Chemistry and Biochemistry

A student wearing safety glasses and a white lab coat holds up a tiny beaker as does an experiment.


Chemistry is a part of everything known about the world and beyond. There are chemists, biochemists, and chemical technicians working to prepare materials, analyze evidence, create new substances, and answer the seemingly unanswerable questions that are presented each day. The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry provides the top-notch knowledge and experience needed to embark on a long and successful academic or professional career in any of the major branches of chemistry—organic, inorganic, analytical, physical, chemical education, materials, and biochemistry.

The bachelor's degrees in chemistry and biochemistry include a broad selection of courses in the sciences and mathematics that provide an excellent background for careers in the wide-ranging areas of science or academia. They also prepare students to advance to graduate and professional schools, especially in medicine, dentistry, and pharmacy. With courses prescribed by American Chemical Society guidelines, students can be certified as professional chemists and awarded the American Chemical Society certificate in chemistry upon successful completion of course requirements.

The department also offers a chance for students to carry out undergraduate research in collaboration with faculty in the Chemistry Summer Research Institute (CSRI) and receive a stipend for 10 weeks of full-time research. Since 2000, CSRI has supported the efforts of over 150 students, who have conducted research in all the major branches of chemistry and worked on cutting-edge cross-disciplinary projects.


The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry has chemistry faculty, facilities, and curriculum approved by the Committee on Professional Training of the American Chemical Society, which is a clear testament to the superior quality of its programs and graduates—a testament that will resonate with anyone in the field.

The department’s permanent faculty hold PhDs in chemistry or biochemistry, representing all major areas of the field, and smaller class sizes allow students to get hands-on learning and experimentation experience in all the typical analyses that chemists perform and training on equipment used in modern, professional labs. Additionally, opportunities for individual research projects are available for upper-division students, granting them real-world research experience on a specialized subject that fits their interests.

The department is housed in the newly completed Science Building, which is the most state-of-the-art facility on campus and one of the most visionary buildings within the 23-campus California State University system. It includes 10 teaching laboratories, four research laboratories, and a number of specialized instrument rooms. With studio labs, active-learning classrooms, and professional quality undergraduate and graduate research spaces, students are immersed in experiential learning beginning with their first semester of study of the department’s curriculum.


A bachelor's degree in chemistry or biochemistry is the minimum requirement for starting a career as a chemist or biochemist, and graduate training is necessary for most research and college teaching positions.

A substantial number of chemists and biochemists are involved in research and development, extending scientific knowledge and creating new products in industries including pharmaceuticals and biotechnology. Others work in manufacturing, chemical analysis, forensics, or environmental laboratories, or work as teachers, industry and government consultants, or marketing or sales representatives.

The demand for pollution control, improved health care programs, industrial products, net-zero emissions energy technologies, and much more will continue to provide opportunities for chemists and biochemists. With such demand, larger enrollments in chemistry education are expected and the need for chemists and biochemists to teach at universities, community colleges, and high schools will increase. The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at California State University, Chico is one of only eight in the entire CSU system to have a degree program for future chemistry teachers approved by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. Plus, the University has financial incentives for future science teachers that can pay for most college expenses.

The department is uniquely poised to make significant contributions to the training of future scientists, engineers, health practitioners, and educators at all levels. When chemistry and biochemistry students graduate from Chico State, they have a multifaceted education that has prepared them to compete and succeed in the finest graduate programs, professional schools, and the full array of field-related career settings.