The mission of the chemistry department is to provide cadets who major in chemistry with a thorough foundation in chemistry, mastery of modern chemical instrumentation, excellent analytical and mathematical skills and the ability to think things through and solve problems. These skills are highly sought after in every career field. The department offers two degree tracks; the B.S. degree and the B.A. degree in chemistry. The B.S. degree provides the most comprehensive preparation for further work or study in chemistry or a related field such as:
- Chemical Engineering
- Material Science
- Environmental Science
The Chemistry Department’s B.S. degree is approved by the American Chemical Society and cadets fulfilling the requirements for a B.S. are certified as having met the standards of professional training by the society.
The B.A. degree provides cadets with an opportunity to pursue other interests in preparation for a career of their choosing while providing a solid foundation in the basic areas of chemistry. This degree requires cadets to choose another focus area outside of chemistry and complete either a minor, concentration or certification. Faculty members will work closely with B.A. majors to design a program that best meets the cadets’ career goals. Career choices could correspond to the following focus areas:
- Medical, Dental Schools-Concentration in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
- Military or Intelligence Agencies-International Studies Minor, National Security Minor, Arabic Minor
- Law Enforcement or Forensics-Concentration in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
- Business/MBA-Business or Economics Minor
- Math/Science Teacher-Teacher Certification Program
Faculty members believe that close interaction with cadets in the classroom and in the chemical laboratory is critical in the development of good chemistry majors. This personal mentoring occurs in many ways but especially in our small classes and during undergraduate research projects. All majors are encouraged to participate in an undergraduate research experience under the guidance of a faculty member either in a 10 week summer program, or during the academic year. The majority of chemistry majors participate in at least one undergraduate research experience. Most of these cadets will present their research at a local or regional professional meeting, and a smaller number will have their results published. Chemistry majors also have the opportunity to work as an industrial intern with a company during the summer. Majors who have demonstrated excellence in the study of chemistry are invited to participate in the departmental honors program during their first class year. Cadets who accept the invitation will be engaged in more extensive research under the close supervision of a faculty sponsor.
The laboratory facilities, instrumentation, library and computer services housed in the Science Building provide majors with the modern techniques needed to learn and practice the science of chemistry both in structured courses and labs and also in independent research. Instrumentation includes liquid and gas chromatographs; several infrared, visible, ultraviolet, and fluorescence spectrometers; nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometers, gas chromatography-mass spectrometer, along with an atomic absorption, d.c. plasma, and flame emission spectrometers. The department also maintains a computer facility for molecular modeling and chemistry tutorials.
All chemistry majors are encouraged to join the active Student Affiliate Chapter of the American Chemical Society. The chapter sponsors visiting speakers, trips to industrial and government laboratories and several social events during the year.