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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.

A note on pathways: A pathway is an advising guide to help students prepare for their intended bachelor’s degree major. By following the course of study outlined in the appropriate Associate of Arts or Associate of Science pathway, students will have the necessary prerequisite courses to continue in their chosen disciplines. A pathway is not a major and will not be represented on the diploma.

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.

9022 Chemistry Pathway

Associate of Science, Pathway – Chemistry

Areas A-E of the Core Curriculum (42) Recommendations  

Area A:

  • Required course: MATH 1112 College Trigonometry (3),MATH 1113 Precalculus (3), or any higher-level mathematics course) (4)

Area D:

  • Recommended courses:
  • Required course: MATH 2211 Calculus of One Variable (4), MATH 2201 Calculus for the Life Sciences I (4), or a higher-level mathematics course.
Area F: Courses Appropriate to the Pathway (18 hours)
  1. Carry over from Areas A and/or D (1-2):
    • 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):
    • CHEM 1211 Principles of Chemistry I (3) and CHEM 1211L Principles of Chemistry I Lab (1) (If not taken in Area D)
    • CHEM 1212 Principles of Chemistry II (3) and CHEM 1212L Principles of Chemistry II Lab (1) (If not taken in Area D)
    • CHEM 2400 Organic Chemistry I (3) and CHEM 2400L Organic Chemistry Lab I (1)
    • CHEM 2410 Organic Chemistry II (3) and CHEM 2410L Organic Chemistry Lab II (1)
  3. Select additional elective courses to complete 18 hours in Area F:
  • 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 1211K) 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.

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