chapman student looking at chemistry flask
Schmid College of Science and Technology

» Bachelor of Science in Chemistry

To study the substances that compose the world around us and explain their behavior at the molecular level is fundamental to scientific knowledge.

The Chemistry Program is part of the CHEMISTRY and BIOCHEMISTRY ACADEMIC UNIT in Schmid College of Science and Technology of Chapman University.

Chapman’s chemistry program prepares students to meet major scientific and technological challenges, such as discovering and delivering drugs and therapeutics; synthesizing new materials; analyzing clinical, environmental, and forensic samples; improving the world's food supply and nutrition; addressing climate change and environmental transformations, to name a few.

Schmid College of Science and Technology offers a top-tier faculty of scientists currently engaged with students in research projects such as nanomaterials and regenerative medicine, toxic metal(loid)s in mine wastes, atmospheric chemistry and climate change, catalytic surfaces and fuel production, experimental cancer therapeutics, bioactive compounds in plant-based foods, and biological ammonia production for agricultural applications.

Through hands-on experiential learning, we prepare our students for professions in traditional chemistry areas and forward-looking interdisciplinary fields, as well as post-graduate studies in chemistry, biochemistry, pharmacy, food science, materials science, medicine, dentistry, forensics, analytical chemistry, art conservation, business, and law.

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Areas of Study

Chemistry students complete course work in the following core areas of chemistry and a range of additional sciences according to the guidelines outlined by the American Chemical Society (ACS):

  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Physical Chemistry

In addition, students in the program have a wide variety of options regarding specialization into topics and areas of interest.

Where can this degree take you?

Our chemistry program offers essential education and training for students who are planning a career in the physical sciences or who are anticipating further studies in chemistry, biochemistry, pharmacy, food science, materials science, medicine, dentistry, forensics and analytical chemistry, art conservation, business, and law.

Career preparation

Our B.S. in Chemistry degree prepares you for careers in:

  • R&D scientist (research & development)
  • Medicine and Dentistry
  • Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
  • Biotechnology
  • Materials and Polymeric Sciences
  • Food Sciences and Nutrition
  • Agrochemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry (atmospheric, aquatic, geochemistry)
  • Analytical Chemistry and Forensics
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Regulatory and Policy Sciences (NSF, FDA, DOD)
  • Safety, Hazards, Waste Management
  • Academics and Education
  • Art Preservation and Conservation
  • Science and Health Communications and Marketing
  • Law (patent, environmental, pharmaceutical, biotechnology)
  • Business Development and Administration

Graduate school preparation

Recent alumni of our program have also gone on to prestigious programs at the following graduate and professional schools:

  • Oxford
  • Princeton
  • Harvard
  • Yale
  • Purdue University
  • Stanford University
  • USC
  • UC Berkeley
  • UC Irvine
  • UC Los Angeles
  • UC Riverside
  • UC San Francisco
  • Keck Graduate Institute
  • University of Colorado
  • University of Hawaii
  • University of Maryland
  • University of Michigan
  • University of Wisconsin

Accelerated Undergraduate/M.S. Degree Programs

Students also have the option of pursuing an integrated degree program (sometimes called “4+1”) that allows them to attain a bachelors degree and a masters degree within 5-6 years:

Learn More about Integrated Degree Programs

Hands-on Research Opportunities

As a primarily undergraduate program, chemistry students work closely with faculty who provide the mentoring and guidance to develop independent researchers.  Many of our students begin research as early as their freshmen year.

Our students graduate with a strong research experience gained from working with faculty in their research labs, internships, and participating in summer research experiences sponsored by National Science Foundation (NSF) and National Institutes of Health (NIH), NASA and others.

Some become co-authors with faculty on research publications. Most attend and present at professional conferences, typically the American Chemical Society (ACS) regional and national meetings, and the Southern California Undergraduate Chemistry and Biochemistry student research conference.

The capstone requirement is a culminating research experience completed by every student during the senior year.


Faculty-led Research

Students are currently conducting Chapman faculty-led research on fascinating topics as wide-ranging:

  • Atmospheric Chemistry: Oceanic cycling of sulfur species & oxygenated hydrocarbons into or out of the troposphere which has implications for global climate; involves instrument development, laboratory kinetic measurements, coastal field measurements and open ocean measurements with Warren de Bruyn, Ph.D.
  • Biochemistry & Inorganic Chemistry: Investigating regulation of the metalloenzyme nitrogenase in nitrogen-fixing bacteria; uncover ways of increasing biological ammonia production for agricultural applications; and studying how bacteria acquire iron for antibiotic development with Cedric Owens, Ph.D.
  • Biochemistry & Molecular Biology: Studying prostate and breast cancer molecular & cell biology and genetics; elucidation of molecular mechanisms of field cancerization as indicators of disease and biomarkers for prostate cancer; natural product experimental therapeutics to target protein degradation in cancer cells with Marco Bisoffi, Ph.D.
  • Biochemistry & Molecular Biology: Studying human pancreatic cancer; experimental therapeutics (pomegranate juice components) to stimulate programmed cell death and inhibit cancer cell invasion in pancreatic cancer with Melissa Rowland-Goldsmith, Ph.D.
  • Biochemistry & Molecular Biology: Understanding the role of the liver in drug disposition by studying inflammatory mediators affecting cytochrome P450-mediated drug metabolism, as well as focusing on treatments for liver diseases and the reduction of rejection in liver transplantation with Reza Mehvar, Ph.D.
  • Bio-organic Chemistry: Understanding inter-species relationships of the primary structure of hemoglobin at the molecular level, as well as profiling proteins and peptides in plants based on folk medicines with Aftab Ahmed, Ph.D.
  • Computational Organic Chemistry: Using computational and molecular modeling tools to investigate the underlying physical and chemical factors governing molecular structure, reaction mechanisms, and catalysis in organocatalyzed reactions; developing informatics tools for the rapid mining, analysis, and visualization of chemical data with Maduka Ogba, Ph.D.
  • Environmental Geochemistry: Bioaccessibility and bioavailability of toxic metal(loid)s in mine wastes and contaminated soils/sediments; synchrotron-based spectroscopic and microscopic methods for mineralogical/geochemical analysis with Christopher Kim, Ph.D.
  • Food Chemistry: Characterizing bioactive compounds in plant based foods and determining the preservative properties of phenolic and melanoidin coffee compounds, with the overall goal of enhancing the shelf life of food with Lilian Were, Ph.D.
  • Nanomaterials Chemistry: Design, synthesis, and application of soft (synthetic and natural polymer-based) nanomaterials in bioanalytical and regenerative medicine applications such as artificial platelet technologies and drug-delivery systems with Andrew Lyon, Ph.D. 
  • Nutrigenomics: Human nutrition that focuses on understanding the therapeutic applications of functional foods and nutraceuticals in human health. The focus is on the interaction between dietary lipids the regulation of gene function in neonatal health & development and in chronic conditions. With John Miklavcic, Ph.D.
  • Organic Chemistry: The application of synthetic organic chemistry to problems in biology: using peptides as cell-penetrating molecular transporters in drug delivery; developing multifunctional anti-HIV, anticancer, and antibacterial agents; and designing peptide nanomaterials for applications in drug delivery and tissue engineering with Keykavous Parang, Ph.D.
  • Organic and Inorganic Chemistry: Design and synthesis of new main group catalysts for sustainable organic and polymer chemistry; study of reaction mechanisms to understand catalyst performance with Allegra Liberman-Martin, Ph.D.
  • Physical & Catalytic Chemistry: Understanding processes that occur during chemical reactions on catalytic surfaces; using lasers to study how molecules interact during chemical reactions related to synthetic fuel production and pollution control with Jerry LaRue, Ph.D.

Internship Opportunities

Chapman University is located in the heart of Orange County, California, amidst hundreds of biomedical, pharmaceutical, and medical device companies. We have strong partnerships with many of these organizations who have come to trust the caliber of Chapman science students. Each semester, our students participate in internships with industry and community partners like:

  • Irvine Ranch Water District
  • Southern California Coastal Water Research Project (SCCWRP)
  • Medtronic, medical technology
  • Masimo, medical technology
  • Spectrum Chemical Manufacturing Group
  • UCI Institute for Memory Impairments and Neurological Disorders (UCI MIND)
  • Children’s Hospital of Orange County
  • City of Hope
  • ECOS, plant derived green agents
  • Irvine Scientific, biotherapeutics


Our faculty are dedicated teachers, researchers, and scholars.

Marco Bisoffi, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Molecular Biology
Head of Faculty Chemistry, Biochemistry, & Food Science Faculty

Nicolai Bonne, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Chemistry and Biochemistry

Peter Chang, Ph.D.
Instructor, Organic Chemistry

Warren de Bruyn, Ph.D.
Professor, Chemistry

Matthew Gartner, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Chemistry

Christopher Kim, Ph.D.
Professor, Chemistry
Associate Dean, Academic Programs for Schmid College of Science and Technology

Jerry LaRue, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Chemistry

Allegra Liberman-Martin, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor

Andrew Lyon, Ph.D.
Professor, Chemistry
Founding Dean, Fowler School of Engineering

John Miklavcic, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor

Maduka Ogba, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor

Justin O’Neill, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Chemistry
Director, Lab Safety

Cedric P. Owens, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Biochemistry

Melissa Rowland-Goldsmith, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Molecular Biology

Elaine Benaksas Schwartz, Ph.D.
Associate Professor Chemistry
Assistant Dean, External Relations for Schmid College of Science and Technology
Chemistry Program Director

Daniel E. Wellman, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Chemistry

Lilian Were, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Food Science

Advising for Students

Schmid College-wide Academic Advising sessions occur in October and April and will be announced to all students in advance. At these events, students can continuously plan their academic curriculum with knowledgeable Faculty and peer advisors to make sure that they are on track towards successful graduation.

Need to talk to your program advisor? Looking for a MAP (Major Academic Plan)? Curious about Pre-Med and Pre-Health?

Visit the Academic Advising website. There you’ll find contact information for all Schmid College program advisors, as well as links to MAPs for each program.

Pre-Med and Pre-Health Advising

American Chemical Society at Chapman

The American Chemical Society (ACS) student affiliate chapter at Chapman is an organization for undergraduate chemistry and biochemistry majors and minors looking to enhance their college experience and prepare them for successful careers.

While preparing for the future together, strong bonds are formed between members. Events and activities include the Semi-Annual Lab Coat Tie-Dye Party, Liquid Nitrogen Ice-cream Socials, Research & Resume Meetings ("Golden Meeting"), Green Chemistry talks, Outreach activities such as National Chemistry Week at the Zoo, and more!

Women in Science and Technology Student Organization

Women in Science and Technology (WIST) is an academic club on campus geared towards empowering women interested in STEM careers at Chapman.

We do this by providing a platform for professional development support, such as resume and interview workshops, speaker presentations, and by helping to identify research and internship opportunities on campus. WIST also conducts social activities, where members get a chance to meet other students in their own and related fields.

Meet Our Faculty

Contact Us

Sarah Carranza
Administrative Assistant
Keck Center 290
(714) 628-7233


Elaine Benaksas Schwartz, Ph.D.
Chemistry Program Director
Keck Center 229