What is Chemistry?
Chemistry is hailed as the central science, a distinction merited by the role it plays in understanding the functioning of the natural world.Technological innovations spawned by advances in chemical science can either dramatically improve or negatively affect our quality of life and the environment in which we live. Public policy and societal issues of enormous magnitude involving the potential application of chemical knowledge are constantly before us. A fundamental understanding of chemical concepts, the types of questions chemistry addresses and the tools applied in pursuit of solutions positions one to productively inform public debate and to be a responsible citizen.

The focus of the chemist is at the atomic and molecular levels, on the structure and function of molecules, their interactions with other molecules,their transformation into new substances and the physical
laws that govern these processes. The chemistry department offers a
program noted for close student-faculty collaboration in and out of
class and at every level from general chemistry through the senior year
research experience. The curriculum is bolstered by outstanding
instrument and computer facilities that enable us to offer exciting
laboratory experiences and provide wonderful support for
faculty-student research projects.

While completing one of two possible major plans, students can prepare themselves for futureeducational
opportunities including graduate study in chemistry, biochemistry, the
pharmaceutical sciences, forensics, oceanography, environmental
science and geoscience, among others. An undergraduate chemistry
degree is a prelude for many to medical, dental, veterinary, law and
related professional schools. Alternatively, a degree in chemistry can
be crafted in conjunction with the appropriate education courses to
prepare for a career in secondary school science education.
Bachelor-level chemistry graduates are employed in many areas of
industry and commerce including research and development, marketing and
sales, management, banking and patent law.

Working in Chemistry
Characteristics and Skills Necessary for Success

  • Strong sense of curiosity
  • Good mathematical and problem-solving skills
  • Skills in model construction
  • Good mechanical and analytic reasoning
  • Ability to think creatively and logically
  • Enjoy performing experiments and working in a laboratory
  • Good communications skills, both verbal and written

Click HERE for a table on Career Areas, Employers, and Strategies for Employment

Sample Job Titles

Chemical Engineer
Chemical Laboratory Technician
Organic Chemist
Material Scientist
Pharmacologist PhysicianPhysician Assistant

Quality Control Engineer

Learning More About Chemistry

  • Visit the Career Services office and check out our Career Resource Library.
  • Visit the SLU Chemistry Department website and check out course descriptions in the catalog.
  • Talk with a professor in Chemistry about the major. Click here for a list of possible questions to ask.
  • Perform an informational interview with a professional in the field. Click here for information on how to find a professional, contacting them, and a list of possible questions.
  • Get connected with SLU alum in the field through SAINTSLink, participate in Shadow-a-Saint or complete an Internship.

Additional Resources

Related Majors and Minors at SLU