Chemistry

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Program Overview

The study of modern chemistry is a multifaceted subject, integrated with physics and math. Our chemistry curriculum at Fairfield gives students a comprehensive approach to the field’s principles and applications, while the program pushes students to think critically, solve problems and apply experimental techniques to build their insight.

As chemistry majors, students study and work collaboratively, in small classes with a knowledgeable, experienced faculty. Through independent study, students conduct original research and have the opportunity to intern in the academic, governmental or industrial sectors. Our location offers Fairfield students the opportunity to take advantage of the many prominent corporate enterprises and academic institutions throughout the area.

A degree in chemistry gives you flexibility in your career path. Our concentration in biochemistry introduces you to the essentials of biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics. With a detailed curriculum that includes faculty-led research and laboratory-based courses, our chemistry and biochemistry programs thoroughly prepare you for careers in chemical, biochemical and pharmaceutical industries, and is a great path to careers in health related fields including medical, dental, and pharmacy.

Approximately a third of our graduating seniors over the last few years have gone on to careers in health related fields and this number is growing as the Biochemistry degree grows.

Requirements

The bachelor of science degree in chemistry or biochemistry, with or without ACS certification, can be achieved by following the appropriate course sequence outlined below. The first sequence describes the basic BS degree in chemistry. The second sequence is the preferred track for students seeking employment in the chemical industry or pursuing a Ph.D. in chemistry and includes ACS certification. The third sequence is the BS in biochemistry. This sequence is recommended for students interested in the pharmaceutical industry, medical or dental school and the pursuit of a Ph.D. in biochemistry or related fields. This biochemistry sequence can also be ACS certified with the additional course work described. The ACS certified sequences feature more in-depth laboratory work and/or a greater emphasis on research.

B.S. with a Major in Chemistry

  Credits
First Year Fall Spring
CH 111-112: General Chemistry I and II 3 3
CH 111L-112L: General Chemistry I and II Lab 1 1
MA 145-146: Calculus I and II or MA 171-172: Calculus I and II 4 4
PS 115-116: General Physics I and II 3 3
PS 115L-116L: General Physics I and II Lab 1 1
Core Courses 6 6
  Credits
Sophomore Year Fall Spring
CH 211-212: Organic Chemistry I and II 3 3
CH 211L-212L: Organic Chemistry I and II Lab 1 1
CH 222: Chemical Analysis   3
CH 222L: Chemical Analysis Lab   1
MA 245: Calculus III or MA 273: Multivariable Calculus 4  
Core courses and electives 9 9
  Credits
Junior Year Fall Spring
CH 261-262: Physical Chemistry I and II 3 3
CH 261L-262L: Physical Chemistry I and II Lab 1 1
CH 326: Chemical Instrumentation*   3
CH 326: Chemical Instrumentation  
CH 326L: Instrumental Analytical Chemistry Lab   3
Core courses and electives 6 9
  Credits
Senior Year Fall Spring
CH 341: Advanced Inorganic Chemistry 3  
CH/BI 324: Biochemistry I*   3
CH/BI 324L: Biochemistry Lab   1
Core courses and electives 12 12

* May be taken either Junior or Senior Year



B.S. with a Major in Chemistry - ACS Certified

  Credits
First Year Fall Spring
CH 111-112: General Chemistry I and II 3 3
CH 111L-112L: General Chemistry I and II Lab 1 1
MA 145-146: Calculus I and II or MA 171-172: Calculus I and II 3 3
PS 115-116: General Physics I and II 3 3
PS 115L-116L: General Physics I and II Lab 1 1
Core Courses 6 6
  Credits
Sophomore Year Fall Spring
CH 211-211: Organic Chemistry I and II 3 3
CH 211L-212L: Organic Chemistry I and II Lab 1 1
CH 222: Chemical Analysis   3
CH 222L: Chemical Analysis Lab   1
MA 245: Calculus III or MA 273: Multivariable Calbulus 4  
Core courses and electives 9 9

  Credits
Junior Year Fall Spring
CH 261-262: Physical Chemistry I and II 3 3
CH 261L-262L: Physical Chemistry I and II Lab 1 1
MA 251: Ordinary Differential Equations  3  
CH 326: Chemical Instrumentation*  
CH 326L: Instrumental Analytical Chemistry Lab*   3
Core courses and electives 6 9
  Credits
Senior Year Fall Spring
CH 341: Advanced Inorganic Chemistry* 3  
CH 341L: Advanced Inorganic Chemistry Lab*
2
 
CH/BI 324: Biochemistry I*   3
CH/BI 324L: Biochemistry I Lab*   1
CH 398: Research and Seminar
3 or
3
Core courses and electives 9 9

* May be taken either Junior or Senior Year

  • Students intending to enter primary or secondary school teaching should consult annually with the chairs of the departments of Chemistry and Education to facilitate scheduling of these curricula.
  • Students intending to enter medical or dental school should consult with the Chair of the Chemistry Department and the Health Professions Advisor for appropriate modifications of this curriculum, which will include taking BI 170-171 in freshman year in place of PS 115-116, which is then taken in sophomore year.
  • Students may elect to take CH 324: Biochemistry, or CH 341: Advanced Inorganic Chemistry, in junior year.
  • Note that CH 398: Research and Seminar is a research elective to be coordinated with individual faculty members. It may be taken for one, two, or three credits. Students may elect to take CH 398 in the fall, spring or both semesters.
  • Students are encouraged to participate in summer research experiences on or off campus. At the discretion of the Chemistry Department, involvement in summer research such as National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduate Programs may be counted toward the research requirement for American Chemical Society certification. Each case will be evaluated individually by the department.
  • All research for credit will be consistent with the American Chemical Society Committee for Professional Training guidelines.



B.S. with a Major in Biochemistry (ACS Certified Degree Available*)

  Credits
First Year Fall Spring
CH 111-112: General Chemistry I and II 3 3
CH 111L-112L: General Chemistry I and II Lab 1 1
BI 170-171: General Biology I and II with Lab
4
4
MA 145-146: Calculus I and II or MA 171-172 Calculus I and II 4 4
Core Courses 6 6
  Credits
Sophomore Year Fall Spring
CH 211-211: Organic Chemistry I and II 3 3
CH 211L-212L: Organic Chemistry I and II Lab 1 1
BI 172: General Biology III and Lab 4  
CH 222: Chemical Analysis   3
CH 222L: Chemical Analysis Lab   1
PS 115-116: General Physics I and II
3
3
PS 115L-116L: General Physics I and II Lab
1
1
MA 225: Calculus III or MA 273: Multivariable Calbulus or MA 217: Accelerated Stats 4 or 3  
Core courses and electives 3 6
  Credits
Junior Year Fall Spring
CH 261-262: Physical Chemistry I and II 3 3
CH 261L-262L: Physical Chemistry I and II Lab 1 1
CH/BI 324: Biochemistry I   3
CH/BI 324L: Biochemistry I Lab*  
Biology Elective   3(4)
Core courses and electives 6 9
  Credits
Senior Year Fall Spring
CH/BI 325: Biochemistry II
3
 
CH/BI 325L: Biochemistry Lab* 1  
Chemistry Elective  3(5) or 3
Core courses and electives 6/9 6/9
*Biochemistry Lab is taken only once, consecutively with CH/BI 324 or CH/BI 325    


Chemistry Electives

(One of the following, taken during Junior and Senior Year. Note: A student pursuing a Biochemistry Major who takes both chemistry electives is eligible for ACS* certification.*)

CH 326: Chemical Instrumentation  3  
CH 326L: Instrumental Analytical Chemistry Lab OR 3  
CH 341: Advanced Inorganic  3  
CH 341L: Advanced Inorganic Lab (highly recommended)  2  

Biology Electives (One of the following)

BI 261: Genetics Lecture and Lab    
BI 327: Cell Biology Lecture and Lab    
BI 342: Developmental Biology Lecture and Lab    
BI 352: Fundamentals of Microbiology Lecture and Lab    
BI 354: Molecular Biology Lecture    
BI 356: Immunology Lecture    
BI 357: General Virology Lecture    
BI 358: Recombinant DNA Technology Lab    
BI 375: Biochemical Ecology Lecture and Lab    

Optional

CH 398: Research and Seminar 3 3

The biochemistry sequence places a greater emphasis on biochemistry and the life sciences. Students pursuing this track will be well prepared for professional schools in the life sciences, graduate schools in biochemistry, and the more traditional fields of chemistry, as well as employment in chemical, environmental, or health-related fields. Note: Due to the additional lab component of the biochemistry major, CH 398 is recommended but not required for the B.S. with American Chemical Society certification.

* For a BS in Biochemistry certified by the ACS, a student must take both Chemistry electives, CH 326 and CH 341 with labs.


Minor in Chemistry

A minor in chemistry requires six courses in chemistry. At least four of these courses must carry course numbers of 200 or greater. One of these four courses must be a course in physical chemistry (CH 261 or CH 262).


Minor in Biochemistry

The biochemistry minor consists of the following (not intended for Biology or Chemistry Majors):

Course Prerequisite(s) Credits
CH 111: General Chemistry I with Lab None 4
CH 112: General Chemistry II with Lab CH 111 4
CH 211: Organic Chemistry I with Lab CH 112 4
CH 212: Organic Chemistry II with Lab CH 211 4
CH 261: Physical Chemistry I with Lab CH 212,
PS 115-116* ,
MA 145-146*,
or equivalents
3/1
CH/BI 324: Biochemistry I CH 212 3
CH/BI 324L: Biochemistry Lab CH 212 1
CH 325: Biochemistry II CH/BI 324,
BI 170-171-172,
CH 212
3
* PS 115-116 and MA 145-146 or equivalents are requirements of all physical science majors.

Course Offerings

See Chemistry & Biochemistry course descriptions from our catalog for more information 

  • CH 007: Introduction to Forensic Science
  • CH 10: Chemistry - Sights and Insights
  • CH 33: Chemistry of Nutrition
  • CH 72/PH 216: Philosophy and Biochemistry of Food and Eating Practices
  • CH/BI 76: Environmental Science
  • CH 83: Survey of Chemistry
  • CH 84: General Chemistry for Health Science
  • CH 84: General Chemistry for Health Science Lab
  • CH 85: Chemistry, Energy, and the Environment
  • CH 86: Chemistry and Art
  • CH 87: Molecules of Life
  • CH 111-112: General Chemistry I and II
  • CH 111-112: General Chemistry I and II Labs
  • CH 211: Organic Chemistry I
  • CH 212: Organic Chemistry II
  • CH 211-212: Organic Chemistry I and II Lab
  • CH 222: Chemical Analysis
  • CH 222: Chemical Analysis Lab
  • CH 261-262: Physical Chemistry I and II
  • CH 261-262: Physical Chemistry Labs
  • CH/BI 324 Biochemistry I
  • CH/BI 324/325L: Biochemistry Lab
  • CH/BI 325: Biochemistry II
  • CH 326: Chemical Instrumentation
  • CH 326: Instrumental-Analytical Chemistry Lab
  • CH 341: Advanced Inorganic Chemistry
  • CH 341: Advanced Inorganic Chemistry Lab
  • CH 363: Advanced Topics
  • CH 398: Research and Seminar
  • CH 399: Independent Study

Faculty

The College of Arts and Sciences at Fairfield University is home to a vibrant community of engaged faculty, dedicated staff and budding scholars devoted to the process of invention and discovery and excited by the prospect of producing knowledge in the service of others. Meet the innovative members of our Chemistry and Biochemistry Department.

Internships

If you've ever wondered if a particular career is a good fit for you, internships are a terrific way to find out. Academic credit and noncredit internships are available to Fairfield students in every field and offer hands-on, professional experience at leading companies throughout the region.

Research Opportunities

Faculty-Mentored Student Research

cas_chem_research_1Getting involved in faculty-mentored undergraduate research is a great way to supplement work done in classes, and it gives students the chance to explore a topic at the cutting edge of the chemistry or biochemistry discipline.

Benefits to conducting faculty-mentored undergraduate research:

  • Participate directly in the creation of new knowledge and scientific discovery.
  • Develop important problem-solving, communication, collaboration, and independent thinking skills.
  • Use the opportunity to reflect on your true academic and career interests.
  • Show graduate and professional schools that you can take on a challenging project and explore an area in depth.
  • Earn a great recommendation letter to a graduate or professional program from a faculty mentor.

Helpful hints to get started:

  • Talk to faculty members early in your career at Fairfield about their different research projects
  • Attend CH 398 student research talks
  • Attend the annual Sigma Xi Poster Session
  • Talk to students who have been involved in research

 

Semester Research Opportunities

cas_chem_research_2Work for academic credit by taking CH 398 'Research & Seminar'

  • Students sign up for this course after discussing a research opportunity and coming up with a specific project to work on with a specific professor
  • Option to take one, two, or three credits (One credit is equal to 3 hours of lab work per week, two credits is 6 hours of lab work per week, and three credits is 9 hours of lab work per week)
  • Students in the senior year will typically take 3 credits of CH 398 to fulfill the requirements for the American Chemical Society certified BS degree
  • Younger students will usually take less credits and then potentially work up to taking more credits in future years
  • When taking the full three credits of Research & Seminar, the student does the required research and also presents two oral seminars to the department during the course of the semester

Work for work-study credit

  • Signing up for this would involve the same process as signing up for CH 398 in which a student would discuss a specific research opportunity and come up with a specific research project with a specific professor
  • Hours worked would be dependent on work-study hours available for a particular student 

Summer Research Opportunities:

  • cas_chem_research_3Some opportunities exist for students to work full-time (~35-40 hours per week) for a professor doing research for 8-10 weeks during the summer
  • Typically the student works for pay (based on availability of internal and external funds), although some volunteer opportunities or opportunities for academic credit exist as well
  • During typical summers, there are at least three chemistry/biochemistry professors working with one to two students each, and the researchers have met weekly for group meetings sponsored by the Sigma Xi Scientific Research Society Chapter at Fairfield to discuss research and for socialization.  These meetings have been open to all science, math and engineering students and faculty involved in summer research making them great opportunities for interdisciplinary learning
  • View photos from the 2014 Summer Research cohort

Instrumentation

Fairfield University Chemistry & Biochemistry Department Major Equipment & Resources

Synthesis:

  • CEM Microwave Synthesizer     
  • MBraun Inert Atmosphere Glove Box
  • MBraun Solvent Purification System (used to purify acetonitrile, dichloromethane, diethyl ether, dimethylformamide, and tetrahydrofuran)

 

Mass Spectrometry:

  • Shimadzu Axima Confidence MALDI-TOF with SARAMIS iD Plus (positive and negative ionization with both linear and reflective modes)
    • Instructions for viewing the MALDI calendar
    • For Fairfield faculty that have been trained to use the MALDI-TOF, please follow the instructions provided in the link below to reserve time on the instrument using the EMS system.

Instructions for using EMS (trained faculty only)

    • For Fairfield faculty who haven’t been trained on the instrument and for any collaborators from other institutions, use the following link to reserve time on the MALDI-TOF instrument. For more information about MALDI access and training, contact Prof. Smith-Carpenter (jsmith-carpenter@fairfield.edu)

MALDI Reservation Form

  • Shimadzu GC­MS (with autosampler, EI/CI ionization modes, and direct MS injection capability)

 

Chromatography:  

  • Agilent and Gow-Mac Gas Chromatographs
  • Shimadzu HPLC with UV-detector. This instrument contains an autosampler and a fraction collector.
  • Varian HPLC with UV-detector

 

Computational Chemistry: 

  • Gaussian09 Rev D.01 (Gaussian, Inc) installed locally on two 8-processor UNIX system processors. Access for students and faculty is via Gaussview browser based WebMO, or by direct login.

 

Electrochemistry:  

  • Pine WaveNow and Cypress Systems potentiostats    

 

Spectroscopy:  

  • 300 MHz Avance NMR Spectrometer with broadband probe and pulse field gradient and variable temperature capabilities.
  • Cary 60 and 100 UV­Visible Spectrometers (with multicell holder and variable temperature peltier controller)
  • Thermo Nicolet and BrukerTensor 27 FT-IR spectrometers (with ATR accessories)
  • PTI Xenon Flash Fluorescence fluorimeter
  • Rudolph Research Autopol 1 Polarimeter
  • Perkin Elmer Atomic Absorption Spectrometer
  • Biotek H1 Monochrometer-­based plate reader

 

Library:

The DiMenna-Nyselius Library is adjacent to the Bannow Science Center. The library has online subscriptions to major chemistry journals (ACS and RSC) with holdings substantively beyond ACS guidelines. The University has access to SciFinder Scholar. Interlibrary loan provides resources not available on campus.

 

Cell Culture Work:  

  • New Brunswick E24R Refrigerated Incubating Shaker
  • CO2 regulated cell culture incubator
  • Laminar Flow Hood
  • Confocal Microscope
  • Syngene Imaging Station (fluorescent and chemiluminescent capabilities)
  • Fisher Scientific 45 cu ft. chromatography refrigerator  

 

Other Resources:  

Faculty members collaborate with undergraduates in dedicated 320 ft2 (minimum) research laboratories equipped with six or eight-foot fume hoods. Vacuum pumps, rotary evaporators, nitrogen gas, chiller baths, Schlenk lines, and glassware are available in the department for faculty research needs. We have a full-time laboratory manager and a full-time program assistant who place and track orders for research among other duties. A machine shop is located in Bannow Science Center and is available to support research needs. 

A quadrupole LC­MS and a high resolution mass spectrometer are available at Yale University West Campus  (25-30 minutes away by car) and in the Chemistry Department at Yale University (45-50 minutes away by car) and have been used by Fairfield faculty. The possibility exists to arrange the use of other instruments at Yale as well.

Life After Fairfield

With a broad educational background, our graduates move in many directions, but a Chemistry or Biochemistry major gives them an orientation. A number of students enter medical, dental or pharmacy school after graduation, some choose advanced study in chemistry or biochemistry, and others choose full-time employment to name just a few possibilities. In the last few years, chemistry or biochemistry majors moving onto professional or graduate school have earned acceptances at such institutions as:

  • Harvard
  • Boston College
  • University of California at Berkeley
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • Villanova
  • Tufts
  • University of Connecticut

 

Some careers that our graduates have gone on to pursue include:

  • Health professions
  • Law
  • Secondary school education
  • Environmental science
  • Forensic science
  • Industry positions in research and development
  • Sales and marketing
  • College academic professions       

 

Learn more about how Fairfield's Career Planning Center can support your post-graduate goals, and how Fairfield's tight-knit alumni network can build career and mentoring opportunities that last a lifetime.

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