Chemistry and Biochemistry

Degree Requirements

Department Chair: David Dearden

Office: C100


College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences Advisement Center

N-179 ESC, (801) 422-6270

1112 TMCB, (801) 422-4214

Admission to Degree Program

All degree programs in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry are open enrollment. However, special limitations apply for teaching majors.

The Discipline

Chemistry is the study of matter, the changes undergone by matter, and the laws that govern the changes. Chemists study atoms as well as the structures and reactions of molecules. They also work to develop simplifying models (theories) that permit the correlation and explanation of observations about matter. Chemical principles are fundamental to the understanding of subjects ranging from the molecular basis of biology to the structure of rocks and minerals. Chemistry is an essential foundation in engineering disciplines, especially in chemical engineering, electronics, energy and environmental science, geology, pharmacy and medicine, and in virtually all manufacturing areas.

Chemistry is an active science that is vital to human existence. Energy needs, environmental concerns, and requirements for new materials all involve major contributions from chemists. Examples of the diverse areas of interest to chemists include regulation of protein synthesis, signal transduction at the cellular level and proteomics (biochemistry), design and synthesis of medicinal compounds (organic chemistry), design and synthesis of new molecular structures and materials (inorganic chemistry), spectroscopic study of energy transfer and molecular structures (physical chemistry), and analysis of medicinal compounds, biological materials, and contaminants or trace elements found in the environment (analytical chemistry).

Chemistry involves more than test tubes and beakers. It includes working with a variety of equipment and instruments such as mass spectrometers, calorimeters, chromatographs, ultracentrifuges, lasers, X-ray diffractometers, and nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometers.

Career Opportunities

Graduates in chemistry obtain positions in virtually every industry, and those who have imagination and intellectual curiosity are in particular demand. Chemistry is also an excellent preprofessional course of study for those interested in medicine, dentistry, law, and business. The chemistry curriculum is both rigorous and intellectually rewarding.

Graduation Requirements

To receive a BYU bachelor's degree a student must complete, in addition to all requirements for a specific major, the following university requirements:

  • The university core, consisting of requirements in general and religious education. (See University Core for details. 
  • A minimum of 30 credit hours in residence
  • A minimum of 120 credit hours
  • A cumulative GPA of at least 2.0
  • Be in good standing with the Honor Code Office

Undergraduate Programs and Degrees


          BA in Chemistry
          BS in Biochemistry
          BS in Chemistry
          BS in Chemistry Education




          Chemistry Education

Students should see the department office for help or information concerning the undergraduate programs.

Required High School Preparation

  1. It is recommended that a student complete the following courses in high school:
    • 3 units of English.
    • 2 units of physical science, chemistry, and physics.
    • 4 units of mathematics, consisting of 2.5 units of algebra, 1 unit of geometry, and 0.5 unit of trigonometry. This should qualify students to begin college mathematics with Math 112, analytic geometry and calculus.


          Because mathematics provides the foundation for all work in the physical and mathematical sciences, particular attention is paid to high school preparation in this subject.


          To decide which mathematics course should be taken first, contact the Mathematics Department, 292 TMCB, and request a mathematics placement test.


  2. All students, especially freshmen and those transferring, should contact the department between March and August each year for advisement about efficient course scheduling and opportunities for student employment.


Kenneth W. Brighton, H. Tracy Hall, Ida Tanner Hamblin, and other scholarships are available to qualified chemistry majors.