Member of the Division of Science
Chemistry, as pure science, seeks to describe and make comprehensible the nature and transformations of matter. As applied science, it provides society with knowledge and tools to achieve its material purposes. By coupling creative thought with experimentation, the study of chemistry contributes to a liberal education.
The Department of Chemistry recommends that students considering chemistry as a major begin coursework as first-year students. The starting point for those with no more than a year of secondary school chemistry is CHM 129 . (For students with AP/IB credit, starting with CHM 210 may be appropriate.)
The department emphasizes laboratory investigation in its curriculum. Students have excellent facilities for independent projects and study, and majors get hands-on experience with modern instrumentation in several areas of chemistry. A variety of computers are used for data acquisition, simulation, and analysis in all courses. An active summer program provides further opportunities for intensive research.
A major in chemistry may lead to a career in chemical research or education. It also serves those who seek to enter the medical or engineering professions and those wishing to pursue graduate work in fields such as biochemistry, molecular biology, physiology, pharmacology, geology, environmental science, nutrition, and materials science, or for others, as a focus for liberal education.
To complete the major, MAT 131 and MAT 133 and PHY 131 and PHY 132 are needed and should be taken as early as possible. Students contemplating graduate work in science should consider taking two additional semesters of mathematics (MAT 215 and MAT 220 ) as well as related coursework in biology and physics, depending on personal interests and goals. The department recommends the study of a foreign language, because chemistry is an international discipline.