Welcome to the Chemistry Department of Alvernia University. We hope you’ll take some time to get acquainted with our B.S. in Chemistry program.

If you’re interested in studying chemistry, chances are you already understand how essential chemicals are to our lives, and how important the contributions of chemistry are to society. Chemicals – both those that occur naturally and those that are manufactured – are essential to life.

The job of a chemist is to study the composition, structure, properties and reactions of matter, making the study of chemistry fundamental to understanding many other scientific disciplines. Chemists are credited with the development of important vaccines and medicines, the discovery of radioactivity, the explanation of the atomic theory and many other important accomplishments that affect people all over the world.

Chemistry students at Alvernia learn more than what is contained in textbooks. You’ll experience “real-world learning” that will enable you to link your classroom experiences to the larger community and, indeed, the world. Scientists have the potential to influence positive change in the world. At Alvernia, you’ll develop an appreciation for and knowledge of the fundamental skills, principles and techniques that enable you to do just that.

Chemistry courses are taught in the two-story O’Pake Science Center, which is equipped with the latest in educational technology. Students use a variety of laboratory materials and equipment for use in performing chemical synthesis, exploring physical and chemical properties of chemical compounds, examining chemical structure and reactivity.

The application of modern analytical tools to chemical, biochemical and forensic investigations is facilitated by a variety of instrumentation, including an atomic absorption spectrometer with flame and graphite furnace capabilities, an infrared spectrometer with an ATR (attenuated total reflectance) attachment, a high-pressure liquid chromatograph (HPLC), a gas chromatograph/mass spectrometer (GC/MS), a laser laboratory with laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) capabilities and much more.


Why should you study chemistry at Alvernia University?
Because at Alvernia you get all the benefits of an outstanding university education in a setting that includes personal attention and unique opportunities that can benefit you as you move toward your career.

Small Class Size
Alvernia has an average 17:1 student-faculty ratio, with fewer than 20 students in most classes. This type of setting facilitates valuable, professional relationships among faculty members and students and assures that you get individual attention to help you excel. 

Faculty Who Care
Alvernia’s faculty members aren’t just teachers. They’re experts in their fields who are committed to passing along their knowledge and expertise to their students. In small class settings faculty members become mentors and advisors, intent on helping you learn, grow and succeed.

Research Opportunities
Alvernia offers opportunities for chemistry students to work with mentors on research projects relating to their areas of concentration. These collaborations prepare students for professions and/or graduate school.

Students have worked with research mentors to explore a variety of topics, including plant diseases, life in freshwater systems, the effects of hormones on biochemical pathways and sustainability gardening.

A two-course series introduces chemistry students to the fundamentals of research, prepares them for participation in an ongoing research project and teaches how to interpret and disseminate findings.

Chemistry students also have opportunities through the National Science Foundation’s Research Experience for Undergraduates program for internships that offer laboratory and research experience. Students have worked with research mentors to explore a variety of topics, including plant diseases, life in freshwater systems, the effects of hormones on biochemical pathways and sustainability gardening.

Honors Program
Alvernia’s Honors Program for students who are academically gifted and highly motivated is designed to allow students to work at their own pace and to recognize and encourage academic excellence. Honors students interact with one another to exchange ideas and information across a wide range of disciplines and interests.

The Honors Program offers co-curricular activities, service opportunities and intellectual and social support to encourage students to exceed their own expectations.

Learn more about Alvernia’s Honors Programs at

Get Real
Classroom learning is valuable and necessary, but out-of-the-classroom, experiential learning provides chemistry students with hands-on, real world learning opportunities that enrich your educational experience and are highly valued by employers.

Chemistry majors have the option of completing 252 hours of major-related activities at an off-campus location where an internship sponsor supervises your work or completing research under the direction of a faculty member at Alvernia University.

Learn more about Alvernia’s Get Real program at

Study Abroad
Living and studying outside of the United States can change you in ways you can’t begin to envision. Students who study abroad typically gain immeasurable confidence and experiences they could not have imagined.

Chemistry majors have benefitted from studying in countries including New Zealand, Italy, Spain, England, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Morocco, Palestine, China and Mexico.

Learn more about Alvernia’s Study Abroad program at


Chemistry majors have opportunities to pursue careers in varying and diverse fields. You might seek a career in the pharmaceuticals industry or work for a company that produces agricultural chemicals or petroleum products. Perhaps your primary interest is biotechnology or health care.

Chemistry is an inherent part of environmental work. Chemists are involved in making automobiles safer and more fuel-efficient and improving the way food is packaged and processed. Graduates of Alvernia’s Chemistry Program serve society as research scientists, chemists, pharmacists, teachers, scientific editors, and lab technicians.

In addition, the study of chemistry provides excellent training for students who want to earn advanced degrees in the chemical sciences, medicine, dentistry and other science-related professional programs, or who wish to pursue research opportunities.

Where do Alvernia chemistry graduates pursue graduate degrees?
Graduates of the Chemistry Program have gone onto graduate and professional schools, including:

  • Villanova University
  • Temple University Dental School
  • University of Southern California

Where are graduates of Alvernia’s Chemistry Program working?
Chemistry graduates are employed by reputable companies and research facilities, including:

  • Johnson & Johnson
  • Walter Reed Army Institute of Research
  • Lancaster Laboratories
  • Spotts, Steven & McCoy
  • Lockheed Martin
  • National Medical Services
  • Church & Dwight
  • Wistar Institute
  • Ortho Pharmaceutical Company
  • DrugScan

For more information about Alvernia’s Chemistry Program contact the Admissions Office at 1-888-ALVERNIA or 610-796-8269 or


All Alvernia students must successfully complete a minimum of 123 semester credits to receive a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science degree. To view the 2016-2017 Academic Course Catalogue go to View your Major Academic Plan (MAP) by year here.

As a chemistry major, you’ll need to earn 66 to 72 credits in chemistry and related areas. Students who minor in chemistry must earn 17 to 20 credits in chemistry. Students are required to complete either an internship or a research experience as part of their chemistry major.

Core Requirements (62-66 credits)
CHE 104  General Chemistry I
CHE 110  General Chemistry Laboratory I
CHE 105  General Chemistry II
CHE 111  General Chemistry Laboratory II
CHE 107  Laboratory Safety
CHE 201  Organic Chemistry I
CHE 210  Organic Chemistry Laboratory I
CHE 202  Organic Chemistry II
CHE 211  Organic Chemistry Laboratory II
CHE 212  Analytical Chemistry w/Lab
CHE 221  Instrumental Analysis
CHE 301  Physical Chemistry I
CHE 302  Physical Chemistry II
CHE 310  Physical Chemistry I Laboratory
CHE 311  Physical Chemistry II Laboratory
CHE 404  Advanced Organic Chemistry
CHE 406  Advanced Inorganic Chemistry
SCI 402  Senior Seminar
SCI 480  Internship in Math or Science  OR 
SCI 406  Research I   AND
SCI 407  Research II

Math/Science Requirements (17-20 credits)
PHY 200 Physics I w/Lab
PHY 201 Physics II w/Lab
MAT 131 Precalculus (recommended)
MAT 220 Math/Stats Computer Lab
MAT 230 Calculus I
MAT 231 Calculus II

Electives (6-9 credits)
CHE 401  Biochemistry AND CHE 410 Biochemistry Laboratory
CHE 403  Spectroscopic Methods
CHE 404  Advanced Organic Chemistry
CHE 405  Forensic Chemistry w/Lab
CHE 406  Advanced Inorganic Chemistry
MAT 209  Probability & Statistics
MAT 332  Calculus III


Alvernia believes that real-world experience is extremely important, as it can improve your confidence and introduce you to professionals in your intended field of employment. You can find out more about real world learning at

As a chemistry major, you have the option to participate in at least 252 hours of chemistry-related activities at an off-campus location under the supervision of an internship sponsor. Internships normally are completed during the junior year. You need to have a 2.5 GPA to qualify for an internship.

Here’s a sampling of places at which chemistry majors at Alvernia have completed internships:

  • Clinical Laboratories, Inc.
  • DrugScan
  • Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection
  • Puritan Products, Inc.
  • United States Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense
  • Lancaster Laboratories

Research Opportunities

In addition to real-world learning, chemistry majors can also benefit from research opportunities. Chemistry students have opportunities through the National Science Foundation’s Research Experience for Undergraduates program for internships that offer laboratory and research experience. Alvernia students have participated in programs at Louisiana State University, the University of Southern California and Texas A&M.

In addition, all chemistry students complete a two-course series that will introduce you to the fundamentals of research, prepare you to participate in an ongoing research project under the direction of a research mentor, and teach you how to formulate conclusions and output their data in a presentable research format.
Research I (SCI 406) is the first of two courses in the student research sequence. Students will develop a research project with a faculty member of their choice. This course will focus on a literature review, developing a research plan, conducting experiments and interpreting results.

Research II (SCI 407) is the second of two courses in the student research sequence. Students will continue to work the research project with the faculty member of their choice from the previous semester; this will include completing any final experiments and wrapping-up their research project. Students will work to formulate conclusions and output their data in a presentable research format.

Faculty members who teach in Alvernia’s Chemistry Program participate in a wide range of research, and enjoy assisting students with ongoing research projects. You can visit the Chemistry faculty pages to learn more about research that might match your interests.

The Honors Program
If you’re academically gifted and highly motivated, you may want to learn more about Alvernia’s Undergraduate Honors Program. Honors students have opportunities to take courses dealing with unusual topics and participate in a variety of activities. You can learn more about the Honors Program and how to apply at


Alvernia is committed to serving the needs of its students. Whether you have questions or problems related to academics, life on campus, student activities, social activities or any other issue, there is someone available to help you. You can learn more about all student services at

Educational Planning Center
The Educational Planning Center offers advice and support to help you with any problems or issues related to your Alvernia education. It also assists with career exploration and preparation. The office is open every day and can be contacted at 610-796-8266.

Career Services
Staff members at the Office of Career Development will help you with any questions you have about exploring or planning careers. They will also guide you about how to look for and apply to jobs as you get closer to graduation. The office also has a career resources library. You can learn more about career services at, or by emailing

Financial Aid
The Financial Aid office is the place to contact with any questions you have about the cost of an Alvernia education and options for paying for it. Nearly all undergraduates at Alvernia get some type of financial aid, and everyone is encouraged to apply for it. You can learn more at or by emailing

Admissions Office
If you’re interested in applying to the Chemistry Program at Alvernia, contact the Admissions Office at 1-800-ALVERNIA or at An admissions counselor who specializes in helping chemistry students can answer any questions you might have.


Your college experience is so much more than classes. Students who get involved and engaged in extra-curricular activities benefit both academically and socially, and open themselves to integral life lessons from beyond the classroom.

You’ll be encouraged to participate in a range of activities, including some rewarding and inspiring service projects. Some organizations and activities you might enjoy include:

  • Beta Kappa Chi is the Science Honor Society, with more than 66,000 members in 67 chapters at colleges and universities across the United States. You’ll meet like-minded people who are interested in advancing scientific education and high scholarship in pure and applied science. Acceptance into an honor society can be very advantageous, so it’s something you might consider. You can learn more about Beta Kappa Chi at Or, contact Kevin Burns at for more information about joining.
  • The Environmental Club is committed to maintaining the temperate deciduous forest, riparian and freshwater ecosystem that surround Alvernia. The club works to recruit new members, educate the public and sponsor events that call attention to environmental issues. Events include trail clean-up days, Eco-Fun day and public speaker seminars. Learn more about the Environmental Club at
  • The Pre-Health Professions Club at Alvernia is for students who are working toward future careers in health professions. It provides opportunities for sharing ideas and information and gaining support from students who share your interests and concerns. Learn more at
  • The Science Association will enable you to experience the advantages of interacting with others who share your scientific interests. It provides opportunities to prepare and present technical materials before science-oriented audiences, and is intended to foster a professional spirit among members. You can learn more about this club
  • The Holleran Center for Community Engagement serves as a bridge between the University and the community. It partners with a variety of organizations to provide opportunities for service for students. Activities have included helping in an after-school program for city children, participating in a permacultivate project at an urban farm, spreading stone in Nolde State Forest and counting brown bats at Blue Marsh Lake. Learn more at
  • While these are organizations that may be of particular interest to Chemistry majors, there are many other ways to become involved, both on and off campus. You can learn more about Alvernia’s Student Government Association, becoming a Student Ambassador, student trips and other activities at


Alvernia chemistry graduates pursue rewarding careers upon graduation. They serve society as chemists, research scientists, pharmacists, teachers, scientific editors, and lab technicians. Many Alvernia graduates also go on to continue their education at graduate and professional schools.

Their passion for serving others in their professions and furthering their education stems from the real-world experience they have gained from research opportunities, internships, coursework and service-learning opportunities during their time at Alvernia.

Brandelyn Rightnour ‘14
Brandelyn was always interested in mixing and developing materials, especially when it came to cosmetics. But it was through a job shadowing experience with the Food & Drug Administration, coordinated by Alvernia’s business department, that she discovered her interests lie in the actual development of products more than the business of selling them. Learn more about Brandelyn’s real-world experience.

Daniel Kwasniewski ‘13
As a student, Daniel got hands-on experience both in and out of the classroom. He worked with Dr. Chinni and another student to conduct research to assess the mercury concentration in Berks County waterways. Learn more about Daniel’s real-world experience.

Jason Betz ‘12
Two months after graduating from Alvernia, Jason landed a job with Adpen Laboratories, a Jacksonville, Florida, R&D company that analyzes food, pharmaceuticals and other products to make sure they’re safe. See how Jason got to where he is today.


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