Chemistry Frequently Asked Questions

What skills do I need to succeed in this major?

If you're considering a chemistry major at CMU, you should be patient, persistent, inquisitive and have a desire to understand the world. You should always be willing to ask "why?" and then take the steps necessary to determine the answer. Dedication plays a big role as you commit to a problem until you find a solution. You should have strong mathematical skills, especially in algebra, and understand that mathematics is the language of chemistry.

How will I know if this major fits me?

Chemistry is everywhere, and a degree in chemistry can often be applied to almost any profession. If you're interested in being a physician, veterinarian, pharmacist, physical therapist, or another medical profession, you can pursue a degree in chemistry. If your interests are more in line with the manufacturing of food, cosmetic, chemical or agricultural products, you can focus on chemistry. Even if you're interested in going to law school, you can initially earn a degree in chemistry, as you will gain knowledge in forensic science.

What can I expect to learn?

As a chemistry student at CMU, your classes will further cultivate skills in three fundamental areas:

  • developing a deeper knowledge of chemistry
  • having the ability to execute well-designed chemical experiments
  • having the confidence to communicate the experiment's knowledge

You will gain a firm background in chemical theory, practical laboratory experiences, classical techniques of chemical analysis, and the formulation of chemical compounds. You will have hands-on laboratory experience so when you graduate, you will leave CMU with a strong ability to design experiments and collect, analyze, manipulate and communicate scientific information.

What technology will I use in this major?

Starting your freshman year, you are given opportunities to work with real scientific instrumentation. Throughout your major and senior research project, you will learn fundamental theory and gain first-hand knowledge of the operation of chemical instrumentation including pH meters, UV-Vis and IR spectrophotometers, NMR spectrometers, and gas and liquid chromatographic systems. You also will have access to specialty instrumentation including an electrochemical system and a Karl Fischer Titrator for water analysis.

Will I have opportunities for internships and hands-on learning experiences?

As a chemistry major, you must complete a research project either with a CMU faculty member or in a summer research experience (sponsored by the National Science Foundation). In either option, you will have opportunities for internships with chemical companies if it fits your interests. In the past, research projects and internships have resulted in students going to graduate school to earn a master's or Ph.D in chemistry, or students being offered full-time jobs once they graduate from the program.

What are CMU chemistry majors saying about their experience?

"I love the laboratories. You get to practice what you've learned in a hands-on way and I feel more prepared for the real world because of this." - Violeta Sevillano

"The best thing since coming to CMU as a chemistry major is probably how much fun I have actually had getting to know the people in the field, and getting the opportunity to have new experiences all the time. I wouldn't have chosen a different major looking back now." - Miranda Weigand

"The professors are inspiring and truly wonderful people. At CMU, it is not uncommon to spend your morning with a professor trying to work through a difficult homework problem, and later that same day, sit across from them in their dining room telling bad chemistry jokes." - Katie Dozier

"The chemistry department's lessons shape a strong foundation of lab experience and knowledge to excel in today's market. The chemistry faculty helped me grow by creating an atmosphere ideal for developing essential tools for the world of chemistry." - Ryan Bernard, CMU alumnus

What are CMU students who graduated with this degree doing now?

Students who have graduated with a chemistry degree from CMU have gone on to professional schools in areas such as medicine, pharmacy and nursing. Many graduates are working in the chemical industry, primarily in the production of pharmaceutical and agricultural chemicals. Some graduates even work for the Missouri State Highway Patrol crime lab as criminalists, analyzing drug samples. Others work for research reactor centers, or as chemistry teachers.

Who can I speak with for more information about this major?

For additional guidance and information about the chemistry major, contact CMU's Admissions Department at 660-248-6251, toll-free at 877-CMU-1854, or