Major / Minor Information

Students interested in chemistry can choose from a variety of degree programs and options to pursue their interests in depth. The Department of Chemistry offers both Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts degree programs, as well as a Five-Year M.S. Program to undergraduate students who would like to major in chemistry. Students from other disciplines may also want to Minor in Chemistry.

Deciding Between a B.S. or B.A. Degree in Chemistry

Many students are concerned about the relative advantages of the Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts degrees. The Undergraduate Bulletin suggests that a B.S. is the way to go for those who wish to pursue a career in chemistry, and that the B.A. is appropriate for people considering a career in medicine or dentistry, for example. This is not always true. The B.A. requirements, when prudently supplemented, can also prepare one very adequately for graduate study in chemistry.

The simplest way to sort out which degree is best for you is to think about your career and educational goals. If your ambition is to attend medical, dental or law school, the B.A. degree will offer more flexibility in choosing other premedical/pre-dental courses. However, the B.A. can also be supplemented with senior research and perhaps a graduate course in chemistry and can adequately prepare one for a career in chemistry. The B.A. is also more appropriate when a student desires to have a double major, for example. The B.A. is constructed to encourage interdisciplinary studies. If you desire to get a job or attend a graduate program in chemistry immediately after college in the chemical industry, a B.S. program will suit your needs. Our B.S. degree program has additional requirements in chemistry and supporting sciences. It is also an American Chemical Society (ACS) approved program, which may provide some advantage in terms of employment.

Students have time to choose, as the BA and the BS share a common curriculum for the first three semesters, and normally students declare their major sometime in their sophomore year. There’s more information regarding declaring a major online at:

Whatever your choice, you will discover that your University of Rochester degree is recognized and highly regarded in the scientific community. University of Rochester chemistry graduates have traditionally gone on to study at distinguished research institutions. Many graduates have gone on to medical or dental school; others have gone directly into private industry.

Declaring a Major or Minor in Chemistry

To declare a major or minor in chemistry, a member of the Undergraduate Studies Committee must approve the student's proposed program by signing an "Approval Form for Majors and Minors" (available at the College Center for Advising Services, 312 Lattimore). This normally is done near the end of the sophomore year. Please contact the Undergraduate Studies Coordinator or another member of the Undergraduate Studies Committee for more information.

Undergraduate Degree Requirements


Minor in Chemistry

  • Any six courses (four units or greater) in Chemistry.

Total: at least 24 credit-hours in chemistry

Bio 250 (Biochemistry) may be used as one of the six courses. Courses at the 300 level are not included. Courses at the 400-level may be included with the permission of the instructor. Prerequisites for advanced courses, such as mathematics and physics prerequisites for courses in physical chemistry, must be taken in addition to the six required chemistry courses.

Particular attention should be given to the intellectual coherence of the program in terms of the student's goals. Two courses with substantial overlap of content should not be included in a program. In addition, no major and minor may overlap by more than two courses; no two minors may overlap by more than two courses. The overlap rule does not apply to core allied field classes that are required for both your major and minor.


Double Major/Double Degree Programs

  • Students who are interested in pursuing a double major or double degree are advised to consult the College website

The College Center for Advising Services outlines the course overlap rules and additional credit requirements as follows:

  • Double Major

Students wishing to pursue a major in two Arts and Sciences departments for their Bachelor of Arts degree apply to both departments following the usual procedure.  They also revise the “Rochester Curriculum Registration” if necessary.  In addition, both areas acknowledge in writing that they are aware of and approve the student’s pursuit of a double major. This approval should be written on the “Approval Form” or in a separate memo, signed, and sent to the Office of Academic Records.  Students are expected to fulfill the upper-level writing requirement in each major.  Specific rules exist concerning Mathematics-Statistics double majors (see Bulletin).

No two majors may overlap by more than three courses.  (Some majors such as BET, EPD, HBS, HLP (Public Health) and IPA restrict the number of overlapping courses to two.) Allied field courses taken outside the department of the major that are part of the core program are subject to this overlap policy, as are foundational courses that are prerequisite requirements and from the department of the major.  Non-departmental ancillary course requirements (such as chemistry for biology majors) are not subject to this restriction.  Students submit the “Overlap Declaration Form for Majors and Minors” when they submit their second major form.

A list of the double majors in any one department is maintained by the Office of Academic Records.  Students may obtain a major, or a double major, along with one or more minors (see Minors).

A statement will be placed on the official record concerning a third approved major, although the third major will not be (cannot be) entered into the computerized record.  A petition to the Administrative Committee should be submitted seeking permission to pursue the third major.

  • Double Degrees

Students wishing to pursue both a B.A. and a B.S. degree program, or two B.S. programs, within The College submit signed “Approval Forms for Majors and Minors” to the Center for Advising Services, along with a petition to the Administrative Committee seeking permission to pursue the double degree.  All double degree students need to conform to the policies noted above under “Double Majors.” A list of Double Degree students is maintained by the Office of Academic Records.

In addition to the overlap policy noted above, double degree students also need to know that the Administrative Committee will expect them to earn at least 136, rather than 128, credits in order to graduate. Students following a double degree program must fulfill all graduation requirements of both degrees.