Chemistry program

MUndergrad major mUndergrad minor TTeaching/Certification

Discover new medications, monitor pollution, or meet the demand for energy-producing fuels.

Chemistry is great foundation for a wide range of career opportunities.

Chemistry education at UWL blends technical, hands-on research experience using modern equipment with practical skill development. Students are immersed in the process of science — designing experiments, collecting data and presenting results. They also learn soft skills to thrive in the workplace such as teamwork, communication and problem solving.

Chemistry definition

Chemistry is the study of substances, their properties, energies, the ways they interact and combine and change. Traditionally, chemistry has been broken into five main sub-disciplines: Organic, Analytical, Physical, Inorganic, and Biochemistry. The field also includes a variety of applied disciplines. Chemistry is often referred to as the central science because it joins together physics and mathematics, biology and medicine, and the earth and environmental sciences. 

Working multiple positions within the Chemistry Department (stock room, lab prep, tutoring and research) allowed me to develop meaningful relationships with my professors and fellow students. Balancing these responsibilities taught me valuable lessons of time management and how to prioritize.

Ben Palet

What can you do with a chemistry degree?

Career possibilities in chemistry are wide ranging. They include positions in industry, research, education, engineering, health professions, public service and more. See industries with the highest concentrations of chemists. Even in times when unemployment rates are high, the chemist remains one of the most highly sought after and employed scientists. The American Chemical Society (ACS) College to Career page is a great resource to explore careers in chemistry. Also see the ACS page dedicated to Chemists in the Real World. Chemistry-related occupations and chemistry-related industries are projected to grow in the state, according to the Department of Workforce Development.

Careers in chemistry

Entry level

  • Analysis/testing as a laboratory chemist or biochemist
  • Management trainee
  • Pollution control
  • Production control
  • Quality assurance chemist
  • Research technician
  • Sales representative
  • High school science teacher (with teacher certification)

Advanced

  • Chief project chemist or biochemist
  • Director of research and development
  • Industrial administrator
  • Plant manager
  • Production control manager
  • Research and development chemist or biochemist

Further education

  • Medical or other professional study in pharmacy, veterinary medicine, nuclear medicine, optometry, dentistry and more
  • Graduate study in analytical chemistry, biochemistry, organic chemistry, inorganic chemistry, physical chemistry, material science, polymer chemistry, chemical engineering and more
  • Law school (example: patent law)
  • Industrial management training
  • Graduate study in business

What distinguishes UWL's chemistry program?

Accredited department

The UWL Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry is accredited by both the American Chemical Society-Committee on Professional Training (ACS-CPT) and the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB).This recognition acknowledges the quality program, staff and facilities of the department.

Student scholarships available

The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry is able to award more than $30,000 in student scholarships annually to support returning undergraduate students in the major and graduates of the program who are entering a professional program in the basic sciences and/or health professions. Learn more about Chemistry scholarship opportunities.  

Undergraduate research opportunities

Students have numerous opportunities to get involved in cutting-edge chemical, biochemical, and educational undergraduate research projects. In 2019-20, the Chemistry Department had the highest percentage of students participating in undergraduate research at UW-La Crosse. Learn about the research interests of faculty.

Co-author with faculty

Students routinely co-author professional presentations ​and publications with chemistry faculty members. Students often present their research at regional and national meetings.

Hands-on with high-end instruments

Students will gain experience using high-end scientific instrumentation. This instrumentation includes: Imaging and Surface Analysis, Spectroscopy, Electrochemical and Electrical, Separations, Thermal Methods, X-ray, NMR, Radiation, Sample Preparation.

Preparation with technical and soft skills

Students are given broad preparation with both technical and soft skills. This leads to graduates who are flexible and creative problem solvers who can adapt and thrive as their career advances.

Prestigious ACS-certified degree offered, plus other options

The chemistry program is approved by the American Chemical Society (ACS) and offers a prestigious ACS-Certified bachelor's degree in chemistry for students who meet the required guidelines. The chemistry program offers several other bachelor’s degree and minor options. See the catalog for more information. 

Diverse areas of study

Faculty represent all of the major sub-fields of chemistry and have a diverse range of research interests. Areas of expertise within chemistry include: organic, inorganic, nuclear, physical, forensic, atmospheric, environmental, computational, analytical, medicinal, biochemistry and more. 

Make connections with faculty and students

Faculty in the department generously give their time to assist students with coursework, and college and career advising. Students have opportunities to connect and enjoy fund and informative experiences through the Chemistry and Biochemistry Club

Internships available

Students are encouraged to participate in internship experiences, which may be taken for academic credit. They offer practical experiences in the field, and, in some cases, are paid. Campus support is available to help find internships through UWL Career Services and Handshake.

Areas of study

Sample courses