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Chemistry and Biochemistry

Chemistry is everywhere...

Amartya Chakrabarti holds a vial of chemicalsVirtually everything we do involves chemistry in some way or another.  From the clothes we wear to the detergent we wash them in, from the food we eat to the packaging it comes in, from our cars to our computers, chemistry has improved our health, our lives and even our environment. Do you know someone whose life was saved by epinephrine after a bee sting or by an airbag in an auto accident?  If so, you can thank a chemist!  Although chemists often work behind the scenes, their impact is everywhere.  

Chemistry: Where the study of matter... matters!



Get Engaged

...with research! Picture yourself in a lab, performing research alongside faculty and graduate students. If this is something you'd like to do, come to NIU, where all undergraduate students in our chemistry B.S. degree programs have research experience. Funding for our research regularly comes from some of the top sources in the country, including the National Science Foundation and other federal and state agencies, private foundations, national laboratories (including Argonne National Laboratory and Fermi Lab), industrial firms and private donors.

Experiment With Us

With more than 66,000 square feet of research, instructional, and office space, the Chemistry Department is well-equipped for exploration and discovery! Our facilities include an analytical lab with spectroscopic techniques and instruments, state-of-the-art computer labs, and electronics, glass, marchine shops, along with a library that subscribes to over 200 chemistry periodicals and contains more than 10,000 volumes.

Chemistry Counts

The NIU Chemistry experience, combined with our proximity to the Chicagoland area and an excellent job market for chemists, provies our graduates with tremendous employment opportunities. Our graduates work in basic and applied research, academic positions, governmental agencies, and industrial and manufacturing sites; many pursue advanced degrees and education, all with high levels of success. 

Join the club!

Affiliated with the American Chemical Society, the NIU Chemistry Club sponsors numerous fun and educational events each year, including Chem Demos, a themed evening of experiments and demos that is a hands-down favorite with the public. 

What can I do with this degree?

Most chemists work in research, with about two-thirds of the bachelor's level chemistry graduates working in the for-profit secor and in a variety of settings, including:

  • Chemical manufacturing companies
  • Cosmetic companies
  • Environmental assessment firms
  • Medical laboratories
  • Petroleum companies
  • Pharmaceutical companies
  • Utility companies

Chemistry majors also work in educational settings and in government. A small percentage are employed with nonprofit charities or research foundations. the majority of our graduates go on to pharmacy, medical, and/or graduate school. 

Chem Students working in a lab

"The undergraduate research
required in the chemistry and
biochemistry program is an
invaluable experience for any student.
I feel more  confident  about my
abilities as a chemist and understand
more of the expectations required
of me in a professional lab because
of the experiences I gained in

- Sara Billenstein, Undergraduate Student



Degree Information

The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry offers a program leading to the B.S. degree with a major in chemistry and a choice of five emphases, each of which requires courses in calculus, physics, and certain core courses in chemistry. 

Emphases 1 (Chemistry) and 4 (Biochemistry) are for students planning to pursue advanced degrees in chemistry or biochemistry or who are planning careers as professional chemists or biochemists.  With the proper electives, either emphasis would be appropriate for students interested in forensic science.  Emphases 2 (Secondary Teaching) and  Emphasis 3 (Chemistry for Pre-Professional Students) is designed for students who plan to enter medical or pharmacy school. 

Who Majors in Chemistry? 

Major Requirements
(43 -44 hours)  

Minor Requirements
(19 hours) 

Chemists working in the lab


Chemists working on an experiment

Contact Information

Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Faraday Hall 319
Northern Illinois University
DeKalb, IL 60115

Phone: (815) 753-1131
Fax:     (815) 753-4802 
Email:  dballant@niu.edu 

More at www.niu.edu/chembio