Chemistry lies at the heart of modern science. Advances in fields such as molecular biology, environmental science, materials science, and medicinal chemistry are built upon an understanding of chemistry. At Sweet Briar students may earn either a B.A. or B.S. degree in chemistry. We also offer a B.S. degree in biochemistry & molecular biology (BIOC) jointly with the Biology Program. Chemistry courses provide a sound background in chemical principles, and open-ended investigative laboratories teach students to become chemists. These labs present opportunities for students to design their own experiments and experience the excitement of discovery. Beginning in introductory courses, students gain experience with sophisticated, research-quality equipment.
As students progress, projects deal with more complex chemical questions and require hands-on problem-solving and extensive data analysis. Chemistry and BIOC students learn to present their results in both written and oral form. Students are challenged to develop excellent problem-solving skills, both in their coursework and in the laboratory, and to become adept at using professional instrumentation and computer software. The culmination of both the chemistry and the BIOC major is the completion of a semester-long independent project. It is strongly recommended that a student considering a major in chemistry or biochemistry/molecular biology complete CHEM 131 , CHEM 141 , CHEM 252 , CHEM 253 , MATH 123 , and MATH 124 by the end of her first year. Prospective majors should consult with the program before registering for sophomore courses.