Looking for a university that offers a Christ-centered chemistry degree? At Dordt, you'll be mentored by experienced faculty. You’ll be challenged through internships and workshops. And you’ll work directly with modern instrumentation to explore the atoms, molecules, and materials that make up God's creation. Our faculty, coursework, and Christian foundation create an ideal chemical balance for success.Request Info
Chemistry is at the heart of designing new medicinal drugs. Discovering renewable fuels. Understanding geologic and atmospheric phenomena. When you study chemistry from a Christian perspective, you'll investigate the details of God's handiwork.
Dordt’s chemistry major offers small class sizes, so you get more personal instruction and interaction with professors. You’ll also have opportunities to collaborate on research with chemistry faculty. That can happen during the semester for credit or during the summer as paid research assistants. On top of that, Dordt’s Science and Technology Center offers three large laboratories for general use and four smaller ones for upper-level courses and individual and small-group projects. Like our faculty, our resources and tools are top-of-the-line.
What can I do with a degree in chemistry from Dordt University?
Earn a Christian chemistry degree at Dordt, and you'll be prepared to pursue medical, pharmacy, dentistry, and physical therapy programs. It’ll also prepare you to enter the workforce as a lab technician or a research assistant.
Our students have taken on projects developing new catalysts for producing biodiesel fuel. They’ve created computer models to explore the weather on exoplanets. And they’ve co-authored peer-reviewed manuscripts and presented at national and regional conferences.
Chemical Technicians make sure that the products they are monitoring and testing meet the required standards and specifications.
A Toxicologist determines if chemicals and substances are toxic or harmful to humans, organisms, and the environment.
A Pharmacologist does the research and testing necessary to develop drugs and examine what affects they may have on the body.
The chemistry major includes courses in biochemistry, organic, analytic, inorganic, environmental, and physical chemistry; courses in mathematics and physics; and courses that look at philosophical and historical perspectives on the physical sciences. Some students combine a chemistry major with a major in physics, math, biology, philosophy, or engineering.
During the summer, you can earn credit toward the major by taking summer courses at the Au Sable Institute of Environmental Studies. Students can earn a B.A. or B.S. degree in chemistry.
The chemistry major includes courses in biochemistry, organic, analytic, inorganic, environmental, and physical chemistry; courses in mathematics and physics; and courses that look at philosophical and historical perspectives on the physical sciences. Students will perform a senior research project.
To learn more, you can also view the program strengths and learning outcomes for this program.
Dordt’s chemistry program can take you to graduate school, a job in the industry, a research position, or teaching. There is a great need for well-trained science teachers in North America, which means that our education graduates in the sciences have little problem finding jobs.
This degree is offered as both a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Bachelor of Science degree. Each program provides some alternative class choices. Both degrees include at least five credit hours of lab work and some field work, while the Bachelor of Arts degree requires a service learning course.
- Principles of Chemistry: A study of the fundamental principles of chemistry and an introduction to foundational issues in science. Topics include atomic and molecular structure, chemical equilibria, chemical kinetics, chemical thermodynamics, and electrochemistry. An introduction to laboratory safety and chemical hygiene is included in the laboratory. This is the first course in chemistry for majors in the physical and life sciences. Three lectures and one three-hour laboratory period per week.
- First Semester Seminar: An introduction to scientific inquiry and the skills necessary to flourish in the sciences. Students will learn to think like scientists, read and evaluate scientific writing, consider how their faith informs their science, and learn about contemporary science/faith issues as they begin to participate in the community of learning and research on Dordt’s campus.
- Chemical Analysis: An in-depth study of the theory and practice of quantitative methods of chemical analysis. Includes discussion of proper laboratory techniques, theory of operation of common laboratory equipment, discussion of various analytical methods, sampling and sample preparation, and discussion of statistical methods for evaluating and interpreting data. Three lectures and one three-hour laboratory period per week.
- Organic Chemistry: Structure and Mechanism: In this foundational organic chemistry course, students will learn the foundational topics and problem-solving skills needed to understand the plethora of chemical reactions that involve compounds containing carbon. A working knowledge and application of topics such as nucleophiles, electrophiles, acids, bases, stereochemistry, mechanism, kinetics, substitution reactions, elimination reactions, carbonyl chemistry, and conformational analysis will be developed. Through a detailed understanding of the chemistry, an honest discussion of ethical implications, and a thoughtful interaction with the material we will develop an understanding of how God reveals himself through his creational structure.
- Foundations of Physical Chemistry: This course gives a foundational treatment of the major areas of physical chemistry: chemical kinetics, thermodynamics with an emphasis on chemical and phase equilibria, and quantum chemistry with an emphasis on simple quantum systems, bonding, and spectroscopy. Three lectures and one three-hour laboratory period per week.
- Inorganic Chemistry: A survey of the chemistry of the elements based on the physical principles underlying the periodic arrangement of the elements. Three lectures per week.
- Perspectives in Physical Science: Historical, philosophical, and theological perspectives on the physical sciences are discussed and developed. The historical and contemporary roles of Christianity and other influential forces in science are considered. Prominent positions in the philosophy of science are
examined. Aspects of the complex interactions between Christian faith and the physical sciences are discussed.
- Introduction to Chemical Research: This is a mini-course designed to prepare students for directed senior research. The course will introduce the idea and practice of chemical research. It will include the nature and scope of a research project, how to conduct literature searches, and how to design methods and protocols for problem solving. The class will meet weekly in seminar or tutorial format. Students will make weekly presentations of their progress, finalize their proposal for Chemistry 380, and (if appropriate) begin the work for the directed research project. Graded on a pass/no record basis.
- Biochemistry: Study of the foundations of biochemistry, starting with the structures and functions of small biomolecules—amino acids, monosaccharides, fatty acids and nucleotides—to macro-biomolecules—peptides, proteins (enzymes), oligosaccharides, nucleic acids and lipids. With this knowledge of biomolecules, the principles of metabolism, enzyme kinetics, catalytic strategies, regulatory strategies, and allosteric enzymes will be studied. Introduction to transduction and energy storage involved with glycolysis and gluconeogenesis, the citric acid cycle, oxidative phosphorylation, and fatty acid metabolism. After exploring God’s beautiful design of biomolecules, the students will understand how God’s hand is working in living cells and thereby give glory to God.
- Directed Senior Research: A senior-level research course that focuses on problem solving and critical thinking in the chemical sciences. The project will be chosen and conducted interactively with a staff mentor(s). Research should begin in the context of earlier courses and library literature and extend to the lab and field on or off campus. Project results will be presented in a peer seminar.
- Environmental Chemistry: A study of the nature and transport of chemical species—both natural and human-introduced—in the natural environment (atmosphere, hydrosphere, geosphere, and biosphere). Three lectures per week.
- Advanced Organic Chemistry: Synthesis and Mechanism: In this advanced organic chemistry course, students will learn more advanced topics and problem-solving skills needed to understand the diversity of chemical reactions utilized in modern organic chemistry. Through the process of reviewing current chemical literature articles that report the total synthesis of natural products and investigate reaction mechanism, students will apply the foundational ideas learned in Chemistry 225, classify reactions based on analogy, articulate an understanding of topics such as stereoselectivity and regioselectivity, and explore how organic chemists advance the field. Through a detailed understanding of the chemistry, an honest discussion of implications, and a thoughtful interaction with the material will we develop an understanding of how we as scientists and Christians should respond to culture.
- Advanced Organic Chemistry: BioOrganic: In this advanced organic chemistry course, students will learn the application of organic chemistry to the processes of life. Through the process of reviewing chemical literature articles that report metabolic pathways and the total synthesis of biological products, students will apply the foundational ideas learned in Chemistry 225, classify reactions based on analogy, articulate an understanding of topics such as stereoselectivity and regioselectivity, and consider how biological catalysts accommodate chemical reactions. Through an in-depth application of the chemistry, an honest discussion of implications, and a thoughtful interaction with the material we will develop an understanding of how God has created a world in which life is supported through organic chemistry.
- Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics: The study of heat, the laws of thermodynamics, thermodynamic generating functions, Maxwell’s relations, kinetic theory, partition functions, and classical and quantum statistics. Three lectures per week.
- Quantum Chemistry: Quantum mechanics as applied to chemical systems. An introduction to quantum theory including a study of the postulates and simple systems. Application of quantum mechanics to atomic and molecular structure and bonding. Theoretical foundations of atomic and molecular spectroscopy. An introduction to computational methods of quantum chemistry. An overview and critique of philosophical theories relating to the meaning of quantum mechanics. Three lectures per week.
- Advanced Biochemistry: A study of the way the cell uses the breakdown of molecules to extract energy and then uses this energy for sustaining the functions of the cell by producing new needed biomolecules. This sequence will begin with the study of the metabolism of the carbohydrates culminating in the electron-transfer processes leading to the production of ATP. The metabolism of other types of biomolecules such as lipids, proteins, and nucleic acids will also be studied. Finally, the processes of biosynthesis will be investigated beginning with photosynthesis of carbohydrates in plants and ending with biosynthesis of lipids and proteins. The last chapter will help the student to appreciate how all of these complex created biological processes are regulated by the use of hormonal signals which integrate and coordinate the metabolic activities of different tissues and optimize the allocation of fuels and precursors to each organ. Three lectures per week.
- Solar System Chemistry: A detailed survey of the chemistry of the Sun, planets, satellites, asteroids, and comets. Topics include the origin of the elements and clues regarding the formation of planetary systems including exoplanetary systems, the comparative geochemistry of the terrestrial planets (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars), and the atmospheric chemistry of the gas giant planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune) based upon ground, orbital, and spacecraft observations, and implications for a Christian understanding of the origin and history of the Earth and the Solar System.
- Individual Studies
- Environmental Chemistry Laboratory: This lab will include methods of sampling and analysis of samples from natural and/or human influenced environments. Graded on an A-F scale.
- Instrumental Analysis: Optical, electrical, and chromatographic methods of quantitative analysis and theoretical study. The class meets for three lectures per
week for the first two-thirds of the semester; laboratory experiments are performed during the last one-third of the semester.
- Advanced Organic Chemistry Laboratory: In this advanced laboratory course, students will propose, complete, and report on common laboratory techniques utilized in organic chemistry. Students will explore several common reactions including esterification, electrophilic aromatic substitution, and multi-step chemical synthesis. Students will also propose and complete an individual laboratory project. Graded on an A-F scale.
- Advanced Physical Chemistry Lab: In this advanced laboratory course, students will propose, complete, and report on common laboratory techniques utilized in physical chemistry. Graded on an A-F scale.
- Advanced Biochemistry Laboratory: The purpose of the laboratory is to provide practical hands-on experience for students so they can appreciate the reactions taking place in the cells God has created. The experiments will be organized to parallel the various topics in Chemistry 360. One three-hour laboratory per week. Graded on an A-F scale.
- Cell and Molecular Biology: An introduction to molecular mechanisms in living organisms. Topics include structure and functions of cellular components, gene structure and expression, and recombinant DNA technology. Concepts of reductionism and evolutionary theory will be addressed. Three
lectures and one laboratory period of three hours per week.
- Introduction to Environmental Studies I: An introduction to contemporary environmental studies and creation care, with emphasis on class discussion of relationships between human population and resource use in light of biblical teaching about environmental stewardship. Particular attention is given to the biotic and ecological dimensions of creation stewardship and planetary distress.
- Field and Laboratory Investigations in Environmental Studies: A field and laboratory exploration of fundamental issues, concepts, and techniques of contemporary environmental studies with a biological and ecological focus. Includes visits to sites of natural history and stewardship interest both locally and regionally. Also includes an introduction to important technological tools in environmental studies and analysis of physical and biotic parameters of the environment. Required for students majoring or minoring in Community Development or Environmental Studies.
- Calculus I: A study of the basic concepts and techniques of calculus for students in all disciplines. Topics include limits, differentiation, integration,
and applications. This course is intended for students without any previous calculus credit.
- Calculus II: Continuation of Mathematics 152; a study of transcendental functions, integration techniques, Taylor series approximations, calculus in polar coordinates, vectors, calculus of vector valued functions and applications of calculus. Students with one semester of calculus credit should take this course instead of Mathematics 152.
- Introductory Physics I: An introduction to the study of the physical aspect of reality for students intending to continue in the physical sciences and engineering. Linear and rotational kinematics and dynamics, statics, and gravitation will be covered. Three lectures and one laboratory period per week.
- Introductory Physics II: Continuation of Physics 231. Topics covered include fluid, oscillations, waves, heat and thermodynamics, and electricity. Three lectures and one laboratory per week.
Additional Core Classes for a B.S. Degree in Chemistry
- General Physics I: An introduction to the study of the physical aspect of reality. Topics covered include mechanics, kinetic theory, heat, and thermodynamics. Three lectures and one laboratory per week.
- General Physics II: Continuation of Physics 215. Waves, sound, light, electricity and magnetism, and topics in modern physics, e.g., quantum theory, relativity, physics of the atomic nucleus. Three lectures and one laboratory period per week.
Additional Core Classes for a B.A. Degree in Chemistry
- Education Project in Chemistry: Students will design and implement a project in chemical education. May be offered upon request to the department chair.
- Literature Review in Chemistry: Students will conduct a literature review on a topic in modern chemistry. May be offered upon request to the department chair.
- Introductory Statistics: An introductory course in statistical techniques and methods and their application to a variety of fields. Topics include data analysis, design of experiments, and statistical inference including confidence intervals and hypothesis testing. Exposure to statistical software and a substantive student project are also part of this course.
- Accelerated Introductory Statistics: This course covers the same content and learning objectives as Statistics 131 but in half the time. This course, along with Statistics 202 and Statistics 203, also serves as preparation for Actuarial Exam SRM. Additionally this course, along with Statistics 202, Statistics 203, Statistics 220 and Statistics 352, serves as preparation for Actuarial Exam MAS I. Offered first half of spring semester. Credit will not be given for both Statistics 131 and 132.
If you’re passionate about science—and chemistry in particular—but don’t want to major in it, a minor could be perfect for you. Having a background in chemistry can help you whether you want to pursue graduate school, work in a lab, or find another way to use your science knowledge. Combined with the right major, a chemistry minor can set you up for a successful career. It’s science!Learn More
Noyce Scholars Program
Chemistry students can also learn to each STEM subjects at the secondary or post-secondary level. The Dordt Noyce Scholars Program has been established to encourage Stem Students to consider a teaching profession.
Noyce Scholars receive $15,000 scholarships each year to support their progress toward teaching licensure in a STEM field.
An education emphasis is also available with the chemistry program. As you study chemistry you'll also train in education, giving you the tools to teach others.Learn More
Ready to take the next step?
With experience in a variety of fields, our faculty members are equipped and ready to help you succeed.Faculty Info
Science and Technology Center
As a chemistry major, you'll have the opportunity to spend time in Dordt's Science and Technology Center. Informally known as the "Science Building," the Science and Technology Center is home to large and small laboratories for organic and physical chemistry.Learn more
Dordt students and alumni use their gifts to make a difference in the world. Check out their stories to see how Defender Nation lives out our mission to work effectively toward Christ-centered renewal in all aspects of contemporary life.
Despite Dordt's familiarity, Riley was able to step out of his comfort zone and make the uncomfortable decisions that allowed him to further learn how to serve in God's kingdom in his future.
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Dealing with the constant uncertainty of what he wanted to do with his future, Aidan was able to lean on Dordt professors and mentors to help him become more open-minded and flexible, eventually finding a place where he fit in.
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After being worried that he was stuck inside a bubble after choosing Dordt for college, Nathan found that he was able to become involved in a variety of different activities that allowed him to extend himself outside of his comfort zone.
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In addition to developing her own path to her future career, Jenna was able to fit right into the built-in community at Dordt that became her second home.
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