UNCW Chemistry and Biochemistry Program Ranked 3rd in North Carolina for Graduation Rates, 26th in Nation

UNCW Chemistry StudentIt's good to be a UNCW chemistry student. According to a recent report printed in Chemical and Engineering News by the American Chemical Society (ACS) Committee on Professional Training (CPT), the UNCW Chemistry and Biochemistry Department is 3rd in the state and 26th in the nation for graduating students with ACS-certified chemistry degrees. These rankings are based on the 2008-2009 academic year, when the data were last reported. During that time, the department awarded 71 bachelor's degrees and 14 masters degrees.

UNCW has consistently been much higher than the national average in ASC rankings for graduating students with bachelors of science degrees in chemistry. The ASC certifies chemistry programs throughout the United States, and their rankings are then based on these certified schools. There are currently 664 ASC-certified schools in the country, including most of the universities' chemistry departments in North Carolina.

UNC Chapel Hill and N.C. State rank higher than UNCW in the number of degrees awarded, but both schools have roughly double the size of overall enrollment. Also, chemistry department chair Jimmy Reeves points out, "UNCW is a larger comprehensive university than most in the country."

Considering the amount of quality research done at UNCW by faculty and the amount of research opportunities available for undergraduates and graduate students, UNCW has much to offer prospective students. Dr. Reeves said this is something the department strives for and is proud of. He also stated he "wouldn't be surprised if UNCW passes N.C. State in terms of B.S. graduates in the coming years."

Students entering into UNCW who are interested in the sciences may not immediately turn to a bachelors in chemistry, but after taking a few courses, students get very excited about the program, according to Reeves. The unique experience of having all undergraduate lectures taught by tenured and tenure-track faculty members allows for students to view professors as both active researchers and teachers that care about them.

There is also a large emphasis for students to work alongside faculty members in the lab. After working with these professors in labs, students "can start to see they want to do this with their lives," said Reeves. Students are also given opportunities to work on projects through Directed Independent Studies, honors theses, and graduate work.

By Sally J. Johnson '14 MFA