Furman chemistry students receive an education unmatched by any other college in the country. Its distinguished faculty, its successful undergraduate research programs, the excellent facilities and equipment available for undergraduate use and the accomplishments of its graduates make the department a model for other universities.
Some distinctive features of the Furman program include:
Recognition of its educational effectiveness by national organizations. The newsletter of the American Chemical Society (ACS) has featured an article on the innovative aspects of chemistry education at Furman, and Research Corporation has done the same in a recent book titled Academic Excellence.
A faculty educated at some of the finest graduate schools in the nation and known for effective and enthusiastic teaching in the classroom and laboratory. All faculty members receive outside grant support for research activities with students. Three current members of the department have received Furman’s Meritorious Teaching Award, and another has won the Meritorious Advising Award. Others have received the ACS Award for Research at an Undergraduate Institution, the Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award, and Scholar-Fellow Awards from the Dreyfus Foundation.
A ranking of number one in the South over the past 15 years among four-year colleges whose B.S. graduates obtain the Ph.D. in chemistry.
Scientific equipment and laboratory computers unsurpassed by any undergraduate school in the nation. In recent years, more than $3 million worth of new laboratory instrumentation has been acquired.
A summer undergraduate research program (URP) in which 45 to 55 chemistry students conduct original research under the direction of faculty members. The students are paid for participating in the 10-week program and often continue their work during the academic year. Ninety-five percent of Furman chemistry majors participate in URP.
A seminar program in which Furman chemistry majors present reports on current developments in chemistry, gaining experience in public speaking. Furman is consistently represented by more students at Southeastern regional meetings of the American Chemical Society than any other institution. Furman alumni in graduate school report that the seminar program gave them excellent training and experience.
A flexible curriculum that prepares students for a wide range of postgraduate opportunities and provides a thorough background for a variety of pursuits through its emphasis not just on chemistry, but on the importance of communication skills. The curriculum includes the unique “Experimental Techniques of Chemistry” laboratory courses, in which students develop resourcefulness and independence by carrying out experiments more complex and realistic than those of traditional labs.
The Furman chemistry curriculum offers a thorough, intensive program of study with carefully coordinated classes and labs.
Chemistry majors take the two foundations courses — principles and inorganic — plus organic chemistry, analytical chemistry, structure and chemical reactivity, an experimental techniques course, physical chemistry and a senior seminar. Students who concentrate in biochemistry take all of these except the second physical chemistry course, plus two biochemistry courses. In addition, new undergraduate programs have been developed for students interested in environmental chemistry and nanoscience.
Majors also complete a directed independent study or research project and present their work at both local and national/Southeast Regional scientific conferences. Students who complete these requirements qualify for a B.S. degree certified by the American Chemical Society. Course selections and research projects are also available which lead to B.S. degrees certified by ACS with emphasis in biochemistry or environmental chemistry. Furman’s program has produced more ACS-certified chemistry graduates over the past 10 years than any other undergraduate institution in the Southeast and ranks among the top four in this category in the nation. The accredited degree programs are especially recommended for all who plan graduate study in chemistry or a career in the biomedical field.
The department recommends that students take additional courses in quantum chemistry, environmental chemistry, advanced structure and reactivity, and advanced courses in mathematics. Majors concentrating in biochemistry are encouraged to take the biology foundation courses. Three courses in calculus and two in physics are required for several upper-level chemistry courses, so majors are urged to schedule the prerequisites as early as possible.
Interested B.S. candidates may also pursue a master’s degree in chemistry at Furman. The M.S. curriculum is part of a five-year program in which students earn the B.S. after four years. At the graduate level, the department emphasizes research and the development of facility with current literature to prepare students for participation in a doctoral program or industrial research. A departmental graduate committee approves a course of study, research problem and thesis for each master’s candidate.
Furman’s strong research program relies on state-of-the-art facilities and equipment. Students are assigned individual study areas and lab spaces for research. As early as the freshman year, Chemistry majors get experience using instruments and equipment valued at over $4 million. The program stays on the technological cutting edge through ongoing grant support from national foundations and organizations.
Furman chemistry students have access to exceptional experimental facilities, including a computer-based molecular modeling and computational laboratory, a 500 MHz NMR spectrometer worth a half-million dollars, an AFM/STM microscope capable of “seeing” individual atoms, several high energy lasers, high-vacuum molecular beam equipment, and a variety of synthetic and analytical instruments. Using the latest in contemporary technology, students can determine the structure of molecules in three dimensions and can view these structures in detail on large color monitors.
Looking to Your Future
Chemistry majors are remarkably versatile and have a wide range of postgraduate opportunities open to them. In recent years, the majority of Furman chemistry students have chosen to enter graduate school in chemistry, biochemistry, medicinal chemistry, molecular biology or chemical engineering, or to attend medical school. Some have taken positions in chemical or technically related industries with such firms as Pfizer, Merck, Dow Chemical, DuPont, IBM and Milliken; others have chosen to enter law school, the ministry, high school teaching or military service.
Most Furman chemistry majors receive excellent financial support for postgraduate education, and they enroll in some of the best graduate programs in the country.