What Is Chemistry?

Chemistry is a physical science that helps us describe and explain our world.
It is the study of matter, its properties, how and why substances combine or separate to form others and how substances interact with energy. Every material in existence, including the human body, is made of matter. Almost everything humans touch, taste or smell is made of chemicals. Chemistry is involved in daily and monumental tasks, from growing and cooking food to cleaning our homes and bodies to launching a space shuttle.

Why Study Chemistry?

An understanding of basic chemistry concepts is important in almost every profession. Chemistry opens doors to exciting careers in medical research, biological sciences, nanotechnology, earth and atmospheric sciences, energy, pharmacy, new materials discovery and forensics opportunities. Studying chemistry provides tools to understand the world around you: How does ozone protect us from the sun? What makes hot sauce hot? What causes snake venom to be poisonous? Just what are calories, and why do they make me gain weight? Chemical scientists know the answers to such questions. They educate us about our surroundings and make our lives safer and longer.

The number of jobs for chemists is expected to grow 3 percent by 2018. A degree in chemistry opens the door to a variety of jobs, including:

    • Ballistics expert
    • Biochemist
    • Chemical safety engineer
    • Dialysis technician
    • Crime lab analyst
    • Fingerprint technician
    • Food and drug inspector
    • Hazardous waste manager
    • Histology technician
    • Hydrographer
    • Industrial hygienist
    • Medical technician
    • Natural resource specialist
    • Oil and petroleum chemist
    • Researcher
    • Soil scientist
    • Teacher
    • Toxicologist
    • Water resource specialist
    • X-ray technician
For potential career and wage information, visit the Bureau of Labor Statistics website.

The Chemistry pathway leads to an Associate of Science degree.

1922 Chemistry Pathway

Associate of Science, Pathway – Chemistry

Areas A-E of the Core Curriculum (42 Credit Hours)
Area A:
  • Required course: MATH 1112 College Trigonometry (3 Credit Hours) or MATH 1113 Precalculus (3 Credit Hours) or any higher-level mathematics course
Area D:
  • Recommended courses:
    • CHEM 1211 Principles of Chemistry I (3 Credit Hours) and CHEM 1211L Principles of Chemistry I Lab (1 Credit Hour)
    • CHEM 1212 Principles of Chemistry II (3 Credit Hours) and CHEM 1212L Principles of Chemistry II Lab (1 Credit Hour)
  • Required Course: MATH 2211 Calculus of One Variable (4 Credit Hours) or MATH 2201 Calculus for the Life Sciences I (4 Credit Hours) or a higher-level mathematics course.
Area F:      Courses Appropriate to the Pathway (18 Credit Hours)
  1. Carry over from Areas A and/or D (1-2 Credit Hours):
    • Students will carry one additional credit hour over to Area F for each 4-credit-hour mathematics course taken in Area A and/or Area D.
  2. Required Courses (16 Credit Hours):
    • CHEM 1211 Principles of Chemistry I (3 Credit Hours) and CHEM 1211L Principles of Chemistry I Lab (1 Credit Hour) (If not taken in Area D)
    • CHEM 1212 Principles of Chemistry II (3 Credit Hours) and CHEM 1212L Principles of Chemistry II Lab (1 Credit Hour) (If not taken in Area D)
    • CHEM 2400 Organic Chemistry I (3 Credit Hours) and CHEM 2400L Organic Chemistry Lab I (1 Credit Hour)
    • CHEM 2410 Organic Chemistry II (3 Credit Hours) and CHEM 2410L Organic Chemistry Lab II (1 Credit Hour)
  3. Select additional elective courses to complete 18 hours in Area F:
    • BIOL 2107 Principles of Biology I (3 Credit Hours) and BIOL 2107L Principles of Biology I Lab (1 Credit Hour)
    • BIOL 2108 Principles of Biology II (3 Credit Hours) and BIOL 2108L Principles of Biology II Lab (1 Credit Hour)
    • BIOL 2300 Microbiology and Public Health (3 Credit Hours)
    • CHEM 2950 Chemistry Research (2-5 Credit Hours)
    • MATH 1070 Elementary Statistics (3 Credit Hours)
    • MATH 2202 Calculus for the Life Sciences II (4 Credit Hours)
    • MATH 2212 Calculus of One Variable II (4 Credit Hours)
    • MATH 2215 Multivariate Calculus (4 Credit Hours)
    • PHYS 2211 Principles of Physics I (3 Credit Hours) and PHYS 2211L Principles of Physics I Lab (1 Credit Hour)
    • PHYS 2212 Principles of Physics II (3 Credit Hours) and PHYS 2212L Principles of Physics II Lab (1 Credit Hour)
    • [RSCH 1203] Research Strategies and Technology (1 Credit Hour)
  • Students intending to pursue the B.S. in Chemistry at the Georgia State University-Atlanta campus must complete math courses through MATH 2202 or MATH 2212 and must take Principles of Physics I and II to complete Area F. Consult your academic advisor for additional guidance.
  • All separate lecture and lab course combinations (e.g., BIOL 2107 and BIOL 2107L; CHEM 1211 and CHEM 1211L) are commonly offered as a combined course at Georgia State University-Atlanta (e.g., BIOL 2107K; CHEM 1211K.) The combined (K) courses and separate lecture and lab (L) courses cover the same subject matter and are considered equivalent courses.