United States Air Force Academy

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Meticulous Experimentation and Execution


Cadet doing experiment in chemistry lab

Whether it involves developing the materials employed in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, extending the life of our aircraft fleet, understanding space technology, or analyzing biological and chemical warfare agents, chemistry is at the forefront of Air Force research.

Our cadets are exposed to the fundamental chemical concepts underlying a myriad of research and application areas to include medicinal chemistry and drug testing; air, space and rocket propulsion; explosives formulation; nuclear and biological treaty compliance testing and so much more.

We offer three distinct tracks of chemistry for our majors (chemistry, biochemistry, and engineering chemistry) as well as service courses for pre-medical school students. The three tracks in chemistry are recommended for those who are interested in chemical, biochemical, or advanced materials research and applications, or medical career fields. These chemistry tracks emphasize the use of the laboratory methods for reinforcement of lecture material and individual research projects. Learn more below!

The Chemistry major is certified by the American Chemical Society.

Within the Air Force
  • 61C – Chemist
  • 62EG – Developmental Engineer
  • 43E – Bioenvironmental Engineer
  • 11X – Pilot
  • 12X – Combat Systems Officer
  • Any Support AFSC (Aircraft Maintenance, Security Forces, Force Support, Intel, Weather, etc.)
Outside the Air Force
  • Lab Technician
  • Registered Nurse
  • Chemist
  • Physician
  • Dentist

  • Space Chemistry
  • Chemistry of Weapons
  • Chemistry of the Environment
  • Theoretical Organic Chemistry
  • Biochemistry

For full program requirements and course descriptions, download the current Course of Instruction Handbook.


Chemistry Track
This option is the most flexible, allowing cadets to pursue courses of interest to further their knowledge in a particular chemical sub-discipline or provide an even broader introduction to chemical or other science concepts. This flexibility allows cadets to work in a variety of areas such as explosives research, aircraft and rocket propulsion, drug testing, nuclear and biological treaty compliance testing and much more.

Biochemistry Track
Biochemistry investigates the rapidly changing arena where chemistry, biochemistry, and molecular and cell biology interrelate. This provides an excellent foundation for cadets interested in medical school or research fields, such as medicinal chemistry, biopolymers, biosensors and nanoscience.

Engineering Chemistry Track
Engineering Chemistry is an interdisciplinary program designed to meet the Air Force’s need for qualified personnel with an understanding of modern materials, such as composites, ceramics, polymers, alloys, semiconductors, superconductors and nanomaterials. It bridges the gap between designing and developing materials at the molecular level and the physical application of these materials at the macro level for structural, electronic and optical uses. Additionally, the Engineering Chemistry track includes additional courses in engineering disciplines which may qualify graduating cadets for the 62E (Developmental Engineer) AFSC.


Validation and transfer credit is awarded on a case by case basis. The Chemistry Department will look at a cadet’s college transcripts as well as their AP chemistry scores in high school to determine if validation or transfer credit for various classes should be awarded.

Validation/transfer credit for Chem 100 and placement into Chem 200 is granted to cadets who

  • Complete one semester of college chemistry with lab and earn an A or B, and have their official transcripts sent to USAFA
  • Complete AP Chemistry in high school and earn a 4 or 5 on the placement test
  • Additionally, a placement exam may be given during Basic Cadet Training to determine proficiency before transfer or validation credit is awarded.

Transfer credit for upper-level chemistry courses is also available. Evaluation is made on a case-by-case basis.


2355 Fairchild Drive, Suite 2N-225
United States Air Force Academy, CO 80840
(719) 333-2960 | DSN 333-2960
(719) 333-2947 | DSN 333-2947