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  • Available as major (A.B. and B.S. degrees) and minor

    Find new uses for everyday materials. Discover new materials to improve our lives. Develop solutions for ongoing global challenges. Become a chemist.

  • A chemist is behind most of the products you use to make your life easier every day: hair and beauty products, paint, insect repellants, sunscreen, medicines, automobiles, clothing — the list is endless. In your chemistry career, you will certainly have an impact on how we live our lives.

    Choose from three concentrations:  

    • General chemistry, which prepares you for a graduate program in chemistry; employment in industry; or entering medical or dental school
    • Biochemistry, which prepares you for a graduate program in biochemistry or biophysics; to enter pharmacy, dental or medical school; or to work in biochemical, organic or pharmaceutical research
    • Forensic science, which prepares you to enter a graduate program, to work in a crime lab or to do forensic testing. Olivet is among the first group of Christian universities offering this concentration.

    Olivet’s recently renovated chemistry lab includes:

    • digital NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance) spectrometer
    • complete gas chromatography-mass spectroscopy system
    • atomic absorption spectrometer
    • high pressure liquid chromatography system
    • complete digital fluorometer
    • research grade microwave reacting system
    • Fourier infrared spectrometer
    • electroanalytical analyzer
    • molecular modeling software
    • ultraviolet visible spectrometers
    • electrophoresis apparati
    • calorimetry equipment
    At Olivet, you can:

    • Apply the scientific method and test your hypotheses in lab experiments.
    • Learn to write an excellent lab report.
    • Work closely with faculty and other students doing research in the lab.
    • Develop a Christian ethical base to help you deal with the many issues and decisions that chemists face every day.
    • Learn ethical ways to deal with results of experimentation.
    • Design your own independent research project, do the research, document your findings and present your findings to a variety of audiences. 
    • Publish your research findings. “Synthesis and Cyclic Voltammetry of A2E” by Elizabeth White is one recent example of a student’s project and publication.

    Olivet’s A.B. in chemistry degree prepares you for graduate school or industry employment. This degree program focuses on chemistry with an emphasis on math and physics. Biochemistry is not a requirement. Other options with this degree are pursuing a double major, or adding one or more minors.

    Earning a B.S. degree in chemistry prepares you to enter a graduate program; further your education in the healthcare field; or find immediate employment in industry. Study analytical, physical, organic and inorganic chemistry, and biochemistry. Engage in research with faculty members working alongside you. Present your results to the department, university or industry professionals.

    If you are entering the field of medicine or pharmacy, you will find that our chemistry program helps prepare you well for the biology and physical science sections of the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) and the Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT).

    Our graduates have a consistently high rate of acceptance into graduate school programs, pharmacy school and dental school.

    Putting knowledge to work

    ACCA (Associated Colleges of the Chicago Areas) Student Symposium: Design and do an independent research project, prepare an abstract and then give an oral presentation of your results at this annual symposium.

    Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program with the National Science Foundation (NSF): Active research opportunities at major universities for undergraduate students in any of the areas of research funded by NSF. REU projects involve students in meaningful ways in ongoing research programs or in research projects specifically designed for the REU program. Recently, Olivet students participated in research experiences at Vanderbilt University and Baylor University.

    Two research options offered by Olivet for science and mathematics students:

    •  Pence-Boyce Research Program Fellowships — Named to honor two Olivet professors, Elbert Pence (physics) and Fannie Boyce (mathematics), and funded by alumni and friends of Olivet
    • Olivet Research Associates Program – Set up to fund research in science and mathematics. Work with a faculty member on a forward-looking, 10-week research project during the summer. Projects may be theoretical, lab or field studies. Receive a stipend so you can work full time on your project.


    If you are:

    • inquisitive
    • interested in why biological or chemical systems work the way they do
    • fascinated by life at the molecular level
    • happy when working in the lab
    • excited about solving problems
    • a team player
    • detail-oriented

    then consider a career in chemistry.

    More companies are outsourcing their research, development and testing operations. Job opportunities in the chemistry field with professional, scientific and technical services firms will be increasing.

    Possible careers include: quality control analyst, pharmaceutical researcher, pharmacist, chemical engineer, product development, science journalist, food researcher, professor, forensic chemist, petroleum researcher, textiles researcher, chemist, chemical technician, biochemist, research and development in petroleum industry, physician, dentist, polymer chemist, environmental lab chemist, physician assistant, nuclear chemist, pharmacologist, chiropractor, toxicologist, analytical chemist, pharmacy technician

    Chemistry is part of the Department of Chemistry and Geoscience within the College of Arts and Sciences. 

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  • Considering graduate school? One recent ONU grad was accepted into Ph.D. programs at five different schools.