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Chemical Sciences Major

About the Major

Chemistry Lab and undergraduate student conducting researchChemistry is often known as “the central science” because of the key position it occupies in modern science and engineering. Most phenomena in the biological and earth sciences can be described in terms of the chemical and physical behavior of atoms and molecules, and chemical principles also underlie much progress in medicine and engineering. In addition, chemical systems are fascinating and often beautiful in their own right. Recent developments in the chemical sciences are increasingly directed toward the study of phenomena at the nanoscale, the size range intermediate between individual molecules and macroscopic matter. The ability to measure, understand, and control the properties of matter on these size scales allows us to draw conceptual and practical connections between the submicroscopic world of atoms and molecules and the macroscopic world with which we interact.

UC Merced offers an undergraduate major leading to a B.S. degree in the Chemical Sciences. All of our programs meet the requirements for approval by the American Chemical Society. The curriculum is designed to meet the needs of students who plan to end their formal education with a bachelor's degree as well as those who wish to go on for an advanced degree. The UC Merced chemistry B.S. graduate is well prepared to pursue a career in chemistry or an allied field. We offer both a basic chemistry program and three emphasis tracks in biological chemistry, environmental chemistry, and materials chemistry, which allow students to pursue interdisciplinary areas within a degree program that is still focused on chemistry.


A degree in the chemical sciences opens the door to a wide variety of careers in industry or government service, forensic chemistry in crime laboratories, commercial fields such as patent law and scientific writing, and high school science teaching. Many chemistry majors go on to graduate study to prepare for careers in teaching and/or research at the college or university level, or research positions in the chemical, pharmaceutical, electronics or other high-tech industries. A major in chemistry is also an excellent foundation for medical school or other careers in the health sciences.


Requirements, Courses, & Learning Outcomes

Current information regarding the requirements and program learning outcomes for the Chemical Sciences major can be found at the Office of the Registrar Catalog website.

Chemical Sciences courses can be found at the Office of the Registrar Catalog Course website.