Print this page


Chemistry and Biochemistry (CHM)

For information, please contact the chairperson, 989-774-3981, 268 Dow Science Complex; and biochemistry/

Why Study Chemistry and Biochemistry?

Chemistry plays an incredibly important role in our everyday lives. Biochemistry applies chemical principles to the study of living systems. Studying chemistry and biochemistry equips students with fundamental knowledge to better understand the natural world and the impact of the chemical sciences on modern society. Research training in the chemistry and biochemistry field also provides students with essential skills to improve the quality of human life.

An undergraduate major or minor in Chemistry or Biochemistry will give you an excellent foundation to apply for and succeed in:

  • professional programs in medicine, allied health sciences, dentistry, veterinary medicine, pharmacy, optometry;
  • graduate work in chemistry and biochemistry;
  • graduate work in a related area such as pharmacology, polymer science, materials science, chemical engineering, molecular biology, biomedical science;
  • industrial chemistry positions in research and development;
  • technical services, chemical marketing, technical writing, patent preparation, product formulation, quality assurance, analysis;
  • teaching chemistry or other STEM subjects.

Chemistry and Biochemistry at CMU

To enable students to tailor their studies to their academic interest and career goals in all of the above areas, the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry offers several majors and concentrations. All of the Majors are either approved by the American Chemical Society (ACS) or accredited by the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB).

  • Chemistry Major, Materials Concentration is geared toward students who are interested in the development and applications of polymers and nanoscale structures;
  • Chemistry Major, Environmental Concentration is geared toward students who are interested in the impact of chemical science on the environment;
  • Chemistry Major, Chemical Technology Concentration is geared towards students who are interested in developing the skills to work in the chemical, pharmaceutical, biotechnological, and related industries;
  • Chemistry Major, General Chemistry Concentration that is geared toward students who are interested in maximum flexibility for their program of study;
  • Biochemistry Major is geared toward students who are interested in studying the chemistry of life and is excellent preparation for students interested in medicine and allied health professions, pharmacy, and graduate programs in biochemistry and biomedical sciences (pharmacology, physiology, microbiology) and affords students important skills for jobs in biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries.

All Chemistry Majors, regardless of concentration, start with the same foundational and core courses (analytical, biochemistry, inorganic, organic, physical), then specialize with advanced courses tailored to their concentration. A major in Biochemistry requires a student to build a strong background in chemistry and biology/molecular biology with upper level courses that emphasize biological applications of chemistry (Biochemistry I and II, Bioanalytical Chemistry, Biophysical Chemistry). The Biochemistry Major is of interdisciplinary nature with flexibility for students to select advanced courses from a variety of departments. All Chemistry and Biochemistry Majors must complete an independent capstone research project and thesis (CHM 491WI Undergraduate Research).

The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry offers a variety of freshman-level courses that meet the needs of each student with different chemistry background.

Students majoring in chemistry or biochemistry, or minoring in chemistry are encouraged to enroll in CHM 131 (4) General Chemistry, which satisfies the Group II-B requirement including laboratory.

Students with minimal chemistry background may wish to enroll in CHM 120 (4) Survey of Chemistry. This course may satisfy some degree requirements or may also serve as preparation for CHM 131.

Students who have had no previous chemistry background and who desire some experience in chemistry as part of a liberal arts education may wish to enroll in CHM 101 (3) Armchair Chemistry, which satisfies the Group II-B requirement including laboratory. CHM 120 meets the Group II-B requirement but does not include a laboratory. Students taking CHM 120 desiring to satisfy the Group II laboratory requirement may concurrently enroll in CHM 127 (1) Introductory Chemistry Laboratory.

All Chemistry and Biochemistry Majors are required to do an extended independent research project in collaboration with a professor of their choosing as a capstone experience (CHM 491WI Undergraduate Research). The capstone experience includes departmental seminar attendance, research poster presentation, and a written thesis (satisfies Writing Intensive (WI) requirements).

Students planning a major or minor program in chemistry or biochemistry should contact the appropriate departmental advisor by the end of the freshman year. Chemistry courses and their mathematics, physics and biology prerequisites should be scheduled in the proper sequence to avoid later conflict.

All transfer students who wish to complete major or minor programs in chemistry or biochemistry must demonstrate proficiency by completing appropriate course work at Central Michigan University as determined by the departmental major or minor advisor.

A variety of scholarships are available in chemistry for outstanding high school students and current CMU students who plan to major in chemistry or biochemistry.

Courses taken on a Credit/No Credit basis are not allowed on the majors or minors.

The Faculty

David E. Ash, Gabriel Caruntu, Anthony Chappaz, Wenjun Du, Bradley D. Fahlman, Swarts, Mary M. J. Tecklenburg, Janice M. Tomasik

The Programs

Chemistry Major: General Concentration

Chemistry Major: Chemical Technology Concentration

Chemistry Major: Environmental Chemistry Concentration

Chemistry Major: Materials Chemistry Concentration

Biochemistry Major

Chemistry Minor

Undergraduate Certificate in Fermentation Science


Chemistry Major

Chemistry Minor