Programs of Study

Why study physical sciences at Lander?

What is Physical Science? Physical sciences include the branches of natural science and science that study non-living systems. At Lander, we will open your eyes and minds to the physical world that surrounds you, including the matter, energy, processes and objects (atoms to mountains) of which it is made. We’ll help you prepare for an exciting and respected professional career as a chemist, environmental scientist, pharmacist, medical doctor or engineer.

Lander offers a comprehensive, balanced curriculum that covers a full range of interests in chemistry, environmental science, biology and physics. With a low student-faculty ratio, about 10:1 in upper level courses, you will receive plenty of individual attention from your professors, reaping the benefits of their years of teaching, research and industrial experience.

The physical science curriculum

Within the Department of Physical Sciences, you’ll find five distinct programs. Each builds a solid foundation in the sciences complemented by a variety of liberal arts courses, providing a well-rounded education.


As a chemistry major, you’ll have the flexibility to pursue your professional interests by studying the fundamental principles of analytical, inorganic, organic, biochemistry and physical chemistry, as well as mathematics and physics. You’ll take these skills into laboratories, where you’ll research and analyze the many properties and behavior of matter. An honors program is also available.

Upon completion of the chemistry degree program, you’ll be ready to advance your studies in graduate school, a health-related professional school or go straight into the job market, equipped with the experience, tools and techniques to be successful.

Chemistry Education, Secondary Certification Major

The Chemical Education major is the fastest route to secondary chemistry certification. Individuals who want to teach chemistry rather than work in a laboratory will find that this program meets all their needs. Students will have the opportunity to engage with two different types of practitioners (scientists and experienced teachers) over the course of their education. A comprehensive chemistry education and state of the art technology will be introduced in classes such as inorganic, organic, instrumental, and biological chemistries. Classroom management, national science teaching standards, and educational technology will be introduced in education coursework. Students will participate in a series of clinical experiences beginning with observations of local high school classrooms and leading to a semester long student-teaching position as part of the education coursework.

This program adheres to the College of Education teacher disposition and screening requirements; students will be required to achieve all of the benchmarks for the Department of Teacher Education in order to successfully complete the program. State regulations regarding teacher certification may change during pursuit of the Chemical Education degree.

Chemistry-Engineering Dual Degree

In this unique, five-year program offered in cooperation with Clemson University, you’ll reap the benefits of attending both a small, liberal arts university and a larger, technically oriented university. You’ll spend the first three years of your college career at Lander majoring in chemistry. The remaining two years are spent at Clemson, where you’ll explore the field of chemical engineering.

While at Lander, you will train in the areas of chemistry, math, physics and engineering, ensuring that you enter Clemson at a level competitive with students already studying at that university. At the end of the program, you’ll have two very marketable Bachelor of Science degrees – one in chemistry from Lander and one in chemical engineering from Clemson.

Chemistry, Forensic Science Emphasis

Students who pursue the forensic science emphasis will be able to obtain their Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry while focusing on Crime lab applications. Coursework focuses on developing an understanding of how evidence collection and analysis can lead to conclusions about past actions, as well analytical skills that will not destroy trace evidence.

Courses such as criminalistics, microscopical methods, and toxicology have been incorporated such that students have the hands-on experience and skills necessary to be competitive in the job market. Students that complete this major will be prepared to seek jobs with local, state, and federal criminalistics labs, as well as with museums and non-profit organizations.

Environmental StudiesEnvironmental Science

Among the greatest challenges humans face many are local, regional and global environmental problems, including pollution, soil erosion, deforestation, habitat destruction, species extinction, resource depletion, waste treatment and disposal, or climate change. Our environmental science majors are educated and trained to help address problems such as these, and many others.

In the environmental science program, you will build a strong foundation in the basic sciences essential for understanding and resolving environmental challenges, including biology, chemistry, geology, physics and mathematics. You will enhance and apply this knowledge with experience in the field – from the highlands to the coast. You will work on a major research problem or gain professional experience by interning with a government agency, industry or consulting firm.

Upon completion of the environmental science program, you will be ready to start a meaningful and rewarding career as an environmental scientist, or begin graduate study, contributing to the rapidly growing body of knowledge in this multidisciplinary field.

Internships and Research in Environmental Science

Pre-allied health programs

The department offers pre-allied health programs in: pre-medicine; pre-dentistry; pre-pharmacy; and pre-physician’s assistant. These programs are designed to prepare you to go on to health-related professional schools.

Most pre-allied health students major in one of the science fields offered at Lander, such as chemistry or biology. The key to this program’s success is early, individual advising. In addition to having an academic adviser in your major, you’ll also work closely with a pre-allied health adviser, who will help you tailor your studies to meet the requirements of the graduate school of your choice.

For more information on the department’s pre-health options, visit the pre-allied health page

Did you know …

  • Lander students applying to medical schools have an acceptance rate as high as 90 percent.
  • Lander’s environmental science program was the first offered at a state university in South Carolina.

Learn More

For more information, checkout the University Catalog, or follow one of the links below:


  • BS in Chemistry
  • BS in Chemistry Education, Secondary Certification
  • BS in Chemistry/Engineering Dual Degree (offered in cooperation with Clemson University)
  • BS in Chemistry, Forensic Science Emphasis
  • BS in Environmental Science
  • Pre-allied health programs available in pre-medicine and pre-pharmacy
  • Minors available in chemistry and environmental science

For full degree requirements, program goals and more, visit the department's section of the university catalog.