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.

A bachelor's degree in chemistry can lead to many different careers, including 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. More information about careers in chemistry can be found at the American Chemical Society webpage.

Graduate School

The chemistry major offers excellent preparation for students heading to graduate school in chemistry, biochemistry or associated fields such as materials science. 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 that fulfill the major requirements and engage in undergraduate research will receive, upon graduation, certification of their degree by the American Chemical Society (ACS).

Medical School

Students can meet the requirements for medical, dental or pharmacy school effectively while completing a chemistry major. Most medical schools require that students complete, as a minimum, the equivalent of two Lawrence courses in biology, two in inorganic chemistry, two in organic chemistry, and two in physics. While the two-course inorganic chemistry requirement is typically fulfilled with our two introductory courses, Chem 115 and 116, students with a good background in high school chemistry occasionally begin the chemistry sequence with the 116 class. For these students, we recommend they take either Inorganic or Analytical Chemistry (320 or 210) as their second "inorganic" class. If these students are not able to take this additional course, our department chair can provide documentation that attests to the student's sufficient preparation.

Where there is no "best major for pre-meds", the majority of students entering the health sciences major in chemistry, biology or biochemistry. A faculty advisor from our Pre-Health Advisory Committee can help you choose the major that best fits your interests and career goals.

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.