p chem lab
Heather Bailey
B.S. Chemistry (ACS, Honors), 2012
 Graduate Student
 Stanford University



“My undergraduate experience at SOU has been instrumental in my decision to pursue graduate school and has prepared me to succeed in this endeavor.  I have worked on two research projects directly with a faculty member, and one of these projects has been submitted for publication.  This undergraduate research was key in determining my interests and strengths in chemistry.  Additionally, I have had multiple teaching opportunities including mentoring organic chemistry and being a teaching assistant in physical chemistry. Having access to such amazing research and teaching experiences helped me get accepted to all seven graduate schools that I applied to including University of California, Berkeley and Stanford University.”


Accessible Version

Why Study Chemistry at Southern Oregon University?

A chemistry degree from Southern Oregon University puts students on the fast track to entering graduate/professional programs or exciting careers in one of many chemically related disciplines. A chemistry or biochemistry degree provides excellent preparation for employment in fields as diverse as winemaking, forensic science, software design, and materials science engineering. SOU alumni are currently employed at local, national, and international companies and agencies like LSI Logic, Novellus, Intel, Genentech, Kodak, Toyo Tanso USA, Sutter Home Winery, the National Fish and Wildlife Service Forensics Lab, and the Oregon State Police Crime Lab. SOU chemistry and biochemistry graduates have gone on to pursue advanced degrees at institutions such as the University of California-Berkeley, Stanford, Cal Tech, University of Washington, Penn State, Emory, Oregon, Northwestern, Purdue, and Colorado. SOU chemistry and biochemistry graduates on the pre-medical track have been accepted to medical schools such as Oregon Health Sciences University, University of Alabama, and the University of California-Davis. Graduates on the pre-pharmacy track have been accepted to pharmacy programs at highly competitive institutions such as Auburn and Oregon State University. SOU chemistry and biochemistry graduates have also attended law school and dental school upon receiving their degrees from SOU.

Small class sizes, one-on-one interactions with faculty, and hands-on experience with instrumentation are the signatures of a chemistry education at Southern Oregon University. All courses, including labs, are taught by the chemistry faculty, each of whom holds the highest degree in their field. SOU chemistry students have the opportunity to engage in faculty-directed research, and it is not unusual for a student and their faculty mentor to publish their findings in a scientific journal or present results at a regional or national scientific meeting. The department has degree offerings that are accredited by the American Chemical Society; this accreditation requires that the department meet rather stringent criteria in terms of instrumentation, courses, library holdings, and faculty professional development. SOU chemistry students are taught by professors who have a passion for teaching and learning

Which Degree Options Are Offered?

The Chemistry department offers accredited degrees in chemistry and biochemistry.   Please contact any chemistry faculty member for information, advising, or questions regarding a chemistry or biochemistry degree. 

A degree option in forensic science is also available. Results of a 1999 survey published in the Journal of Forensic Science showed that the American Academy of Forensic Science and the Association of American Crime Lab Directors prefer forensic technician applicants to have B.S. degrees in chemistry or biochemistry with substantial laboratory experience at the undergraduate level. This degree option will prepare students for immediate placement in the field or graduate study in forensic science. 

The chemistry department maintains a list of contacts with local businesses and industries that have had student interns. These internship sites range from local businesses such as a compounding pharmacy and wineries in the Rogue Valley to research firms in Bend and Klamath Falls.

The Department strongly encourages students interested in medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, and other related healthcare careers to ask us about our Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry. This degree option is designed on the recommendations of the Association of American Medical Colleges and some of the best pre-medical programs in the United States. It is rich in the natural science and humanities courses that make students attractive applicants to medical schools and related programs. The Department of Chemistry is proud of our record when it comes to healthcare-related training in the last ten years: 73% of our medical school applicants have been accepted as have greater than 90% of our pharmacy school students. Please see our Pre-Med FAQ for more information about this degree. 

The Chemistry Department's pre-pharmacy program prepares students for admission to an accredited pharmacy school. After completing the pre-pharmacy curriculum at SOU, students apply to a professional pharmacy school and begin four years of pharmaceutical studies. Students may prepare for careers in retail, clinical, industrial, or research pharmacy.

Students who would like to teach chemistry at the middle or high school level in Oregon public schools must complete a bachelor's degree in chemistry before applying to the SOU MAT (Master of Arts in Teaching) program. Students interested in becoming middle/high school chemistry teachers should contact Dr. Teresa Coker for questions regarding chemistry degree requirements, and should contact the SOU School of Education regarding admission requirements for the MAT program.

The Department also features a nationally recognized Chemistry Club (Student Affiliates of the ACS.)  The Chemistry Club was awarded as a national 'Honorable Mention' chapter by the ACS for their activities in 2009-2010 and 2014-2015 and was recognized with a Certificate of Achievement for the 2010-2011 academic year. Through their Kids & Chemistry outreach program, the Chemistry Club is very active in bringing science to Southern Oregon-area elementary and middle schools. The group also offers peer tutoring in chemistry, as well as fundraisers, scholarships, social events, National Chemistry Week events, and tours of the Department for incoming students. Dr. Anna Oliveri is the Chemistry Club advisor for 2022-23.