College of Arts & Sciences



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Students in the chemistry undergrad program

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Chemistry examines the composition, structure, properties, and changes to stuff at the nanometer scale; this is the molecular and atomic scale. Chemists understand the world in terms of how these molecular and atomic units interact: Are the molecules bound to one another? Does one molecule effect how fast a chemical reaction happens? How does molecular component X interact with light in the fingernail polish formulation Y-126 after the brushed film dries on the cuticle? And a zillion other questions around which we can modify outcomes by modifying molecules. Often working to answer these questions can be very lucrative. Chemists have advanced understanding in everything from life to matter in outer space to probable extraterrestrial life in terms of atomic and molecular components. In very basic terms chemistry is the central argument in many other sciences and professions; an education in Chemistry opens many doors.   


Grow Your Future

Chemistry degrees lead one to (1) Professional Schools: Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy (2) Many careers in research, product development and quality control, the career list. (3) Graduate School. 

Career opportunities in Chemistry

  • research chemist
  • analytical chemist
  • agricultural chemist
  • food chemist
  • technical officer
  • product development chemist
  • process development chemist
  • quality control chemist
  • patent agent
  • laboratory technician
  • teacher
  • technical writer
  • forensic technician
  • pharmaceutical development
  • product testing and analysis
  • ethnobotanist
  • forensic chemist
  • quality control chemist - chemical sales
  • scientific equipment sales

Classes & Requirements

What You'll Study

Chemistry majors pursuing the B.A. receive a basic education in chemistry supplemented with a selection of courses in other science fields. This program prepares graduates to enter the professional health fields, teach in secondary schools, or work in such areas as technical service, patent law, or ecology. The B.S. major in chemistry is designed for students who intend to become professional chemists or intend to continue their education, either in graduate school or professional school. Students select either a traditional track that focuses on all the major areas of chemistry, a track that focuses on biochemistry, or a track that focuses on materials chemistry. The traditional and biochemistry tracks are certified by the American Chemical Society.

Graduation Requirements

Any student earning a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree must complete a minimum of 39 hours at the 300+ level. These hours are generally completed by the major requirements. However, keep this hour requirement in mind as you choose your course work for the requirements in the major. Students interested in earning a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree must complete a minimum of 60 hours in biological, physical, mathematical and/or computer sciences. See the complete description of College requirements for a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Sciences degrees in the Arts and Sciences section of the 2015-2016 Undergraduate Bulletin.

UK Core Requirements

  • The Nature of Inquiry in Arts and Creativity (3 hours)
  • The Nature of Inquiry in the Humanities (3 hours)
  • The Nature of Inquiry in the Social Sciences (3 hours)
  • The nature of Inquiry in the Natural, Physical and Mathematical Sciences (3 hours)
  • Composition and Communication I (3 hours)
  • Composition and Communication II (3 hours)
  • Quantitative Foundations (3 hours)
  • Statistical and Inferential Reasoning (3 hours)
  • Community, Culture and Citizenship in the USA (3 hours)
  • Global Dynamics (3 hours)

Total Credit Hours - 30

Premajor Requirements 

  • MA 113 – Calculus I OR MA 137 – Calculus for the Life Sciences [4 hours]
  • MA 114 - Calculus II [4 hours]
  • CHE 105 - General College Chemistry I [4 hours]
  • CHE 107 - General College Chemistry II [3 hours]
  • CHE 111 - Laboratory to Accompany General Chemistry I [1 hour]
  • CHE 113 - Laboratory to Accompany General Chemistry II [2 hours]

Total Hours - 18

Major Requirements 

Core Requirements

  • CHE 226 - Analytical Chemistry [3 hours]
  • CHE 230 - Organic Chemistry I [3 hours]
  • CHE 231 - Organic Chemistry Laboratory I [1 hour]
  • CHE 232 - Organic Chemistry II [3 hours]
  • CHE 410G - Inorganic Chemistry [2 hours]
  • CHE 412 - Inorganic Chemistry Laboratory [2 hours]
  • CHE 422 - Instrumental Analysis [4 hours]
  • CHE 441 - Physical Chemistry Laboratory [2 hours]
  • CHE 442G - Thermodynamics and Kinetics [3 hours]
  • WRD 310 – Writing in the Natural Sciences [3 hours]
  • CHE 532 - Spectrometric Identification of Organic Molecules [2 hours]
  • CHE 533 - Qualitative Organic Analysis Laboratory [2 hours]
  • CHE 547 - Principles of Physical Chemistry I [3 hours]
  • CHE 550 - Biological Chemistry or CHE 552 - Biological Chemistry II [3 hours]

Other Course Work Required for the Major

  • Choose 6 hours of CHE 395, any CHE 500-level course except those required (CHE 422/532/533/ [550 or 552]); BCH 401G [6 hours]

Course Work from the Mathematics Department

  • MA 213 - Calculus III [4 hours]
  • MA 322 - Matrix Algebra and its Applications [3 hours]

Course Work from the Physics Department

  • PHY 231/232 - General University Physics [8 hours]
  • PHY 241/242 - General University Physics Laboratory [2 hours]

Total Hours - 58

Bachelor of Science | Traditional Option

B.S. Traditional Requirements B.S. Traditional Four Year Plan

Bachelor of Science | Biochemistry Option

B.S. Biochemistry Requirements B.S. Biochemistry Four Year Plan

Bachelor of Science | Materials Option

B.S. Materials Requirements B.S. Materials Four Year Plan

Imagine Your Future

Chemists and Materials Scientists

Chemists and materials scientists study substances at the atomic and molecular levels and analyze the ways in which the substances interact with one another.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics | Click the link for more info.

Median Salary


per year in 2021

Number of Jobs


in 2021

10 Year Job Outlook


new jobs (average)

Work Environment

Chemists and materials scientists work in laboratories and offices. They typically work full time and keep regular hours.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

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A&S Undecided/Exploratory Studies

Understanding that over 70 percent of university students will change their declared major at least once during their college careers, the College of Arts and Sciences has developed an Exploratory Studies program for students who have yet to decide the specific field of study that most closely aligns both their personal interests and their professional career goals and objectives. The Exploratory Studies Program provides students with an extraordinarily diverse educational environment that includes coursework spanning Math and Natural Sciences, Humanities, and Social Sciences and provides students with the unique opportunity to explore multiple areas of interest during their first several semesters on campus. For more information please contact a recruiting representative at 

Enhancing Your Time at UK

While there are endless ways to create an unforgettable journey as a Wildcat, we can only think of one that gives you the chance to step outside the classroom and into exploring new parts of the world around you: participating in an Education Abroad opportunity! Whether it’s in a study, research, service, or internship program, taking your UK experience international with EA is the most hands-on way for you to expand your global perspective while making yourself a more well-rounded, marketable candidate to future employers no matter your field. As you take these first steps towards investing in your future, EA encourages you to take advantage of all the opportunities UK has to offer. Take a look at some of the many suggested opportunities UK Education Abroad & Exchanges has to complement your major! #ukyabroad


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