B.A. or B.S. in Chemistry

About Our Program

The Department of Chemistry at Otterbein is approved by The American Chemical Society (ACS), which means that a degree in chemistry from Otterbein is recognized nationally as meeting rigorous academic standards. The American Chemistry Society is the largest scientific society in the world with over 163,000 members worldwide. The Otterbein University Department of Chemistry offers an ACS-certified chemistry major to those students interested in a rigorous program of study that will prepare them for a range of careers or graduate study. Employers and graduate programs will recognize and appreciate the stronger preparation of students who have obtained an ACS-certified degree.

Students obtain this ACS-certified major via our B.S. degree, a broad-based and rigorous chemistry education that provides the intellectual, experimental, and communication skills to become an effective scientific professional. ACS-approved departments are staffed by accomplished faculty, contain a modern and well-maintained infrastructure, and provide a coherent chemistry curriculum. Additionally, employers find graduates of approved programs to be better prepared for technical employment. Our curriculum emphasizes quantitative training and hands-on experience with state-of-the-art instrumentation. Because of the interdisciplinary nature of chemistry, mathematics and physics courses are required along with chemistry courses.

For students who prefer a more flexible degree path, the B.A. degree provides a basic background in chemistry, while providing flexibility in scheduling to pursue other interests, such as medical school requirements, teaching certification, a double major, or the 4+1 MBA program, in which students can obtain a B.A. in four years and finish their Master of Business Administration degree in the fifth year.

Whichever degree path you choose, you are encouraged to participate in research projects under the guidance of faculty members. This research can result in publication in internationally recognized scientific journals. As an undergraduate student, you may also become an ACS student affiliate, which allows you to utilize ACS career services, interact academically and socially with faculty and other students, and network with faculty and business people from around the country. These connections, along with the high-quality coursework and research opportunities at Otterbein University, open many doors for your future achievement.

General Course Information

The largest current chemistry course (General Chemistry) at Otterbein has 35 students enrolled. This is a typical size for the lower-level courses like General Chemistry and Organic Chemistry. Upper-level courses range in size from 8 – 10 students up to 16. Laboratory enrollments are limited to 24 students per section.

A very general outline of courses is given below. The specifics will depend on your high school preparation in math. Also not shown are the Integrative Studies (INST) and Senior Year Experience (SYE) requirements.

Year Chemistry Course Other Courses
1 General Chemistry Math, Language
2 Organic Chemistry Physics/Biology
3 Analytic, Inorganic, Physical Physics/Biology
4 Biochemistry/Chemistry Electives Electives

One semester of calculus is required for the BA degree; two semesters are required for the ACS-certified BS degree. One to two additional semesters of pre-calculus may be required, depending on your high school preparation.

Unlike many larger institutions, the Otterbein University Department of Chemistry has no graduate student assistants or technicians. You will be trained and work hands-on with a wide range of instruments ranging from the high-field NMR spectrometer to the liquid-chromatography mass-spectrometry system.

The Department of Chemistry provides numerous opportunities to do independent research sometimes starting as early as the freshman year. The Department encourages students to participate in the Honors and Distinction programs.