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Chemistry Degrees, Undergraduate

Department Mission/Purpose Statement

The mission of the Chemistry Department is to:

Address intellectual and professional needs, in the areas of chemistry, biochemistry, environmental analysis, and material science, of students in range from those preparing to be research chemists to those becoming scientifically-literate citizens.

Raise the educational achievement and intellectual aspirations of our students and those affected by our students while fostering an interest in and appreciation for chemical aspects of the world;

Advance the professions of chemistry and chemical education through production of scholarship respected in and beyond our community;

Provide opportunities for outreach to and partnerships with other academic and community units which address students' concerns and interests;

Support the economic and cultural vitality of our community by building understanding and respect for the diverse impacts of chemistry, and the impact of diversity on chemistry.

The centrality of chemistry to science is clearly reflected in our mission and in the breadth of career interests of our students. While we take pride in the strength of problem-solving skills developed through our rigorous program, our purpose is to encourage students to grow in their interest in the problems and challenges which chemistry addresses.

Degree Requirements

There are currently three degree programs in Chemistry.

(1) The B.S. in Chemistry requires the core and cognates, plus nine hours of advanced work in chemistry, during which one can concentrate on a particular area. This program is recommended for those interested in graduate study.

(2) The B.S. with Concentration in Medicinal Chemistry is designed for those transferring into pharmacy, though its specific mix of required biology and chemistry courses may meet the needs of others.

(3) The B.A. in Chemistry requires a core of 33 credit hours of chemistry courses, calculus and physics cognates, foreign language competency, and at least three additional hours of chemistry work. It is used by those interested in careers such as education, forensic science, law, marketing, and science writing.

The analytic option in the B.S. in Environmental Studies program has a chemistry focus, which makes it a good option for those interested in government or commerical lab work.

A Minor in Chemistry is common among students. It requires 20-credit hours of majors' course work.

General Education Requirements

One of the hallmarks of higher education in America is its dedication to liberal arts, work beyond that strictly required for a trade. That is especially true in colleges such as Arts and Sciences and central programs such as chemistry, mathematics, anthropology, or languages. Because evaluation and communication of ideas are important to fuctioning as an educated person, the fundamental competencies taught in English and Speech are taken as early as possible. Other general understanding, diversity, and distribution courses are spread through the remaining years of study as requirements for chemistry and cognates allow. Recently English has become the primary language of chemistry literature and conferences. The Area of Enrichment requirement for the B.S. in Chemistry has replaced the foreign language requirement while retaining the benefit of focus on elective courses. It allows for course work from any UNO college.

Student Activities

The American Chemical Society (ACS) student affiliate group at UNO is Chem Club. Activities and outreach each year are arranged by its elected officials. In addition to monthly meetings (often with pizza) and seasonal outings, the Chem Club participates in the Fall Chemistry Welcome Launch to introduce students to the Chemistry program and Spring Chem Club Banquet at which awards and scholarships are announced. Sales of laboratory goggles and study guides are fund raising activities. Funds support studnet attendance at regional chemistry conferneces.

Special Opportunities

The Chemistry instrumentation and computing resources at UNO are phenomenal. While these are used in every course lab starting from General Chemistry I (Chem 1180), majors and non-majors are encouraged to participate in undergraduate research projects which faculty provide. Such experiences impact career choice and strengthen post-graduate application to industry, graduate school, and professional programs. Once students have passed introductory courses, there are work study and student employment opportunities in the chemistry stockrooms as stockroom attendants and as student graders, and then as tutors in the Math-Science Learning Center.

After College

Roughly a third of our graduates have gone professional to professional schools such as pharmacy, medicine, law, and officer candidate school. Another third take industrial or government positions available in the region such as the Cargill plant in Blair, Nebraska. Chemistry graduates are recruited to graduate schools in Nebraska and contiguous states based on the strengths of prior UNO graduates. Graduate education in chemistry is fully supported from research grants, and the opportunities to be involved in exciting advances are plentiful.

Additional information on the variety of applications of chemistry and variety of things that chemists do can be found at