An ACS-Approved Program Featuring Capstone Mentored Research

CMU's Chemistry (B.S., B.A.) curriculum is fully approved by the American Chemical Society (ACS), whose curricular guidelines are the highest standard for bachelor's degree programs in chemistry. CMU's hands-on, research-focused program provides a thorough foundation in chemistry knowledge, laboratory and problem-solving skills, information literacy, communication, safety, and ethics.

CMU is the only public university in Michigan to have a required thesis-based research capstone for all chemistry majors. Every student works one-on-one with a faculty member to design and execute a research project, then communicate their findings through a written thesis and a poster presentation. Many students publish in peer-reviewed journals and travel to present their work at regional or national scientific meetings. See our undergraduate capstone research page for more information.

Together, the Chemistry (B.S., B.A.) degree's ACS-approved curriculum and distinctive capstone research experience provide all of our majors with a rigorous preparation for employment in chemical and related industries, or continued education in graduate and professional schools.

Chemistry Major (B.S. in Chemistry)

The Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry offers 4 chemistry concentrations

  • Materials Concentration: focuses on the development, characterization, and applications of chemical materials, including but not limited to polymers, carbohydrates, dendrimers, and nanomaterials
  • Environmental Concentration: focuses on the study of the impact of chemical science on environement
  • Chemical Technology Concentration: focuses on developing students' technological skills to work in the chemical, pharmaceutical, biotechnological, and related industries
  • General Chemistry Concentration: offers maximum flexibility that allows students deciding their academic and career interest upon graduation

Program Requirements

The Chemistry B.S. and B.A. degrees differ in their liberal arts emphases but otherwise have identical course requirements totaling 40 credit hours. Below is a representative list of required courses, not including general education requirements. The complete, up-to-date program requirements and course descriptions are always available in the online academic bulletin. Review these program requirements with an academic advisor and with assistance from the Chemistry (B.S., B.A.) major map, with is an illustrative guide that will help you plan your coursework.

Chemistry Core I (5-8 hours)

Option A (8 hours):

  • CHM 131 - General Chemistry I 4(3-3)
  • CHM 132 - General Chemistry II 4(3-3)

Option B (5 hours):

  • CHM 161 - Principles of Chemistry 5(4-4)

Chemistry Core II (27-29 hours)

  • CHM 211QR - Quantitative Analysis 4(3-5)
  • CHM 331 - Inorganic Chemistry 3(2-4)
  • CHM 345 - Organic Chemistry I 3(3-0)
  • CHM 346 - Organic Chemistry II 3(3-0)
  • CHM 349 - Organic Chemistry Laboratory 2(0-6)
  • CHM 351 - Physical Chemistry I 3(3-0)
  • CHM 352 - Physical Chemistry II 3(3-0)
  • CHM 357 - Physical Chemistry Laboratory 2(0-4)
  • CHM 425 - Introductory Biochemistry 3(3-0)*
  • CHM 491WI - Undergraduate Research 1-3(Spec)**

*CHM 521 - Biochemistry I (3) and CHM 522 - Biochemistry II (3) may be substituted for CHM  425 (3).  Students should consult their advisor before enrolling in biochemistry courses.

** Students are encouraged to initiate a faculty-mentored research project as early as possible. See the undergraduate capstone research page for more information.

Electives (3-8 hours)

Sufficient 500-level advanced courses to meet the minimum 40 credit hour requirement.

Select from the nearly 20 courses covering a range of topics shown below. A complete, up-to-date list of chemistry electives with course descriptions is always available in the online academic bulletin.

  • CHM 511 - Advanced Analytical Chemistry 4(2-4)
  • CHM 513 - Chemistry of Natural Waters 3(1-6)
  • CHM 522 - Intermediate Biochemistry 3(3-0)
  • CHM 527 - Biochemistry Laboratory 1(0-4)
  • CHM 528 -Bioanalytical Techniques Laboratory 2(1-3)
  • CHM 531 - Advanced Inorganic Chemistry 3(3-0)
  • CHM 541 - Intermediate Organic Chemistry 3(3-0)
  • CHM 547 - Advanced Chemistry Laboratory 2(1-3)
  • CHM 551 - Materials Chemistry: Inorganics and Nanomaterials 3(3-0)
  • CHM 555 - Advanced Physical Chemistry 3(3-0)
  • CHM 561 - Polymer Chemistry 3(3-0)
  • CHM 562 - Industrial Chemistry 3(3-0)
  • CHM 564 - Polymer Technology 3(3-0)
  • CHM 566 - Introduction to Biomaterials 3(3-0)
  • CHM 567 - Polymer Science Laboratory 2(1-3)
  • CHM 568 - Pharmaceutical Chemistry 3(3-0)
  • CHM 571 - Topics in Chemistry 1-9(Spec)
  • CHM 583 - Seminar in Chemistry 1-2(Spec)

Other Required Courses

  • MTH 132 - Calculus I 4(4-0)
  • MTH 133 - Calculus II 4(4-0)
  • MTH 232 - Linear Algebra and Differential Equations 3(3-0)
  • MTH 233 - Calculus III 4(4-0)
  • PHY 145 - University Physics I 4(4-0)
  • PHY 146 - University Physics II 4()()(4-0)
  • PHY 175 - University Physics Laboratory I 1(0-2)
  • PHY 176 - University Physics Laboratory II 1(0-2)


11 credit hours must be in laboratory courses (one credit hour each of CHM 131, 132, 211, and 331, and two credit hours of CHM 161 count as laboratory credit hours).

Mathematics and Physics: the following courses are required for student desiring American Chemical Society degree certification: MTH 132, 133, 223, and 233; PHY 145QR, 146, 175, and 176.  Students in inadequate high school preparation may find it necessary to complete additional math courses. These math and physics courses are also strongly recommended for students who do not desire ACS certification. The math and physics courses must be completed prior to enrolling in Physical Chemistry.

What's Next?

If you are a prospective student, please contact us for more information about our Department and this program and apply to CMU. If you are interested in other undergraduate programs offered by the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, click here.

If you are a current CMU student considering majoring in chemistry or biochemistry, please set up a meeting with an academic advisor to plan your coursework, learn more about undergraduate research, and sign your major.