CHEMISTRY AT THE UNIVERSITY OF CYPRUS
The University of Cyprus has offered Chemistry education since its inception in 1992, when a Chemistry Section was established within the (then) Department of Physical Sciences. The first undergraduate students of Chemistry were enrolled in September 1994 and graduated with a B.Sc. in Chemistry in June 1998. The M.Sc. and Ph.D. programmes in Chemistry were initiated in 1998 and proved quite dynamic, as they earned the University international research recognition for Chemistry. The Chemistry Section evolved into an independent Department in February 2000, and in 2003 the Department of Chemistry moved to the new buildings of the Faculty of Pure and Applied Sciences at the Athalassa Campus.
 
The Chemistry Department offers three parallel chemistry directions with specialization in (a) Food and Environmental Chemistry, (b) Materials Chemistry and (c) Biological Chemistry, including a Chemistry minor degree to students of other Departments of the University of Cyprus.

CHEMISTRY AS A SCIENCE
Chemistry is one of the fundamental natural sciences. Its main areas of interest are the study of transformations of matter through chemical reactions (synthetic chemistry), and the analysis of the chemical structure of matter(analytical chemistry). Chemistry plays a prominent role in many other sciences, such as medicine and the health sciences, the environmental sciences and most branches of engineering. Chemistry is closely interlinked with the other natural sciences with which it often works cooperatively.
 
Chemistry has given us new disease-fighting drugs, new forms of energy, new types of fuels, new materials such as synthetic fibers and plastics, detergents, and agrochemicals, all of which have aided in the progress and development of our modern civilization. In the face of impending dangerous climate changes, Chemistry is leading the way in the effort to devise new, sustainable, environmentally friendly energy sources, through technologies such as solar energy conversion in novel photoelectrochemical cells, or the catalytic conversion of biomass to hydrogen for use in fuel cells. Chemistry also investigates the molecular mechanisms of life processes and the complex chemical reactions that occur in biological systems, contributing to developments in modern medicine and molecular biology. Finally, Chemistry studies and monitors environmental pollution, working to combat it by developing new anti-pollution technologies.
 
Chemistry is therefore a key science for modern civilization, and its quality and strength at a national level are clear indicators of the dynamism of the local society and the local economy.

DEPARTMENT OBJECTIVES
The Department aims to produce and promote scientific knowledge and research in Chemistry, and provide society with highly trained
and skilled graduates. Chemistry graduates can be employed by local industry (mainly the chemical industry, plastics, pharmaceuticals, food, beverages, construction materials, detergents, cosmetics, etc.), hi-tech private companies, the public sector and the education sector.
 
Cyprus accession to the European Union has meant more regulation in many sectors and areas, and this in turn has brought new employment opportunities for chemists. These include programmes to ensure quality control of food, and procedures for more complete monitoring of environmental pollution, radioactive materials and chemical waste. Strengthening governmental policies that support technologically advanced industrial units will further increase the market demand for chemists. To satisfy the demands of a modern, technologically advanced Cyprus, the Department has created an undergraduate programme that is fully compatible with European standards and which educates students to be conscientious and curious scientists capable of meeting the current and future challenges of Chemistry.
 
Chemistry is a very broad science with many different branches and a high degree of specialization, which is attained to a large extent through postgraduate studies. Most Chemistry graduates continue in postgraduate programmes, as the need for specialization becomes more pronounced every day. From its inception the Department of Chemistry has demonstrated a pioneering spirit and now, in response to the complex demands of chemistry education at various levels, as well as the demands of Society and the job market, the Department has restructured its undergraduate programme since the academic year 2010-2011. Three equivalent Chemistry degrees have been introduced, placing emphasis on three distinct areas of Chemistry – areas that are currently considered the most important for mankind in the 21st century.
 
These new degrees focus on Biological Chemistry, Food and Environmental Chemistry, and Materials Chemistry, and have been designed on the basis of the following principles: (a) They are exactly equivalent, in the sense that all graduates of the Department of Chemistry will have equal credentials for the job market, (b) They retain the same high standards that established the reputation of the Department of Chemistry in its earliest years, (c) They are based on the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS).

UNDERGRADUATE PROGRAMS OF STUDIES
The Chemistry Department offers three parallel chemistry directions with specialization in (a) Food and Environmental Chemistry, (b) Materials Chemistry and (c) Biological Chemistry including a Chemistry minor degree to students of other Departments of the University of Cyprus.
 
Starting in the academic year 2013-2014 and henceforth, onwards only the three new Chemistry programmes will be running. In addition to its standard basic programme(s) of study the Department of Chemistry offers a Chemistry minor degree to students in other Departments.
 
All programmes are based on ECTS and comprise: (a) Introductory Courses in Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics and Computer Programming (1st and 2nd semester); (b) Basic Courses for the Chemistry degree, such as analytical, inorganic, organic and physical chemistry, and biochemistry (3rd - 6th semester); (c) Courses specific to each degree programme offered by the Department (7th and 8th semester). To graduate with a B.Sc. in Chemistry, students must acquire a total of 240 ECTS.
 
At the theoretical level, Chemistry is taught through lectures that are complemented by seminars and problem-solving sessions. Chemistry is by nature an experimental science.; therefore, the Department places strong emphasis on Laboratory Courses (eight laboratory courses of 6-7 ECTS each), which are regarded as independent courses, meaning that their grades are not compounded with those of the relevant theoretical courses. To complete a Chemistry degree the student must also take four university-wide Elective Courses (20 ECTS total) from at least three different Faculties of the University, as stipulated by University regulations. The student must also acquire 10 ECTS units in foreign language courses. All courses include a written final examination. However, the final grade of a course is calculated based on the student's performance in the final exams, homework, intermediate examination, scientific literature projects, and laboratory reports. There are usually prerequisite courses in a series of related courses (e.g., Inorganic Chemistry I, II and III), where level I must precede level II, etc., and it is not possible to enroll in an advanced level course without having first performed satisfactorily in the lower level course(s) in the series (see related Table).
 
All three new Chemistry programmes cover all the basic Chemistry courses in the first three years of studies, with courses common to all three programmes (with the exception of a single course in the 6th semester). This ensures that all graduates with a B.Sc.in Chemistry will have equal credentials in the job market. The differentiation of the three directions occurs in the 4th year of studies, in which all courses of each programme are different, providing the students with a significant first level of specialization in three important areas of modern Chemistry. However it must be emphasized that this level of specialization cannot match that offered by a postgraduate degree.
 
The three programmes differ as follows: (a) In the 6th semester of studies Bioorganic Chemistry is taught in the Biological Chemistry programme, while Food Chemistry is taught in the Food and Environmental Chemistry programme, and Chemical Technology is taught in the Materials Chemistry programme. (b) In the 4th year of studies, each programme is further differentiated. Specifically: In the Biological Chemistry programme students take Introduction to Microbiology, a Biochemistry laboratory, Special Topics in Spectroscopy, Bioanalytical Chemistry, Bioinorganic Chemistry, Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Computational Chemistry. In the Food and Environmental Chemistry programme, students take Bioanalytical Chemistry, Environmental Chemistry, the Food and Environmental Chemistry laboratory, Bioinorganic Chemistry, Special Topics in Molecular Spectroscopy, Methods of analysis and quality control of food and Computational Chemistry, In the Materials Chemistry programme, students take Surface Chemistry, the Chemical Technology Laboratory, Special Topics in Spectroscopy, Introduction to Supramolecular Chemistry, Organometallic Chemistry, Polymer Chemistry and Catalysis.
 
The Diploma Thesis (9 ECTS) is an important feature of the undergraduate programme. During the 4th year of studies, each student works independently for two semesters under the supervision of a member of the academic staff, studying one of the special experimental projects proposed. During the course of their Diploma work, students learn how to work independently, solve laboratory problems, search, study and analyse scientific literature, give seminars to their fellow students in a clear and comprehensive way, and present the results and conclusions of their Thesis work. Although a Diploma Thesis need not contain original research work, students usually work on truly original research related to the research interests of their supervisors.