BA in Chemistry
Are you ready to dive deeply into the chemistry behind scientific fields such as medicine, energy, forensics, food science, materials science, pharmaceuticals, and polymer science?
If this is how you want to apply your strong math and physics skills, then a chemistry major may be a perfect fit.
Chemists play a key role in breakthrough research that provides the foundation for protecting our natural resources, developing renewable products and new sources of energy, and discovering medical cures.
The BA in Chemistry
The College of Liberal Arts offers a bachelor of arts (BA) in chemistry; it’s administered through the Department of Chemistry in the College of Science and Engineering, which also offers a bachelor of science in chemistry (BS). This may be confusing, so here we explain the similarities and differences between the two options.
- The BA and BS are equally challenging. The major courses are the same for both degrees and students from both take their classes together. The pre-requisite courses to enter the major are the same.
- Admissions to the College of Liberal Arts and the College of Science & Engineering are different; you might get into one college but not the other.
- The structure of the degrees are slightly different. The BA has more flexibility if you want to pursue multiple interests, allowing space in your degree plan for breadth and depth; the BS degree program offers opportunities to take additional chemistry and technical courses.
- The BA degree requires proficiency in a second language.
The Liberal Arts Advantage
Students who choose the BA degree have the option to add relevant minors to their major and their electives will help them develop skills that employers look for, above and beyond technical skills developed in the major courses. These core career competencies include:
- Analytical & Critical Thinking
- Applied Problem Solving
- Ethical Reasoning & Decision Making
- Innovation & Creativity
- Oral & Written Communication
- Teamwork & Leadership
- Engaging Diversity
- Active Citizenship & Community Engagement
- Digital Literacy
- Career Management
Consider your own interests and career goals and consult with an advisor when deciding whether to apply to the College of Liberal Arts (for the BA) or College of Science & Engineering (for the BS). Both degrees will prepare you well for your future.
All liberal arts degrees help CLA students develop their Core Career Competencies, and chemistry majors develop specific skills that are applicable to lots of different careers. These skills include critical thinking and analysis skills, skills in data management and interpretation, written and verbal communication skills, and research and laboratory.
Students who take the SuperStrong Interest Inventory receive a three-letter interest code, which identifies their top three areas of interest, work activities, potential skills, and personal values. The interest code "IRE" is often associated with this major, however, the SuperStrong assessment can help you understand how your interests connect to a variety of majors and career options. You can learn more about common employer types and occupations associated with this major. You can also see CLA specific examples of alumni careers below.
Internship & Job Search Websites
- American Association for the Advancement of Science
- American Chemical Society
- American Institute of Chemistry
- Chemical Week Magazine
- Journal of Chemical Education
Alumni Career Examples
Below is a small sampling of what alumni with this major have pursued, organized by the most common career fields they go into (although keep in mind that there are alumni in all eight of the career fields). You can also utilize the LinkedIn's Alumni Tool and the Maroon and Gold Network to further explore alumni career pathways and connect directly with professionals.
R&D Process Development Intern, St. Jude Medical
Pharmacy Technician, CVS Health
Forensic Special Chemist, Aegis Sciences Corporation
Researcher, University of Minnesota
Case Aid, Metropolitan Health Plan
Chemical Specifications Coordinator, Adecco Staffing
Senior Specifications Technician, EcoLab
Lab Technician (EcoLab), Aerotek
Lab Analyst, Pace Analytical
Senior Scientist, Wockhardt USA
Senior Chemist, Upsher-Smith Laboratories
Senior Research Chemist, 3M
Pharm.D., Midwestern University
MS, Analytical Chemistry at University of Minnesota
PhD, Organic Chemistry at University of Wisconsin-Madison
MD, Kasturba Medical College International Center