OBU Chemistry Quick Facts:
FAQs About Chemistry at Ouachita Baptist University (OBU)
How big will my introductory classes be?
At OBU, all of our courses are small. To maximize professor-student interaction, classes have a maximum enrollment of less than 60 students. Most of our classes are actually much smaller. With a student faculty ratio of 13:1 close relationships that develop with their professors are repeatedly cited by our students as being the most important factor in their satisfaction with OBU. With our small class size, we get to know our students on a first name basis. This is particularly nice when students need letters of recommendation and have developed strong working relationships with several faculty members.
Is help available when I need it?
Students at large universities have a difficult time getting individual help from their instructors. The faculty at Ouachita is available for help during most of each day. For instance, we currently offer three study sessions per week for the General Chemistry course. We simply do not have the kind of professors who meet with their classes and then are unavailable to their students. Much of the faculty’s time is devoted exclusively to the students in that course. We are in contact with our students several hours each day either in class or in lab. Additionally, each faculty member has daily office hours and, in practice, our students come for help pretty much any time they need it. We also provide tutors for additional help, free of charge. Also, the University has an Academic Success Center, which allows for personalized tutoring in science and other disciplines as well.
How do the labs work?
Typically, chemistry courses will have one three-hour lab per week. For example, in the introductory chemistry courses we have lecture in the morning 3 days a week with lab one afternoon a week for 3 hours. Advanced courses mix lecture and lab time as needed to best suit the course. The Chemistry department, part of the J. D. Patterson School of Natural Sciences, is located in the Jones Science Center and has modern instrumentation, such as ultraviolet-visible and infrared spectrophotometers, NMR, gas and liquid chromatography systems that our students get hands-on training from the time that they enter the chemistry department. This experience is critical when looking for employment after graduating and also gives our students an advantage over others applying to professional schools.
Are your students well prepared for graduate or professional school such as medical school?
Absolutely! Our alums have very high rates of acceptance into professional schools (>80%) and do particularly well once they get there. Our graduates tell us that they are very happy with their OBU education and they feel that they were better prepared for graduate or medical school than many of the other students in their program areas.
“By being a part of the Chemistry Department, I have learned how to look at things from a completely different angle. I truly believe that my study skills and analytical thinking have grown the most from my chemistry courses. These skills will be invaluable as I continue my education in medical school.” Dustin Walter, Bachelor of Science Chemistry and Biology, 2015 M.D. Candidate, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Medical School
Are there opportunities to do research in your department?
The department maintains a long tradition of summer research. Students and faculty have the opportunity to take part in a ten-week session of laboratory research each summer. This research is supported by the University, as well as, by internal and external grants. Faculty are also available to conduct research with students during the academic year. Previous research projects have included potential cancer therapeutics, modeling active sites of various enzymes, and analyzing lead-content in low-cost toys.
Are scholarships or work/study opportunities available?
Yes! Most of the students within the department receive financial aid of some type including work/study opportunities. The J. D. Patterson School of Natural Sciences awards more than $200,000 in scholarships annually to its students.
FAQs About Chemistry as a Field of Study
What does the study of chemistry involve?
Chemistry is the study of matter and its transformations. Chemists synthesize new compounds for many uses, such as medicines, superconductors, and structural and electronic materials. They determine the structure and composition of matter and explain its properties in terms of basic principles. Chemists seek to understand the processes that transform substances so that they may control their course and outcome. Because such transformations occur everywhere, in the earth and living systems, chemistry is essential to understanding many other sciences. Chemistry is contributing to the solution of many pressing problems, not only acid rain and the disappearance of the ozone layer but also the revitalization of American industries and the exploration of space.
Why is chemistry an important field of study?
Chemistry is all around you from the paint on the walls to the medicines you take. Chemistry is involved in every part of life. There are many reasons for studying chemistry. Some students study chemistry because they find the subject interesting and challenging. There is great appeal in both the scientific rigor and the usefulness of chemistry. Some study chemistry because it provides the language and the conceptual framework for a deeper understanding of other subject areas—biology, physiology, environmental science, forensics, geology, astronomy and energy studies. The majority of students study chemistry because it is an essential part of the preparation for their professions, as chemists, physicians, dentists. pharmacists, teachers, engineers, consultants, etc. Typically seventy to eighty percent of our majors enter professional school (for example, medical or dental school) after graduation. In recent years, many of our chemistry majors have continued their studies in graduate school, primarily, but not exclusively, in chemistry doctoral programs.
What are typical salaries of chemists?
The salaries of chemists are quite variable depending on their education, number of years of experience, employer, and even the area of the country in which they work. The American Chemical Society’s annual salary survey is a good place to start to explore salaries for chemists. Unemployment in the chemistry field remains lower than the national average. Over the last ten years, at any given time about 2% of chemists were unemployed while the figures for non-chemists ranged from 4-10 %.
“The Chemistry Department not only taught me the information I would need to know for my future career, but also how to apply that knowledge. I am so thankful for all the professors that walked beside me during my four years at Ouachita and who never gave up on me …” Rachel Pruett, Bachelor of Science Chemistry and Biology, 2015 M.D. Candidate, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Medical School