Chemistry is the study of the world of molecules: how they are created from atoms, how their structures affect their chemical and physical properties, and how they unite or assemble to form the matter that makes up the physical world. Knowledge of chemistry is fundamental to an in-depth understanding of the structural properties and biochemical reactions that define all living systems. Chemistry is therefore the central science that bridges physics and the life sciences, and is a foundation to many other fields, such as materials science, earth science, and forensic science. The challenges that society faces in the twenty-first century, such as managing climate change, sourcing clean energy, and ensuring food security, are at their root chemical problems. With a global perspective and a broad science curriculum at its core, our chemistry major program gives students a comprehensive outlook necessary to tackle these challenges.
A key characteristic of the chemistry major at NYU Shanghai is a good balance between depth and breadth of study: following the foundational science courses in chemistry, physics and biology, students take the essential “canon” of organic chemistry and physical chemistry lectures and labs. Students then have flexibility in choosing three or more chemistry electives in areas of specialization that interest them, including inorganic chemistry, computational chemistry, and biochemistry courses. Advanced students are encouraged to undertake research projects with faculty, potentially culminating in an undergraduate thesis and chemistry honors. A distinguishing feature of chemistry is the importance of creativity, whether it be in synthesizing new molecules, discovering novel reactions and materials, or developing new theories of matter.
Majoring in chemistry provides strong preparation for graduate study in chemistry and related fields, such as biochemistry, biomedicine, and materials science. Chemistry major students are also well prepared for professional school, including medical, pharmacy, dental, optometry, veterinary, forensic, and law school. Students who, instead, decide to enter industry after graduation are well-served by the combination of creative and quantitative skills developed in the chemistry major that transfer to diverse sectors from data science to biotechnology to finance.