Career Paths

The study of chemistry at Lawrence prepares students for a broad range of opportunities and careers, including academic or industrial research, engineering, secondary or college teaching, medical or veterinary practice, pharmacy, law, business, or public service. All areas of chemistry are well represented in Lawrence and students can pursue the study of chemistry in different levels. Several options are the Chemistry major certified by the American Chemical Society, the Chemistry minor by selecting introductory and intermediate courses in chemistry, the Biochemistry major, and the Interdisciplinary Natural Sciences major by selecting the introductory chemistry, physics and either biology or geology;  in addition, chemistry courses can be applied toward a major or minor in Environmental Studies, and the interdisciplinary area in Neuroscience. Most students begin the study of chemistry at Lawrence through the two-term Principles of Chemistry sequence; however, it is possible for students to begin in sophomore courses like Organic or Analytical Chemistry on the basis of Advanced Placement Examination.

Graduate School

The Chemistry and Biochemistry Majors offer excellent preparation for students heading to graduate school in chemistry or biochemistry. The major program can be tailored to fit a student’s interests, while remaining broad enough to provide every student with a solid general background in the discipline. Students aiming for graduate school are encouraged to complete the program leading to a Chemistry major with ACS certification. They should definitely include some research experience in their programs, too, beginning as early as possible.

Medical School

Students thinking of a career in medicine or dentistry can meet the requirements for medical or dental school effectively with a program in the chemistry department, and students with these interests are welcomed by the department. Most medical schools require that students complete, as a minimum, the equivalent of two Lawrence courses in biology, two in general chemistry, two in organic chemistry, and two in physics. A number of pre-medical students find that a major in chemistry meets their interests, while others will build programs around the new (2008) major in Biochemistry. Other students decide on a major in biology, while a few prefer to complete majors in other areas – philosophy, history, English, or psychology, for example. For many of these students whose major is not chemistry, a Chemistry Minor is a good choice. Beyond the introductory and organic chemistry courses that medical schools require, Biochemistry, Analytical Chemistry, and the Chemical Dynamics course are particularly valuable, and that set of courses would satisfy the requirements for a Chemistry Minor.

Secondary Teaching

Lawrence has a program leading to certification for secondary school teaching, and some chemistry majors complete those requirements. The requirements for certification to teach chemistry can normally be met by completing the chemistry major and a collection of courses from the education department’s offerings. Students interested in this area should consult members of the Chemistry and Education departments early on.
A few students have entered secondary teaching via the “Teach for America” program or other less traditional routes.

Work In Chemistry

A number of students have gone directly in work in chemistry. Opportunities include technical or bench work at chemical or pharmaceutical companies or testing laboratories; technician positions in academic labs (some students do this for a year or so between graduation and starting a medical or graduate school program); government lab positions; and the like.

Other Health-related Academic Programs

Recently there has also been an increase in the number of Lawrence chemistry majors who have chosen to explore graduate programs in Pharmacy or Pharmaceutical Chemistry or other allied health programs.

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