In the Department of Chemistry the Undergraduate Studies Committee (USC) serves as academic advisors and handles undergraduate student concerns, including:
- Declaration of a major or minor
- Petitions for waiver or substitution of program requirements
- Other curriculum or program questions
All USC committee members are "authorized signatures" for required paperwork to declare a major or minor in chemistry. Requests for transfer of credit should be directed to the undergraduate program coordinator.
The Department of Chemistry has several advising resources for students including:
- Peer advisors
- Research advisors
- Instructions on how to declare your major or minor in chemistry
- A guide to deciding between a BS or BA in chemistry
Students looking to transfer or repeat a course should see our course policy page.
Our current chemistry peer advisors are all chemistry majors in their senior year and have gone through training with the College Center for Advising Services. They can help students with:
- Declaring a major
- Making connections with faculty
- Reviewing research opportunities
- Exploring study abroad options
If they can't answer your question, they are happy to point you in the right direction! See the peer advisor page to get started.
The Department of Chemistry provides a variety of opportunities for undergraduates to participate in research programs during the academic year and the summer. Faculty members welcome undergraduates in their research groups and usually arrange a close collaboration with graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.
Two semesters of CHM 393: Senior Research are required for the BS degree and are optional for the BA degree. Students also have the option of doing CHM 395: Independent Research. Either way, students will register with a faculty member, who will serve as their research advisor.
Declaring a Major or Minor in Chemistry
To declare a major or minor in chemistry, a member of the Undergraduate Studies Committee must approve the student's proposed program by signing an "Approval Form for Majors and Minors". These forms are available at the College Center for Advising Services, 312 Lattimore, and also online (http://www.rochester.edu/registrar/assets/pdf/MajorMinorDeclarationStudentInstructions.pdf)
Prior to declaring a major or minor, you are strongly encouraged to meet with an adviser to discuss the exact requirements and your program of study. It is helpful to bring a copy of your academic record from Access for reference when meeting in person. We encourage students to declare their major by the end of the sophomore year. Please contact the undergraduate studies coordinator or another member of the Undergraduate Studies Committee for more information.
Deciding Between a BS or BA Degree in Chemistry
Many students are concerned about the relative advantages of the bachelor of science and bachelor of arts degrees. The simplest way to sort out which degree is best for you is to think about your career and educational goals.
If your ambition is to attend medical, dental or law school, the BA degree will offer more flexibility in choosing other pre-medical/pre-dental courses. However, the BA can also be supplemented with senior research and perhaps a graduate course in chemistry and can adequately prepare one for a career in chemistry. The BA is also more appropriate when a student desires to have a double major, as it is constructed to encourage interdisciplinary studies.
If you desire to get a job in the chemical industry or attend a graduate program in chemistry immediately after college, a BS program will suit your needs. Our BS degree program has additional requirements in chemistry and supporting sciences. It is also an American Chemical Society (ACS) approved program, which may provide some advantage in terms of employment.
Students have time to choose, as the BA and the BS share a common curriculum for the first three semesters, and normally students declare their major sometime in their sophomore year.
Whatever your choice, you will discover that your University of Rochester degree is recognized and highly regarded in the scientific community. Our graduates have gone on to study at distinguished research, medical or dental institutions, or have gone directly into private industry.