Chemistry & Biochemistry

What makes chemistry & biochemistry exciting?


Have you ever wondered how those stubborn trick candles stay lit? Or how about the science behind the famous Mentos and Diet Coke experiment? Are you dying to find out what makes a firefly glow? We can help! Chemistry explains what substances are made of, how they change, and how they interact with each other. Biochemistry explores the design of living things at a cellular and molecular level. Understanding chemistry means understanding your world.

Watch our Hands-on video and learn the science behind some of the things you encounter everyday.


Hands-on: Explosive Chemistry Lab[/text]

What's cool about studying chemistry & biochemistry at BYU?


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.

“One of the things I love most about chemistry is that core principles, like the idea that opposite charges attract, are fundamental throughout science.”

–Dr. Jennifer Nielson

Major and minor options


• Majors

Biochemistry

Chemistry

Chemistry Education

• Minors

Chemistry Education


For more information on required classes for these majors and minors, please see the current undergraduate catalog. You can declare one of these majors or minors by visiting the Advisement Center.

Featured videos


Hands-On: Explosive Chemistry Lab

Join the Hands On team as they learn from BYU’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry how to turn waste into electricity or even bio-diesel.

Open Lab Day

See an exploding Swedish Fish and other cool experiments during BYU’s Open Lab Day.

What makes BYU chemistry & biochemistry undergrad research unique?

Students in chemistry and biochemistry, including undergraduates, have the opportunity to work closely with professors and other students on real research projects that are exciting and consequential. Under the supervision of a faculty member, students may begin laboratory work as early as their first year. This allows them to experience the nature of the science at the beginning of their studies. Participation in research substantially enhances students’ education and prepares them to be independent professionals. Click below to learn about each specific research lab.

“Doing undergraduate research helps you put what you’re learning in classes in a larger context.”

–Katie Pulsipher


Research areas


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.

Biochemistry

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.

Facilities / Equipment

People come from all over to use BYU’s facilities and equipment. Some resources specific to the Chemistry & Biochemistry Department include:

Calorimeters 

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.

What can I do with an undergraduate degree in chemistry & biochemistry?

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

How much money could I make?

With an undergraduate degree in chemistry & biochemistry you could earn:

*Industry-wide estimate from: payscale.com/best-colleges/degrees.asp

What if I advance my education past an undergraduate degree?

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

Talk with a professional

“A degree in chemistry really prepares you well for a variety of different careers: you can go into dentistry, you can go into medicine, or you can go directly into chemical industry.”

–Clark Turner, Aribex, Inc.

Chemistry and Biochemistry Mentoring

Chemistry and Biochemistry Mentoring

Get a look at how undergraduate research and mentoring really works.

Frontiers Video- One Man's Trash

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

Hands-On: Explosive Chemistry Lab

Learn the science behind things like trick candles and rocket fuel from BYU’s Chemistry & Biochemistry Department.

chemhands

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

Lab on a Chip

Visit the BYU Clean Room and learn about microchips made to capture tiny biological particles like viruses.

Nanocatalysis: Smaller, Cheaper, More Efficient

Nanocatalysis: Smaller, Cheaper, More Efficient

Everything from digesting the food we eat to the refinement of gas for our cars requires catalysts.