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Frequently Answered Questions

Frequently Answered Questions for Prospective Students

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Q: Does it matter which chemistry major I choose?

A: This depends on your long-term goals, as well as what type of chemistry interests you. The Chemistry(ACS) degree is excellent preparation for students pursuing graduate studies in Chemistry.  Many pre-med majors choose the Biochemistry(ACS) degree, since it covers many of the courses required to apply to medical school. The B.S. in Chemistry degree is flexible in that it allows students to choose classes to specialize their study of chemistry and add minors in and out of the College of Science. Popular minors for Chemistry majors include Foreign Languages, Forensics, Biology, Math, classical studies, and psychology. Chemistry students have also chosen minors in economics, dance, film and video studies, and earth, atmospheric and planetary sciences (EAPS).

Q: What is the Freshman Orientation Seminar?

A: CHM19400 is our required 1-credit Freshman Orientation Seminar which provides students with skills to help them make a successful transition from high school to college. Students are introduced to opportunities within the chemistry department and Purdue as a whole, as well as student support services, degree planning, and and an introduction to different areas and possible careers in Chemistry.

Q: What General Chemistry class should I take first semester?

A: Our Chemistry majors have two choices: most students take CHM 12500, the general chemistry class reserved for our Chemistry majors. If you are bringing in calculus credit (via AP test or dual credit), and took AP Chemistry, you may be eligible to take CHM 13600, Honors General Chemistry, which is a one-credit class covering two semesters of General Chemistry.  We do not accept AP Chemistry credit towards the Chemistry major.

Q: What Math class do I need to take?

A: Most students start out in Calculus 1 (MA 16100). No matter what Math classes you took in high school, we strongly suggest that you take the ALEKS test to place you in the correct math class.

Q: I'd love to do research, how do I get started?

A: During All Aboard Purdue, let your advisor know that you are interested in undergraduate research; we have a special first-semester program for certain students to start research their first semester. Outside of this program, you are allowed to look for a research group and start research the Spring semester of your first year.

Q: Does the Chemistry department have an Honors program?

A: Yes, Chemistry has an Honors program that is independent of the Honors College. For more information, see this page.

Q: I'd like to double major. Can I do that with Chemistry?

A: When you apply you pick a major to be admitted to the university under. If you want to do a dual major, you have to wait to add the second major until after you (1) have an established GPA at Purdue, (2) meet the Major Change requirements for the new major, and (3) have an overall GPA of 3.0 or better. If you decide to attend Purdue, you can talk to your academic advisor about your interests.

Q: What is the difference between chemistry and chemical engineering?

A: This is a common question we get from prospective students! As a scientist, your goal is to ask "why" about the world around us. Your research produces information that we can use to then learn about everything from atoms to molecules, from proteins to polymers. As an engineer, your goal is to ask "what"'; engineers take the scientific information to then ask how they could make a product out of it that solves a problem.  One simplistic example is that a chemist could study and understand the physical and chemical properties of a new polymer they created, where the engineer would take that polymer and make a product that uses that polymer's unique properties.


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