What is a chemistry degree?

Chemistry deals with matter, including how we identify, quantify, interact with, and transform various substances. Chemists study how atoms and molecules interact or react with one another, with the goal of understanding these processes so we can use them to create new materials. Often dubbed “the central science,” chemistry teams up with physics and mathematics to explain problems in other fields like biology, medicine and Earth science. A degree in chemistry helps to understand the world in which we live and to become better stewards of it. A Bachelor of Science in chemistry prepares students to create new things, solve global challenges, and discover new knowledge about the materials we interact with every day.

Why study chemistry at Furman?

Pursuing a degree in chemistry at Furman prepares you with the tools to solve global challenges related to health, security and energy independence. Partnering with research-active faculty, 100% percent of our students work in laboratories fully outfitted with modern instrumentation and technology – an experience that sets you up for an advanced degree or a career at some of the nation’s top graduate schools, medical schools and corporations.

Among Primarily Undergraduate Institutions (PUIs), Furman’s chemistry department offers one of the nation’s largest summer research programs for students to work alongside faculty members in an intensive and meaningful research environment.

Our focus on undergraduate research provides an experience that is rare across PUIs. You’ll conduct independent research projects typically reserved for graduate students at other schools. In fact, our students often present their research in partnership with faculty and graduate students from other institutions.

With a central mission to build creative thinkers and problem-solvers, the Department of Chemistry helps students acquire the skills to address current and future problems. Collaborate with professors to create entirely new realms of scientific and chemical knowledge. Plan a visit to Furman’s beautiful campus or start your application today.

How will you learn?

Research starts early for undergraduates at Furman. Begin the journey of intellectual exploration and discovery in your first year working with practicing chemists in laboratories equipped with cutting-edge instrumentation, such as two high-field, superconducting Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectrometers. In our research laboratories containing more than $5.6 million in assets, you’ll gain hands-on experience with equipment you’ll use throughout your career.

Home to the sciences at Furman, the Charles H. Townes Science Center is among the best undergraduate research facilities in the Southeast. The $62.5 million complex features multimedia classrooms, research and computer labs, the Sanders Science Library, and study lounges to support students and faculty.

Student researchers receive a stipend for their work – competitive pay and housing made possible through endowed fellowships and other funding sources. As a National Science Foundation-Research Experiences for Undergraduates (NSF-REU) site, Furman welcomes research groups from other institutions, expanding the network for chemistry students and faculty working on summer research. All summer researchers present their work in at least one professional conference outside of Furman, exposing them to the broader chemistry community. Some students also present at international conferences.

Featured chemistry courses

Across the three ACS-certified chemistry tracks available at Furman – chemistry (standard), biochemistry, or environmental chemistry – some sample courses include:

  • 100%
    Chemistry majors who conduct research with faculty
  • No. 1
    Furman’s rank in the Southeast among Primarily Undergraduate Institutions (PUIs) for students who finish their doctoral degrees post-graduation
  • No. 5
    Furman’s national rank among PUIs who graduate ACS-certified chemistry majors
  • 95
    Peer-reviewed papers from Department of Chemistry faculty in the last five years – the majority having student coauthors

What our students say

“The chemistry program at Furman has had an immense impact on me and my career goals, even though I’ve only been a part of it for less than two years. The faculty push you to do your best and demonstrate a tremendous passion for not just instructing students, but also helping them achieve their goals in any way possible.”
– Conor Bready ’24, chemistry, B.S., and applied mathematics, B.S.; data analytics minor; 2022 Goldwater Scholar

Our faculty

Mary Elizabeth Anderson

Professor, Chemistry

Meghan Breen

Assistant Professor, Chemistry

Karen Buchmueller

Associate Professor, Chemistry

Mary Beth Daub

Assistant Professor, Chemistry

Brian Goess

Professor, Chemistry

Mac Gilliland

Assistant Professor, Chemistry

Timothy Hanks

Charles Ezra Daniel Professor and Chair of Chemistry

Lauren Jarocha

Assistant Professor, Chemistry

Jeffrey Petty

Professor, Chemistry

George Shields

Professor, Chemistry

Greg Springsteen

Professor, Chemistry

Paul Wagenknecht

Professor, Chemistry
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Chemistry Major F.A.Q.