The study of chemistry provides an understanding of matter and its transformation and reactions. It is central to the understanding of biological and environmental problems. Far from being an esoteric discipline, chemistry has a profound influence on everyday lives. Chemicals are added to food and water for health, preservation, and taste. Synthetic polymers are being used to replace natural materials in furniture and clothing. The major mode of transportation, the automobile, uses the energy released by chemical reactions to start and move. The human body manufactures hormones and enzymes that regulate the living process. Medicine cabinets are stocked with drugs whose chemistry affects the state of body and mind.
The chemistry major at Ramapo, offered by the School of Theoretical and Applied Science, gives its students an in-depth grasp of theoretical concepts as well as a variety of practical skills. In the first year, students take Fundamentals of Chemistry, an introduction to modern chemical theory presented through the study of atomic and molecular structure. In the next three years, courses in organic, inorganic, analytical/instrumental, physical chemistry and biochemistry increase understanding. A selection of chemistry electives, including Cooperative Education placements, independent research study, and a broad range of special topic electives, allow senior students to concentrate in any one of six areas: theoretical, organic, biochemistry, and analytical/ environmental chemistry. Many interdisciplinary courses are offered by other major programs in TAS. Students are encouraged to plan a program of study that includes courses from a number of sciences. Many of the scientific advances of this modern age are in interdisciplinary areas such as biophysics, materials science, molecular biology, medicinal chemistry, protein biotechnology, and environmental science.
Ramapo’s safety-conscious laboratories rely upon contemporary instrumentation, including infrared, ultraviolet-visible, fluorescence, and nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometers, liquid and gas chromatographs, GC/MS, and atomic absorption instruments. Laboratory courses offer a hands-on approach and provide students with valuable experience in technical and analytical skills.
The program is approved by the American Chemical Society. All Ramapo students graduating with a major in chemistry can be certified by the ACS if they have taken certain specified courses.
Job opportunities available to chemistry majors encompass a wide range of activities and institutions. Private industry offers the largest number of positions for chemists, with additional opportunities in federal, state and local government laboratories, research institutes, hospitals, and analytical laboratories. The variety of jobs includes laboratory work, sales, technical service, and administration in the areas of product development, research and production. A bachelor’s degree in chemistry is also a valuable background for students wishing to pursue graduate work in medicine, dentistry, or veterinary work as well as in chemistry, biochemistry, or molecular biology.
The chemistry faculty is actively engaged in scientific research. Among their interests are such widely diverse areas as structure and dynamics of ultrathin organic and biopolymer films, biomaterials science, spectroscopy of biological macromolecules, medicinal chemistry, organometallic synthesis, catalysis, green chemistry and computer simulations of experiments. Students are encouraged to participate in faculty supervised research projects, under the TAS Research Honors Program. These students agree to a two-semester commitment to do research with a faculty mentor and present their findings at Ramapo and/or external symposia. Opportunities to do more extensive research with faculty are also available. Chemistry majors may also work in Ramapo’s Cooperative Education program, where industrial work experience, for which students earn money and credit simultaneously, alternates with full-time or part-time study.
Ramapo students graduating with a major in chemistry will:
- have a general knowledge of the basic area of chemistry and have the ability to apply it in a problem-solving environment; be proficient in basic chemical, biochemical, and physical laboratory skills
- have had the opportunity of conducted a research project as part of an upper level course or as a participant in active, individual laboratory research within the college or appropriate cooperative education assignment
- have the ability to communicate scientific information clearly and precisely, both orally and in writing
- have an understanding of the principles and applications of modern instrumentation, computation, experimental design, and data analysis
- have the ability to formulate and carry out strategies for solving scientific problems
Ramapo has up-to-date laboratories for chemistry, biochemistry, genetics, molecular biology, and physics that are utilized in the major. There are opportunities for students to do research with faculty and for experiential learning through cooperative education in nearby industry. The program is supported by computer labs that are available for student use to supplement the instruction in the lecture and laboratories. The major in chemistry is offered by the School of Theoretical and Applied Science and leads to a B.S. degree.