to transfer from there to one of the other emphases than vice versa. For any degree program in chemistry it is important to start the proper sequence of chemistry courses as soon as possible. Students who wish to major in chemistry should see a member of the Chemistry Department to plan their program at the earliest opportunity.

We also offer a Green Chemistry Certificate. This certificate is an optional that can be added to any Major or Minor. It shows that students have been exposed to the principles of green chemistry, which deals with the production chemicals and design of chemical processes in manner that is environmentally sustainable.


The Chemistry Department is accredited by the Committee on Professional Training of the American Chemical Society.

Degrees Offered

Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry: minor in chemistry. Teaching certification (secondary) in chemistry major and minor.  Masters of Education (General Education, Middle and High School Emphasis, with a concentration in Chemistry) offered in cooperation with the College of Education.

Career Opportunities

Chemistry is the study of the property, composition and transformation of matter. As such it affects all aspects of our lives. Our food, clothing, fuel, and medicine could not be produced without the work of chemists. Chemists with bachelor’s degrees find employment in all areas of manufacturing, agribusiness, energy production, and health care, and in a wide variety of industrial, governmental, and medical laboratories. Areas of employment include product development and testing, quality control, environmental monitoring, and pollution control. Outside of the laboratory, chemists are employed by chemical and pharmaceutical companies in sales, technical service, and various other phases of business. High school teaching is another option for the chemist with a bachelor’s degree and appropriate certification.

A degree in chemistry is excellent preparation for further study in biochemistry, medicine, food science, oceanography, environmental science, patent law, microbiology, physiology, and engineering. Advanced degrees in chemistry qualify individuals for careers in research and higher education.

The Green Chemistry Certificate would be a valuable addition to any major or minor who may be employed in an industry that involves chemical processes and is concerned about minimizing their environmental impact.

Master’s degree programs in chemical engineering accept students with degrees in chemistry. The B.S. in Chemistry, professional emphasis, with additional mathematics coursework, is recommended for admission to such programs.

Graduate School Opportunities

Students interested in Graduate School should take the following:


Instead of CHM 351 and 352, take:



Instead of PHY 220 and 221, take:

Participating Programs

The College of Education offers a M.Ed. in general education with a concentration in chemistry. This program is called target inquiry. Contact the chemistry office for more information.

The Geology Department offers a dual geology-chemistry major in cooperation with the Chemistry Department. For details, see the major listing in the Geology Department catalog.

Student Organizations (

The Chemistry Club is a student affiliate chapter of the American Chemical Society. Membership in this club gives our majors a way to serve the university (tutoring) and community (chemistry shows at area malls), and to meet other students with similar interests.

The Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Club is an undergraduate affiliate chapter of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. This club also holds meetings and events so that students can interact with other students and faculty with similar interests.

The following programs are available:

Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in Chemistry 

Chemistry Minor 

Certificate in Green Chemistry 

Master of Education Advanced Content Specialization in Chemistry