Chemistry Major

A Bachelor of Science in Chemistry is typically completed in four years of full-time enrollment. Chemistry majors will take a wide range of chemistry classes including core classes in general chemistry, organic chemistry, analytical chemistry, biochemistry, inorganic chemistry and physical chemistry. Additionally, they will take calculus, a year of physics, general education classes and upper level electives in chemistry are required.

The chemistry program is certified by the American Chemical Society, thus graduates who choose this option will complete specific courses and attain external validation for their degree. This allows students to show employers and graduate/professional schools their chemistry education meets the highest standards. A non-ACS certified degree is also available.

For students interested in pursuing a career in forensics after graduation, there is a customized chemistry degree to prepare students for work in a crime lab. The B.S. in Chemistry with Forensic Focus is a chemistry degree with additional course work in criminal justice, ethics, and selected upper-level chemistry electives.

The plan of study sheets above are guides only. Be sure to check the academic catalog for the year in which you enrolled at USC Upstate for the specific requirements for graduation, minor requirements, and changes in course of study.

Undergraduate Research

Besides learning chemistry in a lecture class or lab class, research with a faculty mentor is an excellent way to gain experience working on real chemical problems. Especially for those students who plan further studies in graduate and professional schools, research experience is often an entrance requirement. If possible, students present their research at scientific meetings. Students interested in conducting research should contact a faculty member to learn more about research and funding opportunities.

Scholarship Opportunities for Chemistry Majors

Through a generous donation from Contec, Inc., upper level chemistry majors can apply for a $1,000 scholarship that will disburse money for the Spring semester (applications are taken in the Fall). Certain requirements apply (must be a declared chemistry major, have successfully completed certain courses, continued to maintain a 3.0 GPA, etc.). See a chemistry faculty member for details.

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  • 1. Chemistry majors will demonstrate a broad knowledge base of chemistry and be able to apply that knowledge in problem solving and analysis.

    1.1 Chemistry majors should exhibit knowledge in the following sub-disciplines of chemistry:  inorganic, organic, analytical, biochemistry, and physical chemistry.

    1.2 Chemistry majors will be effective problem solvers who possess the ability to think critically and analyze chemical information.

    2. Chemistry majors will be able to communicate chemical concepts, methods and results effectively both in written and oral communication.

    2.1 Chemistry majors will be able to clearly explain methods, results, and chemical concepts in a laboratory report.

    2.2 Chemistry majors will be able to effectively analyze and present research methods and results in research papers and oral presentations.

    3. Chemistry majors will possess basic technical skills to execute chemical inquiry.

    3.1 Chemistry majors will be able to clearly explain methods, results, and chemical concepts in a laboratory report.

    3.2 Chemistry majors will apply appropriate computer skills to solve problems and model chemical systems.

  • The mission of the USC Upstate chemistry program is to provide a baccalaureate level education in chemistry that will prepare students for scientific careers in the Upstate region and beyond. Graduates of the chemistry program will possess a broad knowledge of chemistry and the technical and communication skills needed to pursue excellence in their chosen careers and in further study in chemistry, medicine or business.

  • USC Upstate graduates have gone to work at Milliken Research Corporation, Rogers and Calcott, GE, BASF, SantoLubes, Bausch & Lomb, and other companies both locally and regionally. Additionally, many of our graduates have furthered their chemistry education by attending graduate schools all over the country (UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, University of Tennessee, Wake Forest University, Virginia Tech, Penn State, Colorado State, and others).

    Chemistry majors also attend professional schools in pharmacy (South Carolina College of Pharmacy, Presbyterian College of Pharmacy) or medicine (MUSC Medical School, USC Columbia, and SUNY Upstate Medical School). Majoring in chemistry gives you the critical thinking skills necessary to explore opportunities in many areas.

    Chemistry majors have a variety of career options because of their strong math and laboratory skills. Some graduates from USC Upstate have started work with industry directly, while others have entered graduate school for master’s and Ph.D. degrees.

    Other possibilities include working in government labs, teaching, chemical or pharmaceutical sales, forensic or environmental science, scientific journalism, or professional schools like medicine, pharmacy, or dentistry.

    Information on career options in the chemical sciences can be found at the American Chemical Society’s College to Career website. 

  • This student-led organization is open to everyone with an interest in chemistry. The meetings involve guest speakers on a wide range of topics, as well as hand-on activities in which everyone has a chance to participate. Members attend the local section of the American Chemical Society meetings and participate in community service projects such as the USC Upstate Freshman Move-In Day and Spartanburg Water’s Lake Sweep. The Club performs chemistry demonstrations at the Spartanburg Science Center during National Chemistry Week as well as at the meetings on campus.

    • Contec
    • National Institutes of Health