​The Department of Chemistry has several fundamental responsibilities. They are (a) to train students to understand, to criticize meaningfully, and to carry out scientific investigations, (b) to provide instruction and laboratory experience for those who wish to make chemistry their livelihood and/or pursue advanced study in chemistry, (c) to provide instruction and laboratory experience for those who wish to use chemistry as a background in an allied profession, and (d) to provide students not majoring in chemistry with up-to-date instruction in the principles of chemistry and methods of scientific inquiry.

In meeting these responsibilities, the department offers four tracks of study, each of which lead to a Bachelor of Science that is certified by the American Chemical Society, the department's accrediting body.  The tracks include Standard Chemistry, Analytical and Physical Chemistry, Biochemistry and Medicinal Chemistry, and Synthetic Chemistry.  The department also offers a Bachelor of Arts degree.  This option allows students to get a firm educational foundation in chemistry along with the ability to develop specialization in another field not necessarily related to chemistry.

In addition to its baccalaureate degrees, the department offers several combined  degree programs.  Students may pursue a degree in chemistry and chemical engineering through a joint program with the Illinois Institute of Technology.  The department has teamed with the College of Education to develop a combined  B.S./M.Ed. program that allows students to earn an undergraduate degree in chemistry and a graduate degree in secondary education.  Finally, the department hosts its own combined B.S./M.S. program.  This option allows students to earn a B.S. and M.S. in chemistry.