University of Pittsburgh



Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences





Chemistry, as a central science, is involved in natural processes occurring in living things, the earth, the oceans, and the atmosphere. The chemical industry provides materials to feed, clothe, and house mankind; drugs to combat disease; and processes to provide energy. Chemistry plays a role in high technology fields such as molecular biology, microelectronics, drug design, and ceramics.

The American Chemical Society (ACS)-certified chemistry degree includes core chemistry courses and electives. Special options are available for students with specific interests in combining chemistry with other subjects, such as bioscience, business, communication, computer science, education, and polymer science. These options allow students to take additional courses that provide an in-depth introduction to the subject of choice and are directly relevant to individual career goals.

The Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry prepares students for a career in business or industry or for advanced study in chemistry. Combined with core biology courses, the chemistry major is frequently selected as the preferred major for admission to the graduate health professions, including medical and dental school. In combination with an education option, the chemistry major prepares students for a certification program leading to a career in secondary science teaching. Chemists at all levels of training have a wide variety of industrial and corporate career opportunities in agricultural chemistry, food chemistry, environmental science, petrochemicals, pharmaceuticals, semiconductors and electronics, and fine chemicals, as well as in basic research. Many opportunities are available for chemistry majors with skills in business (sales, technical marketing, management), communications (technical writing, journalism), and computer science (programming, database management, information science). For more information on the ACS-certified degree and degree options as well as the Department of Chemistry, see

Major Requirements

The requirements for the ACS-certified major in chemistry are as follows:

  • These chemistry courses must be taken:
    • CHEM 0110 and 0120 General Chemistry 1 and 2 or 0710 and 0720 Honors General Chemistry 1 and 2
    • CHEM 0250 and 0260 Introduction to Analytical Chemistry and Lab
    • CHEM 0310 and 0320 Organic Chemistry 1 and 2 or 0730 or 0740 Honors Organic Chemistry 1 and 2
    • CHEM 0345 Organic Chemistry Lab
    • CHEM 1130 Inorganic Chemistry
    • CHEM 1140 Advanced Inorganic Laboratory
    • CHEM 1250 and 1255 Instrumental Analysis and Lab
    • CHEM 1410 and 1420 Physical Chemistry 1 and 2
    • CHEM 1430 and 1440 Physical Chemistry Lab 1 and 2
  • Corequisite courses must be taken in math and physics:
    • MATH 0220, 0230, and 0240 Analytic Geometry and Calculus 1, 2, and 3
    • PHYS 0174 and 0175 Basic Physics for Science and Engineering 1 and 2
    • PHYS 0219 Basic Lab Physics Science and Engineering
  • For ACS certification, the elective course must be a course in biochemistry (BIOSC 1000 Biochemistry or BIOSC 1810 Macromolecular Structure Function).
  • At least 2 credits must be selected from an approved list of chemistry or science electives.
  • The chemistry major must earn a 2.00 GPA in all departmental courses. Chemistry majors may use the S/NC option in all required physics and mathematics courses and in CHEM 0110 and 0120 General Chemistry 1 and 2.

Students who complete the requirements of the chemistry major automatically complete the requirements for a related area in mathematics. To graduate with departmental honors, the student must have an overall GPA of at least 3.00, have a GPA of at least 3.25 in required chemistry courses, earn 2 credits in CHEM 1710 Undergraduate Research, and earn 1 credit in CHEM 1711 Undergraduate Research Writing Practicum.

The chemistry department offers options in bioscience, business, communications, education, and material science. Each chemistry option allows for a waiver of CHEM 1440 Physical Chemistry Lab 2, CHEM 1140 Advanced Inorganic Chemistry, and the 2-credit science elective required for the ACS-certified degree. Specific information on the options program is available from the department.

Minor in Chemistry

Due to the integral role that chemistry plays in many other majors (including life sciences, physical sciences, and engineering), students wishing to receive formal recognition of their work in chemistry may choose to pursue the official minor as outlined below:

18–19 Credits
  • CHEM 0110 General Chemistry I with Lab—4 credits
  • CHEM 0120 General Chemistry II with Lab—4 credits
  • CHEM 0710 Honors General Chemistry I with Lab—4 credits
  • CHEM 0720 Honors General Chemistry I with Lab—4 credits
  • CHEM 0760 Honors General Chemistry I for Engineers—4 credits
  • CHEM 0770 Honors General Chemistry II for Engineers—4 credits
  • CHEM 0960 General Chemistry I for Engineers—3 credits
  • CHEM 0970 General Chemistry II for Engineers—3 credits
Three of the following LECTURE courses:
  • CHEM 0250 Analytical Chemistry—3 credits
  • CHEM 0310 Organic Chemistry I—3 credits
  • CHEM 0320 Organic Chemistry II—3 credits
  • CHEM 1130 Inorganic Chemistry —3 credits
  • CHEM 1250 Instrumental Analysis—3 credits
  • CHEM 1410 Physical Chemistry I—3 credits
  • CHEM 1420 Physical Chemistry II—3 credits
  • BIOSC 1000 Principles of Biochemistry OR BIOSC 1810 Macromolecular Structure—3 credits
Two credits of the following LABORATORY courses:
  • CHEM 0345 Organic Chemistry II Lab— 2 credits
  • CHEM 0260 Analytical Chemistry Lab—1 credit
  • CHEM 0330 Organic Chemistry I Lab—1 credit
  • CHEM 0340 Organic Chemistry II Lab—1 credit
  • CHEM 1140 Inorganic Chemistry Lab—2 credits
  • CHEM 1255 Instrumental Analysis Lab—1 credit
  • CHEM 1430 Physical Chemistry I Lab—1 credit
  • CHEM 1440 Physical Chemistry II Lab—1 credit