Major: Interdisciplinary Chemical Sciences (ICS)
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The curricula in Chemistry serve those preparing for careers in chemistry, biochemistry, medicine, chemical engineering, pharmacy, and allied fields as well as those seeking a general knowledge of chemistry as part of a liberal arts education. Beyond the first-year courses, there is an emphasis on development of technical knowledge and laboratory experience needed in chemistry and related scientific fields. The undergraduate majors prepare students for work in research and testing laboratories, as well as for business positions in which a chemistry background is desirable. Graduate work is necessary for those planning to do college and university teaching or industrial research.
The Department of Chemistry offers programs leading to :
- Academic Minors in Biochemistry, Chemical Sciences, Chemical Physics, Polymer Chemistry, and Chemical Measurement Science
- a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry degree (B.S. Chem. degree, 124 credits);
- a B.S. Chem. degree with Honors in Chemistry. The Bachelor of Science in Chemistry (B.S. Chem.) degree requires a more rigorous and more specialized program of study. The program leading to Honors in chemistry is available to qualified students.
- a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Chemical Science (B.S. degree, 120 credits);
- a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Chemical Sciences
- a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts in Biomolecular Science
- The department participates in and administers an interdepartmental major Biochemistry.
It is possible to incorporate a teaching certificate into any of these program options.
In addition there is a five-year joint degree program with the College of Engineering which leads to a B.S. Chem. and a Bachelor of Science in Engineering (Chemical Engineering).
Information about the program leading to the joint degree with the College of Engineering and general information about teaching certificate requirements are described elsewhere on this website; departmental requirements for these programs are described below.
BS Chemistry degree: This is the most rigorous degree in pure chemistry offered by the department, and should be the degree of choice for students who plan to pursue Ph.D. studies in one of the traditional sub-areas of the field (Organic Chemistry, Inorganic Chemistry, Physical Chemistry, and Analytical Chemistry) or students who plan to seek careers in the Chemical Industry. Students are required to take several lecture and lab courses in all of these core areas, and are also required to complete 4 credits (two semesters) of undergraduate research.
BS Major in Chemical Science: This degree also exposes students to all sub-disciplines in Chemistry, but provides more flexibility in course selection than the BS Chemistry degree. Undergraduate research is an option, but not a requirement for this degree. The BS Major in Chemical Sciences is directed towards students who have interdisciplinary interests and are not planning to either attend a traditional graduate program in chemistry or to find immediate employment as a Chemist. Instead, this degree is geared towards students who plan to attend graduate school in an interdisciplinary field where chemical knowledge will be beneficial, and this should also be an attractive option to students that plan to pursue post-graduate degrees in the Health Sciences.
BS Major in Biochemistry: This degree program is ideal for students who are interested in learning about life from a chemical perspective. Students will gain a solid foundation in chemistry through traditional sub-discipline courses, but will also take a number of chemistry courses that are focused on the role of chemistry in biological systems. Students will also have the option to take elective courses in molecular biology, and also may pursue undergraduate research in lieu of one of the traditional laboratory courses. Students that pursue this degree will be well equipped for graduate studies in biochemistry, chemical biology, and many other fields of inquiry in the life sciences. The degree will also provide excellent preparation for students intending to pursue professional careers in the Biotechnology Industry as well as the Health Sciences.
BS Major in Biomolecular Sciences: The Biomolecular Sciences major is designed to provide students with the core knowledge necessary to understand the chemical principles underpinning biology and the option to explore aspects of the subject of interest to them through a limited set of electives drawn from course offerings in chemistry, biophysics, and molecular, cellular and developmental biology. Biomolecular Sciences is a less extensive major than Biochemistry, and is primarily aimed at those planning a career outside of the chemical sciences. Instead, this should be an attractive degree option for students who plan to pursue post-graduate studies in Biomedical or Health Sciences. Students who are intending to pursue graduate studies or an industrial career in biochemistry or related areas are strongly encouraged to elect the Biochemistry major.
BS Major in Interdisciplinary Chemical Sciences: The Interdisciplinary Chemical Sciences (ICS) major allows students the flexibility to supplement a core study of chemistry with courses in complementary fields. This major can be effective preparation for graduate study in the sciences, graduate studies in an interdisciplinary area that might benefit from a strong science background, for medical, law, and business schools, or for direct entry into the job market. Because students pursuing the ICS degree have a wide variety of career goals, advising from a chemistry departmental advisor is especially important.
It is strongly recommended that students who are thinking of degrees in chemistry should arrange an appoint with a Chemistry advisory via the online advising system as soon as possible, preferably before the end of the freshman year but certainly before the end of the sophomore year. The online appointment scheduling system can be found here: http://www.umich.edu/~michchem/undergrad/index.html.
Special Departmental Policies. The department requires that a student earn a grade of at least C- in all CHEM courses and mathematics and physics courses which are prerequisite for subsequent elections. A major program grade point average of at least 2.0 is required; this includes chemistry courses, mathematics and physics prerequisites and advanced electives which are part of a plan for the major. Prerequisites must be taken for a grade. Students must request any change in a grade before the end of the next regular academic term.
Those seeking a B.S. or B.S. Chem. degree with a teaching certificate in Chemistry must fulfill departmental as well as School of Education requirements. Students who plan to earn a teaching certificate with a teaching major or minor in Chemistry should contact the School of Education Teacher Education Office.
Students develop a plan for the major in consultation with a program advisor. Those interested in a B.S. degree with a major in Chemical Science (120 credits) or the specialized program leading to the Bachelor of Science in Chemistry (124 credits) are urged to consult a program advisor during the freshman and/or sophomore years. Prospective majors are advised that further study in chemistry requires adequate performance in early chemistry courses (preferably B- or better) as well as in the mathematics and physics prerequisites. Students interested in an Honors degree should see the Chemistry Honors advisor. Appointments are scheduled online at www.lsa.umich.edu/chem/undergraduate/advising. Students interested in the joint program with the College of Engineering should make an appointment with John Stratman [Academic Advising Center, 1255 Angell Hall, 734.764.0332] and then make an appointment to see a chemistry department advisor online.
Interdisciplinary Chemical Sciences (ICS)
May be elected as a departmental major
Effective Fall 2012
Exclusions. May not be elected by those pursing a major in Chemical Science (or Chemistry), Biochemistry, or Biomolecular Science; or any of the Chemistry minors
The Interdisciplinary Chemical Sciences (ICS) major allows students the flexibility to supplement a core study of chemistry with courses in complementary fields. The intended audience for the major includes pre-health professional students, students interested in the relationship between science and societal concerns such as the environment or public policy, students interested in fields such as the philosophy of science or history of science where a sound background in a scientific field will provide a deeper level of engagement, and students interested in broadly interdisciplinary sciences not well represented in any individual department. This major can be effective preparation for graduate study in the sciences, graduate studies in an interdisciplinary area that might benefit from a strong science background, for medical, law, and business schools, or for direct entry into the job market.
Prerequisites to the Major
- PHYSICS 135/136 or 140/141 or equivalent
- MATH 115 and 116, or an equivalent sequence
Requirements for the Major
A minimum of 27 credits in Chemistry and 15 credits in cognates approved by the department advisor, as follows:
- Core Courses in Chemistry:
- CHEM 210/211;
- CHEM 241/242 or CHEM 245/246/247;
- CHEM 260;
- CHEM 302 or 303.
- Electives. 12 credits in CHEM, including at least three courses at the 300-level or above. At least one of these must be a 400-level lecture course.
- Theme Focus/Cognates: 15 credits of course work at the 200-level or above, with at least two courses (6 credits) at the 300-level or above. The plan must be designed with prior approval of a chemistry department advisor.
The Interdisciplinary Chemical Sciences major allows students substantial flexibility to define the thematic focus of their study in cognate courses. The flexibility inherent in the ICS major comes with a responsibility: each student must work closely with an ICS department advisor to select the proper upper level chemistry classes and define a cognate course plan when declaring the ICS major. Possible cognate plans are posted on the department website. Example subplans include a focus on:
- Health and Life Sciences
- Chemical Physics
- ICS at the interface between science and public policy
Honors Plan in Interdisciplinary Chemical Sciences
Maintenance of a satisfactory GPA (3.4) in courses for the major, including prerequisites, and satisfactory completion of an Honors thesis (CHEM 499) based on the research done in CHEM 399 are required for Honors. All students, whatever their program, who are interested in an Honors degree should see the Chemistry Honors advisor (Room 1500 Chemistry) for approval for participation in the Junior-Senior Honors Program in Chemistry.
Students develop a plan for the major in consultation with a program advisor. Advisor approval of the plan for the major will be required when a student declares an ICS major. Those interested in a major in Interdisciplinary Chemical Sciences are urged to consult a program advisor during the freshman and/or sophomore years. Prospective majors are advised that further study in chemistry requires adequate performance in early chemistry courses (preferably B- or better) as well as in the mathematics and physics prerequisites. Students interested in an Honors degree should see the Chemistry Honors advisor. Appointments are scheduled online at
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