Chemistry and Biochemistry Majors and Minor

Chemistry is primarily concerned with matter, energy, and their interactions. Chemists do a wide variety of things, such as:

  • Make new substances, including new materials and medicines.
  • Design new ways to make known compounds.
  • Isolate and determine chemical structures of naturally occurring substances.
  • Elucidate the chemical mechanisms behind biological processes.
  • Attempt to explain the changes matter undergoes.
  • Develop and apply analytical techniques for industrial purposes, criminal investigations, and environmental problems.
  • Prepare for admission to a professional health care school, teach chemistry, and apply chemical knowledge to solve other societal and technological problems.
Chemistry classroom

Chemists are concerned about the effect their work and technology have on society and on individuals. They are at the forefront of efforts to make sure that technology serves humankind and steward resources well.

At Seattle Pacific, the curriculum in this department is designed to serve you if you desire a career in chemistry, biochemistry, or science education, or if you are interested in pursuing further study in medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, any professional health care career, engineering, or the other sciences.

Please note that the following CHM-prefix courses cannot be applied to Chemistry and Biochemistry majors or minors: 1100, 1110, 1310, 1330, 1360, 2930, and 4930.

Continuing students and advance transfers should consult the SPU Undergraduate Catalog.

BS in Chemistry

72 credits in chemistry, including 52 upper-division; an additional 13 credits in math and 15 in physics

This course of study is recommended for a professional degree in chemistry or for those interested in doing graduate work in chemistry, other advanced work in chemistry, and/or pursuing a professional healthcare career, especially when the student also completes the Pre-Professional Health Sciences (PPHS) program, as well. The BS in Chemistry degree also prepares students for working with molecular biology, toxicology, forensic science, nuclear and radio chemistry, and a wide variety of other branches of chemistry-related careers. The requirements for the BS Chemistry degree are guided by recommendations of the American Chemical Society and should prepare you for graduate work in chemistry or for employment as a chemist. In order to complete this degree in four years, generally you should begin with CHM 1211 and MAT 1234 in the first quarter of your freshman year.

View the requirements for a BS in Chemistry.

For students planning graduate studies in chemistry, additional mathematics (e.g., MAT 1236, MAT 3360, and MAT 3237) may be recommended by your advisor.

You are urged to seek advising by a member of the chemistry/biochemistry faculty as early in your program as possible.

BA in Chemistry

55 credits in chemistry, including 37 upper-division; an additional 10 credits in mathematics and 15 credits in physics

This option is suited for students preparing for medical or dental school, careers in medical technology, pharmacy, or related fields, or to teach chemistry at the secondary level. If you are interested in a career in medicine, dentistry, or other health-related field, you should refer to Pre-Professional Health Programs.

View the requirements for a BA in Chemistry.

BS in Biochemistry

75 credits in chemistry and biology, including 49 upper-division in biology and chemistry; an additional 13 credits in mathematics and 15 credits in physics

The molecular aspects of the life sciences call for an interdisciplinary course of study in chemistry and biology, plus background support in physics and mathematics. This degree prepares you for graduate study in biochemistry and molecular biology and it is excellent preparation for a future career in healthcare, especially when paired with the PPHS program. Biochemistry students interested in health sciences should refer to Pre-Professional Health Sciences. In order to complete this degree in four years, generally you should begin with CHM 1211 and MAT 1234 in the first quarter of your freshman year.

View the requirements for a BS in Biochemistry.

Chemistry Minor

View the requirements for a Chemistry minor.

Chemical Education

Students preparing for the teaching profession at the elementary level should take at least CHM 1100 or CHM 1211. (For general science major requirements in elementary teaching, see the School of Education.) For junior high level, a supporting endorsement provides an appropriate basis. A supporting endorsement can be obtained by completing a minor including CHM 1212, 2540, 3371, 3372 and 3225. CHM 3401 and CHM 4361 are also recommended. See the School of Education for a definite description of the supporting endorsement. Students preparing for a secondary certificate should complete the requirements for a BA in chemistry.

Pre-Professional Health

The BS in biochemistry, or the BS or BA in chemistry including biochemistry courses, provide preparation for a professional education in medicine, dentistry, and similar health-related careers. See the Pre-Professional Health Sciences program.

See a complete list of Chemistry courses and course descriptions.

Entering a Chemistry Major or Minor

You may enter the major or minor during your first quarter at SPU. Entrance after your first quarter requires only good academic standing (2.0 or higher SPU cumulative GPA). Consult the undergraduate catalog for complete information on how and when to enter and what you must do to complete the program.   


Research Opportunities

Opportunities are available for undergraduates to do research in labs on campus, in local labs, and around the country. Most of the internships are for summer research, although some opportunities are available during the school year.

Med School Acceptance Rates

Over the last five years, SPU premed students have achieved an average acceptance rate into medical school of 90 percent — far exceeding the 50 percent national average.