In addition to preparing students to graduate with a B.S. degree in Chemistry, Biochemistry or Chemical Biosciences from our department, we also provide undergraduate instruction to many students who need training in chemistry or biochemistry. Around one half of University of Oklahoma undergraduates take at least one course in chemistry.
In our general chemistry courses we provide students with the theoretical tools to understand the role of chemistry in nature. We also provide laboratory experiences that teach students how to observe and extract data from experiments, how to process experimental data, reach scientific conclusions and how to put those conclusions into the broad context of understanding how the natural world changes.
Our advanced courses in Organic Chemistry, Physical Chemistry, Biochemistry, Analytical Chemistry and Inorganic Chemistry provide deeper insights and understanding in these specialized fields. Most of these courses provide advanced laboratory experience to deepen understanding of the field and to provide practical skills that are needed to prepare students for research work or as practitioners upon graduation. The undergraduate coursework culminates with capstone experiences. We offer capstone courses in advanced techniques of biochemistry, nanotechnology, proteomics, medicinal chemistry and research thesis options.
Advising for upcoming course enrollment begins approximately one month prior to each semester's enrollment, but students who have general questions may stop by the advising office any time.
Phone: (405) 325-4411
Louisa Nash (Last Names A-M)
Wora Fox (Last Names N-Z)
Students must be advised each semester before they can enroll.
When students come to the advising appointment, they should have an idea of the courses they want and need to take. Students must also familiarize themselves with their specific degree requirements. Degree sheets are available for download below.
B170 - Chemistry and Biochemistry (Standard) Degree Requirements
B175 - Chemistry (Professional) Degree Requirements
B100 - Biochemistry Degree Requirements
B155 - Chemical Biosciences Degree Requirements
N175 - Chemistry Minor Checksheet
The Undergraduate Handbook (pdf) contains information important to undergraduates, including advising, coursework and prerequisites, chemistry and biochemistry degree requirements, faculty and research and placement testing. It is recommended that all chemistry and biochemistry majors download a copy of the handbook.
Performing research as an undergraduate is highly recommended by the department. This hands-on experience will not only increase the student's understanding of their coursework, but will also benefit them when they seek employment or continued education. Research provides them with experience and skills that employers desire. Also, having done research will aid them should they decide to apply to graduate school.
Students interested in gaining research experience should look at the webpages for faculty in our department (and related departments if applicable, such as Microbiology, Zoology, Chemical Engineering, Environmental Science, or Physics). The faculty webpages contain descriptions of their current research projects. Students should make a list of faculty performing research that they find interesting, and then contact the faculty to ask about possible openings in their labs. There is no formal application process. Students performing research in our department can receive academic credit by enrolling in CHEM 3990 or CHEM 4990 (Honors college students should enroll in CHEM 3980 to receive honors research credit).
Other local options include checking with the OU Health Sciences Center and the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation for openings. Note that it can be difficult to receive academic credit for off-campus research. However, students performing research at OUHSC can contact the Norman campus enrollment services office to get assistance enrolling in the OUHSC courses BMSC 4990, 3980 or 3960. This credit can then be transferred back to the Norman campus.
Students enrolling in CHEM 4913, Senior Thesis, must complete two to three semesters of research (10-25 hours per week) before enrolling in CHEM 4913. Research hours may be completed by enrolling in CHEM 3960 (Honors Reading), 3980 (Honors Research), 3990 (Independent Study, S/U grade) or 4990 (Independent Study, letter grade).
We know from our own personal experiences and from observing graduating class after class of undergraduates that students who participate in faculty-mentored undergraduate research are much more likely to have successful careers in a STEM field or in professional health related areas. Thus, we are committed to providing our students with these opportunities.
We have partnered with the Honors College to offer a First Year Research Experience (FYRE). In Spring 2015 we had about 70 participants in this program with about half doing 10-12 hours per week of research in Chemistry/Biochemistry faculty labs. Many of these students continue with research in the following years. Participation in FYRE is not required to join a research team. Many students join a research lab during their sophomore or junior years and complete a senior thesis. Many of our undergraduate researchers receive undergraduate research funding awards, present posters at the campus-wide Undergraduate Research Day each spring, travel to scientific conferences and see their research work published.
Summer Undergraduate Research programs are referred to with a variety of titles. These include Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP), Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE), Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF), and Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU). All of these refer to the same type of program, a summer research position in which students usually receive a stipend (and sometimes additional funding such as travel and housing expenses) for performing research.
These programs allow students to participate in a research lab, work with the faculty, live in the community, and can help a student decide if this particular program is a suitable graduate school for them or not. If the student decides to apply to the graduate program (or professional program, if applicable) they can usually get a letter of recommendation from their summer research mentor. This personal contact can certainly be helpful in gaining acceptance to the program.
Finding a program: The summer research programs vary widely in the content and scope of what they cover, as well as the areas of concentration, ranging from semiconductors and photolithography to marine science research. Students should look through the websites below to find a program that is similar to their research interests.
Applying to a program: Application requirements also vary widely from program to program. Usually the more prestigious programs will have higher requirements. Many programs require applicants to submit copies of their transcripts, and most also want one or two letters of recommendation from faculty. Some want applicants to provide a short essay. Be sure to check the details of each program for specific requirements!
Eligibility: Some programs are aimed at students with experience in a specific area, others are open to students with no research experience. Many are limited to U.S. citizens or permanent residents (usually funded by the NSF), but some are open to international students. Some will have higher GPA requirements and increased course requirements. Some are targeted at students who are between their junior and senior years while participating in the program, while others are open to sophomores as well. Once again, be sure to check the details of each program for specific requirements!
Stipends: These vary from program to program, usually in the range of $3,000 to $5,500 for the summer. Most programs offer free or reduced-cost housing, some offer health insurance for the summer, and many offer travel allowances.
You may apply a total of 12 hours of independent study to your graduation requirements, 6 hours from each course. CHEM 3990 is S/U graded, while CHEM 4990 is letter graded. Typically, a student performing research for independent study credit can expect to spend 5-7 hours/week in the lab for each hour of credit.
Capstones are courses that require students to draw upon all their studies in their major field. CHEM 4913 is the Senior Thesis capstone and typically requires 3 semesters of research prior to enrollment. This is the best capstone if you are planning on attending a graduate program in Chemistry or Biochemistry. CHEM 4923 is a varying topic lecture course involving tests, quizzes, and written reports. CHEM 4933 is the Biochemistry capstone, which is a lecture course that sometimes contains a wet-lab or computer-lab component.
Many areas and sub-disciplines of chemistry and biochemistry overlap each other and other fields outside of chemistry and biochemistry as well. Multiple examples of such overlaps can be found in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Oklahoma. Nonetheless, primary sub-discipline labels are still attached to many of the faculty in consideration of their broadly identified "current primary region of interest" and/or their primary area of didactic concentration during their graduate and/or postdoctoral studies.
Careers range from hands-on lab work to medical related fields to working in business with various companies. It is impossible to briefly describe all the job opportunities available. Students are encouraged to check the following websites for more information: