Chemistry is the study of matter, so understanding chemistry means understanding the world around you. In law enforcement, this involves analyzing physical evidence and samples for clues to solve crimes.
Appalachian’s Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry - Forensic Science is a highly analytical degree that prepares students for careers in forensic laboratories for such organizations as the N.C. State Crime Lab or the FBI. Graduates conduct the chemical analyses needed to shed light on crime scene evidence. For example, does a bag of white powder contain cocaine or just flour? The difference could have a big impact on a case. Because of the degree program’s strong linkage to criminal justice, the program includes five courses in this area.
Like other degrees in Appalachian’s Department of Chemistry, this degree combines an innovative and intellectually challenging curriculum with scholarship and service/engagement opportunities that employ state-of-the-art technologies. Professors focus exclusively on undergraduates.
Employment: Most graduates go directly into jobs with crime labs including the FBI, N.C. State Crime Lab and local police departments. Internships at these and similar sites contribute to graduate success.
Graduate School: The demand for qualified chemistry majors wishing to pursue graduate studies is high. More than half of Appalachian’s chemistry majors go on to graduate schools all over the country, mostly for chemistry, environmental science, pharmacy and medical school. Recent destinations include Duke University, University of Virginia, University of Colorado, University of California Irvine, Virginia Tech, N.C. State, University of Michigan, University of Charleston, UNC-Chapel Hill and Wake Forest University.
A 37-hour chemistry core, plus 10 hours of physics, 11 hours of mathematics, 8 hours of biology, and 15 hours of criminal justice.
A minor is optional. Chemistry majors often minor or take courses in Physics, Geology, Math, Spanish, Criminal Justice, Marketing or Biology.
Engagement Outside the Classroom
Forensic Club – for students interested in forensic science, computer forensics, toxicology or a career in law enforcement.
Appalachian Chemical Society – the campus chapter of the American Chemical Society.
Appalachian is committed to introducing students to different cultures and teaching them how to live and interact in a global society.
Depending on their research topic, students may want to connect with scholars in other countries. Chemistry majors are allowed to conduct research with faculty at any of Appalachian’s international partners.
There are no admission requirements beyond admission to Appalachian State University.
- Chemistry majors from Appalachian typically graduate with multiple job offers and can work in any area of the profession, regardless of their concentration.
- State-of-the-art technology gives students job-ready skills, while also providing services to research and industry partners.
- Professors focus exclusively on undergraduates, and about half of all chemistry majors conduct research directly with a faculty member and present at national or regional conferences.
- Employers comment that Appalachian chemistry majors need minimal on-the-job training.
- Weekly seminar discussions bring national leaders to campus, enhancing learning and career opportunities for upper-level students.
Number of Students
17.5 % of current chemistry majors pursuing the Forensic Science concentration
Method of Delivery
On campus only
The American Chemical Society details career options in industry, academia, government, non-profit and entrepreneurship. Learn more
Career options with any chemistry degree can include the following, with some requiring more than a bachelor’s degree:
- Analytical Chemist
- Brewer Lab Assistant
- Laboratory Technician
- Chemical Oceanographer
- Clinical Chemist
- Color Development Chemist
- Development Chemist
- Environmental Health Specialist
- Fire Protection Engineer
- Food and Drug Inspector
- Food Scientist Technician
- Forensic Chemist
- Pharmaceutical Sales Representative
- Sanitation Inspector
Dr. Claudia Cartaya-Marin