CMU Chemistry department adds four new concentrations

Chemistry demonstrations line the tables of the chemistry booth on Sept. 22 in the Biosciences Building.

The Chemistry and Biochemistry Department at Central Michigan University is offering four new major concentrations to undergraduate chemistry majors. 

Chemistry and biochemistry department chairperson Mary Tecklenburg said a committee began meeting last year to discuss possibilities for the chemistry program at CMU. Faculty decided to reconstruct the program’s offerings, helping to better equip undergraduates coming out of the College of Science and Engineering for the industry or academia. 

“These new concentrations help direct students toward their desired careers,” Tecklenburg said. “The programs are supposed to be less-restrictive and provide marketable skills to undergraduates.” 

The new major concentrations include: 

  • Chemical technology: A lab-based program that teaches undergraduates about applications of chemistry on chemical, pharmaceutical, biotechnological and related industries. 
  • Environmental chemistry: A field-based program that teaches undergraduates about the impact of chemicals on the environment, including the Great Lakes. 
  • General chemistry: A program allowing students to gain an overall understanding of chemistry.  
  • Material chemistry: A program that teaches undergraduates about the application of polymers, metals and nanoscale structures. 

All chemistry majors start with primary courses like analytical, biochemistry, inorganic, organic and physical chemistry. Students will now have the opportunity to specialize with advanced courses and electives tailored to their concentration. 

Undergraduates are also are required to do an extended research project in collaboration with a professor of their choosing, which has been a “highlight of the program,” Tecklenburg said. 

While geared toward freshman and incoming students, Tecklenburg said upper-classmen and other general chemistry majors can take advantage of specialty courses by using them as electives. She said the university should not have to hire new faculty members to teach new curriculum. Many specialty classes are 500-level courses and not yet available to students. 

Before the concentrations were added, Tecklenburg said students chose between majoring in general chemistry or biochemistry, which is popular among undergraduate medical students.