Chemistry at Illinois University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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Undergraduate Chemistry Program

The undergraduate chemistry program at UIUC always ranks among the top five programs in the USA in the number of total majors and in the number of ACS-approved students who graduate in a given year. Our program is widely recognized by employers and graduate schools as one of the strongest in the U.S. We have an outstanding Career Services Office that arranges on-campus interviews for our graduates with a wide variety of the best chemical companies in the USA. Students who perform well in our program and wish to attend graduate school find that they are recruited by the top graduate schools in the country.

The undergraduate chemistry program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) features diverse opportunities for students. Two programs of study are offered: the Specialized Curriculum in Chemistry and Sciences and Letters Chemistry major.

The Specialized Curriculum is a professional program endorsed by the American Chemical Society (ACS). It is aimed at students who wish to become professional chemists after the bachelor's degree or who wish to go on to graduate school in chemistry. A degree in the specialized Curriculum in Chemistry requires approximately 130 semester hours for graduation, over half of which are specifically prescribed. A student electing this option should begin taking a strong technical program their freshman year; otherwise it may be difficult to complete this specialized program in four years. Students interested in an environmental chemistry career may opt to pursue the Environmental Chemistry Option as a part of the Specialized Curriculum.

The chemistry major in the Sciences and Letters Curriculum is less specific and may be more suitable for those students who do not plan graduate study in chemistry. It is designed for students who need a background in chemistry for work in related fields, who may be planning business or administrative careers in the chemical industry, or who wish to use chemistry as a basis for further education in fields such as medicine or law. However, some students who plan professional careers in chemistry find that this major best suits their needs. This major requires the undergraduate to take thirty hours of chemistry courses including the introductory courses.

Undergraduates who wish to teach chemistry in secondary schools should elect the Chemistry Teacher Training program. Although this major provides a strong background in chemistry, it is usually inadequate preparation for industrial chemistry or chemical research. Students in this program who change their career goals can transfer into the Curriculum in Chemistry or the chemistry major in the Sciences and Letters Curriculum, as late as their third year or may elect a double degree program.

The undergraduate chemistry programs at UIUC provide many opportunities beyond classroom study. Students can pursue research projects with the world-class chemists on our faculty, often leading to publications. Many of our seniors also have the opportunity to serve as a Teaching Assistant, providing valuable experience in leadership and communication. In addition, we have an excellent Cooperative Education Program which enables a student to obtain experience in the workplace while pursuing a degree.

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has a long tradition of excellence in chemical education. The success of our graduates attests to the quality of our programs.