Chemistry program

Undergrad major Undergrad minor Teacher license

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.

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 median pay of chemists and materials scientists in 2021 was $79,760 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 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

  • Research chemist with the Centers for Disease Control
  • Government scientist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • Industrial chemist managing pollution control
  • Science policy advocate for a non-profit organization
  • Chemistry professor (with further education)
  • High school science teacher (with teacher certification)

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.

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.

High percentage of graduates successfully pursue doctoral degrees

The Chemistry & Biochemistry Department currently has over 250 student majors. Each year, over 30 students graduate with bachelor of science degrees in chemistry or biochemistry. Typically, 30-50% of graduating seniors apply to, and are accepted by graduate programs at major research universities where they pursue doctoral degrees in chemistry or related areas.

Excellent pre-health choice

The Chemistry Department had 223 total majors in fall of 2022 with 42% of those majors indicating they are on the pre-health track, looking to future careers in healthcare fields.

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. Examples of co-authored research include:

  • Roskam JL, Nowak KL, Taylor KT, Rendler SR, and Beyer KD. (2021) Phase diagrams of aqueous solutions of the potassium salts of malonic, succinic, and glutaric acids. The Journal of Chemical Thermodynamics. 158: 106466-106477.
  • Stuttgen GM, Grosskopf JD, Berger CR, May JF, Bhattacharyya B, and Weaver TM. (2020) Closed fumarase C active-site structures reveal SS Loop residue contribution in catalysis. FEBS Letters. 594(2); 337-357.
  • Thielen MK, Vaneerd CK, Goswami M, Carlson EE, and May JF. (2020) 2-aminobenzothiazoles inhibit virulence gene expression and block polymyxin resistance in Salmonella enterica. ChemBioChem. 21(24): 3500-3503.
  • Macedo LJA, Miller EN, and Opdahl A. (2017) Effect of probe-probe distance on the stability of DNA hybrids on surfaces. Analytical Chemistry. 89(3): 1757-1763.

Areas of study


Undergrad major Undergrad minor View a sample plan for Chemistry

ACS Certification

Undergrad major View a sample plan for ACS Certification

Business Concentration

Undergrad major View a sample plan for Business Concentration

Science Education

Undergrad major Teacher license View a sample plan for Science Education

Environmental Science Concentration

Undergrad major View a sample plan for Environmental Science Concentration

Bachelor of Science in Chemistry & Bachelor of Science in Engineering Dual Degree Program

Undergrad major View a sample plan for Bachelor of Science in Chemistry & Bachelor of Science in Engineering Dual Degree Program

Sample courses