Chemistry is called the central science because of its applicability to so many other areas. Chemistry is the study of the composition and properties of substances. Biochemistry focuses on the substances found in living systems. The practical value of chemistry and biochemistry is recognized through their impact on daily human living. Current health, social and political problems are more readily understood by people who have knowledge of basic chemistry and biochemistry.
Career opportunities for chemists have never been greater. As a chemist, you could find yourself working in an environmental laboratory protecting our environment, in a pharmaceutical company synthesizing new medicines or in a company developing new processes to manufacture the materials society needs to function.
According to the most recent annual salary and employment survey conducted by the American Chemical Society (Chemical and Engineering News, 2014):
- The median salary for chemists is $95,000
- 52% of chemists work in industry
- 39% work in academia
- 7.5% work in the government
The majority of chemists work in the industry. A 2008 survey found that more than 62% of chemists are employed by industry (including more than 82% of respondents with a bachelor's as their highest degree), whereas 29% are in academia and less than 8% have government jobs. The survey found that the greatest portion of nonacademic chemists, 26.9%, work in the pharmaceutical industry.
If you are interested in a health-related field such as medicine, dentistry, optometry, pharmacy or veterinary medicine, a degree in chemisty, in addition to biology courses, will satisfy the curricular entrance requirements for professional schools and give you the background that sets the stage for success in these programs.
A graduate degree in chemistry prepares you to enter into leadership roles in research and development laboratories, as well as careers in academia. Generally, financial support for masters and doctoral programs in chemistry include full tuition and fees, and a stipend to teach undergraduate laboratories and/or perform research (although this varies by institution).
The chemistry department uses nationally standardized exams as one measure of assessing student learning. Over the past 10 years Newman chemistry students have consistently outperformed their peers at other institutions. Since Fall 2000, 265 students have completed General Chemistry 2, and 57% of them scored at or above the 50th national percentile. Likewise, 54% of students in organic chemistry and a remarkable 88% of physical chemistry students have exceeded this benchmark.
The Chemistry Club is a service and social organization consisting of a variety of science students. The Club sponsors field trips to local and regional science events and facilities. Some recent outings include an AmTrak trip to Chicago, Ill. to visit the science museums and a trip to the Underground Salt Museum in Hutchinson, Kan. The Chemistry Club also provides tutors and worked to complete a mural project in the Science Building. The chemistry faculty hosts at least one cookout each year in their homes for the Chem Club students.
The significant presence of chemical and manufacturing industries in the Wichita area affords numerous opportunities for you to gain practical experience and establish professional relationships that will benefit you in your job search.
Research opportunities at various locations are available during your junior and senior years. Every bachelor of arts or science in chemistry student completes a semester of research.
Theories, concepts and models taught in the classroom are reinforced by hands-on access to virtually every major category of instrumentation, from mass spectroscopy to DNA fingerprinting.
The Chemistry Department is located on the lower level of Heimerman Science Center and is led by faculty members with expertise in a variety of areas. The department boasts a collection of chemical instrumentation including an FT-IR, GC-MS, NMR, LC, multiple UV/Vis spectrophotometers, and a capillary GC.
The American Chemical Society (ACS) is the preeminent professional society for chemistry and offers accreditation of chemistry programs. While the chemistry program at Newman University is NOT accredited by the American Chemical Society, the curriculum is modeled after the ACS publication, “Undergraduate Professional Education in Chemistry: Guidelines and Evaluation Procedures.” Assessment data of the chemistry major demonstrates that the quality, depth and breadth of student learning at Newman University compares very favorably with the ACS expectations.