Success Maps

Chemistry Success Map


All Pillars | All Years
1st Year (0-30 Credit Hours)
BUILD Knowledge & Expertise

Complete required CHEM courses: General Chemistry I (1210) and II (1211/1212).

Visit your Science Advising Centre to help you choose courses and electives.

Enroll in the online WHMIS safety course. You can’t start your CHEM or BIOL labs without it!

Review MATH MAP and choose the right MATH courses for your program.

Build your CHEM lab skills. Practice in lab and review instructional videos on 1210 lab website.

What’s on for summer? Ask your Advisor for the schedule in January. Gen. Chem. II and Math are regular offerings.

Explore your options for majors and minors by attending the Programs Day across faculties in February.

Register for classes as soon as registration opens. Classes fill early!

Visit your Academic Advisor or Program Advisor to be sure you have the right courses.

Gather information on Cooperative Education opportunities.

DEVELOP Essential Skills

Begin the critical thinking process. Extract main concepts or ideas from what you read, recognize pattern and flow, and then organize and present your analysis.

Practice problem-solving skills in your CHEM assignment questions by planning how you will answer questions, then solving it. Finally, ask yourself: Does my answer make sense?

Brush-up on the basics. Drop-in early for a free refresher workshop on significant figures, logarithms, exponents, trig, graphing—and more at your first-year SNAP Centre.

Develop teamwork skills by planning with your lab partner. Decide who will do what in each week’s experiment.

Improve your writing and thinking skills at the Writing Centre. Get expert feedback and incorporate it into your work.

Develop research skills by navigating online databases and the stacks at the Patrick Power Library. Take a virtual tour.

Build a résumé at a Résumé Seminar, to prepare for internships, scholarships, and summer jobs.

Start your Co-Curricular Record. Document your acquired skills from on- and off-campus activities and volunteer work.

PARTICIPATE in Campus Life

Attend Welcome Week. Make friends. Meet classmates, faculty, and advisors at academic orientation. Attend a session about a culture of safety and respect at Saint Mary’s.

Introduce yourself to your professors after class or during office hours.

Read the SMU Science Newsletter for deadlines, reminders, contests, and opportunities in the Faculty of Science.

Follow SMU Science on Twitter and Facebook. Use the hashtag #SMUScience.

Come to the annual Chemistry and Biology Student Research Days in the fall. See what research students do.

Visit the Societies Fair. Explore student societies, including the CHEM Student Society and those that are culturally-based, before deciding which to join.

Try Speak Up!, a program where international students practice speaking English with Canadian students.

Stay Active. Explore SMUfit, campus sports, exercise, and recreation opportunities—no extra fees!

Apply for a scholarship. There are more than 260 available!

Need help with time management, organizational, or presentation skills? Book an Academic & Life Skills Coaching session.

Learn to budget your money. Attend a Financial Literacy workshop or get advice from Financial Aid and Awards.

Check in with Career Services to start discussing your career goals, related to your program. Experiment with different classes to see what you like.

When facing a personal crisis, get help from the Counselling Centre.

CONNECT Locally & Globally

Consider courses with global themes for your electives.

Need a job? Create a HireSMU account to find available jobs.

Not from Halifax? Explore and discover all our cultural opportunities and have fun.

Keep current with local events. Read Pride in Your Shared Neighbourhood newsletter.

Travel while studying after 1st year. Investigate travel options beyond Canada at International Activities.

Obtain or update your passport in preparation for possible international travel.

Not from Canada? Browse Services for International Students for available support.

Attend International Night—an annual banquet showcasing SMU’s many cultures.

2nd Year (30-60 Credit Hours)
BUILD Knowledge & Expertise

Complete your required CHEM courses in sub-disciplines: Analytical, Organic, and Physical Chemistry. Check your CHEM Major list of requirements.

Choose your Science electives and remember that real-world problems require you to apply knowledge from different Science subject areas.

Update your WHMIS safety training. Your last certification expires after 12 months.

Develop technical CHEM expertise in working with specialized glassware, handling chemicals, and learning specialized instrumentation.

Visit your Academic Advisor or Program Advisor to be sure you have the right courses and to declare your major in this year.

Thinking of changing majors or minors? Attend Programs Day for help.

DEVELOP Essential Skills

Improve your CHEM lab reporting skills by consulting the Department’s Writing Guide for examples of formatting, citations, and structure.

Engage in the ethical and sustainability issues of the chemistry profession by taking the CHEM elective, Green Chemistry.

Tutor first-year MATH, CHEM, PHYS, or BIOL at the SNAP Centre. It will help you sharpen your own problem-solving skills and improve your interpersonal skills.

Upgrade your writing with one-on-one tutorials at the Writing Centre or through online resources.

Learn advanced researching techniques at the Library.

Update your Co-Curricular Record to keep track of your accomplishments and set new goals.

Teach in first year chemistry laboratories by becoming a lab demonstrator TA and enhance your leadership and verbal communication skills


PARTICIPATE in Campus Life


Apply your classroom learning and improve soft skills by joining some student societies.

Apply to be a Chemistry Marker and demonstrate time management skills, responsibility, and ability to meet deadlines.

Attend CHEM Department Seminars, with guest speakers from industry and universities, and potentially earn marks towards some CHEM course assignments.

Go to the pizza lunches hosted by graduate school, recruiting professors, and other speakers who want to talk to students about their career in chemistry.

Participate as a research subject in a Psychology study.

Participate in intramurals. Demonstrate your team skills and character to future employers and admissions officers.

Browse the Scholarship List and modify your cover letter to match the criteria. Apply between Feb and May.

Need more academic support? Contact Personal Counselling or Academic & Life Skills Coaching.

Seek Career Counselling. Explore the core competencies of your major, and career possibilities related to your strengths, interests, and values.

CONNECT Locally & Globally

Discover ways to give back to your community, from local to global. Come to the Volunteer Fair held every September, or speak to a Career and Employment Coach at Career Services.

Get involved with activities outside of your major and minor. Employers like well-rounded candidates.

Meet other CHEM students in Atlantic Canada. Attend the ChemCon annual student research conferences.

Attend a LinkedIn photo shoot and a LinkedIn Seminar with Career Services. Put your best (and most professional) face forward!

Keep your HireSMU Account updated with accurate contact information and most recent résumés.

Consider applying for the Co-op Program at the beginning of 2nd year (30+ credits). Gain work experience over three terms.

Visit the International Activities office for a study-abroad program or an international field study course in 2nd - 4th years.

Explore options for international internships in your area of study.

3rd Year (60-90 Credit Hours)
BUILD Knowledge & Expertise

Complete required CHEM courses in the Inorganic sub-discipline, and other 3400-level and above courses, as you focus on the chosen program.

Expand your technical expertise by learning more advanced spectroscopic analysis and interpretation, and more specialized methods of chemical synthesis.

Strengthen interdisciplinary knowledge. Prepare yourself to have an impact in our increasingly scientific world by choosing science electives that compliment CHEM.

Complete any MATH, PHYS or other outstanding requirements of the CHEM major.

Visit your Academic Advisor to be sure you’re on the right track to meet graduation requirements.

Meet your Department Chair for help with course selection, career advice, certifications, or selecting a thesis supervisor for the Honours Program.

Thinking about graduate school? Contact Career Services for options and admission procedures, and begin planning for applications with your Department Chair.

DEVELOP Essential Skills

Practice argument and conclusion writing in more advanced lab report discussion sections. Ask for feedback.

Exercise responsibility and communication with a TA job in a 2000-level core CHEM course.

Maintain a Dean’s List GPA, and be eligible to work as a tutor in the SNAP Centre, reinforcing your numeracy skills.

Develop your collaborative skills by pursuing a summer research project. Apply for Summer Research Awards, including NSERC-USRAs, AceNet, and Dean’s Awards.

Improve your research skills and grades by visiting the Library and using the Research by Appointment service for one-on-one help.

Visit the Writing Centre for workshops on Exam Writing & Preparation.

Update your Co-Curricular Record.

PARTICIPATE in Campus Life

Get to know your professors. They are excellent contacts for reference letters. Chat about your future plans for 4th year and beyond.

Attend the Research Expo. Learn from the research and critical analysis of peers and professors. Also, showcase your own research project.

Join campus societies in your field. These provide opportunities to network with the industry and professionals.

Help plan National Chemistry Week fun with Chemistry Society students.

Take on a leadership role in the CHEM Society or other ratified campus society as a member of the executive/planning team.

Apply for over 200 scholarship and bursary awards.

Focus on summer or internship jobs within your major or career field of interest to gain specific experience and build credentials.

Visit the Career Development Centre for help with tactical job searches, including using social media, information interview, fine-tuning your résumé and cover letter, and practicing interview skills.

CONNECT Locally & Globally

Attend the Halifax Career Fair in September and March. Discover career opportunities and employer expectations.

Let your networks know your major. Seek out potential employers for information and interviews.

Volunteer for outreach activities. Travel with your professors to visit schools, or welcome visitors to our campus and showcase science at SMU. Contact the Department Secretary for more information.

Join the Canadian Society for Chemistry as a student member.

Explore new internships designed to help international graduates gain experience in Nova Scotia.

4th Year (90-120 Credit Hours)
BUILD Knowledge & Expertise

Complete required CHEM Major courses and all program requirements in time to graduate, while transitioning to work or graduate school.

Complete any remaining MATH and PHYSICS program requirements.

Take CHEM 4499, a capstone course whereby majors and honours students demonstrate all that has been learned in the major. Critical analysis and communication are emphasized.

Learn advanced synthesis techniques and teamwork skills in 4000-level CHEM labs.

Is it too late to do an Honours degree? Speak to the Department Chair about your idea.

Complete a CAPP Degree Evaluation in Banner.

Visit the Faculty of Graduate Studies & Research. Discuss SMU graduate opportunities.

Contact your Academic Advisor or Program Advisor to ensure you are on track for graduation requirements and post-graduation plan.

Apply to graduate. Fill out an application for graduation form and submit it to the Service Centre. Get your picture taken for the yearbook.

Consider graduate schools or professional programs. Start early, and ask your professors and the Writing Centre to review your personal statement, cover letter, and applications.

Request transcripts, if required.

DEVELOP Essential Skills

Demonstrate and share your skills by considering a senior Chemistry TA position.

Before you graduate, do a final update of your Co-Curricular Record, and request an official copy.

Visit Career Services to prepare to clearly and persuasively articulate all you have learned at Saint Mary’s (in and out of class) to an employer.

PARTICIPATE in Campus Life

Serve as Department Student Rep. Speak to your Department Chair.

Enter your best research paper for the Academic Writing Awards.

Join the Nova Scotia Institute of Science (NSIS). Submit your best-written work for a writing award.

Get recognized for your involvement in the classroom and in the Saint Mary’s community. Apply for the Student Leadership Award.

Apply for other awards, including the SMUFU scholarship.

Brush up on your Financial Literacy. Receive guidance for a successful and healthy financial future, including student loan repayment.

Your degree can open the door to many types of careers. Use Career Counselling to discover where you want to go and how best to get there.

Plan to attend Career Services’ 4-week Job Search Seminar Series before or after graduation.

CONNECT Locally & Globally

Be prepared to apply, interview, and network when school begins, to maximize your chance of receiving some job offers before graduation.

In addition to the Halifax Career Fair, attend some career fairs specific to your program. Bring your résumé. Prepare in advance to speak with recruiters and potential employers.

Apply for the Halifax Connector program. Meet with a Halifax professional in a field of your interest.

Consider presenting your honours research thesis or other research projects at ChemCon.

If you are a co-op student, arrange for your final work term placement early.

Are you an international student interested in staying in Canada and receiving permanent resident status? Contact the International Centre.

Get in contact with the SMU Young Alumni Association to begin your next phase as a Santamarian.

Remember, you have access to Career Services for three years post-graduation. Use these services to help you continue to get the most out of your degree.