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Majoring in Chemistry


What is Chemistry?

Chemistry is the study of the basic structure of matter. Chemists investigate what substances are made of, how they act, and how they interact. Chemistry is your ticket to understanding the world around you, from the tiniest particles within our bodies to the largest objects in the universe.

What do Chemists Do?

Chemists are the people who transform the everyday materials around us into amazing things. Some chemists work on cures for cancer while others design new processes and materials for protecting the environment. Still others discover new materials to make our homes warmer in the winter, or new textiles to be used in the latest fashions. The knowledge gained through the study of chemistry opens many career pathways.

What do Chemists Earn?

The median salaries (2014) for chemists were: $72,000 B.S., $85,000 M.S., and $102,000 Ph.D. Chemists salaries vary depending on degree, employer, geographic area and experience. Chemists in industry tend to make higher salaries than those in academia or government.


Course Work in Chemistry

At the University of Maine, chemistry majors take courses in the traditional sub-disciplines of organic, inorganic, physical, analytical and biological chemistry. The curriculum, which is certified by the American Chemical Society, is designed to provide a good foundation in each of these areas and then to build on this foundation with in-depth course work in two or more of these areas. Hands-on work in the lab is an important aspect of your training as a future chemist. Chemistry is an experimental science and laboratories are where new areas are discovered and contributions to society are made. In the laboratory, you will learn techniques that will serve you well as you develop your ability to ask good scientific questions and explore possible solutions. You will also reinforce what you have learned in class and gain the ability to support the theories you’ve learned within an applied context.

Independent Research

All chemistry majors at the University of Maine conduct independent research with a faculty member and then write a thesis about their project.  The University of Maine is the only university in the state that offers graduate programs in chemistry. The presence of graduate students offers a unique and valuable experience for our undergraduate chemistry majors who work closely with the graduate students and faculty in research labs. Many of our majors have been co-authors on scientific presentations and publications.


The Department of Chemistry offers several scholarships to majors in chemistry. The Hach Scholarship is the only one that has an application process and is aimed at students who are interested in a career in teaching. Scholarships are awarded based on merit and academic standing (senior, junior, etc.)

Becoming a Chemistry Major

The curriculum for chemistry majors provides a solid foundation in chemistry, and also allows the opportunity for students to earn minors, concentrations or even complete double majors in other subjects.

For more information about options in chemistry please contact: Dr. Barbara J. W. Cole (; 207-581-1168) Chair, Department of Chemistry Aubert Hall, University of Maine Orono, ME 04469-5706


Click on the following links below to see a description of the curriculum as well as sample curricula that illustrate some of the options available for chemistry majors:


Chemistry BA:

Curriculum description for BA chemistry degree (1-31-15)

Sample curriculum for BA chemistry (1-31-15)

Chemistry BS:

Curriculum description for BS chemistry degree (1-31-15)

Sample curriculum for BS chemistry degree (1-31-15)

ACS Certified Degree:

Curriculum description for B.S. ACS certified degree (1-31-15)

Sample curriculum for ACS-BS certified (1-31-15)


Premed Concentration:

Curriculum description for BS-premed concentration (1-31-15)

Sample curriculum for BS Pre-med conc (1-31-15)


 Prepharm Concentration:

Curriculum description for BS-prepharm concentration (1-31-15)

Sample curriculum for 2 year pre-pharm conc (1-31-15)

Pharmacy School Prerequisites (1-31-15)


Chemistry Requirements:

Chemistry requirements checklist (1-31-15)


Chemistry Minor:

Chemistry is a popular minor, particularly for biology, biochemistry, chemical engineering, and biological engineer majors. Students may select from a variety of courses to fulfill the chemistry minor. A minimum of 23 credits is required. Please see the following link for complete information.

 Chemistry Minor Description (1-31-15)


For more information please contact: Dr. Barbara J. W. Cole (; 207-581-1168) Chair, Department of Chemistry Aubert Hall, University of Maine Orono, ME 04469-5706

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