Introduction to Industrial Chemistry: CHEM 300

CHEM 300: Introduction to Industrial Chemistry is a credit/no-credit course that introduces students to the practices, environment, concepts, and other issues associated with the industrial workplace. The course includes lectures by professionals from the local chemical industry, industrial tours, and professional skills development such as resume writing and interviewing. It is normally taken after completion of a minimum of 60 but not more than 90 units of course weight in a program in the Department of Chemistry. The course is offered for Chemistry Honors and Specialization students, and for General Science students with consent of the department.

Course coordinator: Professor Michael Serpe

Course Requirements

For success in this course, students must:

  1. Normally have completed of a minimum of 60 but not more than 90 units of course weight in either the Honors or Specialization program in the Department of Chemistry. Interested General Science students with a significant amount of chemistry coursing can contact the course instructor or Undergraduate Advisor to discuss whether CHEM 300 will be appropriate for their program.
  2. Be willing to commit 3 to 4 hours per week to the course.
  3. Attend seminars and tours associated with the course. Students will also be asked to view webinars and videos that provide pertinent background material about chemical industry, chemistry careers and job interview skills.
  4. Keep a journal summarizing the seminars, videos, information interviews, tours and other activities in the course.
  5. Prepare a resume by the end of the course. This resume must be tailored for a specific job advertisement.
  6. Participate in a mock interview for the job they applied for. The interview will be conducted by an experienced industrial chemist.

How Industrial Chemists Can Get Involved

CHEM 300 introduces junior undergraduate students to industrial chemistry. More importantly CHEM 300 is meant to be a conduit between undergraduate students and practicing chemists. There are a variety of ways that practicing chemists can be involved in and contribute to the course:

  1. Present a seminar about your industry, your career in chemistry, or about what it takes to be a professional chemist. Seminars would be presented during the normal class time (4:00-5:00 pm Monday at U. Alberta). These seminars would be open to faculty, graduate students and undergraduates not enrolled in CHEM 300. There will be 2-3 seminars each fall.
  2. Organize a tour of your company and labs. Ideally the tour would be during normal class time (4:00-5:00 Mondays), but might be at other times subject to the students' class schedule.
  3. Volunteer to talk to 1-2 students about your industry and career experiences. These informal informational interviews can be scheduled at any time during the term-whatever is convenient for you and the students.
  4. Suggest a webinar or video link that can introduce the CHEM 300 students to industrial chemistry, chemistry careers, and career skills. Ideal videos would be under 15 minutes, and open source. Some example videos are:

Chemistry Industry

Chemistry Careers and Career Skills

If you are interested in participating in CHEM 300 in any of these ways, please contact Professor Michael Serpe at


How is the Credit/No Credit grade for CHEM 300 determined?

CHEM 300 students will maintain a course journal, prepare a resume and do a mock job interview. Credit for the course is based these elements and the student's overall engagement in the course.

CHEM 300 is only worth 1.5 credits. How do I get to a full 3 credits?

CHEM 300 can be combined in your program with other 1.5 credit courses such as the CHEM 299 research opportunity, SCI 299 Science Citizenship, or Dance Activity classes (DAC 155, 160 or 197).

Is there a final exam in CHEM 300?

No. There is a final mock job interview, but this interview is not a pass/fail exam. Rather the interview is practice at this important step in your future career.

Are there jobs for chemists? If, so with which companies?

Yes there are jobs for chemists with a wide variety of companies in the Edmonton area and across Canada. As to with which companies and how you find these companies...for that you will have to enrol in the course.

I am not able to enrol in the course. Can I still attend the industrial presentations and tours?

All CHEM 300 presentations are open to all undergraduate, graduate students and faculty. Please attend. Non-CHEM 300 students may participate in tours, space permitting. A nominal transportation fee is required.

What is the format of the mock interview?

The mock interviews are not for a real job, but are meant to be like the real experience of interviewing for a job. So the participating employers use what ever format their company typically uses. Talking to the CHEM 300 students that applied for different jobs gives a wealth of insight into the variety of styles that job interviews can take.