Stephen F. Austin State University


The Department of Chemistry, located in the Chemistry Building, is one of eight departments/divisions/schools in the College of Sciences and Mathematics. The department offers a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry or biochemistry, and a Master of Science degree. Preprofessional students (pre-medical, pre-dental, pre-pharmacy, etc...) are encouraged to major in Biology, Chemistry, or Biochemistry but are not required to do so.

The Department of Chemistry is accredited by the American Chemical Society. We currently have 60-80 majors and 30-35 minors enrolled in our classes per semester. The small size of the classes ensures students personal interaction with their professors. The Department of Chemistry has ten faculty members who represent the various basic disciplines of chemistry.

Some financial support is available for qualified students. At the undergraduate level, a student can qualify for up to a $550 scholarship each semester and a $900 scholarship each summer term. Textbook scholarships are available to freshman students who have declared chemistry as their major. The scholarships are provided by the department from funds made available from the Welch Foundation of Houston. Graduate teaching and research fellowships are available for qualified students.

As a student at SFA, you will be trained in the modern techniques in chemistry including atomic absorption, infrared, UV-Visible, Raman, X-ray, nuclear magnetic resonance, polarography, gas chromatography, vacuum line techniques, radiochemistry, organic synthesis, and the various advanced techniques in biochemistry such as recombinant DNA methods, protein insolation/purification, enzymology and the methods utilized in biophysical chemistry.

Majors & Minors

As a student majoring in chemistry, you may choose between a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry or biochemistry. For the Master of Science degree, may choose between a 36-hour non-thesis degree or a 30-hour thesis degree. A minor in chemistry consists of at least 18 hours of chemistry with six advanced hours. Research opportunities are available in analytical, biochemistry, environmental, inorganic, organic and physical chemistry.

All students must complete a major and a minor (or second major), take the appropriate core curriculum requirements, and have at least 120 semester hours for graduation. Chemistry majors may design an interdisciplinary educational experience by selecting one of the suggested areas of interest or design their own with the approval of an adviser: biochemistry/premedical, biotechnology, chemical education, computer science, environmental chemistry, forensic, general chemist, mathematics, physics, professional chemist, statistics. The chemistry degree is designed to be flexible allowing you to design a degree program that is appropriate for your career goals. The chemistry degree has 23 hours of electives, which gives you the opportunity to select the courses best suited for your career. Biochemistry majors are required to minor in biology.

Each interdisciplinary experience has 23 hours of minor/electives in any area of interest leading to a minor (or second major) of which 11 hours must be approved advanced hours (six advanced hours in minor is required). An American Chemical Society certified B.S. degree requires additional courses (which includes a supervised research project) beyond the chemistry core.

The Department of Chemistry provides training for teacher certification in science education.

Special Facts

Through several new programs, the department is one of the best equipped departments in the region for a school of its size. This provides a unique opportunity to gain hands-on experience with a wider variety of instruments than can be found at most other schools. Our graduates have greatly benefited from this background, both in the job market and in graduate schools. The majority of our undergraduate majors and minors become involved in various research projects. Students gain a greater insight into what chemists really do, which is an experience that cannot be gained any other way. Undergraduate research can be pursued in the following areas: the mechanism of electron transport in the cytochromes, electron transport in photosynthesis, fluorescent energy transfer in proteins involved in muscle contraction, and the analytical methodologies of enzyme analysis in transgenic mice. In addition, basic materials research is ongoing in the study of oxidation states of iron, various organometallic complexes, X-ray crystallography, and the physical and chemical properties of clays.

Student Organizations

The Department of Chemistry at SFA maintains an active chemistry club, which is affiliated with the American Chemical Society. The department is affiliated with Gamma Sigma Epsilon, a national chemistry honor society.

For more information, contact the Department of Chemistry at or 936.468.3606.