BS Chemistry

Program Codes: BSCHEM
Bachelor of Science

The curriculum of the Department is accredited by the American Chemical Society (ACS) and is designed to support and prepare students for a  wide range of potential career opportunities and pathways.  Our  students  find their obtained skills and experiences are ideal preparation (i) for graduate work and professional schools in the sciences or medicine, (ii) to develop the technical background required for industrial or commercial positions, or  (iii)  to teach at the secondary school level.

The Department offers programs that lead to Bachelor of Science degrees in both Chemistry and  Biochemistry. A  Bachelor of  Arts degree is  also offered  in Chemistry. A student may elect to earn American Chemical Society (ACS) degree certification of their bachelor’s degree by meeting the requirements of the ACS Committee on  Professional  Training.  In  brief,  requirements  for an ACS certified degree are slightly more stringent than departmental requirements for graduation and include: Earning credits in all five sub- disciplines of chemistry, earning a minimum of 12 semester hours of in-depth coursework, documenting at least 400 hours of laboratory work beyond the introductory level, conducting research alongside a faculty member and authoring a well-written, comprehensive, and well-documented thesis that includes safety considerations where appropriate.

Certification in Chemistry Education is also offered through our department. Students pursuing certification in Chemistry Education earn a Chemistry degree prior to enrolling in the Master’s Program in Secondary Education at Mercyhurst, which can then be completed as a 1-year or 2-year program.

Mission Statement

The Department is committed to the education and training of the next generation of scientists. Because  the  nature  of  scientific  endeavors  evolves, the most important skills students in all scientific disciplines can possess are independent reasoning and problem-solving abilities.

The development of these skills in our programs and courses is facilitated by the following tenets:

  • A student-centered approach to scientific inquiry within our Department. This immersion of students in the scientific process extends to all phases of our scholarly pursuits, including experimental design, data acquisition, data analysis and communication to the scientific community.
  • A focus upon the core scientific principles that constitute the foundation of all applications of science and technology. This focus is coupled with an experience-based knowledge of career related fields that are attractive to students.
  • A commitment to working with students of all experieces and backgrounds, including those who are under-represented in the sciences. An emphasis is placed upon mentoring, including the processes of academic advisement, research mentoring and sophomore review.
  • The firm adherence to a clear set of academic standards that is necessary for the success of our students in current scientific disciplines. These standards are upheld while providing the guidance and mentoring necessary for each student to have the opportunity for success.

The Department believes one of its strengths is the integration of undergraduate chemistry research opportunities in the curriculum culminating in the senior capstone experience.  The  student-centered  research  projects   overseen   by   our faculty span a range of methods to address chemical problems in organic synthesis, health issues, nanotechnology and alternative energy. Seminars and poster presentations of research results at both regional and national research conferences are strongly encouraged.

Program Student Learning Outcomes

The chemistry and biochemistry programs require that students demonstrate:

  • An understanding of the fundamental concepts in chemistry
  • The ability to plan and conduct scientific experiments, using appropriate techniques and procedures
  • Effective communication skills, including interpersonal communication (both oral and written)
  • The ability to locate and understand peer-reviewed scientific literature and critically evaluate technical information
  • The ability to recognize hazards, conduct experiments safely and to manage chemicals, including chemical wastes

The Department reserves the right to  periodically  conduct  assessment  of courses and experiences within the  program. These  assessments  will  not  be tied to individual students, but rather to be used for continual evaluation and improvement of the program as a whole.

Department Requirements

All prerequisite coursework must be completed with a grade of C or better for any student to be eligible to enroll in a course. If this requirement has not been met prior to the start of the semester during which a student is enrolled, students will be removed from the course where the prerequisites have not been satisfactorily met. To be recommended for graduation in any of the Department’s degree programs a student must earn at least a 2.5 grade point average in the required major and cognate courses and labs.

When a course is re-taken, the GPA requirement includes both the original grade and the grade from the retake. A student also must earn a grade of at least C in any course from the major discipline that is to fulfill a degree requirement. No required science or math course may be taken on a Pass/Fail basis. No required courses for the major may be taken at another institution without departmental approval. Students are expected to attend all departmental seminars.

Students pursuing teacher certification must maintain a cumulative 3.0 GPA in major required courses and receive a grade of at least C in each course. Students majoring in any of the Department’s programs must maintain an overall University GPA of 2.5.

Credit will be granted for courses listing lecture and laboratory separately only if the lecture and laboratory components are taken concurrently, unless special permission is granted by the instructor and the Department. Withdrawal from one without withdrawal from the other is not allowed without permission from both the instructor and the Department. Permission to register for only one of the components will ordinarily be granted only when a student previously has successfully completed one of the components.

All students seeking  degrees  in  programs  administered  by  the  Department  of Chemistry and Biochemistry will  undergo  a  review  by  department  faculty at the completion of their sophomore level in their area of concentration, the Sophomore Review. Students must successfully complete the Sophomore  Review to be accepted into the Department’s programs and continue their studies in the Department. Students eligible for Sophomore Review must have been at Mercyhurst University for at least 2 years and must have completed Calculus I (MATH 170) and completed (or be in the process of completing)  Organic Chemistry II (CHEM 242).

Acceptance is based on the following criteria: (1) a minimum overall GPA of 2.5 in courses taken in the major concentration, (2)  a minimum overall University GPA  of 2.5, and (3) professional conduct. If a student does not pass the Sophomore Review, the student will not be allowed to enroll in any further courses required for programs administered by the Department.

First-year students are required to meet with all departmental faculty members concerning research opportunities during their first year of study, which requires documentation to be submitted by March 15 of their first academic year. Students must also sign up with a research mentor and have a research plan by the time they apply for Sophomore Review.

All students within the major must enroll in the courses Research I (CHEM 410) and Research I Lab (CHEM 412) during one of their academic years.

Chemistry Major Bachelor of Science Degree Requirements




Select One Major Elective Course. Note that BIO 142, CHEM 335, and CHEM 316 will also include a Lab and will be 4 credits.

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Chemistry Minor

Minor Required Courses 

CHEM 121/122 General Chemistry I & Lab - 4 credits

CHEM 131/132 General Chemistry II & Lab - 4 credits

CHEM 240/241 Organic Chemistry I & Lab - 4 credits

CHEM 242/243 Organic Chemistry II & Lab - 4 credit

Minor Elective Courses

CHEM 199, 299, or 399 Independent Research - 1-3 credits

CHEM 230/231 Quantitative Analysis & Lab - 4 credits

CHEM 310 Advanced Inorganic Chemistry - 3 credits

CHEM 314 Advanced Organic Chemistry - 3 credits

CHEM 331/332 Biochemistry I & Lab - 4 credits

CHEM 333/334 Instrumental Analysis & Lab - 4 credits

CHEM 335/336 Spectral Interpretation & Lab - 4 credits

CHEM 341 Physical Chemistry I - 3 credits

CHEM 343 Experimental Physical Chemistry - 3 credits

CHEM 351 Physical Chemistry II - 3 credits

CHEM 420 Chemical Biology - 3 credits

At least three courses are required. At least one course must have a lab component or must be an independent lab course such as CHEM 199, 299, 399, or 343. Only one Independent Research Course may count toward the Chemistry Minor.

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