B.S. in Chemistry Overview


Throughout history, the field of Chemistry has always been a science that has sought out problems in need of solutions. Chemistry has brought about many advances in our human existence which often go unnoticed in our everyday world. Do you know how many different artificial sweeteners are now on the market? Or how many different types of batteries are used to power-up our laptop computers, iPhones, hybrid automobiles? Or how many different plastics? Or how many lif-saving drugs? The number of human encounters with the vast and diverse products derived through the field of Chemistry is immense, and as long as humans reach for a better life, there will be a need for chemists to make it happen. It is the goal of our program and our faculty to enrich our students with the knowledge, skills, appreciation and desire to join in the search for solutions to tomorrow's problems.


Nearly all field of science and technology have advanced to a stage where traditional disciplines overlap, and both a thorough knowledge of fundamental chemistry and technical skills to apply that knowledge in diverse applications is paramount. Examples of where chemistry overlaps with other disciplines. In Medicine, many diseases resulting from chemical changes in proteins and nucleic acids are detected at the molecular level using diagnostics evolving from Physical, Organic and Biochemistry. In Pharmacy, the major sources of human mortality, heart disease, cancer, and infection, are battled using drugs designed, developed and produced by the pharmaceutical industry employing the latest in Computational Medicinal Chemistry. In Law Enforcement/Judicial System, the successful prosecution of crimes, and judgements over many other legal conflicts is becoming more and more dependent on the presentation and defense of science-based evidence. In Environmental Science, progress has been made in reducing many chemical pollutants in the air and water, and from where the solution to global warming is likely to come in the development of alternative energy resources, like biofuels, photovoltaic semiconductors, and energy efficient cars and appliances.


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 will be important for human survival. We strive to give our 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.


Maintaining a strong science, technology engineering, and mathematics (STEM) workforce is essential to our country's standard of living and national security. Industry, government, academia, and service fields are filled by working chemists. According to Chemical and Engineering news, U.S. chemical production is forecast to increase in 2016 with respect to the strong consumer demand coupled with record low energy costs. The mean salary of A.C.S. chemists ranged from $63,000 for chemical education professionals to $120,00 for chemical medicine. These generic values must be reconciled to a particular area's cost-of-living factor. The monetary inducement for further education beyond a B.S. degree is a 141% increase in median pay from $72,000 to $102,000.


Chemical workforce changes occur at a relentless rate. Globalization and espionage places limits on a company intending to safeguard its technologies. Seemingly insulated political concerns and unrelated weather patterns can affect a chemical company's decisions about output levels. The raw materials supply chain is increasingly fragmented as firms install plants off-shore. Some industry experts believe that chemical firms may just sell the information about how to make a chemical product rather than the product itself in the near future. Still, complimentary relationships are forged under globalization.


Even though new chemical principles and materials have been focused in the Western Hemisphere in the last half-century, China, India, and the Orient have had appreciable numbers of breakthroughs and patents. Sustainability is an important tenet of a successful chemical venture. Information technology has accelerated the R&D process and made collaborations more lucrative and as a result enhancing problem solving. Multi-lingual workers are especially useful to retain. The problem -solution thought process has become less private in involving subcontractors and partners. Computer literacy and computer modeling of experiments is a cost saving venture. Some companies also author their own apps. Companies must meet bureaucratic regulations spanning storage and shipping to manufacturing as per Quality Control (QC) and Quality Assurance (QA) in addition to ISO 9001 Quality Management Systems..



  • Learning in classroom and 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.
  • 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.


Careers in Chemistry

Chemistry majors acquire the scientific knowledge and advanced analytical skills needed to pursue careers in a wide variety of technical fields such as:

  • Laboratory science
  • Environmental science
  • Biotechnology
  • Nanotechnology
  • Pharmaceutical products and research
  • Agricultural products and research
  • Veterinary products and research
  • Petrochemical products and research
  • Industrial products and research
  • Science education
  • Medicine
  • Dentistry
  • Chemistry/science journalism

      The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that between 2016 and 2016, growth in employment for persons with a degree in Chemistry will keep pace with growth for all occupations. (source: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/chemists-and-materials-sciencts.html)


Where do Alvernia chemistry graduates pursue graduate degrees?
Graduates of the Chemistry Program have gone onto graduate and professional schools, including:

  • Villanova University
  • Temple University Dental School
  • University of Southern California


Where are graduates of Alvernia’s Chemistry Program working?
Chemistry graduates are employed by reputable companies and research facilities, including:

  • 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
  • DrugScan


Student Perspective

"In chemistry, it's all about your lab technique. At Alvernia I learned how to do chemistry, correctly and efficiently. I learned to work at a quick pace and think ahead."

-Jason Betz '08, Adpen Laboratories, Jacksonville, FL




All Alvernia students must successfully complete a minimum of 123 semester credits to receive a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science degree.

As a chemistry major, you’ll need to earn 66 to 72 credits in chemistry and related areas. Students who minor in chemistry must earn 17 to 20 credits in chemistry. Students are required to complete either an internship or a research experience as part of their chemistry major.

Core Requirements (62-66 credits)

  • CHE 104  General Chemistry I
  • CHE 110  General Chemistry Laboratory I
  • CHE 105  General Chemistry II
  • CHE 111  General Chemistry Laboratory II
  • CHE 107  Laboratory Safety
  • CHE 201  Organic Chemistry I
  • CHE 210  Organic Chemistry Laboratory I
  • CHE 202  Organic Chemistry II
  • CHE 211  Organic Chemistry Laboratory II
  • CHE 212  Analytical Chemistry w/Lab
  • CHE 221  Instrumental Analysis
  • CHE 301  Physical Chemistry I
  • CHE 302  Physical Chemistry II
  • CHE 310  Physical Chemistry I Laboratory
  • CHE 311  Physical Chemistry II Laboratory
  • CHE 406  Advanced Inorganic Chemistry
  • SCI 402  Senior Seminar
  • SCI 480  Internship in Math or Science  OR 
  • SCI 406  Research I   AND
  • SCI 407  Research II

Math/Science Requirements (17-20 credits)

  • PHY 200 Physics I w/Lab
  • PHY 201 Physics II w/Lab
  • MAT 131 Precalculus (recommended)
  • MAT 220 Math/Stats Computer Lab
  • MAT 230 Calculus I
  • MAT 231 Calculus II

Electives (6-8 credits)

  • CHE 401  Biochemistry AND CHE 410 Biochemistry Laboratory
  • CHE 403  Spectroscopic Methods
  • CHE 404  Advanced Organic Chemistry
  • CHE 405  Forensic Chemistry w/Lab
  • CHE 406  Advanced Inorganic Chemistry
  • MAT 209  Probability & Statistics
  • MAT 332  Calculus III
Experiential Learning 

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:

  • Clinical Laboratories, Inc.
  • DrugScan
  • Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection
  • Puritan Products, Inc.
  • United States Medical Research
  • Institute of Chemical Defense
  • Lancaster Laboratories
Research Opportunities

Chemistry faculty at Alvernia conduct research in a variety of areas, and well-qualified chemistry majors may have opportunities to assist faculty in research. The experience can greatly enhance a student's education and add a point of distinction to aid the job serach after graduation.


To determine the cost of this program, please visit our Tuition page.  For a personalized estimate, please contact an admissions counselor at 610-790-8269 or at admissions@alvernia.edu.

Financial Aid

100% of Alvernia students receive some form of scholarship and/or aid. Our admissions counselors can help you identify the aid that is available to you and for your program. For more information, visit our Financial Aid page.


All programs offered by Alvernia University are approved by the Department of Education of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools.



Learn More

For more information about Alvernia’s Biochemistry Program, please contact the Admissions Office at 1-888-ALVERNIA or 610-796-8269 or admissions@alvernia.edu, or reach out directly to:


Dr. Eric Recktenwald

Interim Science Department Chair

Bernardine Hall 120