Program Structure

The Chemistry major builds on the Foundations of Science program and offers students the opportunity to pursue their interests in the traditional sub-disciplines of chemistry: organic chemistry, inorganic chemistry, physical chemistry, and analytical chemistry. The major offers elective courses that explore the interdisciplinary areas of biochemistry, computational chemistry, chemical biology and materials science. A degree in Chemistry prepares students for graduate work and rewarding careers in all sectors of scientific life, from basic research to commercial product development. It also enables the pursuit of exciting careers in education, law, medicine, business and government.

Foundations of Science

Majors in Biology, Chemistry, and Physics are required to take Foundations of Science. Students intending to major in Biology, Chemistry, and Physics normally start Foundations of Science in either the first or second semester of the first year. Students who begin the Foundations of Science series in their second year with the intention to major in the sciences have several options for completing their degree. They may take additional courses over the summer at sites within NYU’s global network; they may take more than four courses per semester, or they may need an additional fifth year of study at NYU Abu Dhabi. These options must be considered carefully by the student and the faculty mentors. 

Foundations of Science is an innovative program that responds to the nature of modern science. Instead of the traditional series of discipline-specific introductory courses, Foundations integrates basic concepts from biology, chemistry, computer science, mathematics, and physics in a demanding three-semester sequence. The program fosters discussion among students and creates a collaborative learning dynamic. Problem-solving and group work in laboratory sessions are stressed, while close contact among students and faculty is a major feature of the program. The interdisciplinary approach and experimental work foster a more comprehensive understanding of science.

Foundations of Science is geared to meet the current demand for scientists with well-integrated backgrounds who become the leaders in modern scientific scholarship and who pursue careers in research, education, industry, health care, law, business, and publishing.

Specialization in Biophysics

Biology, Chemistry, and Physics majors offer a specialization in Biophysics which emphasizes the crosstalk between these three disciplines in understanding biological function.

Everything obeys the laws of physics, and biological systems are no exception. The complexity of biological systems, however, is compounded by the fact that they span a broad range of interacting spatial scales from a few atoms to global ecosystems, and that life inherently functions far from the equilibrium. This complexity poses problems for physicists, chemists, and biologists that are at once interesting and challenging. Biophysics addresses these problems through an interdisciplinary approach that builds on strengths in physics, chemistry, and biology.

Chemistry majors who elect to complete the Biophysics specialization must complete all courses required for the Chemistry majors, three required Biophysics courses, and one elective selected from the list below. No more than two of these courses can be used to satisfy the elective requirement for the Chemistry major. The other two would be in addition to the minimum elective requirements for the major.

Study Abroad

Study abroad for students majoring in chemistry typically occurs in the spring semester of the third year, during which the Program in Chemistry offers a special experience at an NYU global network site for students majoring in chemistry. The option for students majoring in Chemistry to enroll in a second semester abroad is competitive, granted by permission of the Program in Chemistry and the Dean of Science, and requires registration in the course Capstone Project in Chemistry 1 at the student’s chosen site. Students majoring in Chemistry must successfully complete the Foundations of Science sequence before going abroad.