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Overview of Bachelor Degree Programs

Our department offers both the bachelor of science (BS) and bachelor of arts (BA) degrees in chemistry, a bachelor of science degree in biochemistry (jointly with the Department of Biological Sciences), as well as a concentration of study in chemistry in the BS track of the Environment Studies Program. The BS degree in Chemistry at USC is accredited by the American Chemical Society, which means that this program meets all of the guidelines established by this professional organization for chemical training. Graduates with a BS degree in chemistry are well prepared to take a job as a professional chemist, or to continue their studies for an advanced degree, usually the Ph.D., in chemistry or a related area. The BA degree program is designed for students who are interested in chemistry, but intend to pursue a career in another field such as medicine, dentistry, law or business. Because this curriculum is not as restrictive as the requirements for the BS degree, students find it easier to broaden the scope of their studies by either a double major or a major/minor combination. The BS degree in biochemistry may appeal to students with broad interests in the sciences and/or a goal of research career in the biomedical field. Students in all three programs are encouraged to participate in research projects with the chemistry faculty, typically during the junior and senior years. An additional BS degree option is available through the Environmental Studies Program where students with a strong interest in both environmental issues and chemistry may select the concentration in chemistry. This highly interdisciplinary program may lead to a career in the rapidly growing environmental field, or be used as a pre-professional study by students with interests in the health sciences, law or business.

Features of our Bachelor degree programs

Program Major Characteristic Career Opportunities
BS in Chemistry Professional degree track, with focus on chemistry Qualified for jobs as a professional chemist, or for graduate studies leading to Ph.D. in chemistry or related field.
BA in Chemistry Reasonable opportunies for broadening scope of studies to include major/minor combination Could be used as background for further studies in health professions, law or business
BS in Environmental Studies, Concentration in Chemistry Highly interdisciplinary program that offers breadth across several sciences, rather than depth Entry point for career in environmental field, or as background for further studies in health professions, law or business
BS in Biochemistry Professional degree track in interdisciplinary program bridging chemistry and biological sciences Qualified for jobs in biomedical field or graduate study leading to PhD in a variety of life sciences programs

Minor Degree in Chemistry

A minor degree is available to students pursuing other majors who wish to strengthen their background in chemistry. This program is a particularly good supplement to major programs of study in biology, biomedical engineering and chemical engineering.

Noteworthy Features of our Program
  • A world class faculty
    Many of the faculty in our department have won national and international awards for their contributions to chemistry. Of greatest note is the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1994 to Professor George A. Olah of our department. Our undergraduate majors are encouraged to participate in the research activities of our faculty.

  • Faculty Commitment to Teaching
    Our faculty have been committed to excellence in undergraduate teaching for many years. We take great pride in the quality of our undergraduate programs. Seven of the faculty have won university-wide awards for teaching.

  • Faculty Advisement
    Undergraduate chemistry majors receive advisement from our faculty from the time they enter USC until they graduate. Initially, these advisement sessions focus on designing and following an academic plan. Later, attention switches to post graduation plans.

  • The Trojan Chemistry Club
    A very active student-run undergraduate organization, the Trojan Chemistry Club, is available to interested students. The "Club" organizes student-faculty luncheons, hosts receptions for new students, and participates in on-campus events for visiting local high school students. The organization is a student affiliate chapter of the American Chemical Society.

  • Association of USC Chemists
    This Alumni group recognizes the achievements of third year chemistry majors through cash awards. Local alumni often are a source of information on job opportunities.

The University of Southern California has a very extensive financial aid program. Both need-based and scholarship programs are available.
For information, contact the Financial Aid Office at (213) 740-1111.
For more information on undergraduate programs in chemistry contact contact Dr. Andrey Vilesov at

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