Why study Forensic Chemistry at Chestnut Hill College?


Fundamentally, chemistry is the study of matter in the universe and how it changes. Modern chemistry is central to our lives and impacts diverse fields such as medicine, energy generation, cosmetics, food production, and more. The curriculum for chemistry majors is varied and includes specialization in various areas, one of which is forensic chemistry. Forensic chemistry is the application of chemistry to questions of criminal and civil law and encompasses toxicology and the chemical analysis of evidence.


At Chestnut Hill College, you are going to get a lot more than just an understanding of molecular structures. Along with your classroom and laboratory instruction - by highly qualified and experienced professors - you are also going to get a well-rounded liberal arts education. This education will help you think for yourself and overlay your scientific decisions with an ethical perspective.


And geographically, you'll be in just the right place. Chestnut Hill College is centrally located near several major pharmaceutical, chemical, and forensic science companies such as Merck, Bristol-Myers Squibb, National Medical Services, Centocor, Inc., GlaxoSmithKline, Wyeth-Ayerst, Dupont and many more. We are also close to several public and private schools that are committed to developing more and better science teachers. All of this provides an exceptional learning opportunity for our students - not to mention a great location from which to launch a career.


What is the difference between Forensic Chemistry, Chemistry and Biochemistry majors?


The core of all of these majors is gaining a solid understanding of chemistry through fundamental courses and laboratory work. The difference between these majors is the additional, specialized coursework required. Biochemistry majors take biology courses as part of their major while still acquiring a solid foundation in the most important areas of chemistry. Forensic chemistry majors on the other hand, take toxicology courses and learn to use instruments such as those seen in crime shows. Unlike biochemistry and chemistry, forensic chemistry majors are required to perform an internship. Most often this is done at the Philadelphia ME's Office.


For more information on these majors, please visit the Department of Chemistry and Physics.


What are the requirements?


Forensic chemistry majors must complete a minimum of 19 courses (71 credits) to qualify for a B.S. degree. These requirements include:

  • 4 credits in Biology
  • 9 credits in Mathematics
  • 8 credits in Physics
  • 54 credits in Chemistry including Toxicology, Biochemistry I and II, Instrumental Analysis, and Organic Chemistry I and II

For more information on the specific course requirements as well as a sample academic plan, please see the Biology/Chemistry section of our 2014-15 SUS Course Catalog.


What internships are available?


There are many opportunities in pharmaceutical, biotechnological, agricultural, and forensic research throughout the Philadelphia region - and Chestnut Hill College is close to all of them. This increases the opportunities for chemistry majors to gain valuable real-world experience through internships. Some of these internships even lead to full-time employment after graduation. Several of the places at which our majors have held internships are the following:

  • Jefferson Medical College
  • Georgetown University
  • Purdue University
  • Boise University
  • The ME's Office of Philadelphia
  • The Research Center of the US Dept of Agriculture


What are the career opportunities?

Majoring in chemistry opens students to a wide range of exciting and fulfilling career choices post-graduation. These include:

  • Going to graduate school
  • Going to medical, dental or veterinary school
  • Working in a laboratory in a pharmaceutical compnay, an industrial chemical company, or a medical examiner's office
  • Becoming a high school chemistry teacher
  • Becoming a patent attorney


If you are interested in becoming a chemistry major at Chestnut Hill College, please contact Joseph Kulkosky, Chairperson of the Biology and Natural Sciences Division (KulkoskyJ@chc.edu).
To apply to Chestnut Hill College, please visit Admissions.