Chemistry is the study of the composition, structure, and properties of matter—or in other words, the makeup of our entire universe.

As a chemistry major, you won’t just be memorizing molecular structures and periodic elements. You’ll be exploring how the physical world operates.

Coker’s chemistry program is founded on close student-professor relationships and the importance of research and internships—a combination of support and opportunity that allows students to thrive. Our unique round-table, discussion-based learning philosophy challenges you to think for yourself while working in a team, encouraging the process of discovery and problem-solving.

At Coker, you also have the opportunity to participate in research, working directly alongside faculty members, as early as your freshman year. The results of many student research projects have been presented at regional and international conferences and published in peer-reviewed journals. In 2012, Associate Professor Gordon Brown received a three-year, $143,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to conduct research on molecular interactions using low-frequency microwave spectroscopy.


At Coker, chemistry students learn how to think. It takes logical, analytical, creative, and quantitative reasoning to analyze data and draw meaningful conclusions, so our program is designed to develop a higher level of thinking. In the classroom, discussion-based learning promotes communication and teamwork skills. But experiential learning is also a key component to the chemistry program. Chemistry majors are required to participate in an internship, a senior capstone project, and an independent or directed research project—although many choose to exceed that requirement.

Coker students also have the opportunity to work closely with the department’s advanced technology throughout their entire college career, so that they become comfortable and confident working in a high-tech lab environment. Coker’s chemistry instrumentation includes nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, gas chromatography (GC), high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), and ultraviolet-visible (UV-VIS) spectroscopy.

Altogether, the chemistry curriculum ensures that you’ll learn research methodology, grant writing, the process of working in a lab with high-tech instrumentation, and how to design your own experiment or research project. And perhaps most importantly, you’ll experience personal growth in the way you approach problems and gain a better understanding of the world around you.


For a more detailed explanation of requirements, including course descriptions, download the Academic Catalog.

From chemical engineering to technical writing, a chemistry degree opens the door to a wide variety of career possibilities. A major in chemistry, especially when combined with coursework in biology, can be excellent preparation for students who intend to pursue a career in medicine. Chemistry can also be the first step to a career in a number of rapidly growing fields—such as environmental technology, renewable energy, and pharmaceuticals—that are on the forefront of the scientific world, working to solve some of the world’s biggest problems.

For more information on potential career paths, click here.

Examples of alternate career paths you can follow with your chemistry degree:

  • Agricultural Scientist
  • Anesthesiologist
  • Biochemist
  • Brewery Laboratory Assistant
  • Chemical Engineer
  • Chemist
  • Cooperative Extension Agent
  • Crime Lab Analyst
  • Dentist
  • Environmental Health Specialist
  • Food Scientist/Technologist
  • Geochemist
  • Hydrogeologist
  • Industrial Hygienist
  • Medical Technologist
  • Occupational Safety Specialist
  • Oceanographer
  • Optometrist
  • Patent Agent
  • Pharmaceutical Sales Representative
  • Pharmacist
  • Physician
  • Radiologist
  • Research & Development Specialist
  • Science Laboratory Technician
  • Soil Scientist
  • Specification Writer
  • Technical Writer
  • Toxicologist
  • Toxicologist
  • Veterinarian
  • Water Purification Chemist
  • Water Scientist
  • Forensic Chemist
  • Quality Control Manager

Graduates of Coker College have gone on to pursue a graduate degree at a number of institutions, including but not limited to:

  • Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC, M.D.)
  • South Carolina School of Pharmacy (Pharm. D.)
  • North Carolina State University
  • Clemson University
John Hauptfleisch

John Hauptfleisch, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Chemistry