The Chemistry Department


Science is an integral part of a liberal arts education. Chemistry is the central science as it provides an understanding of how the assembly and manipulation of atoms and molecules affect life by connecting physics to biology, and it provides ready entry to applied sciences like medicine, and engineering.

The Chemistry Department offers its students the ability to appreciate the nature of chemical interactions and develop the experimental vision to contribute to society’s growing understanding of the natural world. We use innovative teaching-learning techniques and extensive hands-on lab experiences to encourage students to apply their knowledge. This leads to unique research activities that have real world applications by working in one-on-one collaborations with faculty, starting as early as the first year and culminating in the senior project.

We further encourage our students to appreciate science and chemistry as a human endeavor. We seek to help stimulate and develop individual qualities that foster an enthusiasm for knowledge, that provide a foundation for critical reasoning, and allow for self-expression. These qualities, which transcend the study of chemistry and science in general, prepare our chemistry graduates to lead productive and fulfilling lives.

Distinctions

  • 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.

Endorsements

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.