Chemistry & Biochemistry
Watch our Hands-on video and learn the science behind some of the things you encounter everyday.
As a BYU undergrad, you will have access to top-notch facilities and equipment including NMR devices, mass spectrometers, x-ray diffraction instruments, and environmental chambers. Not only is our gear great, but our faculty and staff are as well. Professors and TAs will be available every step of the way to help guide you on your quest to become an expert chemist. As a chemistry or biochemistry major, lab work will start as early as your freshman year.
The relationships you build here through mentored teaching and unsurpassed undergrad research are valuable resources that will be helpful throughout your life. At BYU, you’ll approach science in a way that is both spiritually strengthening and intellectually enlarging. You’ll address real scientific questions in the light of the Gospel.
–Dr. Jennifer Nielson
Undergraduate research makes classroom learning come alive and can help propel you into a professional career. You will have the opportunity to put your book knowledge into practice by working in laboratories on a variety of instruments. You will gain knowledge of labs and equipment, plus hands-on experiments, that will prepare you for careers and higher education.
BYU is a pioneer in this area—one of the few universities that allows undergrad students to work side by side with professors on their research projects. This means that even though you may be fresh out of high school, you could find yourself assisting professors and grad students in valuable projects with real-life applications. Some students are even paid during their mentorships.
Undergraduate students can do research in five areas. Specific projects within these areas include treating cancer, fighting against HIV and AIDS, predicting premature births, and discovering renewable energy sources.
• Analytical Chemistry
Students detect, identify, and measure amounts of chemicals in specific substances. Analytical chemists participate in a variety of projects such as environmental pollution evaluation and control, pharmaceutical development, and forensic analysis.
Students study living systems, what they are composed of, and how they function. This research relates to numerous biomedical fields such as neurobiology, immunology, and cancer biology.
• Inorganic Chemistry
Students create new materials by combining metals and other elements. Inorganic chemists apply their work to various areas including human illness, pollution, and the study of metals in biological systems.
• Organic Chemistry
Students study carbon-based molecules including how to make organic molecules and identify their structure. Organic chemists study molecules that lead to important developments in both biology and medicine.
• Physical Chemistry
Students study the properties of matter on a molecular level. In this area, chemistry and physics crossover. Studies range from researching the physical state of chemicals to thermodynamics.
People come from all over to use BYU’s facilities and equipment. Some resources specific to the Chemistry & Biochemistry Department include:
Literally meaning “heat measurement,” these machines measure the output of heat given off when a substance is burned.
• DNA synthesizers and sequencers
Synthesizers allow chemists to artificially create DNA into various chains while sequencers determine the order of DNA components.
• Environmental chambers
These can control the atmosphere and temperature for a particular purpose to determine what kind of chemistry is occurring.
• Mass spectrometers
All atoms have a particular mass; these machines look at fragmentation patterns and add up masses of atoms to piece together weights and identities of molecules.
• Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) devices
Similar to medical imaging technology, these devices determine the structure of molecules.
• X-ray diffraction devices
These devices are used to determine molecular structure by establishing the detailed atomic placement within a molecule.
Chemists can work in practically any field. With an undergraduate degree in chemistry & biochemistry, many job possibilities are open, including working as a:
• Chemical Engineer
• CIA Analyst
• Forensic Scientist
• Molecular Biologist
• Medical Professional
• Veterinary Technician
With an undergraduate degree in chemistry & biochemistry you could earn:
*Industry-wide estimate from: payscale.com/best-colleges/degrees.asp
Many of our students go on to get advanced degrees and additional experience that broaden their career opportunities. BYU Chemistry & Biochemistry alumni have found jobs in academia, government laboratories, and numerous industrial positions including working at:
• Albert Einstein Medical School
• Argonne National Laboratory
• Bayer Pharmaceuticals Corp.
• Harvard University
• Johnson & Johnson
• National Institutes of Health
• Nu Skin Enterprises, Inc.
• Proctor & Gamble
• University of Michigan
• U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Chemistry and Biochemistry Mentoring
Get a look at how undergraduate research and mentoring really works.
Frontiers: One Man’s Trash
See how a dairy farm in Ogden, Utah has the potential to power the 21st century.
Hands-On: Explosive Chemistry Lab
Learn the science behind things like trick candles and rocket fuel from BYU’s Chemistry & Biochemistry Department.
Hands-On: Turning Waste Into Usable Energy
Learn how BYU’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry is making energy out of waste.
Lab on a Chip
Visit the BYU Clean Room and learn about microchips made to capture tiny biological particles like viruses.