Please send your questions to cakbay@uncfsu.edu and/or dautrey@uncfsu.edu.

About the Department

What types of chemistry degrees are offered? 

The Department of Chemistry and Physics at Fayetteville State University offers three degree programs: Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Chemistry, Bachelor of Science (BS) in Chemistry, and a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering (BChE) as a 3 + 2 dual program in conjunction with North Carolina State University. As a central discipline, chemistry is critical for solving the world’s most important problems and making significant positive impacts on human life. The BS Chemistry degree prepares students intending to pursue a graduate degree or a career in chemistry as a professional chemist. The BA Chemistry degree provides a broad chemistry-based background in preparation for a chemistry-related career, for professional training in many fields including, but not limited to, medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, optometry, and for secondary school science teaching. The BChE degree will prepare students to work in a wide range of industries to solve technical problems, create and improve products, or for graduate study in the medical sciences, materials science, or patent and environmental law.

What is the difference between chemistry and chemical engineering? 

There is some overlap in the training of chemists and chemical engineers, but they are typically involved in different aspects of the chemical enterprise. Chemists typically are interested in how processes work and developing new understanding of chemical reactions and the structure of chemical materials. In industry, chemists typically work in developing new or improved materials. Chemical engineers tend to focus on the process by which chemical materials are produced. In industry, chemical engineers typically focus on developing efficient processes for manufacturing chemicals. Thus, engineers tend to focus on optimizing processes, while chemists work to develop new processes.

What types of minor degrees are offered? 

The Department of Chemistry and Physics offers the following minors: chemistry, physics, and materials science. These minors designed for students who would like additional coursework in chemistry, physics, and materials science. The Department is in process of developing two additional minors: biochemistry and chemistry entrepreneurship.

What student organizations are there for chemistry majors? 

The Department of Chemistry and Physics hosts three student organizations for undergraduate students. The Student Chapter of the American Chemical Society (SCACS) is open to all students interested in chemistry. This organization hosts external speakers to discuss careers in chemistry, attending graduate school, and other topics of interest to chemists. SAACS also is involved with activities sponsored by the North Carolina section of the American Chemical Society. For more information, visit ACS Student Chapter. The Pre-Pharmacy Association serves as a resource providing its members with essential information, opportunities, and activities in preparation of admission into a degree program of one of the pharmaceutical sciences (Pharm. D., BS/MS Pharmaceutical Sciences, BS/MS Clinical Research, etc.). For further information, visit Pre-Pharmacy Association. Materials Research Society Student Chapter serves as a resource providing its members with essential information, opportunities, and activities in preparation of admission into a degree program of one of the materials sciences.

Academic Requirements

What courses should I take in high school to be prepared to major in chemistry?

Students interested in majoring in chemistry should have a strong foundation in mathematics and science in high school. A good foundation in mathematics that includes algebra, geometry, and trigonometry is critical for success in college chemistry. While taking calculus in high school is helpful, it is not necessary to succeed in freshman chemistry. The most important mathematics skills for potential majors are the ability to set up algebraic equations from word problems, be able to manipulate exponentials, and know the basics of plotting data. Students should take as much high school chemistry as possible to help ease the transition to college chemistry. High school physics and biology are also helpful.

What is the biochemistry track, and how is it different from the regular chemistry track?

We are in process of developing biochemistry track. Once developed, we will list the requirements here.

How does the pre-health track differ from the other chemistry tracks?

The pre-health track is equivalent to the BA Chemistry degree with an increased focus on pre-requisite courses for pre-health schools. Also, the mathematical requirements are less than the traditional BS Chemistry degree. This degree satisfies all requirements for health professional programs (medical, dental, pharmacy, veterinary, etc.). Due to the less rigorous mathematics and chemistry requirements of this degree, students may not be qualified for chemistry graduate programs or BS chemistry jobs should they not gain acceptance to a health professional program. The pre-health track is suggested for students who are very sure they wish to pursue a health professional career and feel confident that they will be accepted to these programs upon graduation. The regular BS Chemistry track will provide a wider range of options upon graduation for students who are less sure of their future career plans.

What are the requirements for a minor in chemistry?

The minor in chemistry requires 22 hours. Students should take the following chemistry courses: CHEM  141  And  CHEM  142  And  CHEM  161  And  CHEM  162  And  CHEM  211  And  CHEM  212  And  CHEM  223 And  CHEM  224  And  CHEM  225  And  CHEM  226. Grade of C or higher in all minor requirements.

What are the requirements for a minor in materials science?

The minor in materials science requires 18 hours. Students should take the following courses: MATS  160  And  MATS  204  And  MATS  260. Select three courses from the following electives:  FORS  400  Or  MATS  214  Or  MATS  301  Or  MATS  311  Or  MATS  321  Or  MATS  360  Or  MATS  423  Or  MATS  460. Grade of C or higher in all minor requirements.

What are the requirements for a minor in physics?

The minor in physics requires 18 hours. Students should take the following courses: PHYS  125  And  PHYS  125L  And  PHYS  126  And  PHYS  126L  And 10 credits of PHYS electives (200-level and above). Grade of C or higher in all minor requirements.

How do I declare that I want to be a chemistry major?

Admission to the university does not guarantee admission to a specific degree program. Therefore, students must submit the online “Declaration of Major” form to declare a chemistry major or minor. Students must have a grade of “C” or higher in MATH 129 and a grade point average of 2.0 or better to be admitted to the  program. Students can declare a pre-chemistry major if they have not taken MATH 129. Once they take and receive a grade of “C” or higher in MATH 129, they can declare a chemistry major. Students need to contact Mrs. Andrea Bennett, Professional Advisor, via phone (910-672-2913) or email abenne18@uncfsu.edu should they need assistance.

Do I have to have a minor? If so, what minor should I take?

Students pursuing the BS Chemistry degree are not required to have a minor. Students pursuing the BA Chemistry (or pre-health track) are required to complete a minor in order to graduate.

How do I get advised before registration?

All students must meet with Mrs. Andrea Bennett, Professional Advisor, in person, prior to registration for each semester. All declared chemistry majors will need to make an appointment to see Mrs. Bennett. Visit the Advisement and Transfer site for more information.

What are the prerequisites for CHEM 141?

Students must have a grade of “C” or higher in MATH 129 or MATH 131 to be eligible to take CHEM 141. Please visit Chemistry and Physics Course Descriptions page for prerequisites for all astronomy, chemistry, physics, and materials science courses.

Do i have to take the laboratory courses at the same time as I take the lecture?

All laboratory courses are separate courses from their corresponding lectures and thus they can be taken separately. For example, you can take General Chemistry I Lecture (CHEM 141) in one semester and General Chemistry I Laboratory (CHEM 142) in the following semester; however, you can anly take General Chemistry II Lecture (CHEM 161) and General Chemistry II Laboratory (CHEM 162) after you take and pass CHEM 141 and CHEM 142.

I got a grade of “D” in a chemistry course. Do I need to retake and get a higher grade before going on to take next course (e.g., to take CHEM 161 after getting a “D” in CHEM 141)?

Students must have a grade of “C” or higher in all required courses; thus, you need to retake the course to get a grade of “C” or higher before taking next course. You should be aware that retaking a course will not remove it from your GPA calculation. You should also be aware that a GPA of 2.0 (for BA Chemistry) and 2.5 (for BS Chemistry) or higher in all science and mathematics classes is required for graduation.

Career Options

What can I do with a chemistry major once I graduate?

The chemistry degree is a very versatile tool that opens up a wide range of career opportunities. Most chemists work in the chemical industry where they develop new chemical materials upon which the modern world relies. Students with chemistry degrees are also in great demand as K-12 teachers or can go to graduate school to prepare for a career as a college professor. There are a wide variety of opportunities beyond the traditional chemist jobs; students with chemistry degrees can pursue careers in forensics, toxicology, environmental science, patent law, science writing, museum curation, science librarians, and many more. Visit our Alumni Page to see where our chemistry graduates are currently working.

What do Fayetteville State University chemistry graduates do after graduation?

Most Fayetteville State University chemistry majors pursue advanced study, either in health professional programs (medical, dental, pharmacy, veterinary, etc.) or graduate programs in chemistry or related fields, including education. A smaller group of students go directly into the workforce, either as high school teachers or working as industrial chemists. Still other students pursue nontraditional careers for chemists. You can see where our graduates have gone by looking at our Alumni Page.

I hope to go to medical school, which track is best for me?

Any of the chemistry major tracks will provide adequate preparation for medical school. Chemistry majors from Fayetteville State University have typically been very successful in being accepted to medical schools. The pre-health track is designed for students interested in medical school and fulfills all medical school requirements. Students in the BS Chemistry track will need to take additional biology courses to satisfy medical school requirements. Students in the BS Chemistry track may want to minor in biology as preparation for medical school. Because the regular BS track is more rigorous than the pre-health track (additional calculus, and more difficult physics and chemistry courses), medical school admissions committees may rank students with the standard BS Chemistry degree more highly than those in the pre-health track provided they have similar GPA and MCAT scores.

I am interested in a career in chemistry, which track is best for me?

Students who may consider going to graduate school in chemistry or taking a job as a chemist, they should pursue BS Chemistry track. BS Chemistry will provide students with the intensive chemistry knowledge expected by chemistry graduate schools and employers. Students interested in careers in chemistry should generally not follow the BA Chemistry or pre-health track. Since this track does not include some advanced courses (e.g., physical chemistry), students with the pre-health major will not have all of the necessary prerequisites for graduate school and will be less marketable as chemists on the job market.

I am interested in forensics/environmental science/toxicology/biotechnology. Does the Department of Chemistry and Physics offer classes or degrees in these areas?

The Department of Chemistry and Physics does not offer specific training in these fields; however, a degree in chemistry will provide excellent training for students interested in exploring careers in these and many other fields related to chemistry. Fields such as forensic science rely heavily on basic chemical concepts that are learned in the course of the chemistry curriculum. Students with chemistry degrees are well qualified to take jobs in these fields, or may pursue advanced study in forensics, environmental science, or other areas upon completing their degree.

In addition to my chemistry major, what else should I do to prepare to go to graduate school in chemistry or a related field?

If you are interested in going to graduate school in chemistry or a related discipline, the most important thing you can do besides being successful in your classes is become involved early in undergraduate research. Graduate schools strongly value students who have spent one or more years working on a research project with a faculty member. In addition, this experience gives you a very good idea of what graduate school will be like. Toward the end of your junior year and definitely before you senior year you should take the GRE exam, which most graduate schools require. You should begin applying for graduate schools in the fall of your senior year. Seek advice from your faculty mentor about what graduate schools to which you should apply.

I want to get a job as a BS Chemist after graduation. How do I go about finding a job?

Before graduation, get at least one internship… but more than one is better. Many employers select their employees among their interns. Many research, internship, co-op opportunities are listed on ACS’ GETexperience site. Try to visit this site frequently. Internships.com is another source. If you are interested in getting a job as a chemist after graduation, you should begin looking no later than the beginning of your last year. Check with the FSU Career Services Center for tools and leads on possible jobs. Companies looking for chemists will interview on campus during the Fall Career Fair. USAJobs.gov is a good source for jobs. Watch the following helpful videos: 1) Job Search Strategies for Chemical Professionals, 2) Interview Skills for Chemical Professionals, 3) Careers in Chemical Engineering, Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. If you want to stay in North Carolina, you will find most jobs for BS chemists are in the Research Triangle Park (RTP). There are also several chemical companies in Fayetteville. Look in newspapers and chemistry-specific job sites. Talk to professors in the Department of Chemistry and Physics, too, as they may have connections to jobs that you haven not heard about.

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