Bachelor of Science in Chemistry

With an over-burdened global health-care system, an increasing number of multi-drug resistant microbes, terrorism, and competition over dwindling planetary resources, life on earth is going to face some major challenges in the near and distant future. There is a need, not just for research scientists, but for science-educated citizens, capable of making decisions for the direction of their lives, their family, and their communities. Alvernia strives to give students not just technical knowledge but insight and guidance about how science should be applied for the good of humanity and the betterment of society. As a Franciscan University, we are especially positioned to coordinate such goals.

Learning in leading-edge laboratory settings promotes development of knowledge and skills required to identify and pursue careers based on chemical science. Exploring broad-spectrum scientific concepts provides flexibility for students pursuing professional careers that demand knowledge of chemical systems, processes and interactions. Participating in internships and experiential learning enables students to apply academic theories and concepts to real-world challenges faced by professional chemists. And studying chemistry within the context of Franciscan traditions prepares chemists with the moral and ethical standards to employ science in the service of the world and its inhabitants.


Getting Started

Where You Can Get A Degree

The Bachelor of Science in Chemistry program is available at the following Alvernia University campus:

General Notes
  • A minimum of 123 credits are required for graduation.
  • Credits earned for COM 100 and MAT 100 do not count toward the 123 credits required for graduation; however, COM 100 students may petition for elective credit.
  • Where appropriate, courses required for the major can be used to satisfy General Education requirements. However, the credits earned for these courses are applied to either Gen Ed requirements or the major, not both.
  • Paths of Knowledge coursework may count towards major or minor requirements, but may not fulfill a second Mid-Level Liberal Arts Exploration requirement.
  • Students are expected to follow the catalog requirements for General Education, the major, and additional requirements.
  • A minor or second major within the areas listed under Paths of Knowledge automatically fulfills that area of the Gen Ed requirements.
Application Instructions

Through a rolling admission process, prospective undergraduate students — including first-year, transfer, and international students — may apply via the Alvernia web portal or The Common Application. To learn more about how to complete your application, please visit our application page.

Financing Your Education

There are options to assist in financing your education and making the tuition affordable. Visit our Student Financial Services page for a detailed overview of the process, including a link to complete the FAFSA application, as well as more information about tuition, the tuition payment plan and the tuition deferment program we offer. Alvernia’s Title IV code for the FAFSA is 003233. The Office of Student Financial Services is available to help with any questions you may have. Call 610-796-8201 or email

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Chemistry students
Why Choose Alvernia?
• A nationally ranked comprehensive regional university, Alvernia offers more than 50 majors and minors.
• An ever-expanding number of experiential learning opportunities includes internships, field experiences, co-ops, research projects, and study/service abroad programs.
• A rich campus life allows students to enjoy a full calendar of activities and events, more than 50 clubs, intramural sport and student leadership and governance opportunities.
• In growth mode, Alvernia continues to add value to its student experience: expanding academic programming in new facilities; adding student living space and updating residence halls; partnering with a community health provider; and adding amenities including a game room and new performance space.

Program Overview

Department Mission and Vision Statements

Mission Statement

It is the mission of the Department of Chemistry to provide learning experiences based on the best educational practices for all students served by the department. For science majors (chemistry, biochemistry, forensic science, general science, and biology), it is our intention to provide a comprehensive knowledge of the field of chemistry and/or biology while taking their chemistry and/or biology courses. This comprehensive knowledge is defined as: a knowledge of course content, awareness of field specialties, awareness of work requirements, a respect for ethnic and gender diversity in the workplace, interaction with the scientific community through internships and invited interactions with professionals in the field, and competitive skills in computers, laboratory techniques, and literacy. We strive for clear communication among students, faculty and staff. Further, it is our mission to prepare students to conduct research and to become role models in their fields. For those students that are not science majors, it is our mission to provide exposure to the process of doing science and a broad knowledge of the field of chemistry and/or biology and the applications of these sciences to everyday life.

Vision Statement

In defining our vision, we want to demonstrate that we are a part of a cooperative effort throughout the college to fully prepare each student for “real world” experiences – not just skill acquisition. This means we also reinforce areas that may or may not be obviously associated with courses in the sciences.  Our vision supports the college’s vision statement, along with the philosophies of the multi-disciplinary workplace, the trend in chemical education and the expectations of the world.

Student Expectations


We expect our students to be capable of expressing their knowledge of a variety of topics in a clear and concise manner and to be able to relate acquired knowledge to previous courses, their lives, and the world around them.


We expect our students to continually increase their intellect and critical thinking capabilities through academic challenges, life experiences and personal contemplation.


We expect our students to become marketable and capable professionals.  Students will be skilled in the characteristics leading to employment as well as those expected during employment, such as interview skills, resume writing skills, preparation for admission to graduate programs, internship opportunities, professional ethics and time management skills.

Communication and Literacy

We expect our students to acquire the ability to read and understand scientific literature, the ability to write reports and/or submissions to journals in a clear manner, the ability to give presentations, and the ability to communicate with individuals and groups.  


We expect our students to acquire the ability to use: word-processing, spreadsheets, statistical analysis, presentation software, web-browsers, and databases.  Such vision follows our Franciscan University’s guideline of ‘Integrated Learning’ which is to blend rigorous inquiry with practical experience.


We expect our students to become knowledgeable, productive, successful members of society who respect diversity.  This involves community service, citizenship, respect for the environment, and awareness of humane, legal and corporate standards.  Such vision follows our Franciscan University’s guideline of ‘Inclusive Learning’ and ‘Community-based Learning’ which stipulate blending rigorous inquiry with personal reflection and engagement in society as partners for service and education.


We expect our students to become confident individuals who will continually seek self-growth and are able to work in teams or alone with confidence, flexibility and strength.  This vision fulfills our Franciscan University’s guideline of ‘Ethical Learning’ which challenges students to be leaders not only of the mind, but of good conscience.

Curriculum: General Education

All Alvernia students must successfully complete a minimum of 123 semester credits to receive a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science degree. You’ll need to complete 54-56 liberal arts core credits and complete community service hours. In addition, Chemistry majors must complete 67-72 credits in the major. 

First Year Curriculum: Enduring Questions

  • SEARCH Seminar-Enduring Questions or Honor Search-Enduring Questions (3 credits: SRH 101 or HNR 160)
  • COM 101 Composition & Research: Must earn a C or higher (3 credits)
  • THE 105 Foundations of Theology (3 credits)
  • PHI 105 Introduction to Philosophy (3 credits)

Mid-Level Liberal Arts Exploration Credits

  • Exploring the Natural World (6-8 credits)
    • Lab Science (Met in related area.)
    • Math (Met in related area.)
  • Individuals & Communities (6 credits)
    • History or Political Science
    • PSY 101, HIS, POS, SOC, SSC, or ECON 3
  • Culture & Language (9 credits)
    • Communication (Not COM 100 or 101)
    • World Language – 2 courses in sequence (6 credits)
  • Creative Expressions (6 credits)
    • Literature (ENG)
    • Art, Music, or Theatre

Ethical Leaders and Followers Credits

  • Theology or Philosophy (200-400 level) (3 credits)
  • Theology or Philosophy (Ethics/Morality @ 200 level) (3 credits)
Curriculum: Paths of Knowledge

Paths of Knowledge may count towards minor or Related Requirements, but not Mid-Level Arts Exploration requirements. Choose one path.

PATH 1: Interdisciplinary Study (IS)

Three courses, at least two from Liberal Arts disciplines, not the major, at the 200-400 level from the interdisciplinary minors of Women & Gender Studies, Digital Media, Community & Environmental Sustainability, Community Engagement, Cultural Studies, Leadership Studies or Pre-Law.

PATH 2: Multi-disciplinary Study (MS)

Three courses, at least two from Liberal Arts disciplines, not the major, at the 200-400 level employing multiple disciplinary perspectives to explore the Enduring Questions in one of the following themes: Cultural & Global Studies, Imagination & Creativity, Peace & Conflict, Poverty & Wealth or Sustainability, Science & Technology.

PATH 3: In-depth Disciplinary Study (DS)

Three courses at the 200-400 level in one Liberal Arts discipline other than one’s major, guided by common ideas and methods of inquiry. Students choose from Art, Biology, Chemistry, Communication, Computer Science, Economics, English, History, Mathematics, Music, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology, Theology, Theatre or World Languages. This path may be used to give students a firm foundation in a discipline supporting their chosen major, or to pursue an interest in one of the Liberal Arts disciplines. 

Curriculum: Major Requirements

All Alvernia students must successfully complete a minimum of 123 semester credits to receive a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science degree. You’ll need to complete 54-56 liberal arts core credits and complete community service hours. In addition, Chemistry majors must complete 67-72 credits in the major. 

Required Courses (44 credits)

  • CHE 104: General Chemistry I (co-requisite: CHE 110)
  • CHE 105: General Chemistry II (pre-requisites: CHE 104, 110; co-requisite: CHE 111)
  • CHE 107: Laboratory Safety
  • CHE 110: General Chemistry Lab I (co-requisite: CHE 104)
  • CHE 111: General Chemistry Lab II (pre-requisites: CHE 104, 110; co-requisite: CHE 105)
  • CHE 201: Organic Chemistry I (pre-requisites: CHE, 105, 111; co-requisite: CHE 210)
  • CHE 202: Organic Chemistry II (pre-requisites: CHE 201, 210; co-requisite: CHE 211)
  • CHE 210: Organic Chemistry Lab I (pre-requisites: CHE 105,111; co-requisite: CHE 201)
  • CHE 211: Organic Chemistry Lab II (co-requisites: CHE 201, 210; pre-requisite: CHE 202)
  • CHE 212: Analytical Chemistry (pre-requisites: CHE 104, 105, 110, 111)
  • CHE 221: Instrumental Analysis (pre-requisite: CHE 212)
  • CHE 301: Physical Chemistry I (pre-requisites: CHE 104, 105, 110, 111; co-requisite: CHE 310)
  • CHE 302: Physical Chemistry II (pre-requisite: CHE 301; co-requisite: CHE 311)
  • CHE 310: Physical Chemistry Lab I (pre-requisites: CHE 105 and 111; co-requisite: CHE 301)
  • CHE 311: Physical Chemistry Lab II (pre-requisites: CHE 301 and 310; co-requisite: CHE 302)
  • CHE 406: Advanced Inorganic Chemistry (pre-requisites: CHE 104, 105, 110, 111, 301, 302)
  • SCI 402: Senior Seminar
  • Select one 6-credit option:
    • Research Sequence: SCI 406: Research I and SCI 407: Research II OR
    • Internship: SCI 480: Internship 

Major Electives (6-8 credits)

Choose from the courses below:

  • CHE 390: Special Topics in Chemistry (History of Chemistry, Polymer Chemistry, Nanochemistry, Materials Chemistry, Combinational Chemistry)
  • CHE 401/410: Biochemistry w/Lab (pre-requisites: CHE 104, 105, 110, 111, 201, 210, 202, 211)
  • CHE 403: Spectroscopic Methods of Analysis (pre-requisites: CHE 201,210, 202, 211)
  • CHE 404: Advanced Organic Chemistry (pre-requisites: CHE 104, 105, 110, 111, 201, 210, 202, 211)
  • CHE 405: Forensic Chemistry (pre-requisites: CHE 104, 105, 110, 111, 201, 202)
  • MAT 209: Probability & Statistics Satisfactory math placement
  • MAT 232: Calculus III (pre-requisites: MAT 230, 231)

Required Related Courses (17 credits)

  • MAT 220: Math/Statistics Computer Lab
  • MAT 230: Calculus I (pre-requisite: MAT 131 or by placement)
  • MAT 231: Calculus II (pre-requisite: MAT 230)
  • PHY 200: Physics I (pre-requisite: MAT 230, or as a co-requisite)
  • PHY 201: Physics II (pre-requisite: PHY 200)

Recommended (3 credits)

  • MAT 131: Pre-Calculus (pre-requisite: 2 years of high school algebra or satisfactory math placement)
Trends in the Field

Chemistry is referred to as a “central science” as it is intimately connected to everything in the universe, natural and human-made. The field of chemistry is one of the most impactful areas of all human activity. The contributions of chemists encompass nearly every aspect of daily life as well as all highly advancing areas of scientific human endeavor. Look at the label of nearly any household product. Taken any medication or had a medical test lately? All over your house…in the production and operation of your car…in the technology you use at work…chemistry is everywhere.

In recent history, chemistry has been a leader in innovation, concentrating in areas revolving around the synthesis of plastics and chemicals for agriculture, petroleum products and other industrial applications, as well as a range of industries producing human consumables. In addition to these traditional areas, increasing employment in the chemical sciences has expanded to include jobs in health & safety, cheminformatics, chemistry law, environmental chemistry, as well as biotech and nanotechnology.  

Chemists of the future will need to continue to lead with innovation in order to replace plastics with new materials that are more easily recycled or decomposed with lower impact on the environment. Moreover, the field of Chemistry will need to become more of an integrated science, forming interdisciplinary teams in order to stay relevant in the innovation process. Materials scientists will be needed to develop cheaper, safer, and higher quality materials for a variety of uses, such as in electronics, energy, and transportation, interfacing with chemical engineering. Other chemists will be involved in the development of biofuels and materials for next generation energy capture and storage to further reduce green-house gases.  In pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing, chemists will be needed to develop new technologies for medicinal use and production. The employment of computer-aided design and artificial intelligence in the creation of modern chemical and pharmaceutical products is already here and will only increase.

In addition, a desirable change is occurring in chemical manufacturing industries, where workers will be needed to fill a trend in improving environmental safety in the workplace and community. Increasing industrial standards are driving the need for industry-wide improvements in monitoring and intervening in polluting activities. Any solution to the increasing human burden on planet earth will absolutely require novel chemistry advances.

Despite the need to integrate disciplines, there is a belief that different industries may become for compartmentalized, seeking to interact only through contracted services, as well as the development of even larger conglomerates which become less dependent on sharing information and becoming more concerned with increasing self-sufficiency to maximize economic gains. Another basic trend is the migration away from Mass Production to Mass Customization where higher returns can be achieved by providing customized solutions to problems.  

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, overall employment of chemists and materials scientists, primarily at the Bachelor’s degree level, is projected to grow 6 percent from 2020 to 2030, about as fast as the average for all occupations. About 9-12 thousand openings for chemists and materials scientists are projected over the next decade. While the outlook for industrial scientists looks nearly unlimited, the outlook for academic scientists looks very challenging. More than half of openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force. Current median salaries for a BS chemist is about $76,500. Industries employing chemists tend to be most heavily concentrated in California and New Jersey, with above average employment in Texas, Pennsylvania and North Carolina.    

Although employment of Biochemists had been projected by BLS to grow more slowly than the average for all occupations, about 5 percent from 2020 to 2030. Chemjobber, an industry blog site in C & E News is reporting an unprecedented demand for Ph.D. scientists in biochemistry and biotechnology.  Salaries of biochemical scientists are generally higher for these more limited openings, where typical entry level positions require a Doctorate or other Professional degree. A projected need for around 3,200 biochemists is suggested over the decade to fill both new and replacement positions. However, the rapidly evolving demand for new Bio-based molecular medicines may contribute to a continuing significant demand for these scientists.  

The demand for associate and bachelor’s degree Laboratory Technicians in the Forensic Science area is projected to increase dramatically over the next decade, doubling its current workforce. Salaries for these technical positions in the chemical sciences, including forensic science, however, are substantially lower than other industrial or government positions. Advancement in the field of Forensic science requires continuing education leading to an advanced degree.      


Experiential Learning Opportunities

Through internships, students have opportunities to apply theories and knowledge learned in the classroom in a variety of professional settings. In addition to providing exposure to the activities and expectations of a real-world workplace, internship experiences help students develop their network of professional contacts.

As a chemistry major, you have the option to participate in at least 252 hours of chemistry-related activities off-campus under the supervision of an internship sponsor. Internships normally are completed during the junior year. A 2.5 or higher GPA is required to qualify for an internship.

Here’s a sampling of places at which chemistry majors at Alvernia have completed internships:

  •  Boston Police Department Crime Unit
  • St Joseph Medical Center
  • US Anodize
  • Custom Processing Inc.
  • NSF REU programs
  • Northampton County Jail
  • Giorgi Mushroom Company
  • Red Creek Wildlife Center
  • Superior Tube
  • Carpenter Technology Inc.
Accreditation Statements
  • Alvernia is an accredited institution and a member of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. MSCHE is an institutional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.
Career Outlook

After earning your Bachelor of Science in Chemistry, you can pursue a variety of careers, including:

  • Alliance Pharmaceutical
  • Perkin Elmer Instrumentation
  • RFI Ingredients Quality Control
  • Merck
  • Optometry, medical, dental school
  • Ph.D. candidacy at graduate schools
  • Norsk Hydro
  • Dairy Farmers of America
  • Ortho Pharmaceutical Company
  • Akzo Nobel

Chemistry graduates from Alvernia are employed by such reputable companies and research facilities as Johnson & Johnson; Walter Reed Army Institute of Research; Lancaster Laboratories; Spotts, Steven & McCoy; Lockheed Martin; National Medical Services; Church & Dwight; Wistar Institute; Ortho Pharmaceutical Company; and DrugScan.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, careers for chemists and material scientists are expected to grow by 6 percent between 2021 and 2031. The median annual salary is $79,760.

Opportunities for Majors

Science Association

The object of this club is to afford an opportunity for the students of science to become better acquainted, to secure the intellectual stimulation that arises from professional association, to obtain experiences in preparing and presenting technical material before chemical audiences, to foster a professional spirit among the members, to instill a professional pride in the sciences, and to build an awareness of the responsibilities and challenges facing the modern scientist.

Alvernia University Lab Staff

The object of this association is to work to prepare laboratory rooms for weekly course exercises.  It is equivalent to a Teaching Assistant (TA) position.  Students make solutions of correct concentrations or molarities, set up apparati, address chemical waste, log in new chemicals into the stockroom, and complete weekly preventative maintenance tasks for all classrooms.  Membership in the lab staff includes admittance to the lab staff prep room which is a festive and jocular environment complete with occasional pizza parties, pet lizards, and camaraderie.  Students are payed every two weeks for lab staff activities.  Freshman through seniors are welcome to join the lab staff.

Pre-Health Club

The Pre-Health Professions Club includes, but is not limited to, Pre-Medical, Pre-Dental, Physician Assisting, Occupational Therapy, Nursing, and Pre-Veterinary students. It provides a setting in which students who are working toward future careers in the health professions can get together, share information, learn more about the health professions in general, and develop friendships with students who share some of their interests. Members of this organization are composed of students pursuing study in several areas of science and related health fields.

Beta Kappa Chi

Beta Kappa Chi is the National Science Honor Society composed of chapters which seek to encourage and advance scientific education through original education, the dissemination of scientific knowledge and the stimulation of high scholarship in pure and applied science.  A yearly induction banquet is held at a restaurant complete with certificate presentation.

The Washington Center Experience

Alvernia students have an opportunity to earn college credit by spending a semester or summer in Washington, D.C. where they serve as interns in a patent office, government agency such as the ATF or FBI, They also may intern with one of several non-profit groups dealing with the environment, women’s issues, the arts, education, science, or labor relations among others.

Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program

Alvernia students can apply for a paid internship to work under a faculty member for the summer.  The program includes field trips to museums, roundtables about scientific ethics, biweekly journal club meetings, and overall is quite enriching to participants.


Industrial partnership with Custom Processing Inc.

Alvernia students can seek to work under an internship at Custom Processing Inc. which is a Berks County, PA industry located about five miles from campus specializing in blending, drying, extraction, and milling.  Its repertoire of instrumentation complements the instrumentation on campus at Alvernia University.


Academic partnership with The Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM)

Alvernia students can seek to reserve a spot for admission into LECOM for post-graduate schooling in pharmacology, dentistry, or osteopathy.

Get to Know Your Faculty

For more information about Alvernia’s Chemistry program contact the Admissions Office at 610-796-8269 or Or reach out directly to Chemistry Program Director Joshua Smith at 610-790-1915 or