Chemistry is the field of science associated with atoms and molecules. It focuses on the behavior and properties of matter, the relationship of energy with the bond-forming and bond-breaking reactions that dictate chemical processes, and the creation of new substances. It is the primary field that deals with nanoscience and nanotechnology. It is often considered the central science, linking the physical sciences with engineering, medicine and life sciences. The subject of chemistry is typically broken into more focused disciplines, including organic chemistry, inorganic chemistry, physical chemistry, analytical chemistry, theoretical chemistry, computational chemistry, biochemistry and materials chemistry. A degree in chemistry examines these topics to promote a fundamental understanding of the world and the application of this knowledge in solving technological problems.
Professional chemists apply their knowledge in many different areas ranging from environmental processes to the development of new materials and renewable energy. They work in academic environments, high-tech start-ups, and research and development laboratories associated with practically every advanced technological field including medicine, computing, energy, agriculture and biotechnology. For more information on potential careers in chemistry visit the American Chemical Society website – Careers in Chemistry.
The chemistry degree at Colorado School of Mines consists of a total of 133.5 credit hours and is founded in rigorous fundamental science, complemented by application of these principles to minerals, energy, materials or environmental fields. For example, specific BS curricular tracks emphasizing environmental chemistry or biochemistry are offered along with a more flexible track which can be tailored to optimize preparation consistent with students’ career goals. Those aspiring to enter PhD programs in chemistry are encouraged to include undergraduate research beyond the minimum required among their elective hours. Others interested in industrial chemistry may choose area of special interest courses in chemical engineering or metallurgy, for example. A significant number of students complete degrees in both chemistry and chemical engineering as an excellent preparation for industrial careers. Sustainability and the principles of green chemistry are valued throughout the curriculum and are the focus of many of the research areas.
The instructional and research laboratories located in the Chemistry Department contain extensive instrumentation for gas chromatography, high-performance liquid chromatography, ion chromatography, supercritical-fluid chromatography, inductively-coupled-plasma-atomic emission spectroscopy, field-flow fractionation, mass spectrometry, nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometry (solids and liquids), infrared spectrophotometry, visible-ultraviolet spectrophotometry, microscopy, X-ray photoelectron spectrometry and thermogravimetric analysis.
A significant number of students complete degrees in both chemistry and chemical engineering as an excellent preparation for industrial careers. Sustainability and the principles of green chemistry are valued throughout the curriculum and are the focus of many of the research areas.