Chemistry Home

Chemistry students in lab

Interested in biochemistry, oceanography, patent law or pharmacology? Want to be a doctor, vet or dentist? St. Kate’s chemistry major prepares you for a range of careers, including those in industry, academia or teaching and government laboratories. Our rigorous program gives you a solid background in research, which includes the structure of matter and the laws that govern the combination or reaction of elements.

Many St. Kate’s chemistry alumnae have also gone on to prestigious graduate programs in the United States, including Harvard, Caltech, Cornell and MIT.

Valuable research experience

You have access to world-class research facilities, including tissue culture facilities and a cadaver lab, and more than a half-million dollars worth of instrumentation. You also get to work collaboratively with faculty and other students on a variety of open-ended research projects. These include synthesis of blood-clotting inhibitors, computer simulations and molecular modeling, bioanalytical chemistry and analysis of luminescent materials for use in display technologies.

Rich and relevant curriculum

Our courses equip you with the knowledge and skills employers seek, including how to operate computerized laboratory equipment. The nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy is part of coursework and labs that address the chemical structure of a molecule. In the “Environmental Science” course, you gain extensive experience with satellite-based navigation systems and environmental footprint assessment tools.

In “Quantitative Analysis,” you learn the different approaches to data analysis and calculating experimental error. The Chemistry Seminars teach you how to present scientific/technical information in an engaging manner. These are led by students, faculty and guest speakers on topics based on research or current issues in chemistry. (Juniors must give 20- to 25-minute presentations; seniors present for 35 to 40 minutes.)

Three concentrations

Our chemistry major is available in three different tracks: an American Chemical Society (ACS)-approved concentration, a liberal arts concentration and a biochemistry concentration.

You must complete a research experience for the ACS track, which certifies you as a professional chemist upon graduation. The biochemistry focus is excellent preparation for careers in medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, pharmacy and medical technology. The liberal arts concentration gives you a more interdisciplinary foundation for pursuing physical sciences or graduate study.

You may also receive certification to teach chemistry (grades 5–12) by completing a chemistry major and additional coursework in science and education. We also offer a minor in chemistry.

Professional portfolio

You are required to compile and maintain a portfolio that documents your experience and learning in the program. This portfolio, which may include laboratory reports, research projects and seminar presentations, comes in handy at job interviews — when you need to prove that you're the right person for the job. A faculty portfolio review will occur during your final semester at St. Kate’s.

Scholarship opportunities

Chemistry majors are eligible for several departmental scholarships. The Sr. Marie James Gibbons Scholarship goes to a promising first-year student, and the Sr. Mary Thompson Scholarship is open to those planning a career in science or medicine. Multiple Helen Steinfort Jordan Scholarships support juniors and seniors who show high academic ability, potential in chemistry and financial need. Contact the admission office »

Role models and mentors

Our faculty are enthusiastic teachers and diligent researchers with doctorates from nationally recognized chemistry programs in analytical, biological, inorganic, organic and physical chemistry. The majority of our faculty are women. All have research programs designed to offer students an opportunity for laboratory experience in investigative projects.

Women and science

Unique to St. Kate’s is our focus on women in science. Our University includes the largest, most innovative college for women in the nation. According to the Hardwick-Day Research Survey, women’s colleges surpass co-educational schools in producing women research scientists by a ratio of four-to-one. Women’s college graduates are also more likely to enter medical school or receive doctorates in the natural sciences.