Rochester Institute of Technology

Academic Program Overviews

Student Skills & Capabilities, Salary Data, Career Information 

Chemistry BS

Program Overview

The program prepares graduates for positions in several fields of chemistry, including industrial work processing and laboratory operations, research and experimental work, supervision of technical projects, and managerial positions.

A substantial number of students continue their education and earn advanced degrees in chemistry or pursue careers in pharmacy, medicine, and dentistry.

The chemistry major allows for flexibility in the type and number of chemistry and university-wide elective courses taken by the student. The program also provides students the option of planning an elective concentration in complementary fields such as imaging science, business, graphic arts, psychology, biology, criminal justice, computer science, engineering, environmental science, forensics, mathematics, packaging science, and physics.

Degrees Awarded

  • Bachelor of Science
  • Master of Science


  • Approximately 95undergraduate students enrolled and 16 graduate students

Cooperative Education & Experiential Education Component

  • All students have the option (recommended) of participating in term(s) of co-op employment any term following completion of 1st year courses.

Salary Information

Co-op:   $11.83                   $9.00 - $19.00
BS:         ID
MS:        ID

Student Skills & Capabilities

Students are able to perform many general chemistry, analytical chemistry, and organic chemistry laboratory tasks, as technicians, with minimal supervision, after their first year of coursework.  They continue to enhance their lab skills in subsequent years, when they take lecture and lab courses in inorganic, physical, polymer, environmental, or biochemistry to increase their ability to contribute to research initiatives in areas of particular interest.


Approved by the Committee on Professional Training of the American Chemical Society. Students can request a more flexible B.S. curriculum which is not ACS certified.

Equipment & Facilities

GC-MS, LC-MS, HPLC systems, Atomic Absorption, 300 MHz, NMR, 500MHz NMR, Fluorimeters, UV-Vis, Centrifuge, Electrochem Equipment, Viscometer, Electrophoresis, TGA, DSC, DMA, Magnetic susceptibility optical microscope, inert gas chamber, spin coater.

Nature of Work

Everything in our environment, whether naturally occurring or of human design, is composed of chemicals. Chemists search for and use new knowledge about chemicals. Chemical research has led to the discovery and development of new and improved synthetic fibers, paints, adhesives, drugs, cosmetics, electronic components, lubricants, and thousands of other products. Chemists also develop processes that save energy and reduce pollution, such as improved oil refining and petrochemical processing methods. Research on the chemistry of living things spurs advances in medicine, agriculture, food processing, and other fields. (Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook)

Training / Qualifications

A bachelor’s degree in chemistry or a related discipline usually is the minimum educational requirement for entry-level chemist jobs. However, many research jobs require a master’s degree. Students planning careers as chemists and materials scientists should take courses in science and mathematics, should like working with their hands building scientific apparatus and performing laboratory experiments, and should like computer modeling. Perseverance, curiosity, and the ability to concentrate on detail and to work independently are essential. Because R&D chemists are increasingly expected to work on interdisciplinary teams, some understanding of other disciplines, including business and marketing or economics, is desirable, along with leadership ability and good oral and written communication skills. Graduate students typically specialize in a subfield of chemistry, such as analytical chemistry or polymer chemistry, depending on their interests and the kind of work they wish to do. (Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics O.O.H.)

Job Outlook

Employment of chemists and materials scientists is projected to grow 6 percent from 2012 to 2022, slower than the average for all occupations. Chemists and materials scientists with an advanced degree, particularly those with a Ph.D., are expected to experience better opportunities. (Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics O.O.H.)

Job Titles

Materials Scientist, Assistant/Associate Research & Development Scientist, Quality Control Specialist, Analytical Chemist, Organic Chemist, Inorganic Chemist, Physical Chemist, Medical Chemist, Lab Technician


Chemists and materials scientists held about 90,900 jobs in 2010. About 15 percent of chemists and material scientists work in scientific research and development services. In addition, thousands of persons with a background in chemistry and materials science hold teaching positions in high schools and in colleges and universities. Chemists are employed in all parts of the country, but are mainly concentrated in large industrial areas. (Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics O.O.H.)

Significant Points

  • Most of our students engage in independent research projects to further their specialization, including full-time summer research in faculty labs at RIT or on other campuses through internships and NSF Research Experience for Undergraduate programs.
  • We emphasize quality lab notebook records. Many of our students present their research at local, regional and national meetings. Quite a number are co-authors on publications with faculty members each year.
  • 75% of students attend graduate school for masters and PhD programs at Fordham University, Pennsylvania State, RIT, University of Colorado, University of Connecticut, University of Rochester,
  • Yale University, and Yonsei University. Programs include: Biochemistry, Chemical Engineering, Chemistry, Forensic Science, Law, Nursing, Pathways of Human Disease, and Sustainability.

Selected Employer Hiring Partners

Abington Reldan Metals, Bausch & Lomb, Environemntal Standards, Fenwal, Inc. (a Fresenius Kabi Company), Frontier Communications, Harris and Ford, Meso Scale Diagnostics, Monroe Fluid Technology, Summit Lubricants, Worthen Industries, Xerox

Contact Us

We appreciate your interest in your career. We will make every effort to help you succeed. Call our office and ask to speak with Kris Stehler, the career services coordinator who works with the Chemistry program. For your convenience, you can access information and services through our web site at

Kris Stehler, Career Services Coordinator,This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; 585.475.5468
Rochester Institute of Technology . Office of Career Services and Cooperative Education
Bausch & Lomb Center
57 Lomb Memorial Drive . Rochester NY  14623-5603