Department of Chemistry

BS in Chemistry (Professional Chemist) | BS in Chemistry (Other Technical Careers) | BS in Forensic Chemistry | BS in Chemistry/Chemical Engineering | Minor in Chemistry | Course Descriptions

The Department of Chemistry is approved by the American Chemical Society.

Chair: Richard (Rick) E. Norman (936) 294-1527

Faculty: Benny Arney, Tom Chasteen, Mary Lynn DeShazo, Dustin Gross, Donovan Haines, Ozcan Gulacar, Paul Loeffler, Rick Norman, Ilona Petrikovics, David Thompson, Rick White, Darren Williams

Website: www.shsu.edu/~chemistry/


The Department of Chemistry is committed to providing an educational environment conducive to scholarship, intellectual development, and the acquisition of a foundation of knowledge and techniques required of professional chemists. This goal requires the effective representation of the fundamental areas of chemistry, a dedicated and creative faculty, and support for the many functions of the department.

Academic Programs

The Department of Chemistry is approved by the American Chemical Society. Chemistry majors may pursue the Bachelor of Science for professional chemists that leads to American Chemical Society certification and prepares students for graduate studies in traditional chemical fields. Students interested in professional schools, chemistry associated industries, or secondary education may pursue the Bachelor of Science for other technical careers. The Bachelor of Science in Chemistry with emphasis in Biochemistry-Biotechnology prepares students for careers in biotech companies in the Houston area and across the state and nation. The growing interest in Forensic Science has prompted the Department of Chemistry to offer a Bachelor of Science in Forensic Chemistry that is designed to prepare students for careers combining a knowledge of chemistry and the legal system. Students completing this degree can pursue opportunities in various forensic labs across the country, or can continue their education either in the graduate program in Forensic Science, or in graduate programs that are more traditional.


  • The Department of Chemistry has a study abroad program in Germany in which students carry out summer undergraduate research in a German University and can experience the culture and approach to chemical education in Europe.
  • The Department of Chemistry moved into an impressive new facility (the Chemistry/ Forensic Science Building) during the Fall semester of 2005 greatly expanding and improving the laboratory facilities.

Career Opportunities

Everything around you is composed of chemicals. We live in a world of chemicals and life would not be possible without them. An understanding of the fundamentals of chemistry is important for everyone in today’s society. Professional chemists are working to enhance our quality of life by improvements in food, medicine, clothing, building supplies, products for recreation, and a whole range of consumer products.

Virtually every industry or business that makes or sells a product is involved in chemistry. It is no wonder that the various areas of chemical and biochemical technology offer the largest field of employment in the physical sciences. Chemists are employed in fields such as:

  • Environmental Analysis
  • Agriculture
  • Biotechnology
  • Pharmaceutical Research
  • Waste Management
  • Energy Production
  • Forensic Science
  • Petrochemical Industry

Chemistry graduates will find many applications for their training in the fields of education, business, industry, law, government, and medicine.

Suggested Minors

A variety of minors can complement a major in chemistry. Some of the more popular minors in recent years have been biology, criminal justice, general business, and mathematics. Others have included education, history, political science, and psychology.

Student Organizations

Chemistry Club - The Chemistry Club is an active organization which encourages student interactions in a social atmosphere and which supports student travel to professional meetings.


Scholarships are available from the Department in Chemistry and from the University to support students’ studies. For further information, contact the Chair, Department of Chemistry or visit Department of Chemistry. Information on University scholarships may be obtained at Office of Academic Scholarships or telephone (936) 294-1774.


Chemistry students learn how to critically examine and analyze observations, to use chemical understanding to propose solutions to problems of a quantitative or qualitative nature that may arise in industry, in academia or in various careers associated with chemistry. Students majoring in Chemistry have the opportunity for hands-on experience in working with atomic absorption, gas chromatography, high performance liquid chromatography, ultraviolet and visible spectroscopy, 60 MHz and 300 MHz nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, ion chromatography, capillary electrophoresis, and other standard instrumentation in chemistry.

Required Courses for Major

Required courses: CHEM 1411, CHEM 1412, CHEM 2323/CHEM 2123, CHEM 2325/CHEM 2125, CHEM 2401, CHEM 4100, CHEM 4440, CHEM 4448, CHEM 4367, 32 hrs.

Students will select one of the following tracks:

Bachelor of Science, Major in Chemistry for Professional Chemists

3 Digit to 4 Digit Crosswalk

Bachelor of Science, Major in Chemistry for Other Technical Careers

3 Digit to 4 Digit Crosswalk

Teacher Certification

Students seeking a background that will prepare them to teach chemistry at the secondary level might pursue a major in chemistry with a minor in secondary education, or they might major in chemistry, minor in another discipline, and seek alternative teaching certification.

Emphasis in Biochemistry-Biotechnology

Students seeking a background that will prepare them for the emerging technologies in biochemistry and biotechnology can select advanced courses that will lead to a major in chemistry and a minor in biology.

Bachelor of Science, Major in Forensic Chemistry

Students seeking background and training in the area of forensic science can get a Bachelor of Science in Forensic Chemistry with a Criminal Justice minor. This degree option educates students for careers in forensic chemistry in both private and government arenas and also prepares students to enter graduate schools in forensic science.

3 Digit to 4 Digit Crosswalk

Bachelor of Science, Major in Chemistry/Chemical Engineering

A Dual Degree Plan for Concurrent Bachelor of Science Degrees from Sam Houston State University and Universities with Recognized Accredited Chemical Engineering Degree Programs

In this plan the student completes three years in Chemistry at Sam Houston State University and two years in Chemical Engineering at a university with a recognized accredited chemical engineering degree program. On successful completion of the curriculum shown below and the chemical engineering curriculum at a university with a recognized accredited degree program in chemical engineering, the student will receive two Bachelor of Science degrees, a Bachelor of Science with a major in Chemistry from Sam Houston State University, and a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from the university with the recognized accredited chemical engineering degree program.

3 Digit to 4 Digit Crosswalk

1CHEM 1411/CHEM 1412 satisfy the Component Area III requirements.
Bachelor of Science - Major in Chemistry/Chemical Engineering
SHSU Course Number Hours Recommended Sequence
Core Curriculum
Component Area I (Communication) 6 Freshman
Component Area II (Mathematics) 4 Freshman
Component Area III (Life and Physical Sciences) 8 Freshman
Component Area IV (Language, Philosophy, and Culture) 3 Throughout
Component Area V (Creative Arts) 3 Throughout
Component Area VI (American History) 6 Throughout
Component Area VII (Government/Political Science) 6 Throughout
Component Area VIII (Social and Behavioral Sciences) 3 Throughout
Component Area IX (Area IV elective or Oral Communication) 3 Throughout
Degree Specific Requirements
MATH 1420 4 Freshman
MATH 1430 4 Freshman
MATH 2440 4 Sophomore
MATH 3376 3 Junior
PHYS 1411 4 Freshman
PHYS 1422 4 Sophomore
PHYS 2426 4 Sophomore
ITEC 1361 3 Junior
ENGL 3330 3 Sophomore
Major Core
CHEM 14111 4 Freshman Fall Term
CHEM 14121 4 Freshman Spring Term
CHEM 2401 4 Sophomore
CHEM 2323/CHEM 2123 4 Sophomore Fall Term
CHEM 2325/CHEM 2125 4 Sophomore Spring Term
CHEM 4448 4 Junior Fall Term
CHEM 4449 4 Junior Spring Term
CHEM 4100 1 Junior
CHEM 4260 2 Junior Spring Term
CHEM Advanced elective 3 Junior
Minor (if required)
Two years (60 credit hours) of advanced courses in Chemical Engineering from a University with a Recognized Accredited Chemical Engineering Degree Program are also required (60) Senior and Fifth year
Total Hours 97 + 60
(97 at SHSU, 60 at a ChemE program)

Minor in Chemistry

A minor in Chemistry requires a minimum of six semesters of coursework and shall include CHEM 1411, CHEM 1412, CHEM 2323/CHEM 2123, CHEM 2325/CHEM 2125, CHEM 2401, and six semester hours of advanced chemistry including one advanced laboratory course. For students majoring in Food Science and Nutrition, the minor consists of CHEM 1411, CHEM 1412, CHEM 2323/CHEM 2123, CHEM 2325/CHEM 2125, CHEM 3438, and CHEM 3339.

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