Chemistry Major | Degree in Chemistry | Pepperdine University | Seaver College

Chemistry Major

Chemistry majors wear gloves and goggles to work with chemicals - Chemistry Degree

The chemistry degree at Pepperdine University is a rigorous program characterized by flexible degree options and small class sizes. As excellent students progress through the major, emphasis is placed on service to the Pepperdine chemistry community in the form of graders, tutors, and teaching assistants and the chemistry community at large through undergraduate research. We have an excellent array of instrumentation and students are introduced to modern instrumentation early in the program.

The Pepperdine University chemistry program is approved by the American Chemistry Society (ACS) and is one of less than 50 certified programs in the state of California. An ACS-approved degree plan offers a broadly based and rigorous intellectual training in chemistry that is nationally recognized. Students completing a baccalaureate degree that meets the ACS Guidelines will receive an "ACS-certified degree." The bachelor of science degree (both standard and biochemistry sequences) include the course work and experiences necessary to satisfy requirements for the ACS certified degree. For example, a student completing the Bachelor of Science degree with biochemistry sequence could say that he/she was awarded an "ACS-certified chemistry degree with a biochemistry emphasis." 

Chemistry Degrees

Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts with Standard Sequence or Biochemistry Sequence

Pepperdine University offers two degrees in chemistry: bachelor of science and bachelor of arts for which students can select either the standard sequence or a sequence with a biochemistry emphasis.

Bachelor of science – standard sequence

Bachelor of arts – standard sequence

Bachelor of science – biochemistry sequence

Bachelor of arts – biochemistry sequence

Any one of the four degree paths may be a good fit for students depending on their career goals and abilities.

Bachelor of science in chemistry: Students seeking this degree receive more in-depth exposure in chemistry, mathematics, and physics. This option is often selected by students seeking immediate entry into the chemistry workforce, individuals interested in graduate programs in chemistry or related fields, or those pursuing careers in the health professions. Many of the chemistry majors in this program actively participate in undergraduate research.

Bachelor of arts in chemistry: Students pursuing this degree (with either the standard or biochemistry sequence) are provided more flexibility as they seek their degree. Students seeking either a double major or admission to a health-related program are accommodated with this major program. The defining characteristic of the bachelor of arts compared to the bachelor of science sequences is the flexibility in the math and physics requirements.

Chemistry Minor

Pepperdine offers a chemistry minor for students seeking to bolster their physical sciences studies.

Meet the Faculty

Get to know the Seaver College chemistry faculty.

Research with Faculty

Each faculty member partners with students in discovery research ranging from chemical analysis, organic chemistry synthesis, atmospheric/environmental chemistry, natural products discovery, medicinal chemistry, and making biodegradable plastics. Experiments are conducted year-round with extra emphasis in the summer. Research students often present their research at regional or national American Chemical Society meetings. Outstanding students who have completed a body of novel work write and defend an Honors Thesis earning the distinction on their transcript of "Honors in Chemistry." In the past five years, over 10 students have successfully defended their Honors Theses.

Opportunities Beyond the Classroom

A wide range of extra-curricular activities are available to students from serving as a teaching assistant, contributing to the General Chemistry tutoring staff, research assistant, and participating in our Chemistry Club, just to name a few. Students who have demonstrated excellence in their laboratory and classroom work are often selected as teaching assistants who work closely with the faculty and students together guiding students through teaching laboratory experiments. Other excellent students are often selected to be members of the elite General Chemistry Tutor staff, directly contributing to the education of the students enrolled in General Chemistry courses.

Chem Club (Student Affiliates of the American Chemical Society, SAACS)

We host an award-winning Student Affiliates Chapter of the American Chemical Society (Chem Club) where students can be leaders in the Pepperdine community and the community at large, bringing fun and educational science to the young and not-so-young. The Chem Club's activities span department and campus-wide events and include social activities, campus and community outreach, and science experiments beyond the curriculum. Whether it's hosting a chemistry outreach event at a local elementary school or making gallons of Oobleck to run across, the Chem Club members are community leaders sharing chemistry with others. National Chemistry Week in October each year has included a number of activities from Kitchen Chemistry to sharing a Periodic Table of Cupcakes to synthesizing fluorescent Quantum Dot nanoparticles. Making Dippin' Dots ice cream with liquid nitrogen has been a longstanding activity in partnerships with Colleges against Cancer, Earth Day, and other community projects. The Chem Club has received multiple awards from the American Chemical Society for its accomplishments on and off campus.

Stauffer Challenge Grant

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Next Steps for Graduates

Over the past five years, Pepperdine chemistry majors have been highly successful in securing employment or in completing advanced degrees in graduate and medical schools. For those directly entering the job market, just under 20 percent are employed in the chemical, biochemical, or engineering industries, and an additional 15 percent have taken their problem solving and data management skills into other fields.

The critical thinking and technical skills acquired during completion of a chemistry degree are desirable to a wide range of fields including:

agro-chemical synthesis hazardous waste management and disposal
chemical engineering laboratory support and management
chemical analysis oceanography
chemical safety petrochemical and polymer industries
computer and information technology pharmaceutical research
environmental monitoring radiology/MRI
geochemistry surface science and semiconductors

Visit the American Chemical Societyfor additional career options afforded by a chemistry degree.

Preparation for Medical School and Graduate School

Over 35 percent of our graduates have been admitted to health professional schools (MD and DO medical schools, dental and pharmacy school) while approximately 25 percent have been admitted to graduate school in chemistry, engineering, law, and education. Our graduates are accepted in to some of the finest institutions for advanced studies after graduation. Many of our former students have been awarded nationally competitive scholarships and fellowships in graduate school.

Recommended International Study

The experiences of a summer study program and overseas travel provide another dimension of a unique liberal arts education. For students in the Natural Science Division, we often recommend summer study abroad experiences for scheduling reasons.

Our international programs are designed to provide all students—regardless of major—the opportunity to study, live, and travel overseas without interrupting other studies or postponing a career. This offers students a unique opportunity to gain both an academic and a personal understanding of other cultures, institutions, and languages. Learn more and check out the Summer Special Interest Programs.

Visit International Programs

Secondary Teaching Credential

Students who plan to teach science in secondary schools should complete their chemistry degree and a California Teaching Credential.

Learn more about our teaching credential program

Student Testimonials