Department of Chemistry Introduces Five New Majors

The Department of Chemistry at Illinois Tech has introduced five new majors designed to help students start to prepare for specific career paths and be competitive candidates for in-demand graduate programs and professional jobs.

Many of the programs are the first or one of the first of their kind for undergraduates, and all help provide students with skills that many other undergraduate programs do not offer.

The programs are:

  • B.S. in bioanalytical chemistry – the first of its kind in the country. Bioanalytical chemistry is a key discipline in biomedical and pharmaceutical research and applied to a study of biological processes, detection and diagnosis of human diseases, and preclinical and clinical evaluations of drugs and biopharmaceutical products in biological systems.
  • B.S. in environmental chemistry – the first of its kind in Chicago. Majors will learn and discover chemical solutions to environmental issues: pollution of air and water, waste and recycling, climate change, environmental protection and remediation, energy, green chemistry, environmental analytical chemistry, environmental instrumental analysis, environmental toxicology, and more.
  • B.S. in forensic chemistry – the first of its kind in Chicago. Forensic chemistry is the application of chemistry to forensic (crime) investigation. Students will learn chemical, biochemical, and instrumental techniques for analysis, detection, and characterization of forensic and controlled substances.
  • B.S. in computational chemistry and biochemistry – the first comprehensive computer-related chemistry and biochemistry program in the country. Computational chemistry and biochemistry is the application of computational methods to understand chemical and biochemical properties and processes. Students will learn chemical and molecular modeling and simulation, computational chemical biology, computational drug design, Big Data in chemistry and biochemistry, and computational methods for data analytics.
  • B.S. in medicinal chemistry – the first of its kind in Illinois, and one of only a handful in the country. Medicinal chemistry is a specialized area of chemistry with an emphasis on the study of drug design, drug synthesis, and pharmaceutical and biomedical analysis. Students will learn actions of pharmaceuticals and biomedical products and how to apply biological, chemical, and data science to computer-aided design, synthesis, evaluation, and analysis of drugs for the detection, treatment, and cure of human diseases.

All five new majors are available to first-year undergraduates entering Illinois Tech in fall 2017 and to transfer students starting in fall 2019.

The new majors enhance graduates’ competitiveness in several ways:

  • For example, Illinois Tech’s new B.S. in forensic chemistry requires analytical chemistry laboratory and other experiences that typical undergraduate forensic science programs do not, but that forensics jobs demand—so Illinois Tech graduates will stand out.
  • All five of the new majors offer a range of data analytics and data science courses. Data analytics is increasingly important in many areas of chemistry; for example, data from clinical trials can be analyzed and used to improve patient outcomes.
  • Students in the new programs may have the opportunity to do hands-on research with faculty in such areas as biosensor technology for monitoring of pollution, green chemistry, biosensors for detection of bioterrorism chemicals and toxins, antibody drug conjugate (ADC) chemistry, quantum chemistry, and cancer drug discovery.
  • A special seminar series will bring experts in all five fields to campus to speak.

Graduates of the programs may go on either in regular chemistry or in their specialization. They will be educated as viable candidates with good entry-level skills for the job market or for graduate programs including medical school and pharmacy school.

Learn more about the individual programs here.

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