Biology and Chemistry

Dr. David Sammeth, Department Chair
Ivan Hilton Science Building, Room 232
FAX: 505.454.3203


The Department of Biology and Chemistry values teaching and research as equal and essential components of the education of our students and seeks to integrate research with teaching at every possible opportunity in the curriculum. Housed in the Ivan Hilton Science Center, students enjoy modern laboratories and instrumentation.

The department offers both BA and BS programs in chemistry and biology. The BA in chemistry is also offered with a biochemistry option. The BS chemistry degree is approved by the American Chemical Society (ACS). A recommended curriculum /or plan of study, is available for all degrees.

For those with an interest in teaching with an emphasis in science, other options, aside from earning a degree in biology or chemistry, include a BA in general science for secondary school teachers (Grades 7 – 12), a minor in general science for elementary school teachers (Grades K – 5), or a combined science minor.


Mission of the Biology Program

The mission of the Biology Program is to provide students with a high quality education that includes experience with research and field projects. The program provides a scientific and technical background that empowers students to successfully pursue science and technology careers or proceed to advanced graduate studies. Faculty strives to make each student’s educational experience challenging and rewarding.

The Biology Program prides itself on its ability to place students into bioscience careers. Data suggest that our graduates are highly successful in being admitted to and completing medical, dental, and veterinary schools and graduate programs nationwide. The department attributes this success to intensive biology laboratory and field experiences with cutting-edge technology and instructors committed to individual student progress. Facilities include laboratories in physiology, microbiology, molecular biology, plant biology, and a greenhouse, as well as nearby field sites for ecological research. A computer laboratory with bioinformatics software is available for classes and student use. Students majoring in biology are taught the practical use of common scientific instrumentation they will encounter in their careers. All biology students seeking a BS are required to complete an undergraduate research project that provides students with a realistic perspective of biology and how scientific investigations are conducted.


Mission of the Chemistry Program

The mission of the Chemistry Program is to offer the highest quality courses and programs for all students. The bachelor of science degree is appropriate for those students intending to enter the science workforce directly after graduation. The BA degree is sufficient for students requiring a wider background in the sciences with chemistry still as the core discipline. The biochemistry degree option is directed toward providing excellent preparation for chemistry students who wish to enter a professional school to study for careers in medicine, veterinary science, dentistry, ophthalmology, or pharmacy. It provides students with a background in chemistry and biology, along with flexibility in selection of electives to refine a student’s specific interest.

Students in chemistry have access to modern laboratories and a wide array of modern, sophisticated instrumentation for chemistry classes and research. Chemical measurement instrumentation includes a high-field nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer, X-ray diffractive equipment, gas and liquid chromatographs, mass spectrometers, IR, UV, visible spectrophotometers, and laser spectroscopy facilities. Students who major in chemistry are expected to become fully competent in the use of the instruments by the time they graduate. Students gain a practical perspective on chemistry through involvement with research projects. The Chemistry Program is highly successful in placing its graduates in exciting careers in industry and government. Another option frequently pursued by our graduates is to continue their studies in either a master’s or doctoral program.


Preparation for Careers in Health Sciences: Dentistry, Medicine, Ophthalmology, Pharmacy, Veterinary Medicine, etc.

Entry into professional school is often dependent upon success in a selected series of courses rather than completion of a particular major program. Thus, the choice of a specific major is frequently flexible. In addition, the extent of pre-professional training needed varies considerably.

Some areas where pre-professional advising is appropriate are:

Pre-medicine                 Pre-optometry

Pre-dentistry                  Pre-occupational therapy

Pre-pharmacy                Pre-veterinary medicine

Pre-physical therapy     Medical technology




Graduation Roadmap:


This department is under the College of Arts and Science