Chemistry is sometimes called "the central science." That’s true here at Birmingham-Southern, where you’ll learn the skills to answer questions in multiple disciplines. You’ll master the fundamental principles and language of chemistry through class and lab work, small group discussions, and other activities.Our laboratory courses give you direct hands-on experience with a range of experimental methods and complex instruments that are usually reserved for graduate students. You may be assigned multi-week modules designed to answer specific questions, or a team project where you have to collaborate and reach consensus on the data.
- Chemistry majors conduct an independent research project under the supervision of a chemistry professor and present their research in a senior campus conference. Recent students have identified and synthesized compounds that may lead to new drugs; measured the electrochemical properties of blood substitutes; and tested anti-tumor compounds on yeast.
- We offer different tracks for students interested in professional chemistry (our degree is certified by the American Chemical Society), in health care such as medicine or dentistry, and in teaching chemistry in secondary schools.
- You’ll study in the high-tech Stephens Science Center, a state-of-the-art building that houses six chemistry teaching laboratories, five chemistry research labs, and shared facilities including a laser lab, machine shop, and photographic darkroom.
- You can study outside the traditional bounds. Take an exTerm class on the chemistry of paint, ink, and other art materials; work with biology students on a project testing environmental chemicals in Birmingham’s industrial neighborhoods; or apply for a semester at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
Career opportunities in chemistry include health care, teaching, and government and industrial research, including graduate school or dental school. Students wishing to prepare for teaching chemistry in secondary schools should complete a chemistry major and confer with the education department concerning additional requirements in education.
Upon completion of the chemistry major, students will be able to
- demonstrate a knowledge of the broad fundamental concepts of chemistry,
- search the scientific literature and find adequate, appropriate source material on a given topic,
- derive hypotheses to answer chemistry questions,
- design experiments to test hypotheses,
- conduct experiments and analyze data,
- draw appropriate conclusions from scientific data,
- explain the results of experiments to a broad audience,
- write clearly and concisely in scientific research
A degree in chemistry from Birmingham-Southern can help you succeed in any given number of career choices. Recent graduates have gone on to:
- Biological & Biomedical Sciences Ph.D. program at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
- Peace Corp in Malawi, Africa
- M.D./Ph.D. program at the University of Minnesota
- Teach for America in Baltimore, Maryland
- Toxicology Ph.D. program at the University of Alabama, Birmingham
- Medical school at Vanderbilt University and many others
- Medical school at the University of Alabama, Birmingham on full scholarship
- M.S. program in Biomedical Engineering at University of Alabama, Birmingham
"For me, BSC fostered a foundation for critical thinking that few universities or colleges can provide. The chemistry faculty includes talented professors who have committed their lives to giving students engaging classroom instruction, independent research experiences, and opportunities for publication. I graduated fully prepared to teach secondary science in a rural African village as a United States Peace Corps volunteer, and later to gain entrance into a top graduate program in the biomedical sciences."
--Johnny Croft '08
Graduate student at UNC-Chapel Hill