Virtually 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.
...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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
- Sara Billenstein, Undergraduate Student
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.