Why get an ACS certified degree?

First, securing ACS approval is a sign that the JMU Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry has developed and maintained a high quality program of undergraduate education. Second, a certified degree in chemistry is a valuable personal credential that serves as national-level recognition for successfully completing a rigorous academic chemistry curriculum in an ACS-approved department. Although this department offers more than one path to a B.S. in chemistry, an ACS-certified degree is a more demanding one. The extra rigor and additional requirements of the certified degree should leave the student feeling confident in her ability and knowledge of chemistry upon graduation. Furthermore, employers realize that graduates of approved programs have better preparation for technical employment. Some companies offer higher starting salaries to certified degree holders than to noncertified classmates. Although graduate school admissions committees are unlikely to consider overtly whether a graduate holds a certified degree, the admissions committees will be impressed by the stronger preparation required for a certified degree and by a student being a graduate of an approved department.

[Source: ACS Committee on Professional Training]

The content below is not intended as a substitute for the JMU Catalog. Please be sure to consult with your academic advisor and the catalog for the year you were admitted to JMU.


The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry offers the B.S. degree for a major in chemistry, with concentrations that meet the American Chemical Society Accredited Programs requirements for programs in biochemistry, materials chemistry and in chemistry/chemical education. 

Extra courses are needed for ACS certification in addition to the core courses required for all concentrations.  Furthermore, all ACS Certified Programs require a minimum of 400 hours of laboratory and research.

Course requirements for all chemistry programs are compared in the following flowchart and checklist.

Help with general education requirements can be found here and here.

More details can be found in the JMU Undergraduate Catalog.

Example Schedules and Checklists
  • ACS Certified Chemistry (Concentration I ): Click to obtain a checklist and sample schedule in PDF format.
  • ACS Certified Biochemistry (Concentration II): Click to obtain a checklist and sample schedule in PDF format.
    • Note: This program also meets the recommended undergraduate degree requirements of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology for a major in biochemistry.
  • ACS Certified Materials Chemistry (Concentration III): Click to obtain a checklist and sample schedule in PDF format.
  • ACS Certified Chemical Education (Concentration IV): Click to obtain a checklist and sample schedule in PDF format.
  • B.S. Chemistry and M.A. Education (5-yr degree): Click here for a comparison of common chemistry programs for students interested in secondary education. See Licensure Programs.

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