About the Major
Courses within the Chemistry curriculum focus on the connections between theory and application of chemical principles. Independent laboratory work, under collaborative supervision of faculty, is required of all students. Written and oral communication of scientific knowledge is emphasized.
In keeping with the tradition of a liberal arts education, the program has been designed with sufficient flexibility to allow students to explore areas within the social sciences and humanities. Students are strongly encouraged to participate in summer internship programs. Because of the extensive hands-on experience afforded at Wilson, students possess a decisive advantage in gaining employment or in continuing their education. The Chemistry faculty aim to prepare students for graduate work in specialized areas of chemistry and biochemistry; the application of chemistry in medicine, biology, and environmental science; positions in industry or government services; or secondary education certification.
It is recommended that Chemistry majors take German to fulfill the foreign language requirement. Work beyond the first year is not required; however, a student with an interest in graduate school should consult with an advisor about foreign language skills. Biochemistry is recommended for students interested in medicine or veterinary medicine.
Secondary Education Certification in Chemistry is available—See Education.
Every student who majors in Chemistry at Wilson College will begin her own research project during the spring semester of her junior year. This program is unusual in that each student can conduct research on the topic of her choice and thus is not limited by the research interests of the faculty. This research project is part of a three semester course sequence that is completed during the spring semester of her senior year. The first semester focuses on the background information and writing the proposal for the research she intends to perform. The second semester she will conduct the research and give presentations on the project. The third semester is when the final paper is written to summarize her work. At the end of the third semester, each student presents her research at the Physical and Life Sciences Research Symposium.
Many students also take the opportunity to present their research findings at the Pennsylvania Academy of Science annual meeting, held every spring. Click the Recent Senior Research Projects tab to see the abstracts of recent chemistry research projects.