Chemistry, B.S.

Program Overview

Do you like the idea of testing out your ideas in the lab, with hands-on experiments? Do you find it rewarding to discover solutions to complex problems? If you want to study the structure of matter, chemical reactions, and molecules and their applications in the world, consider a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry.

Chemistry is vital to solving many of today’s most challenging problems, from generating renewable energy to treating and preventing disease or remediating environmental damage. A Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from PLNU is designed to equip you for a variety of career paths. Whether you are interested in graduate school, industry, teaching, health professions, or other science-related fields, a foundational knowledge of chemistry and its relation to modern society is an important asset. The Chemistry Department’s lab-rich curriculum will give you hands-on experience to prepare you for a successful transition into your career. You will take initial courses in general, organic, and analytical chemistry that will serve as your foundation for all future chemistry courses. Advanced courses like physical chemistry, biochemistry, instrumental analysis, and advanced inorganic chemistry will deepen your knowledge and understanding while further developing skills and practices that translate to a real-world setting.

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Student Profile

Ryan Weiss

Ryan Weiss is just working on curing cancer, no big deal. He graduated from PLNU in 2008 with a degree in chemistry, and then received his PhD in organic chemistry from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD).

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Chemistry Department students also have the opportunity to participate as partners with their professors in nationally funded and reported research projects. Our research students are assigned active roles in faculty research projects, sharing in the failures and triumphs of original research. This experience will teach you how to think like a scientist as you tackle your research projects, giving you the hands-on and practical skills that will prepare you for aspects of industry, graduate school, or health professions schools. You also will have access to sophisticated instrumentation and computational tools for use in courses and labs, all housed within our new state-of-the-art science center.

If you are interested in medicine, dentistry, optometry, pharmacy, public health, or veterinary medicine, PLNU has a robust pre-health program to train and equip you. Since 2004, over 90 percent of PLNU students who have applied to health professions schools have been admitted. Similarly, the acceptance rate for chemistry students applying to graduate school programs (M.A., M.S., and Ph.D.) is over 90 percent. By offering rigorous courses alongside individualized support and guidance in the form of summer research opportunities, academic advising and mentorships, laboratory classes, and more, you can be confident and prepared moving onto graduate and health professions schools.

Learn more about how students gain hands-on STEM experience through PLNU’s summer research program.


The Chemistry Department aims to provide a space to support you and your passions – academically and personally. This not only means challenging and preparing you intellectually, but emotionally and spiritually as well. Our commitment to your whole person development and success takes shape in many ways. Faculty who are experts in their field will guide you on your way – providing the academic foundation and tools you need to make the next step, while also taking the time to get to know you as a person. In addition to our faculty and staff, our network of science alumni and professionals provide a valuable resource for mentorship and guidance. 

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Student Support

For most students, the transition into college life is one full of adjustments. There is the excitement of newfound freedoms, but also some uncertainty as you begin to make choices and take responsibility for your own future. 

At PLNU, we’re committed to supporting you — academically, professionally, spiritually, personally — so that you may be successful both in your time as a student and beyond. That’s why we offer a holistic support system that focuses on your unique experiences, particular needs, and personal and professional goals — resulting from our deep concern for you, our student.

With a focus on authentic relationships and personalized attention, our goal is to help transform you so you can follow your calling in your own career and life.

Student Support

Career Opportunities

PLNU chemistry students are able to leverage their knowledge of how material is structured, changes, and reacts to make an impact on important real-world problems. Utilize a degree in chemistry to find success in healthcare, research, or even entrepreneurship. 

At PLNU, our Chemistry B.S. program focuses on two goals:

  • Preparing you to solve many of today’s most challenging problems (generating renewable energy, preventing disease, remediating environmental damage, etc.)
  • Giving you hands-on experience to prepare you for a successful transition into your career

What do chemistry jobs look like post-graduation?

Employment in careers related to a degree in chemistry is projected to remain steady yet competitive. For chemists, employment is projected to grow 5% from 2019 to 2029 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). Likewise, for chemical engineers (one of the careers pursued by graduates of the PLNU chemistry program), employment is projected to grow 4% from 2019 to 2029 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).

What are PLNU alumni doing with their degrees in chemistry?

PLNU alumni are sought after for the ways they are able to confidently combine and apply their passion for science and strong academic foundation within a range of research sectors, including industry, academia, government, nonprofit, healthcare, and entrepreneurship. Specifically, many graduates have gone on to work at well-known technology engineering firms and pharmaceutical companies. Not to mention, chemistry is one of the most common degrees chosen by those aspiring for pre-health track or medical school. 

At PLNU, chemistry majors are offered many resources on their educational journey, including references for volunteer/shadowing/research/internship opportunities, first- and second-round mock interviews, and meetings with the pre-health advisor (just to name a few). As a result, 90% of PLNU students who have applied to health professions schools have been admitted!

Some of the positions PLNU graduates currently hold:

Chemist

2020 Median annual salary: $80,680

Chemists study substances at the atomic and molecular levels and analyze the ways in which the substances interact with one another. They use their knowledge to develop new and improved products and to test the quality of manufactured goods. Some chemists work in basic research while others work in applied research. In basic research, chemists investigate the properties, composition, and structure of matter. In applied research, chemists investigate possible new products and ways to improve existing ones.

Necessary attributes and skills:

  • Organization to plan and carry out complex research projects
  • Ability to manage and instruct scientists and technicians on proper chemical processing and testing procedures
  • Knowledge of how to prepare solutions, compounds, and reagents used in laboratory procedures
  • A strong understanding of materials and other substances to determine their composition and concentration of elements
  • Strong writer for drafting technical reports 
  • Communication for the presentation of research findings

Chemical Engineer

2020 Median annual salary: $108,540

Chemical engineers utilize the principles of chemistry and other sciences to solve problems that involve the production or use of chemicals, fuel, drugs, food, and many other products. They innovate and create processes and equipment for efficient manufacturing, plan and investigate production methods, and direct facility operations.

Necessary attributes and skills:

  • Conducting research to develop new and improved manufacturing processes
  • Testing experiments
  • Designing and planning the layout of equipment
  • Conducting tests and monitor the performance of processes throughout production
  • Skills in mathematics for estimating production costs

Family Medicine Physicians

2020 Median annual salary: $214,370

These physicians diagnose, treat, and offer preventive care to individuals and families across their lifespan. They may transfer patients to specialists when needed for further diagnosis or treatment but ultimately try to help their patients in their journey to a healthy lifestyle.

Necessary attributes and skills:

  • Ordering and interpreting diagnostic tests
  • Advising patients on necessary health changes
  • Monitoring patient progress and records
  • Analytical diagnosis 
  • Physical fitness 
  • Problem-solving 
  • Leadership 
  • Organization 

Food Scientists and Technologists

2020 Median annual salary: $68,830

Food scientists and technologists look into ways to improve the efficiency and safety of agricultural companies/establishments and their products. Most work in laboratories, offices, and in the field. They often experiment with genetically modified organisms (GMO’s) such as vegetables and fruit. These scientists are important because they help expand and shed light on the nation’s food supply. They work with both basic and applied research and development. Basic research explores the biological and chemical processes by which crops and livestock grow. Applied research tries to answer how to improve the quality, quantity, and safety of agricultural products.

Necessary skills and attributes:

  • Conducting research and experiments to improve the efficiency and productivity of field crops
  • Experimenting with new food products
  • Developing new and better ways to process, package, and deliver food products
  • Studying the soil composition and how it impacts plant growth
  • Communicating research findings to the scientific community, farmers, the government, and the public

Toxicologist

2020 Median annual salary: $93,348

Toxicologists test bodily fluids and tissue samples during autopsies to determine the presence of toxins or chemicals. They most often work in laboratories and use various methods to locate toxic levels of drugs or other poisons within the body. If it is determined harmful agents are present, toxicologists measure the levels found and determine if said substances contributed to the death of the patient. 

Necessary attributes and skills:

  • Care and intentionality with high-tech, powerful medical and testing equipment
  • Attention to detail with recording observations and findings
  • Knowledge of cataloging system and preservation of evidence
  • Robust knowledge of human anatomy and inner workings
  • Exploration of the possible links to death, using the results of DNA or other scientific analyses

Be at the forefront of innovation, entrepreneurship, and analytical thinking with a degree in chemistry

The Chemistry B.S. from PLNU prepares you with experience and knowledge to be an innovator in the science or medical industries. Whether you pursue research, healthcare, or other careers within science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) industries, you’ll be ready with the insight gained at PLNU. 

Apply to PLNU today or get connected with one of our counselors for additional support and to answer any questions you may have.

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