Department of Chemistry

Contact Information: 
Campus Location: 4500 Science and Engineering South (SES) 
(312) 996–3161

Head, Wonhwa Cho
Director of Undergraduate Studies,  George Papadantonakis

Chemistry is a central science that provides much of the fundamental understanding needed to deal with society’s needs. Students with a degree in chemistry find they are prepared for jobs in the chemical, health, and pharmaceutical industries and in many other settings, including teaching, environmental settings, energy research, biomedical labs, forensics, and occupational and public health.

The Department of Chemistry offers three undergraduate degrees.

  1. The Bachelor of Science in Chemistry is recommended for anyone considering a professional career in chemistry. It prepares its graduates for admission to graduate schools in chemistry, to medical schools, and to professional positions in industry, the health field, and governmental agencies.
  2. The Bachelor of Arts with a Major in Chemistry requires fewer chemistry courses and permits a larger number of electives outside of chemistry. It provides a program with many of the courses required for admission to medical schools and dental schools. The degree also provides a useful background for those who wish to pursue careers in business (management, marketing, sales).
  3. The Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry, offered jointly with the Department of Biological Sciences, provides preparation for graduate study in biochemistry, for studies in medical and dental schools, or for careers in biotechnology. For more detailed information, see the Biochemistry section.

Faculty advising is provided for all students majoring in the department. To be identified for effective advising, students should declare the chemistry major by the end of the freshman year. Transfer students should declare the major at the time of registration or during their first term in residence. Students considering changing to a major in chemistry at a later point in their careers should first obtain advice from the department.

Professional Approval

Recipients of the Bachelor of Science in Chemistry are immediately eligible for degree certification by the Committee on Professional Training of the American Chemical Society.


Departmental Distinction. Chemical research is recognized as an important component of the honors candidate’s program. Favorable consideration for Departmental Distinction will be given to those students who combine superior class performance with research accomplishments. Distinction may be awarded to students who have met the following criteria:

  1. Completed a BS degree or have a distribution of courses with advanced hours in chemistry beyond the BA requirements.
  2. Earned a GPA of at least 3.50/4.00 in science and mathematics courses.
  3. Completed the physical chemistry CHEM 342, CHEM 343, CHEM 346 sequence.
  4. Shown ability in chemical research by completing a research project or advanced laboratory courses.

High Distinction. In addition to fulfilling the conditions for Distinction, candidates are required to have a GPA of 3.70/4.00 or above in science and mathematics courses, and have completed a research project in the Department of Chemistry.

Highest Distinction. In addition to fulfilling criteria for High Distinction, candidates are required to have a GPA of 3.80/4.00 or above in science and mathematics courses, and to present evidence of exceptional performance in research.

Note: For determining Distinction, the GPA will be calculated using all of the credits that are being applied to the degree—from UIC and from any transfer institution.