Alchemy is a major of great reward, but requires great work and dedication. Students who choose this field as a major will be learning how to invoke the power of magic in order to transmute a substance of little worth into one of great value. The transmutation of living beings is strictly forbidden.
The Law of Equivalent Exchange is one that all alchemists must abide by -- that is, in the process of recreation, only the parts used in the transmutation process can be used to make a new object.
There are many forms of alchemy in our world, but for the most part, all forms of alchemy involve the use of transmutation circles drawn on surfaces in order to facilitate the 'exchange of parts'.
As such, first year students can expect to learn the groundwork of transmutation circles and drawing them, applying this to simple objects. In a way, Alchemy holds many similarities to our real world chemistry.