Chemistry Major and Minor
Science is an integral part of a liberal arts education, and chemistry is the central science. It provides an understanding of how the assembly and manipulation of atoms and molecules affect life by connecting physics to biology.
Chemistry major and minor at a glance
Program Student-Faculty Ratio
Senior Comp students who go on to pursue a Ph.D. (in the past six years)
What makes Chemistry at Allegheny different?
The Chemistry Department's rigorous curriculum and emphasis on inquiry-based labs prepares students for their Senior Comp and gives them the knowledge and skills to be successful in Ph.D. programs where they are working to solve challenging global problems.
Allegheny is the #2 college for producing eventual chemistry Ph.D.s
The Chemistry Department's rigorous curriculum and emphasis on inquiry-based labs prepares students for their Senior Project and gives them the knowledge and skills to be successful in Ph.D. programs where they are working to solve challenging global problems.
Build your chemical knowledge and experience to prepare for your future.
The Chemistry major is hierarchical; introductory courses open doors to advanced classes that deepen understanding of the field. However, the four-year curriculum goes beyond coursework as students enter a community of peers who share their passion.
Introductory courses open doors to advanced classes that deepen understanding of the field.
Refine your skills
Typical sophomore courses include Organic Chemistry I and the sophomore seminar, where students learn to write and speak as chemists. Students also begin to explore core courses in subdisciplines like biochemistry and physical chemistry. Intermediate courses like Analytical Chemistry, Organic Chemistry II, and Multistep Synthesis are common options for spring semester sophomores. Participation in summer research with faculty is highly encouraged.
Develop your passion
Students will begin to take advanced seminar courses in subdisciplines they find interesting while completing outstanding core courses like Inorganic Chemistry or intermediate courses like Quantum Chemistry or Biochemical Metabolism. Students will enroll in the Junior Seminar, which builds on the work accomplished in their sophomore seminar, in preparation for their Senior Project. Laboratory work emphasizes the transition from guided experiments to independent research projects.
Demonstrate your knowledge and prepare for the next step
The focus of the senior year is the two-semester Senior Comp, which is carried out with close mentorship from a faculty advisor and exemplary work can result in publication in chemical journals. Students also complete outstanding required courses for the major while applying to graduate school, medical, dental, or veterinary school, or interviewing for a variety of positions in the chemical industry.
Chemistry Major Learning Outcomes
Demonstrate a broad but thorough knowledge of the fundamental concepts of stoichiometry, atomic theory, structure and reactivity of elements and compounds, physical properties of matter, kinetics, equilibrium, and thermodynamics.
Demonstrate extensive knowledge in at least or one more of the subdisciplines of chemistry: analytical chemistry, biochemistry, chemistry education, inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry, and physical chemistry.
Develop questions that can be answered through chemical experimentation, design and conduct safe and appropriate experiments to answer such questions, interpret the results of these experiments, and effectively communicate these results in both oral and written forms.
Critically analyze chemical data, hypotheses, results, theories, and explanations by applying both chemical knowledge and intuition.
Justin Jurczyk, Alumnus
Chemistry Major/Economics Minor, Class of 2017; Ph.D. candidate at the University of California at Berkeley
“ In class, you are not just another number. Instead, professors truly want to see their students succeed and are willing to do whatever it takes to facilitate this success. Students can ask questions regarding any uncertainty in the material, but can also talk about how their day is going. Complementary to the intimate learning environment, the department also boasts a great appreciation for intellectual rigor. ”
Chemistry Students Participate in a Variety of Activities
Most chemistry students spend at least one summer conducting research. The Department of Chemistry has an active funded summer research program, and Allegheny students are also successful at obtaining internships at other institutions through the National Science Foundation’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates Program.
Chemistry majors can get involved in research during the academic year by enrolling in a Chemistry Independent Study (CHEM 590). In a CHEM 590 experience, students take part in an ongoing research project under the direction of a faculty member.
Lord Lecture Series
Supported through an endowed fund established by the Thomas Lord Charitable Trust, the Lord Lecture has been bringing the nation’s most distinguished chemists and practitioners of related disciplines to Allegheny College annually since 1991. The fund is closely linked to Lord Corporation, a major manufacturer of adhesives, rubber chemicals, and other products.
Department Lecture Series
The Department of Chemistry has a stimulating seminar program that brings outside speakers to campus each year to speak on the most current advances in the field of chemistry.
The Allegheny Student Chapter of the American Chemical Society. Organized in 1938, the Allegheny Chemii Club aimed to “serve the purpose of promoting interests among chemistry students.” Today, Chemii organizes field trips, speakers, presentations in the local schools, and social events for chemistry students.