Chemistry & Physics at SWOSU

Welcome to the Department of Chemistry & Physics at SWOSU, where we prepare students for high-tech careers in industry, academics, government, and professional programs. For those so inclined, the study of physical science is a challenging, but ultimately rewarding endeavor that is a springboard to a variety of career opportunities in industry and research, or professional programs such as Engineering, Medicine, Dentistry, Optometry, and Pharmacy.

Degrees Offered


  • Chemistry BA – General
  • The BA-General Emphasis is designed for the student who plan to use a background in chemistry in association with another area of work such as business, journalism, marketing, or law. Many pre-med, pre-vet, pre-dental, and pre-optometry students find the BA in Chemistry an excellent major in their pursuit of a professional degree.
  • Chemistry BA – Biochemistry
  • The BA-Biochemistry Emphasis is tailored to students planning a health or biomedical career, such as a Medical Doctor or PhD researcher. This option encourages the inclusion of Biology courses as electives to give you the best background for health careers.
  • Chemistry BA – Environmental
  • The BA-Environmental Emphasis best fits students interested preserving or improving Earth’s environment and how humans interact with it. This option encourages the inclusion of environmental studies, Earth science courses, and risk management.
  • Chemistry BS
  • The BS degree is designed for the student who plans to seek employment in a chemistry field after graduation.
  • Chemistry BS Prof – ACS Certified
  • The BS Professional degree is certified by the American Chemical Society and is designed for the chemistry student who intends to pursue an advanced degree or wants a competitive advantage in employment after graduation. ACS-certified degrees are recognized by industry and graduate schools as meeting the standards set forth by the ACS Committee on Professional Training.


  • Engineering Physics BS
  • The Engineering Physics BS is designed to prepare students for direct entry into the job market as an engineer, for entry to graduate work in physics or engineering, and for taking the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) Exam to eventually become a licensed engineer.

Our Faculty

Our team of PhD-level faculty offers specialized expertise at all levels of instruction. Our faculty provide rigorous attention to each student as concepts are taught in the foundation courses. The Chemistry and Physics faculty come from universities across the country and have chosen to teach at SWOSU because of their strong commitment to offering the best possible undergraduate education in the sciences. In all lectures and labs, a PhD faculty member will serve as your instructor.


The diversity in academic background and experiences of the Chemistry faculty members and their commitment to high-quality education give SWOSU Chemistry its competitive edge for success. Each area of specialization is taught by an instructor with a PhD in that area, such as organic chemistry, analytical chemistry, inorganic chemistry, biochemistry, and physical chemistry. The small class and laboratory sizes allow extensive class discussions and one-on-one interactions with the instructor. Students have ample opportunities to ask their instructor questions in lecture and lab.


The success of the Physics division lies in the quality of the students, the faculty, and the academic programs. We have successfully recruited faculty who have received their doctorates from prestigious universities. The expertise of our PhD-level Physics faculty coupled with the information we receive from our physics alumni have allowed us to develop and maintain academic programs in physics and engineering that meet the needs of today’s scientific and technical world. Class and laboratory sizes are small, allowing for one-on-one interactions and demonstrations with the instructor.

Laboratory Experience


Laboratory experience is essential for a well-prepared chemist. The Chemistry program at SWOSU emphasizes this side of chemical education through a variety of laboratory classes, each taught by a PhD chemist.

Junior and senior students working on either BS degree option select a research project under the direction of a chemistry professor. This allows one-on-one instruction on projects of current scientific interest.

Students will gain experience not only in traditional chemistry techniques but will also have an opportunity to operate modern scientific instrumentation. Selected laboratory experiments are interfaced directly to computers for convenient data collection and manipulation.

At SWOSU, there are numerous opportunities to do cutting-edge, publishable chemistry research as early as your first year. Projects include:

  • Research on anticancer and anti-HIV drugs
  • Pharmaceutical design of unnatural amino acids
  • Nanotechnology
  • Natural product isolation and analytics
  • DNA and protein engineering
  • Enzyme kinetics and mechanism
  • Computational chemistry
  • Lightening research


The Physics program at SWOSU has a strong orientation toward applications of physics to solving real problems in industry and society. The Engineering Physics curriculum is continually reviewed to keep it relevant to the needs of today’s scientific and technical world.

A variety of technical laboratory facilities are available to students, including equipment for building and deploying rockets and drones, assembling a variety of detectors using microelectronics, and 3D printers for manufacturing components.

We have photographic, photometric, and spectrographic capabilities. Our astronomy observatory houses a 16-inch Cassegrain-focus telescope on an equatorial mount. The 16-inch-diameter objective mirror makes it possible to view many dim and distant objects which are invisible to the naked eye. With the rotating dome and a slot opening of over 90 degrees, views of the entire sky in 360 degrees are attained. Computer control allows for rapid aiming of the telescope to view any object that is above the horizon. An additional 8-inch Cassegrain telescope equipped to accept a camera mount is piggy-backed to the system. The equatorial mount with clock drive corrects for the Earth’s rotation and eliminates the “smearing” of images on long-time photographic exposures.

These facilities provide opportunities for the students to conduct undergraduate research under the supervision of faculty members in the department.

Research Opportunities

Since learning how to do scientific research is integral to the development of a scientist and to acceptance in many professional and graduate schools, there are numerous opportunities to do cutting-edge, publishable research at SWOSU. Since 2000, the SWOSU Chemistry & Physics faculty at SWOSU has received over two million dollars in grants for scientific research from the National Institute of Health, National Science Foundation, NASA, and other organizations.

Much of this financial support has been used to provide research facilities with state-of-the-art equipment and salaries for many undergraduate research assistants. Many students participate in these projects and find them to be fun, exciting, and challenging, providing opportunities to present at meetings across the nation. They also find that they give excellent preparation for jobs in industry or further studies in graduate and professional schools.

Faculty research descriptions can be found within the individual faculty pages.

OK-LSAMP Research Program

The Oklahoma Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (OK-LSAMP) is designed for students majoring in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields. Funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the OK-LSAMP program began in 1994 when several Oklahoma institutions of higher education joined forces to significantly increase the recruitment, enrollment, and retention of under-represented minority students in STEM disciplines. The OK-LSAMP program is named after retired Ohio Congressman Louis Stokes, who is responsible for numerous minority focused programs throughout the NSF. The ultimate goal of OK-LSAMP is to increase the number of degrees earned in STEM disciplines by students from under-represented populations. Current goals and activities of OK-LSAMP focus on undergraduate research experiences, graduate school preparation, and international experiences.

The OK-LSAMP program has helped thousands of students from various under-represented populations graduate with degrees in STEM fields. Nationwide, approximately 30% of all STEM degrees earned by Native Americans are completed in Oklahoma Institutions. Oklahoma continues to graduate more Native American students than any other state.


Requirements of the OK-LSAMP program include:

  • Minimum 3.00 cumulative or graduate/retention GPA
  • Full-time student status in approved STEM field (Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Engineering Physics, & Mathematics)
  • U.S. citizenship or permanent residency
  • Demonstrated intent in pursuing undergraduate research and a graduate degree in STEM discipline
  • Participation and contribution to program activities
  • Membership of the following under-represented groups: African American, American Indian, Hispanic, Native Pacific Islander, White (must be first-generation college student)

There is no annual deadline to apply for OK-LSAMP, but the sooner you apply, the sooner you can start participating and receiving benefits!

More information about the OK-LSAMP program can be found on the Oklahoma State University (Lead Institution) website:

If you are interested in participating in the OK-LSAMP STEM research program, complete an application on the Oklahoma State University website, or contact SWOSU OK-LSAMP Coordinator Dr. Tim Hubin at

Our Graduates

SWOSU Chemistry and Physics has a strong reputation in both Oklahoma and the five-state region. Graduate schools, corporations, and government agencies actively recruit SWOSU graduates, and Chemistry and Physics majors have had an outstanding level of success in medical, dental, optical, and other professional schools. Our graduates are competitive with the nation’s best. Physics graduates were instrumental in the NASA Gemini and Apollo Programs. More recent graduating seniors have received admittance to pursue advanced degrees at Harvard, MIT, and Princeton, to name a few. We are very proud of our graduates and grateful for the opportunity to have been a part of their lives.


Graduates of the Chemistry program currently hold positions at Amoco, Conoco, Dow, DuPont, Halliburton, Imation, Phillips Petroleum, 3M, Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (forensics lab), and other companies. Past graduates have taken positions on the faculty at Xavier University, Oregon State University, University of Illinois, Texas A & M, Louisiana State University, and the University of Tulsa.

Graduates from the Chemistry program are in demand at graduate schools across the nation where they are offered scholarships that finance their graduate education. Many graduates opt for this advanced degree opportunity.

Chemistry graduates from SWOSU have also had a high acceptance rate at professional schools including medical, dental, and optometry schools.


The Engineering Physics program at SWOSU is the only program at SWOSU that prepares students to become professional engineers and is recognized for the successful placement of its graduates. Most of our graduates have taken employment with the baccalaureate degree as scientists, engineers, and administrators at NASA, national laboratories, defense laboratories, and many major corporations. Many have been successful in studies for advanced degrees in physics, engineering, astrophysics, and other related fields at prestigious universities across the nation. Others have gone on to successfully pursue professional degrees in medicine, law, and architecture. Some choose to become high school teachers or work in the military as commissioned officers or as civilian employees. Because we maintain close ties with our alumni, we are aware of a wide variety of employment opportunities as they become available, and we have been extremely successful in placing our graduates in solid positions in the job market.

Educational Environment

Moreover, our family-like atmosphere provides the assistance and encouragement that will help you succeed. Graduate schools, corporations, and government agencies all actively recruit our majors, while others find tremendous success in professional school.

Our department is also passionate about helping students from underserved communities complete STEM degrees. We are a qualifying major for the OK-LSAMP STEM grant research program, and we award many scholarships to deserving major students in both our Chemistry and Physics programs each year!

Your Future

If you are thinking about a degree in chemistry or engineering physics, please consider us. You will find that our programs will prepare you well for any career you choose to pursue. Our friendly students and faculty create a family-like atmosphere that provides the assistance and encouragement that will help you succeed.

You also may enjoy being a part of the Chemistry Club or the Physics and Engineering Club and take part in the professional and social activities they sponsor. Should you need additional information, please do not hesitate to contact one of our faculty members or the Department Chair directly by e-mail or telephone.

We also invite you to visit us on campus and tour our newly renovated, state-of-the-art, classrooms and labs. Let us help you find a career path in Chemistry and Physics!

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