Department Career Overview
Chemistry is the study of all things chemical, such as chemical processes, chemical compositions, and chemical manipulation. It is an exciting time in the field of chemistry — science and technology career opportunities are seeing unprecedented growth, with an average unemployment rate of 3.1 percent for chemists, compared to the national average of 5.3 percent in 2015. Opportunities to work as a chemical engineer, biochemist, or as a chemist within areas such as law, forensic science, defense, public health, and the environment, abound. Additionally, students majoring in chemistry/biochemistry receive excellent prerequisite training for health-related careers, such as medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, and veterinary medicine. The Southern Department of Chemistry offers bachelor's and master's courses of study; learner outcomes meet rigorous American Chemical Society (ACS) requirements.
Students pursuing a degree in the Chemistry Department receive a strong background in discovery-based learning and problem solving. Our goal is to share our enthusiasm and curiosity for chemistry, including chemistry’s role and impact on the environment, energy, materials, and medicines. We want to motivate you to continually question, experiment, analyze, and discover the fascinating world of chemistry. This foundation of chemical knowledge and understanding in our major will be a platform for future intellectual growth. A major in chemistry will provide rigorous training for our students to positively contribute to education and future advances in research and technology.
General Career Assistance
Our faculty and staff are dedicated to working with you to help you achieve both your educational and professional goals. SCSU students have the opportunity to receive one-on-one mentoring with one or several faculty members within the Department of Chemistry, on areas related to career assistance, academic advising, general coursework, and research training and mentorship. The department also hosts several seminars with speakers from industry and academia to provide students exposure to the various fields of research and careers within Chemistry. The department also sponsors the SCSU Chemistry Club to offer free chemistry tutoring and additional events and services to students.
Internship and Experiential Learning Outcomes
We offer undergraduate education in chemistry with an American Chemical Society-certified degree in chemistry and interdisciplinary specializations in environmental chemistry (with a focus on marine and environmental studies) and biochemistry (with a focus on biology, biotechnology, and pre-medical fields of study). Programs of study leading to the M.S. degree in chemistry include the 4+1 accelerated M.S. program, Professional Science Master’s Degree track, and the M.S. in chemistry, which can also lead to teacher certification. Prerequisite courses provide a strong foundation in chemistry with the ability to explore numerous sub-disciplines within the field.
- Applied Practical Skills and Hands-on Experience — SCSU students will gain hands-on experience with several state-of-the-art instruments for chemical analysis as well as significant laboratory experience with synthetic, computational, and analytical chemistry techniques. Our department houses an impressive array of specialized instrumentation and laboratory equipment to meet the needs for training graduates.
- Independent Study/Student Research — SCSU students are encouraged to participate in faculty-mentored research. Specific areas of study include: biochemistry, environmental, analytical, inorganic, organic, medicinal, physical, and polymer chemistry. Each area provides the foundation to pursue undergraduate and graduate research.
- Internships — SCSU students have the opportunity to work on research projects directly with biotechnology companies around the Greater New Haven area. We actively encourage internships to keep students engaged in chemistry during the summer months.
- Service Learning/Volunteer Opportunities — We advise and help connect students with an interest in medicine with local volunteering opportunities.
Sample Career Occupations of Recent Graduates
Small class and laboratory sizes enable us to teach more advanced and specialized techniques typically limited at larger schools, and this ability provides our graduates with excellent qualifications to be competitive for job placement in the workforce throughout Connecticut. Our students often present research results at local, regional, and national conferences and are often co-authors of peer-reviewed publications. The majority of lectures and laboratory classes beyond the freshman year are taught by full-time faculty members. The 4+1 accelerated M.S. degree option provides a pathway for our students to receive a B.S. and M.S. degree in five years of full-time study with an emphasis on faculty-mentored research. Recent graduates have transitioned to the following roles:
- Ph.D. student – University of Connecticut, Michigan State University, Delaware University, Wesleyan University
- Medical student/pharmacy student – University of Connecticut Medical School
- Medicinal chemist
- Quality control chemist – Henkel
- Analytical chemistry
- 7-12 educator – New Haven
- College instructor
- Lab manager