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Undergraduate Students

A. There is no limit to what a student can do with a chemistry major. The majority of our chemistry majors do apply and are accepted to medical schools, dental schools, or graduate programs in chemistry. Other students have pursued careers in forensic science working for U.S. Customs or the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, in the industry within research and development, and in other settings performing quality control for companies. Additionally, some of our students have pursued law degrees and become patent lawyers. Several students pair secondary education or educational studies with chemistry and teach high school or work for companies or agencies doing science educational outreach.

A. The best time to declare any major is towards the start of your sophomore year (third semester), and no later than March of your sophomore year. If you wait beyond this point, it is a good idea to discuss with the Director of Undergraduate Studies whether you will be able to complete the major in time. Once you declare your major, you have access to courses that reserve seats for majors.

A. After completing all required foundational courses, it is recommended that you complete the second semester of Physical Chemistry (3310 if you took 3300, or 3300 if you took 3310). See this area for instructions on how to declare a major or minor.

A. For the in-depth courses, it is recommended that you take courses that are cross-disciplinary, such as CHEM 3710 (Bioorganic Chemistry), CHEM 3020 (Introduction to Bioinorganic Chemistry), and CHEM 4720 (Drug Design and Development). You are not limited to these courses, though. It is always better to take courses that interest you, so you remain engaged in the course material.

A. After completing all required foundational courses, it is recommended that you complete the second semester of Physical Chemistry (3310 if you took 3300, or 3300 if you took 3310). Research will be a large component of what you do in graduate school, so you should actively pursue research opportunities and consider CHEM 3860 for credit, where up to 3 credit hours will count as an in-depth elective. The other courses you select will be field-dependent. You should have a follow-up conversation with your academic adviser or research mentor about upper-level courses that would prepare you for graduate studies. Additionally, if time allows and when appropriate, you may consider taking graduate-level courses. 

A. Email the American Chemical Society faculty adviser Dr. Katie Clements with the subject STUDENT ACS. She will send you the information necessary.

A. For a TA position, know that we do not regularly hire undergraduates for teaching assistants. However, we do so on occasion. If interested, email the Director of Undergraduate Studies with which courses you would like to TA for and your resume/CV. See the Learning Assistants Program website for information on that program.

A. A student double majoring in secondary education and chemistry follows both plans, and in the spring of their senior year student teaching (Peabody) replaces CHEM 4966 on the degree audit. Additionally, if a student would like to pursue Honors in chemistry, they would start honors research in the fall of their junior year and defend their thesis in the fall of their senior year.

A. Email the Director of Undergraduate Studies to add your name to the list of private tutors. In the subject line of the email use “PRIVATE TUTOR,” and in the body state the courses you feel comfortable tutoring, the best way for a student to contact you (which can be publicly advertised), and your price per hour and half-hour for both individual and group tutoring.

In addition, Vanderbilt Tutoring Services is often looking to hire quality tutors so you can also contact them.


A. Most of the chemistry faculty are in Stevenson Center, and a few are located in Medical Research Building IV. The best place to find an office location is to refer to the faculty member's individual bio page.

We recognize that the Stevenson Center complex can be confusing. Stevenson Center is labeled by building number, floor number, then room number. So, a room designated as SC 7619 means Steven Center building 7, 6th floor, room 19.

Note: The elevator that is across from the Science Library will take you to each of the floors in building 7.

A. Yes, and in fact, email communication may be the best way to contact a faculty member when they are not in their office. Our faculty are often engaged in research activities, as well as other teaching activities, and are not always in their offices. It is helpful to include the course number in the subject line of your email. Know that faculty members do not work 24/7, so you may not receive a response immediately. If you do not hear from a faculty member after 48 hours, a gentle reminder is a good idea. They receive many emails and at times their email boxes are flooded, or your email may have gone to their spam folder.

A. Requisites does not always mean pre-requisites. So, this error code is much more generic. For CHEM 1601, 1602, 2211, 2212, 2221, and 2222, there are three co-requisites: lecture, lab, and discussion. You must enroll in OPEN sections of all three simultaneously. If any one of the three are waitlisted, you will get the requisite error. Additionally, if you attempt to enroll in a section that has a time conflict with another course, you will also get a requisite error. So, check the lecture, lab, and discussion for open seats, and check against other courses you are already registered for, as both can cause issues.

A. You may email the Director of Undergraduate Studies or visit the DUS during open drop-in office hours:

Dr. Tara Todd
SC 7619
Drop-In Office Hours: Tuesdays 1:30-3 p.m., Fridays 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

A. Various supports are available to you:

1) Start with the instructor's office hours or student hours. These are drop-in style, so you can go whenever you are available during that window. If the office hours or student hours do not match your availability, and your professor has an option for “by appointment,” then email your professor and ask for a 15-minute or 30-minute time slot.

2) TA Drop-In Room. We have TAs available in SC 5212 for CHEM 1601, 1602, 2221/2211, 2212/2222, and the respective labs. The hours for the individual TAs are posted on the window of SC 5212 each semester.

3) Vanderbilt Tutoring Services offers free, by-appointment tutoring. Both individual and group sessions are available. They offer sessions at multiple locations.

4) Engineering STEM Tutoring. Engineering Academic Support Services offers free tutoring for students in various individual and group courses.

Graduate Students

A. See our admissions page for details about applying to the program and our review process.

A. See our admissions page for details on the information you should submit for your application.

A. See the Graduate School website for instructions on the Statement of Purpose.