Bachelor of Science in Chemistry


What is Chemistry?

Chemistry, known as “the central science,” is the study of the nature, properties and transformations of matter – the stuff that everything in the universe is made of, including everything here on earth. Studying Chemistry will enable you to understand the natural phenomena around and within you, at a basic, fundamental level.

Because Chemistry is the study of matter, it is critical to all other fields of science, such as biochemistry, cell and molecular biology, environmental science, genetics, medicine, pharmacology, to name a few.

What is Chem

What can you do with a Chemistry degree?

A Chemistry degree is very highly regarded credential. Working as a chemist is rewarding in and of itself, and the degree can open many doors into other disciplines. Chemistry is widely recognized by graduate schools, professional schools, and employers as one of the most rigorous degrees that teaches not only a fundamental science curriculum, but also equips students with critical problem solving skills.  The College experience is both about learning a specific discipline, as well as learning how to learn and solve problems, and majoring in Chemistry is one of the most outstanding preparations for learning how to learn science and how to solve scientific problems.  Of course the subject matter itself is critical to graduates moving on to careers in Chemistry and other fields as well (for instance, Chemistry/Biochemistry/Organic Chemistry make up a major component of the all-important MCAT exam for admittance into medical school!).  Graduates with bachelor’s degrees will find they have immediately job opportunities available to them.  For instance, the chemical industry is a major contributor to the US economy. It hires more than 10% of all scientists and engineers, and the United States produces about $550 billion in chemical products every year.  Other areas where chemists are directly hired include research and analysis in biomedicine, biology, marine science, and environmental science.  As a Chemistry graduate a few examples of careers include:

Chem research

  • Careers in pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, on the very front lines of fighting disease and developing treatments and cures.
  • Careers in analytical laboratories, such as environmental monitoring (e.g., air and water quality), medical diagnostics, and medical research.  
  • Careers in the chemical industries and material science companies, such as alternative fuels, new high tech material design, development of perfume and flavorings, synthesis of organic molecules, etc.

In addition, an undergraduate degree in Chemistry can serve as a gateway to other careers when you choose to go on to graduate or professional schools.  You may want to go on to a graduate degree in Chemistry or towards a very large variety of possible advanced degrees.  A strong record as a Chemistry major will make you competitive for acceptance into such programs.  To list a few categories:

  • All medical profession schools, such as medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, optometry, veterinary, and more.
  • Academic professions, such as a research professor studying disease and human affliction, or studying the details of how molecules change and transform…among many other possibilities.
  • Environmental and Ocean Sciences, and almost all other science disciplines.
  • Careers in Law, such a patent Law or environmental Law.
  • Teaching Chemistry, depending on your highest degree – at a University, Liberal Arts Colleges, Community Colleges, or High School.

Hawaii Loa

Why study Chemistry at HPU?

In our program, you will receive an exceptional Chemistry education.  As a faculty and a program, our primary focus has always been and continues to be delivering an outstanding and thorough undergraduate education that prepares our graduates to be highly competitive when they leave HPU. Our approach to a solid chemistry education consists of two intertwined parts: classroom learning and laboratory research methods.  The laboratory component is extensive and provides students with “real world” experience in research and analytical methods while further honing their scientific problem solving skills.  This experience will also be recognized and highly valued by prospective graduate schools, professional schools, and employers.  Furthermore, our involvement in research keeps our faculty current and engaged and energize with the latest developments in our fields and creates undergraduate research opportunities. (Click here to see recent publications from our faculty and students).

A concerted effort to build our research program has enabled us to accrue an impressive array of high tech research instrumentation, the same as found in large and small biomedical companies and top research labs.  With each new instrument acquired we have made a very conscious effort to integrate that instrumentation into the undergraduate laboratory course curriculum.  By doing so, students engage in hands-on experiences with high tech research instrumentation using techniques that are relevant to the practice of chemistry, and they apply their theoretical knowledge in the context of real-world research methods.  This is contrary to the more common approach of keeping high tech instrumentation only in the arena of research.  Our approach at HPU is driven by our overriding commitment to deliver a distinct high quality education and continuously expand and enhance our chemistry program. (Click here to see our list of scientific instruments). 

On a personal level we are a close knit group of faculty who prides ourselves on being outgoing, welcoming, and involved with our students.  We as a group collaborate on our research efforts and our teaching.  As a private school, HPU has a low student-to-faculty ratio which translates to more student / faculty interaction.  You will know our name, and we will know yours! (Click here to see our Chemistry faculty).