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If you have an insatiable appetite for seeking answers to questions ranging from: How to make oil and gas production cleaner to why cats love cat nip, Chemistry might be your place for answers.

MSU Denver’s Chemistry program is designed to prepare you to help solve complex problems around climate change, disease, food and drug safety and, yes, the mysteries of cat nip.

As an MSU Denver Chemistry student, you’ll receive a rigorous research-focused education that will teach you the intellectual, experimentation and communication skills you will need to succeed as a scientific professional.

If you intend to pursue a post-graduate degree or employment in industry, higher education, government or the nonprofit sector, our B.S. in Chemistry will help you achieve your goal. Our B.S. in Chemistry degree with American Chemical Society (ACS) certification means that you have passed exams in every facet of Chemistry and in the instrumentation and techniques used in practical laboratories. With ACS certification you will be considered immediately employable as a technical analyst in a wide range of industry careers.

If a career in forensic science is your ambition, our B.S. in Chemistry with a concentration in Criminalistics is your path. We also offer a B.S. in Biochemistry for those wanting to specialize in the study of living systems.

MSU Denver also offers a B.A. in Chemistry degree program. The B.A. in Chemistry is designed predominately for students who aspire to teach at the high school level or earn a double major in another science field such as Biology.

No matter what degree program you choose, you can earn academic credit as an intern in the Professional Research Experience Program (PREP), which is a partnership with the National Institute of Standards Technology. If you’re pursuing the Criminalistics concentration, you’ll have the opportunity to complete internships with local forensic laboratories and law enforcement agencies.

Learn more about scholarships for Chemistry students.

Career Opportunities for Our Graduates

Images of Chemistry Careers (BS)

Your Chemistry degree from MSU Denver will open up numerous opportunities in research and development, quality control/regulatory, manufacturing, law and policy and academia.

As a chemist, you can anticipate a median salary of $72,610; the job outlook is for 3 percent growth from 2014-2024 (Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook).

Typical career opportunities for chemists include:

  • Research chemist
  • Analytical chemist
  • Research associate
  • Chemist
  • Lab technician
  • Professional research associate
  • Clinical technician

If you hold the B.S. in Chemistry with the Criminalistics concentration, you may find employment with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Administration, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Customs and Armed Services Laboratories, among others. Forensic science technicians earn $56,320 and the field is expected to grow 27 percent from 2014-2024. 

For a postsecondary chemistry teacher, the annual median salary is $72,420 with a 13 percent growth rate between 2014-2024 (BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook).


April Hill_ChemistryApril Hill

Associate Professor and Director of Criminalistics April Hill has collaborated with the Denver Museum of Nature & Science on several projects, including analyzing residues in ancient Mayan beer vessels to recreate an authentic Mayan beer and performing a demonstration of the Marsh Test for arsenic which was featured in the museums recent Poisons exhibit. Her development of an innovative method for teaching Chemistry to blind and low-vision students was awarded a ChemLuminary Award from the American Chemical Society and has been published in the Journal of Chemical Education.


Ethan Tsai_Brewery OperationsEthan Tsai

Assistant Professor Ethan Tsai has developed unique curricula for advanced organic chemistry laboratories. He has been researching liquid crystals and liquid-crystalline metamaterials for more than 10 years and is continuing this research with his students.



Learn more about the Chemistry faculty.

Alumni at Work

Many MSU Denver Chemistry alumni are employed with private, state and local laboratories, including:

  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • Coca-Cola Bottling Co.
  • Hazen Research
  • North Dakota State Crime Laboratory
  • Salt Lake City Police Department
  • Washington State Patrol Crime Laboratory
  • Douglas County Sheriff’s Office
  • Boulder County Coroner’s Office
  • CoorsTek

MSU Denver Chemistry alumni have been accepted for post-graduate study at:

  • Washington State University
  • University of Colorado Boulder
  • University of Maryland Baltimore County
  • Colorado State University

Sample Classes

Image of student in Chemistry class

In addition to high-quality foundational classes such as Analytical Chemistry and Inorganic and Organic Chemistry, MSU Denver’s Chemistry program offers specialized courses for the B.S. in Biochemistry and the B.S. in Chemistry with a concentration in Criminalistics. You can take a range of stimulating classes including:

  • Science and Public Policy
  • Organic Synthesis
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Instrumental Analysis
  • Crime Scene Investigation
  • Arson and Explosives

Facilities and Resources

Housed in the state-of-the-art Science Building on the Auraria Campus adjacent to downtown Denver, MSU Denver’s Chemistry Department has nine teaching labs, two research labs, a classroom/laboratory dedicated to the Criminalistics program and a microscope room that doubles as research space for the department’s faculty. The department has optimum instrumentation including the following:

  • GC-FID, flame AA and ICP spectrometers
  • fluorimeter and UV-Vis systems
  • PCR thermocyclers, gel boxes and gel imaging systems
  • Bruker 300 MHz NMR
  • stereo, polarized light and comparison microscopes
  • dedicated cold room

Program Accreditation

The MSU Denver Chemistry curriculum is approved by the American Chemical Society and follows the guidelines of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

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