Analyze forensic evidence and solve problems in the pharmaceutical, environmental science, government and military fields.

College of Arts & Sciences

Department of Chemistry/Physics

Chemical Microscopy

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Undergraduate Admission

(630) 637-5800

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Why pursue a chemical microscopy degree at North Central College?

Chemical microscopy involves the use of microscopes to solve chemical problems. Scientists use chemical microscopy to analyze forensic evidence and to solve problems in the pharmaceutical, environmental science, government and military fields, among others.

You’ll study for three years at North Central College and gain a solid liberal arts education. For your fourth year you’ll study and work alongside expert faculty at the Hooke College of Applied Sciences in nearby Westmont. You’ll finish with a bachelor’s degree in chemical microscopy and have the education and experience to give your career a distinct advantage.

You can also:

  • Participate in the first partnership between a four-year institution and Hooke College of Applied Sciences—a world leader in the study of chemical microscopy—resulting in a chemical microscopy degree..
  • Learn techniques and applications using state-of-the-art microscopes and other instruments at Hooke College of Applied Sciences.
  • Be flexible: Your first three years of study at North Central will prepare you for a major in chemistry. You can wait until your junior year to choose to major in chemical microscopy.

More Department information

Chemical Microscopy. B.S.

Chemical Microscopy combines the chemical sciences, investigative research and allied industrial applications (energy and geo-sciences, forensic science, packaging, paints and coating, pharmaceutical sciences, electronics and nano-technologies) to solve microanalytical problems.  The Chemical Microscopy program provides students a hands-on experience using state-of-the-art microscopes, analytical instrumentation and techniques. Students learn how to apply analytical judgement and the necessary skills to a wide variety of industrial applications including: pharmaceutical contamination, forensic trace evidence, white powder and environmental particle identification, plastics, paints and polymer analysis, failure analysis, and cleanroom techniques including particle isolation and specialized sample preparation. A B.S. degree in Chemical Microscopy provides North Central students with a skill set that partners their interest in the physical sciences with a desire to do investigative research—a specialization applicable to virtually all industrial careers including research scientist, forensic scientist, trace evidence analyst or pharmaceutical researcher.

For additional programs and courses in this department, see Chemistry and Physics.

Major Requirements

Required Courses

  • CHEM 121 - General Chemistry I

    CHEM 121 - General Chemistry I

    4.00 credit hours

    A discussion of chemical principles through examples from the chemistry of carbon compounds and the molecules found in living systems. Major topics include atomic and electronic structure, ions, molecules, Lewis structures, VSEPR, hybridization, intermolecular forces, chromatography, equilibria, kinetics, stereochemistry and polymer chemistry. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)

    One year of high school chemistry and two years of high school algebra.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Science.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • CHEM 122 - General Chemistry II

    CHEM 122 - General Chemistry II

    4.00 credit hours

    An introduction to chemical principles within the context of the environmental issues of fuel and energy, water treatment and acid rain. Major chemical topics include gas laws, aqueous reactions and solubility, equilibria, acid/base chemistry, buffers, thermochemistry, redox, electrochemistry and nuclear chemistry. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)

    CHEM 121.

    iCon(s)
    Sustaining Our World.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • CHEM 251 - Organic Chemistry I

    CHEM 251 - Organic Chemistry I

    4.00 credit hours

    Survey of the various classes of carbon compounds, with emphasis upon molecular structure, stereochemistry and mechanisms of Organic reactions. Techniques for isolating, purifying and characterizing organic compounds are learned in the laboratory. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)

    Six hours in Chemistry including CHEM 121 or CHEM 122.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • CHEM 252 - Organic Chemistry II

    CHEM 252 - Organic Chemistry II

    4.00 credit hours

    Continuation of CHEM 251. This course builds on previously learned concepts to further explore the mechanisms of organic reactions. The emphasis shifts from physical organic to synthetic organic chemistry. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)

    CHEM 251.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • CHEM 301 - Descriptive Inorganic Chemistry

    CHEM 301 - Descriptive Inorganic Chemistry

    4.00 credit hours

    Theoretical concepts of bonding including the solid state, acid/base and redox chemistry and kinetics. Descriptive chemistry of the elements. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)

    CHEM 122.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • CHEM 310 - Chemical Analysis

    CHEM 310 - Chemical Analysis

    4.00 credit hours

    Discussion of analytical methods including sample collection and preparation, statistical analysis of data and quantitative analysis including theory and techniques for gravimetric, volumetric, spectrophotometric, chromatographic and electrochemical methods. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)

    CHEM 122.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • CHEM 340 - Thermodynamics and Kinetics

    CHEM 340 - Thermodynamics and Kinetics

    4.00 credit hours

    Chemical thermodynamics and chemical kinetics, including properties of gases, the First and Second Laws of thermodynamics and their application to physical and chemical systems, phase and chemical equilibria, rates and mechanisms of reactions, reaction dynamics. Laboratory required. Students with credit in PHYS 340 and PHYS 341 may not take CHEM 340 for credit.

    Prerequisite(s)

    MATH 152; PHYS 132 or PHYS 162.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • CHEM 345 - Quantum Chemistry and Spectroscopy

    CHEM 345 - Quantum Chemistry and Spectroscopy

    4.00 credit hours

    Quantum theory, electronic structure of atoms and molecules, chemical bonding, computational chemistry, spectroscopic methods used to study molecular structure and reactions, statistical thermodynamics. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)

    MATH 151; PHYS 132 or PHYS 162.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PSYC 250 - Statistics

    PSYC 250 - Statistics

    4.00 credit hours

    The methods, concepts and logic underlying the statistical evaluation of research data with an emphasis on "why" as well as "when" to use various statistical methods. Content includes descriptive and inferential statistics, estimation and hypothesis testing. Analyses include z and t tests, one-way and factorial ANOVA, correlation, regression and Chi square. Assignments focus on problem solving, technical writing and use of computer statistical packages (SPSS). Only one of BUSN 265 or PSYC 250 may be taken for credit.

    Prerequisite(s)

    MATH 130 or higher.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Quantitative Analysis.

    Schedule Of Classes

Advanced Elective(s)

A minimum of four credit hours in CHEM at the 300-level or above.

Writing Intensive

A four credit hour Writing Intensive course.

Advanced Courses at Hooke College

Upper-level coursework taken during the 12-months at Hooke College of Applied Sciences in Westmont, Illinois includes courses such as Modern Polarized Light Microscopy, Techniques of Optical Crystallography, Scanning Electron Microscope, Transmission Electron Microscopy, Infrared Microscopy, Raman Microscopy, Introduction to Forensic Trace Evidence and Microscopic Particle Handling. In addition, with advisor approval students select 3-4 elective courses such that their total for CHMC courses is between 32.0 and 34.0 credit hours. For details, please contact a professor in the Chemistry department.

Additional Requirements for the B.S. Degree

  • MATH 151 - Calculus I

    MATH 151 - Calculus I

    4.00 credit hours

    An exploration of the fundamental concepts of single-variable calculus including limits, continuity, differentiation and integration with applications.

    Prerequisite(s)

    MATH 140 or placement; Four years of math including algebra, geometry and trigonometry recommended.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Quantitative Analysis.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • MATH 152 - Calculus II

    MATH 152 - Calculus II

    4.00 credit hours

    A continuation of single-variable calculus with emphasis on advanced integration techniques and applications, parametric equations, polar coordinates, and infinite series.

    Prerequisite(s)

    MATH 151.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Quantitative Analysis.

    Schedule Of Classes

Physics Sequence

One of the following sequences:

Non-Calculus
  • PHYS 131 - Physics I (Non-Calculus)

    PHYS 131 - Physics I (Non-Calculus)

    4.00 credit hours

    Kinematics, Newton's Laws, conservation laws, thermodynamics and fluid mechanics. Laboratory required. Credit may be earned for only one of PHYS 131 and PHYS 161.

    Prerequisite(s)

    Precalculus (Algebra & Trigonometry) competence.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHYS 132 - Physics II (Non-Calculus)

    PHYS 132 - Physics II (Non-Calculus)

    4.00 credit hours

    Oscillations, waves, sound, electricity and magnetism, and optics. Laboratory required. Credit may be earned for only one of PHYS 132 and PHYS 162.

    Prerequisite(s)

    PHYS 131 and Precalculus (Algebra & Trigonometry) competence.

    Schedule Of Classes

Calculus-Based
  • PHYS 161 - Physics I: Mechanics and Heat

    PHYS 161 - Physics I: Mechanics and Heat

    4.00 credit hours

    Newton's Laws of motion, energy conservation, rotational motion, thermodynamics. Laboratory required, includes experimental physics and an introduction to computational modeling. Credit may be earned for only one of PHYS 131 and PHYS 161.

    Prerequisite(s)

    CSCE 160; MATH 151 or concurrent enrollment.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Science.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHYS 162 - Physics II: Electromagnetism, Waves and Optics

    PHYS 162 - Physics II: Electromagnetism, Waves and Optics

    4.00 credit hours

    Oscillations, waves, electricity, magnetism, optics. Laboratory required, includes experimental physics and computational modeling. Credit may be earned for only one of PHYS 132 and PHYS 162.

    Prerequisite(s)

    CSCE 160, MATH 151 and PHYS 161.

    Schedule Of Classes

Chemical Microscopy Internships and Jobs

A North Central education integrates career preparation with rich academic study. Our faculty encourages you to refine and apply your knowledge in an interconnected world. Here you'll learn to think independently and work globally to solve problems and lead.

Careers

  • Research scientist
  • Forensic scientist
  • Trace evidence analyst
  • Pharmaceutical researcher
     

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