The Chemistry Department

The Major

The chemistry program is structured so that students become intimately acquainted with the facts concerning the nature of chemical reactions while also developing a critical understanding of the logic and theory that unite these bits of information into a coherent whole. In addition, through both independent and collaborative laboratory experiences, chemistry majors discover the connections among the subdisciplines of chemistry. The Junior/Senior Seminar familiarizes students with recent advances in chemical research and prepares them for the Senior Project.


  • Since 1920 the department has ranked in the top 5 percent among private undergraduate institutions in production of eventual Ph.Ds.
  • Close student-faculty contact, especially junior and senior years.
  • Professors’ excellence in and commitment to teaching at all levels.
  • A curriculum connecting the sub-disciplines of chemistry and providing an abundance of laboratory experiences.
  • Opportunities and facilities for student research, including the required Senior Project.
  • Rigorous academic standards.

Key Benefits

  • Sound preparation for graduate study, professional training, or employment in the chemical sciences.
  • Appreciation for intellectual rigor and the discipline necessary to attain it.
  • Independence, creativity, and substantial laboratory skills.
  • Critical reasoning skills that encompass the interplay between theory and experiment.
  • The experience of learning as a collective phenomenon and participation in the advancement of knowledge as part of a group.


  • “Allegheny has a fabulous national reputation for science and just in general. There are some exciting experiments in science education going on at Allegheny. They’re turning out lots of great products, and I want to see what the secret is here.” — Harry Gray, director of the Beckman Institute at CalTech, Priestley Medalist, and past Lord Lecturer at Allegheny
  • Grants totaling over $518,000 from the National Science Foundation, the Petroleum Research Fund, and other foundations support faculty and undergraduate research projects.
  • A grant of over $118,000 from the Thomas Lord Charitable Trust supports the teaching and learning of chemistry through technology-assisted instruction.
  • “I had always believed that being a medical doctor was the best way to help people and to save lives. But my experience at Allegheny and an internship in synthetic organic chemistry changed my mind. I realized I could have a major impact by conducting research and developing new drugs.” — Aaron Balog ’91, member of special anti-cancer research team, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York City
  • “In Allegheny’s labs, I used to make new compounds that no one else had, and that’s where the thrill is, in doing something new.” — Dr. William Wilcko ’76, orthodontist and co-developer of Wilckodontics, a patented surgical procedure that accelerates the tooth alignment process and dramatically decreases the amount of time patients must wear braces.
  • Department is accredited by the American Chemical Society.