Degree Plans

Photograph of Chain Technology BuildingChemistry majors work toward the Bachelor of Science degree. There are four emphasis areas that lead to this degree: the American Chemical Society (ACS) Certified Emphasis, the American Chemical Society (ACS) Certified Emphasis in Biochemistry, the Biochemistry Emphasis and the Chemistry Emphasis. All four emphases prepare students for careers in private industry or government and for admission to graduate programs in the chemical sciences, medicine, dentistry, and other science-related professional programs. For information about advanced degrees in chemistry at Southern Miss, please see the Graduate Bulletin. Licensure to teach secondary school chemistry may be obtained through the chemistry emphasis. Special characteristics of each emphasis area are noted below.

Chemistry majors must satisfy the General Education Curriculum requirements of the university and the College of Science and Technology. The semester hour requirement depends on the emphasis area studied. A minor is not required. Corresponding lecture and laboratory courses must be taken simultaneously. For a chemistry major to enroll in any chemistry course, he or she must have a grade of C or better in all prerequisite science and math courses. A chemistry major is allowed a total of three repeats in 100-, 200- and 300-level prerequisite science and math courses to achieve the required grade of C or better; any course may be repeated only once. To graduate, a grade of C or better must be achieved in all courses counted toward the chemistry major.

Emphasis Areas


The advantage of this emphasis is its flexibility. The larger number of elective hours allows the student to take a minor or even a double major in many other academic areas.

This emphasis requires a minimum of 47 semester hours of chemistry, including an undergraduate research experience. It requires nine semester hours of calculus, but it does not require completion of physics with calculus.

Students graduating with this versatile degree have a wide variety of career options from which to choose.

The licensure option in chemistry combines a chemistry curriculum with required education courses to achieve a degree plan approved by the American Chemical Society (ACS) and nationally recognized by the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA). Furthermore, the licensure program is part of The University of Southern Mississippi’s Professional Education Unit. The Professional Education Unit is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).

The mission of the department in the training of much-needed secondary school chemistry teachers is deeply rooted in the traditional Southern Miss role in preparing K-12 teachers for the state of Mississippi.

Chemistry teachers, particularly those with a second certification area such as physics or math, are in great demand in Mississippi high schools. Scholarships are available from the state of Mississippi and federal grant agencies to pay the college costs of pre-service science teachers. Salaries are competitive with other B.S.-level chemistry positions.

Students completing this emphasis are certified by the Committee on Professional Training of the American Chemical Society and take a minimum of 48 semester hours of chemistry course work.

Key features of the curriculum are a requirement for physics with calculus, mathematics through differential equations and a required undergraduate research experience.

Students graduating with this degree are competitive for top graduate programs. Recent graduates have gone on to graduate school at Cal Tech, Vanderbilt, Duke, the University of Texas, the University of Florida, Florida State and Baylor.


This emphasis requires a minimum of 43 semester hours of chemistry, including 11 hours of senior-level biochemistry and a required research experience, plus an additional 20 hours of biological sciences.

It provides an excellent preparation for medical or dental school because of its extensive life sciences content. The curriculum also fits well with the pre-pharmacy requirements for most pharmacy schools.

Students graduating with this degree are competitive for top graduate programs as well as top medical, dental and pharmacy programs. Graduates are also qualified to work in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry.

photograph of the fountain in front of the HubACS-certified Biochemistry

This area is a hybrid of the American Chemical Society-certified chemistry emphasis and the biochemistry emphasis.

Incorporating a rigorous grounding in mathematics and chemistry with several courses in the life sciences, this emphasis area is an excellent preparation for graduate school in a biochemistry-related field.

Students interested in scientific careers in biochemistry research are, therefore, encouraged to consider the ACS-certified biochemistry emphasis.

Students graduating with this degree are competitive for top graduate programs. Recent graduates have gone on to graduate school at Cal Tech, Vanderbilt, Duke, the University of Texas, the University of Florida, Florida State and Baylor.


The prepharmacy requirements at the University of Mississippi Pharmacy School and other regional pharmacy schools are best met by the biochemistry degree plan. It is noted that this is actually a chemistry BS degree with a biochemistry emphasis. The above link shows the recommended semester by semester sequence that will meet both the requirements of the biochemistry degree plan and the prepharmacy requirements. Assuming satisfactory progress, the latter will be complete after three years and the former after four years. This means that it is possible for a student to apply to pharmacy school after the third year. More details of the prepharmacy and other preprofessional requirements may be found on the College of Science and Technology website.

Secondary School Teaching Licensure

An option with the chemistry emphasis allows the student to obtain Mississippi Department of Education secondary teaching licensure in chemistry, physical science and general science. The program requires a minimum of 39 hours of chemistry course work. Course work in biological sciences (BSC), geology (GLY) and physics (PHY) is also required, as are science education courses CIS 302, SME 460 (Methods in Teaching Science) and 489/490 (Student Teaching). See degree plans for details. Students pursuing a degree in chemistry with licensure must earn a grade of C or higher in all chemistry courses and in all required professional education courses.

In addition, required teacher education courses include the following 15 hours: CIS 302, REF 469, SPE 400, CIS 313. Students must consult an adviser in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and the current Bulletin for prerequisites and proper sequencing of courses.

Students who complete this program are eligible for a license through an NCATE-accredited program.

Requirements for a Minor in Chemistry

A minor in chemistry requires 21 hours of chemistry, with a grade of C or higher in each course. CHE 100, CHE 104, CHE 104L, CHE 251, CHE 251L, CHE 332 and CHE 409, will not count towards the 21 hours required for the minor. 


124 hours are needed to graduate with a BS in Chemistry. At least 50 percent of the hours applied to a degree at The University of Southern Mississippi must be earned from a senior college, and 45 of these hours must be in courses numbered 300 or above. The last 25 percent of course work must be earned from Southern Miss. The student must earn at least 12 hours in the major area of study from Southern Miss.