Department of Chemistry

Description of Department

More than likely, you think of Chemistry as a world of bubbling flasks and beakers, of sterile surroundings, white lab coats, and seven-syllable words.  Of course, your career in Chemistry can be just that—but only if you want it to be.  Although a Chemistry degree from Virginia State certainly will qualify you to be a lab technician, you could just as easily find yourself completing field work or investigating crime scenes.  Chemistry graduates also obtain the necessary skills to advance to medical school, pharmacy school, or other graduate programs in the sciences.

The Department of Chemistry offers courses leading to the B.S. Degree in Chemistry in one of four concentrations: Chemistry, Biochemistry, Forensics Chemistry, and Secondary Education. A minor in another discipline is strongly encouraged to make students even more attractive to prospective employers.

  • The Chemistry Concentration is the most flexible, and is recommended for students entering industrial positions or considering graduate school in chemistry. Students working under this option should select restricted and free electives appropriate for their intended focus area.
  • The Biochemistry Concentration prepares students to enter graduate schools focused on health-related sciences such as medicine, dentistry, or optometry. Students interested in going to medical or pharmacy school are encouraged to choose this option.   The institution has an agreement with Howard University that enables students to obtain a B.S. degree in Chemistry and a Pharm.D. degree in seven years upon completion of all required courses.
  • The Forensics Chemistry Concentration prepares students for employment in the forensic sciences.  Students in this program take criminal justice courses and complete internships with regional partners to gain experience in the field.
  • The Chemistry Degree with a Minor in Secondary Education is suitable for students who strive to teach Chemistry in secondary schools.  Students who minor in secondary education are licensed and fully prepared to work in the classroom by the time they graduate.  Scholarship funds are available for students in this program.

Whether you’re interested in improving agricultural resources for third-word farmers, developing biofuels to create a sustainable fuel source for future generations, or developing affordable treatments for various medical conditions, a Chemistry degree can help you make a difference.  

Mission of Department

The mission of the Chemistry Department is to provide quality and challenging academic programs in chemistry, to advance the knowledge of chemistry through research, and to promote the understanding of chemistry by offering appropriate courses to meet a variety of student needs. The Department seeks to achieve this mission through the following objectives:

  • Providing the basic training that prepares students to become competent professional chemists.
  • Helping students gain knowledge and develop the necessary skills to study chemistry at the graduate level.
  • Preparing students to become secondary school teachers of chemistry.
  • Promoting research and engaging in research activities to advance knowledge.
  • Providing appropriate courses for all students seeking or requiring knowledge of chemistry.In pursuit of these objectives, the Chemistry Department arranges funding for student projects and travel to national and regional conferences through the Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation, and the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Undergraduate programs, funded through the National Science Foundation. Grant funds from within the department can also supplement student projects. The department utilizes numerous resources to help place students into paid summer programs all over the country. Researchers offering such programs and graduate school faculty often visit the department to recruit our students.