The Chemistry Department provides a strong educational background in chemistry and strives to show all students how chemistry is involved in solving everyday problems such as energy production, pollution control and disease prevention. Programs of study can be designed to give broad scientific experience to those interested in a general, liberal education; more specialized training is available to those wishing to pursue any of the health-related disciplines, science teaching, dietetics, engineering or other related sciences. A comprehensive course of study is suggested for career-oriented chemists. Except for those who will enroll in introductory chemistry courses, high school preparation should include chemistry, algebra, geometry and trigonometry.
At the baccalaureate level, students may specialize in biochemistry or materials science. At the graduate level, course work and research experience lead to either the MS or the MA degree in Chemistry. These degrees permit some specialization in analytical chemistry, biochemistry, inorganic, organic, radiochemistry, physical or polymer chemistry. The MS degree is recommended to those who wish to conduct or direct chemical research, or for those who want an introduction to graduate work before starting a PhD program. The MA is recommended for persons who are not directly involved in chemical research; it may be sufficient for those individuals teaching at the high school or community college level. Graduate courses also support the MA - Natural Science.
Students wishing to major in chemistry should confer with one of the department advisors when entering the university. Students' goals will determine whether they opt for the BS or BA degree, with possible specialization in biochemistry, materials or preparation for teaching. Students who transfer into these programs should be aware that general chemistry and a number of supporting courses, especially the mathematics and physics requirements, should be started during their first two years. If students transfer at the junior level without most of these courses completed, more than four semesters at SJSU may be required to complete the degree.
All chemistry majors must meet with their advisors every semester. This mandatory advising session is necessary to remove the advising hold preventing registration for the following semester. At least one year prior to graduation, an approved major form must be signed by the advisor and submitted to the Chemistry Department Office.
Undergraduate Honors Program
Departmental honors are awarded to chemistry majors with a 3.5 GPA in required courses for the major and a 3.3 GPA overall, providing these students have completed CHEM 199.
Safety in Chemistry Laboratory Classes
Safety is an essential element of all chemistry laboratory classes. Because hazardous chemicals are essential and their use is common and necessary, safety instruction is an integral part of all chemistry laboratory classes. Materials Safety Data Sheets are available for review in the Chemistry Service Center. A formal course in Chemical Safety (CHEM 120S) is a prerequisite for all research course work (i.e., CHEM 180, 297, 298, 299, etc.), for all BS, BA, MS, and MA Chemistry majors and minors. BS majors with a concentration in biochemistry may substitute BIOL 6 for CHEM 120S.
Contact lenses in the chemical laboratory present a severe eye hazard. It is Chemistry Department policy that contact lenses are prohibited in all chemistry laboratories; prescription glasses should be worn instead. In addition, safety goggles are required in all laboratories.
Non-Compliance with Safety Rules
Failure to comply with proper procedures and prescribed safety cautions shall subject the student to removal from the laboratory and/or disciplinary action.
1. Any student who engages in unauthorized experimentation or who seriously disregards safety, thereby endangering self or others shall be withdrawn immediately from the class with a grade of "F".
2. Any student who shows persistent disregard for safety may have his or her grade lowered, and may risk being withdrawn with a final grade of "F".
Courses prerequisite to all chemistry courses must be passed with a grade of "C" or better ("C-" not accepted). Exceptions may be made only with instructor consent or if not explicitly stated in the course description.