Huntington University offers chemistry degrees and a biochemistry track for students who plan careers in research, medicine, industry and education. Students who enjoy computers, mathematics, and laboratory work make good candidates for a chemistry major.
The field of chemistry consists of five main branches. Many industrial or research chemists specialize in a combination of these areas. Undergraduates are encouraged to take foundational coursework in all of these branches of chemistry:
- Analytical chemistry which is the study of ways to analyze samples. Examples of areas using analytical chemistry include forensic science, environmental science, and drug testing.
- Biochemistry which is one of the fastest-changing fields of chemistry, with new medically-related discoveries each year. Biochemists work with proteins, DNA, the design and function of new drugs, and much more.
- Inorganic chemistry which focuses on elements and compounds other than carbon or hydrocarbons. Compounds studied by inorganic chemists include crystal structures, minerals, metals, catalysts, and some drugs.
- Organic chemistry which focuses on carbon-containing compounds such as fuels, plastics and polymers, food additives, and drugs. Organic chemists are often the ones who synthesize new materials.
- Physical chemistry which is the study of the physical properties of molecules, and their relation to the ways in which molecules and atoms are put together. Areas of investigation include the generation of heat, the interaction of molecules with radiation, and the calculation of structures and properties.
Students majoring in chemistry who are interested in industrial or research careers may also choose to minor in a related area such as biology, environmental science, mathematics, or physics. Students are also encouraged to participate in undergraduate research, internships, and job experiences through off-campus learning opportunities. These include summer research internships, January Term courses, and attending professional meetings and seminars. Click here to learn more about past summer student experiences.
As a chemistry major, students will have access to a 90,000 square-foot Science Hall which opened in 2002. This learning center features a quality learning environment with student-friendly spaces, teaching and research specialty equipment, well-designed laboratories and research spaces, and multimedia classrooms in rich, art-infused aesthetic surroundings.
Also, chemistry majors at Huntington have the advantage of being mentored in the operation and maintenance of instruments commonly used in the industry as well as research. Instrumentation includes a 200 MHz nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectrometer, a gas chromatograph – mass spectrometer (GC-MS), two Fourier transform infrared spectrophotometers (FTIRs), three UV-Visible spectrophotometers, two fluorimeters, a gas chromatograph (GC), a potentiostat for cyclic voltammetry (CV), and a high performance liquid chromatograph (HPLC). Other equipment includes oxygen combustion and solution calorimeters, vacuum equipment, a refractometer, a laser polarimeter, and Vernier LabQuest handheld data collection units. Click here to learn more about the instrumentation used in the chemistry department.