Minnesota State University Moorhead's Chemistry Department is on the Approved List of the American Chemical Society (ACS). Fewer than half of the nation's chemistry departments meet this rigorous standard, which is set by the ACS Committee on Professional Training for faculty, library resources, laboratory space, equipment, and curriculum. A major strength of the chemistry program is its emphasis on undergraduate research.
Average class sizes are small in comparison to similar classes offered at nearby institutions. Freshman and sophomore courses average 30-70 students and upper- level courses average only 5-15 students. University-wide, almost 60 percent of the courses offered on the campus at MSUM have 25 or fewer students enrolled and less than 3 percent have more than 70 students.
Minnesota State University Moorhead’s chemistry laboratories are among the best equipped in the region. Most important, all this equipment is available for use by undergraduate students- one of the advantages offered by a university committed to teaching. The department has a number of laboratories specifically designed for research in addition to good computer facilities, a chemistry departmental library and a well-stocked storeroom.
All of the department’s professors have a Ph.D. in one of these areas of chemistry specialization: biochemistry, analytical, physical, organic or inorganic. By employing chemistry "specialists," rather than "generalists," the character of MSUM chemistry faculty matches that of large universities. MSUM chemistry faculty members are is also respected by their professional colleagues. Currently, two department members serve on the executive committee of the Red River Valley section of American Chemical Society. Each of the Faculty members pursue their own research projects, in addition to encouraging undergraduates to begin research projects. However, their primary interest and responsibility is to teach well and establish rapport with students. Faculty spend a large amount of time assisting students outside of class, offering research assistance along with weekly help sessions and lab discussions. Faculty members keep up to date through regular attendance at regional and national conferences. Students are also strongly encouraged to attend these conferences with the faculty. Funding is available to support students wishing to attend these meetings. Unlike many universities, MSUM chemistry courses are always taught by faculty members, not graduate assistants. Upper division undergraduates assist professors in the general chemistry laboratories.
MSUM is the only institution in the Minnesota State University System which is cited in the Research in Chemistry at Undergraduate Institutions, Tier II directory. This resource lists only those colleges or universities that have a history of demonstrated dedication to undergraduate research. All students seeking a chemistry major or minor are encouraged to become involved in research. Extensive scientific instrumentation, well-equipped laboratories and a faculty strongly supportive of laboratory research enable the department to offer student research opportunities at a level of sophistication seldom found in undergraduate programs. About 15-20 students per year perform research and frequently present their results at regional and / or national professional conferences. Historically, MSUM chemistry majors have presented more primary research than chemistry majors have from any other state institution except the University of Minnesota.
Chemistry majors are encouraged to join the pre-professional Chemistry Club. This club of 25-30 members maintains close links to the national ACS. In recent years students have traveled to such places as Boston, Miami, Dallas and San Francisco as part of their educational program. Some MSUM students present their research at these national meetings. Several used the opportunity to schedule interviews with national chemistry firms.
What do chemists do? Chemists do a lot of interesting things. Chemists have discovered new fibers for paper, improved paints and plastics, they work on fuel production, invent glues, design drugs, improve cosmetics and work with nearly anything you can find in a store or in medicine.
Declining numbers of chemistry graduates have created outstanding
opportunities for the chemists. Because of our increasing dependence on
technological advances, future chemists will have excellent
opportunities for fascinating careers in areas such as medical
discoveries in the health technologies, computer technology, clothing
and textiles, foods and nutrition research, industrial research and
materials sciences.Did you know that almost half of the chemistry graduates get a good job in industry or research, while most of the rest go on to graduate, medical, dental and other professional schools? The job outlook is pretty good for chemists. Demand for chemists will continue to grow especially in drug manufacturing, research, development and testing services. The median salary for chemists with a college degree in chemistry is nearly $49,000.
Natasha Smith talks about her experience