The Chemistry Major

Davies LabThe Chemistry department offers several different degree options that impact course selection and timelines: Bachelor of Science (BS), Bachelor of Arts (BA), BA or BS with honors, American Chemical Soceity (ACS) certified BS, and a BS/MS. To learn more about each of these options, click the tabs below.

Do you have questions about your chemistry major?

For questions about enrollment, course requirements, graduation, etc…

Ethel Ellington
Undergraduate Program Coordinator
(404) 727-6492

Doug Mulford
Director of Undergraduate Studies
(404) 727-6989

For prospective students interested in visiting campus, contact the Office of Undergraduate Admission for requirements and to schedule a general tour. For chemistry-specific questions, please contact:

Kira Walsh
Outreach Coordinator
(404) 727-6535


The BS major is strongly recommended for all students who wish to pursue a career in Chemistry. The main difference between the two degrees is the physical chemistry requirement. BS majors are required to take a full year of Physical Chemistry with Labs, while a BA major takes a single semester of Physical Chemistry without an associated Lab.

For those students with a strong interest in chemistry who do not plan on working directly in a chemical field or going on to graduate chemistry program (MS or PhD), the BA is a viable alternative. Many medical school aspirants, for example, pursue a BA major in chemistry while also taking extra courses in Biology or other secondary interest.

Students who wish to double-major may find the BA more amenable to the scheduling and completion of a required course in two majors. The chemistry department has many double-majors who wish to gain perspective in science and the arts. For example, one of the highest percentage of double majors in our department are Chemistry and Music majors.

If you are unsure of the "right" major for you, be sure to visit with your Chemistry Dept advisor. If necessary, one may switch from a BS to a BA after taking a single semester of Physical Chemistry but it is harder to move from a BA to a BS.

This is a program recommended by the American Chemical Society as thorough preparation for employment or graduate work in Chemistry.  It adds rigor though additional time commitment and experience in the discipline.  

To be certified, students must complete the BS degree requirements. In addition, his/her 4 elective hours must be in lecture courses at the 301 level or higher, and students must complete CHEM 355L: Inorganic Lab as well as 40 additional hours of laboratory work (either through lab based course electives or research).

With careful planning, it is possible for some exceptionally well-motivated students to earn both their BS and Master's of Science (MS) degree in four years.  To fulfill the coursework component of the joint BS/MS degree (download requirements), students must complete 15 credits of graduate level chemistry courses (including three core graduate courses, a seminar course and a library methods course) in addition to the requirements for the BS degree. To fulfill the research component, students must write and defend a Masters-level thesis based on research pursued under the supervision of a faculty research mentor in the chemistry department; a typical MS research project spans multiple years, starting in the Junior year or earlier.  Applications to this joint degree program, due by the end of the Fall semester of the Junior year, require a letter of application from the student, a letter of support from the student's research mentor, a specific plan to complete the graduate course requirements (created in consultation with the research mentor), and submission of GRE General Test scores.  Interested students should contact program coordinators Ann Dasher or Huw Davies for further information and advice about the program and the application process. See: Notes and Advice for Students Interested in the BS/MS.

Emory College offers a dual degree program that allows students to pursue study in either arts or science at Emory and engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Through this joint offering, students may pursue more interests in engineering while gaining the broad knowledge base provided by a liberal arts degree. 

Students who participate in this program earn both a baccalaureate degree from Emory in the field of their choice and a BS degree from Georgia Tech in one of these fields:

  • Aerospace (AE)
  • Biomedical (BME)
  • Chemical (ChE)
  • Civil (CE)
  • Computer (CmpE)
  • Electrical (EE)  
  • Industrial (ISyE)
  • Materials Science (MSE)
  • Mechanical (ME)
  • Nuclear & Radiological  (NRE)
  • Polymer & Fiber (PTFE)

For more detailed information, visit the Dual Degree Website.

Program Contact Information: