Overview of Chemistry
Chemistry is often known as "the central science" because of the key position it occupies in modern science and engineering. Most phenomena in the biological and earth sciences can be described in terms of the chemical and physical behavior of atoms and molecules, and chemical principles also underlie much progress in medicine and engineering. In addition, chemical systems are fascinating and often beautiful in their own right. Recent developments in the Chemistry are increasingly directed toward the study of phenomena at the nanoscale, the size range intermediate between individual molecules and macroscopic matter. The ability to measure, understand, and control the properties of matter on these size scales allows us to draw conceptual and practical connections between the submicroscopic world of atoms and molecules and the macroscopic world with which we interact.
About the Program
UC Merced offers an undergraduate major leading to a B.S. degree in Chemistry. All of our programs meet the requirements for approval by the American Chemical Society. The curriculum is designed to meet the needs of students who plan to end their formal education with a bachelor's degree as well as those who wish to go on for an advanced degree. The UC Merced chemistry B.S. graduate is well prepared to pursue a career in chemistry or an allied field. We offer both a basic chemistry program and three emphasis tracks in biological chemistry, environmental chemistry, and materials chemistry, which allow students to pursue interdisciplinary areas within a degree program that is still focused on chemistry.
Areas of Research
- Chemical biology
- Organic Chemistry
- Theoretical and Physical chemistry
- Materials Chemistry
- Agricultural and food scientist
- Chemical engineer
- Environmental chemist
- Forensic scientist, geneticist
- Polymer chemist
- Water conservation specialist
- Industrial hygienist
- EPA chemist
- Petroleum industry chemist
* Please Note: Some of these carers might require education beyond a Bachelor's degree.
Students graduating from the Chemistry program demonstrate the following:
- Fundamental knowledge and skills: Students are able to describe the major concepts and theoretical principles in chemistry. They can identify the central ideas underlying the principal subfields of chemistry— analytical, inorganic, organic, and physical chemistry—as well as the broader interdisciplinary subfields of biological, environmental and materials chemistry. Students are able to operate modern chemical instrumentation, perform chemical syntheses and carry out other essential chemical experiments with strict adherence to sound laboratory techniques as well as good safety and hygiene practices. They know how to use modern web-based methods to effectively search the scientific literature.
- Scientific methodology: Students have developed the ability to integrate the aforementioned fundamental knowledge and skills into scientific inquiries. They can formulate well-defined and quantitative questions, develop testable hypotheses, design and execute experiments, analyze and interpret the results and reach appropriate conclusions. They are also able to critically analyze the work of other scientists and assess its correctness, importance, and relevance.
- Communication and teamwork skills: Students are able to write organized and concise reports and present technical information using electronic media, posters and oral presentations. They have developed the communication and teamwork skills that allow them to work effectively both as leaders and as team members in a group.
- Citizenship, ethics, role of chemistry in society: Students have an appreciation for the role of chemistry in the global society as well as the central role chemistry plays in other scientific disciplines such as biology, medicine, environmental science, and engineering sciences. They conduct themselves ethically and responsibly in science-related professions.
Sample plans of study for a Chemistry degree may be found in the School of Natural Sciences website ns-advising.ucmerced.edu.