Our Unique Program
Our department and curriculum have many unique features that enhance the learning experience of our students in the Chemistry and Biochemistry programs and prepare our graduates to be active, engaged, and valuable members of the scientific community.
Accessible and Personable Faculty. All of our faculty are extremely accessible to students. There are always several professors in their offices at any given time during weekdays, and they are available to students at other times by email and phone. Every student is known personally by several professors, and each student's interests, challenges, and unique academic situation are always of concern to the faculty in the department.
Theme-based General Chemistry. The first semester of chemistry is offered as a theme-based course such as Forensics, Food and Nutrition, or Environmental Chemistry. These courses are taught with lecture and lab integrated into a cohesive experience with one professor rather than as separate lecture and lab components.
Sequence of Introductory Courses. After one semester of General Chemistry, students begin the two-semester sequence of Organic Chemistry. With this arrangement of courses, students get a taste of every type chemistry in their first year. After Organic Chemistry I and II, students return to general chemistry in the course Introductory Physical and Analytical Chemistry, usually in the spring of their sophomore year.
Peer-led Team Learning (PLTL). In addition to a complete week of lessons with a professor, all of our introductory chemistry courses involve weekly meetings of students in small groups with experienced teaching assistants for additional problem-solving in a team format.
Research. Every chemistry or biochemistry major has the opportunity to participate in original experimental research with a faculty member in the science program. This research can lead the student to present his/her work at national scientific meetings, and in some cases to a publication in the scientific literature. Many students also opt to perform research through internships or summer fellowships at other institutions.
Seminar and Thesis. Juniors and seniors meet with all the faculty every Friday afternoon for Seminar. In the fall semester, every student presents one seminar based on an article from the chemical/biochemical literature. In the spring semester, seniors present and defend their theses which are based on their original research projects.