Stephen F. Austin State University

Academic Programs

Introduction

The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry offers two degrees at the Bachelor's level -- the B.S. in Chemistry and the B.S. in Biochemistry -- and participates in the Master of Science in Natural Science degree with the chemistry option. Both B.S. degrees are accredited by the American Chemical Society. The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry participates in the university's Overlap program which will enable a student to complete both a Bachelor's degree and a Master's degree in 5 years.

Undergraduate Degree Programs

The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry offers American Chemical Society accredited B.S. degrees in Chemistry and Biochemistry. The current description of the two degrees is found in the undergraduate General Bulletin. The two degrees have approximately 85% of their requirements in chemistry in common. Students are required to choose a minor. Depending on their career and personal interests, students pursuing the B.S. in Chemistry may select any minor that is offered in the university . Students seeking the B.S. in Biochemistry must minor in Biology. The B.S. in Biochemistry is ideal preparation for the medical, dental, veterinary, or related health professions. By choosing the right courses at the proper time, students will have studied the content needed to take the high stakes placement examinations for professional school, such as the MCAT.

The B.S. in Chemistry and B.S. in Biochemistry degrees are highly structured in a sequence of courses having prerequisites. Some courses are only taught once per year. Taking courses in their proper sequence and in a timely manner is important for planning to graduate with a degree in four years. Depending on their level of mathematical preparation, students may find greater or lesser flexibility in completing a program of study in four years.

Some sample 4-year programs of study depending on the level of mathematics preparation are given in Adobe Acrobat pdf format.

B.S. in Chemistry

B.S. in Biochemistry

It is advantageous for students to be as close to calculus-ready as possible when they begin study as freshmen. There are several ways that this can be done inexpensively. Students can take AP (Advanced Placement) math courses while in high school and earn credit. If students do very well on the SAT or ACT math exams, they can take SFASU's calculus readiness challenge exam to learn whether they can begin right away in calculus. Students can take college algebra, trigonometry, analytical geometry, and/or pre-calculus as dual credit courses while in high school or at their local community college in the summer between high school and the start of freshman year.

Summer sessions after the freshman year can be used to complete the required calculus courses, balance credit hour loads with those taken during the long semesters in the academic year, satisfy prerequisites, and to begin undergraduate research.

Graduate Study in Chemistry

The master's degree is an appropriate terminal degree for most industrial and commercial jobs or for teaching in a high school or community college. The master's degree is good preparation for doctoral study in chemistry or biochemistry.

Students in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry can earn a Master's degree with the Master of Science in Natural Science -- Chemistry Option. The Master of Science in Natural Science (MSNS) is a degree that belongs to the College of Sciences and Mathematics as a whole. Options within it are administered within the departments. The Chemistry Option has both thesis and non-thesis options.

The thesis option requires a minimum of 30 graduate semester hours and writing and defending a thesis based on research. 24 graduate semester hours must be earned within the College of Sciences and Mathematics. 18 of these must be in chemistry with an additional six in CHE 589 and CHE 590 which cover the writing and defense of the thesis. The additional 6 graduate semester hours must be earned in other departments anywhere in the university depending on a student's academic interests and career goals with the approval of the student's committee.

The non-thesis option requires a minimum 36 graduate semester hours. 24 graduate credit hours must be earned in the College of Sciences and Mathematics with 18 of these in chemistry. The remaining 12 graduate semester hours are from other disciplines. A maximum of 12 graduate credit hours may be earned outside of the College of Sciences and Mathematics. Students in the non-thesis option will be required to complete successfully a capstone project and a comprehensive examination based on their area(s) of study.

Depending on the availability of funds, graduate students may be eligible for financial support as graduate teaching assistants in chemistry.

5 Year Dual Degree Bachelor's / Master's Programs

Students usually can earn a bachelor's degree in chemistry or biochemistry in four years. In an additional two years, they can earn a master's degree. With careful planning it is possible to condense a conventional six year plan of study into five years and earn both degrees. By using the summers to remove prerequisite blocks, balance academic loads, and begin research work as an undergraduate, a student can earn both a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in five calendar years. This is true regardless of whether a student can begin mathematics with calculus, pre-calculus, or even college algebra.

Here are example programs of study leading to both a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in five years in Adobe Acrobat pdf format.

Chemistry

Biochemistry