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A tetrahedron molecule model illustrates some of the course material in chemistry.


Chemistry, often called the Central Science, investigates changes of matter, with biochemistry focusing on processes in living organisms.

What Do Chemists and Biochemists Do?

Chemists and biochemists perform experiments, analyze and evaluate their results in a variety of areas. A few examples:

  • They detect and analyze environmental pollutants.
  • They design and create new substances that may treat or cure diseases.
  • They develop and test new materials with improved properties for a variety of applications.


Through formal coursework in multiple science disciplines and in mathematics, and through their participation in chemical and biochemical research, students who choose this major will learn the problem solving and critical thinking skills that prepare them for advanced degrees and professional training, and open the door to a broad range of careers.

During your first two years, you will take foundation courses in general and organic chemistry, physics and mathematics; these courses are offered on the Hattiesburg and on the Gulf Park campus. During your junior and senior year, you will take advanced, more specialized chemistry courses such as analytical, physical, inorganic chemistry, and biochemistry; these courses are offered on the Hattiesburg campus.

Students choosing the biochemistry emphasis also take courses in biological sciences. A unique aspect of our undergraduate program: You will “do” chemistry and biochemistry by joining a faculty member’s research group and conducting your own research project in an area that interests you and gain hands-on experience in the operation of state-of-the art major equipment.

Degree Options

There are three Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degrees available with this major, including one certified by the American Chemical Society.

More about this Major


Our graduates:

  • Work in industry (e.g. chemical or pharmaceutical/biomedical plants, analytical laboratories, pharmaceutical research facilities) or government agencies (state crime labs, U.S. Customs)
  • Found their own companies
  • Complete advanced degrees in prestigious graduate programs (e.g. at Johns Hopkins University, Scripps Research Institute, Columbia University, University of Florida)
  • Complete professional programs (e.g. in medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, optometry, veterinary medicine)
  • Serve as teachers and instructors from K-12 to the college level

Since 2010, 28% of our graduates were accepted to graduate programs; 27% to professional schools (medical, pharmacy, dental, veterinary, optometry, etc.); 15% to medical school; 15% accepted jobs in industry, academia, government, etc.; and 10% began careers as high school chemistry teachers.

The National Science Board and the Bureau of Labor Statistics list a national mean annual wage of $77,860 for chemists and of $93,390 for biochemists.
The tutorial center provides free tutoring. The department works closely with the Preprofessional Office to help majors who are seeking admission to a professional school.

Meet Some of Your Professors

Dr. Philip Bates

Nina Bell Suggs Professor, Biochemistry

Courses: Teaches junior/senior and graduate level biochemistry courses

Expertise: Research centers on understanding plant oil metabolism and the genetic engineering of plants to increase oil yields for sustainable biofuel production, and to improve plant oil compositions for the nutritional and chemical industries.

Dr. Song Guo

Nina Bell Suggs Professor, Physical Chemistry

Courses: Teaches junior/senior level physical chemistry courses

Expertise: Research focuses on the reaction kinetics and surface chemistry of organic electronic materials.

Mrs. Linda Hanson


Courses: Teaches general and organic chemistry on the Gulf Park campus.

Expertise: Interested in helping all students find pathways to success utilizing a variety of active learning styles

Dr. Hugh Broome


Courses: Teaches general chemistry  on the Hattiesburg campus

Expertise: Interested in fostering student engagement and active learning

Mrs. Tina Masterson

Laboratory Coordinator

Courses: Teaches freshman and sophomore laboratory courses

Expertise: Interested in seeing students apply lecture material to real situations

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Be aware of our deadlines, $40 application fee and other items on our checklist. Admission requirements vary for freshmen, transfers, prospective Honors College students and others.

Southern Miss undergraduate degrees are available online, at the Hattiesburg campus, at the Gulf Park campus, and/or through a hybrid delivery that includes both online and on-campus courses.