What is chemistry?

According to the American Chemical Society, “…chemistry is the science of matter.  Anything that can be touched, tasted, smelled, seen or felt is made of chemicals.”  In other words chemistry is the study of everything!  If you enjoy understanding how things work or like the idea of developing new products or processes consider becoming a chemist.

Why study chemistry?

Because everything is composed of chemicals, essentially all industries employ chemists. A MHU chemistry degree prepares students for careers or graduate studies in a wide variety of fields such as the agricultural and food industry, forensic science, renewable and petroleum based energy, materials and polymer science, the pharmaceutical industry, and health care professions.

Recent Mars Hill Chemistry Program alumni are currently employed as:

  • Industrial chemists at
    • Pharmaceutical and medical companies such as
      • Pfizer
      • Novo Nordisk
      • Novartis/Alcon
    • Analytical firms such as
      • LabCorp
      • Genova Diagnostics
    • Manufacturers such as
      • Johnson Matthey
      • Honda Aircraft
      • 3M
      • American Zinc Products
      • Herablife
      • Cormtech
    • Medical doctors
    • Physician´s assistants
    • Dentists
    • Pharmacists
    • Intellectual Property lawyers
    • Educators
    • Managers

What will you learn while studying chemistry at MHU?

The MHU chemistry major develops versatile chemists with a functional understanding of the basic subfields within chemistry including organic, inorganic, analytical, physical and biochemistry, as well as practical laboratory skills.

Examples of laboratory skills acquired obtaining an MHU chemistry degree include but are not limited to

  • Wet laboratory methods such as
    • Titrations
    • Making solutions of known molarity (or concentration) including buffer solutions
    • Making measurements such as gravimetric, pH, melting point, etc.
    • Separations such as
      • Filtrations
      • Use of separatory funnels (polarity and hydrophobicity)
      • Precipitation
      • Distillation and evaporation
    • Calibrations
  • Hands on work with instruments such as
    • Infrared spectroscopy (IR)
    • Ultraviolet/Visible (UV/VIS) spectrophotometry
    • High performance liquid chromatography (HPLC)
  • Data management
    • Use of spreadsheets such as Xcel
    • Keeping a legally defensible lab notebook
  • Laboratory safety

Chemistry majors also gain practical transferable skills such as scientific writing, verbal communication, and team building.  The Chemistry Program requires students to complete an independent laboratory based research project mentored by a faulty member and to present their results both orally and in writing.  Students are encouraged to participate in the MHU Chemistry Club and the Western Carolinas Section of the American Chemical Society as well as to apply for and complete summer internships.

What do our alumni say about their experience at MHU?

Jarred Pickering – Class of 2010

At Mars Hill, I majored in Chemistry and Mathematics and played for the Mars Hill Men’s Basketball team.  My professors always encouraged, assisted, and challenged to maximize my experience at Mars Hill.  This included conducting research projects outside of a traditional course setting and also pursuing positions in summer REU programs.  Thanks to my professors at Mars Hill, I was accepted into several graduate programs in Chemistry and chose to complete my PhD in Organic Chemistry at the University of Notre Dame.  While at the University of Notre Dame, my research focused on finding a potential therapeutic treatment for Niemann-Pick Type C, a rare and fatal disease.

I am currently an Intellectual Property Intern residing in Michigan.  As an Intellectual Property Intern, I am training to become an Intellectual Property Attorney, and I am currently completing my JD at Wayne State University in Detroit.