Chemistry Department Overview

Chemistry provides the connection between molecular concepts and the complex systems found in nature. Chemistry courses stress the understanding of chemical principles, as well as the experimental basis of the science. The curriculum provides a strong foundation for graduate work in chemistry, biochemistry, and other chemistry-related areas, for positions in industry, for high school teaching, and for studies in the medical and health sciences.

Departmental Highlights

  • The Chemistry Department graduates an average of 30 students per year, out of a total campus enrollment about 2000 students (data from 2009 to 2014).
  • On average, one-third of all chemistry majors go on to Ph.D. programs in chemistry or related fields. Between 10-15% of our majors enter medically-related professional school. The remaining students enter the job market and other professional programs-with a combination of chemistry and the liberal arts, they have pursued careers in education, architecture, engineering, business, law, and the ministry.
  • Carleton ranks first among traditional liberal arts colleges in the number of graduates who go on to obtain Ph.D.'s in chemistry and related fields (based on NSF data, 1966-2013).
  • From 2009 to 2014, Carleton chemistry graduates matriculated into graduate programs in Chemistry and related fields at Arizona State University, Boston College, Boston University, Brandeis University, California Institute of Technology, Emory University, Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Michigan State University, North Carolina State University, Northwestern University, Ohio State University, Princeton University, Scripps Research Institute, Texas A & M, Tulane University, University of Arizona, University of California Berkeley, University of California Los Angeles, University of Chicago, University of Colorado Boulder, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, University of Minnesota Twin Cities, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, University of Pennsylvania, University of Texas Austin, University of Washington, University of Wisconsin Madison, and Yale University.
  • Between 2009 and 2014, an average of 16 students stayed on campus during the summer to do research with Chemistry Department faculty members. Another 5-8 chemistry majors pursue summer research opportunities off-campus.
  • From 2009 to 2014, Carleton undergraduates presented 60 research posters and seminars at the following national and regional scientific meetings: American Chemical Society National Meeting, American Geophysical Union Meeting, American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Annual Meeting, American Association for Aerosol Research National Meeting, American Association of Immunologists Annual Meeting, Keystone Symposia on Mitochondrial Dynamics and Function, Midwest Undergraduate Conference in Computational Chemistry, Minnesota Regional Biophysics Networking Meeting, International Conference on Aminoacyl-tRNA Synthetases, Minnesota Academy of Science Annual Meeting, Nutrition and HIV Collaborators Meeting, Mercury Conference on Computational Chemistry, and National Conference on Undergraduate Research.
  • An article in the Chronicle of Higher Education (May 5, 2006, page A13) highlighted the success Carleton has had in encouraging women to enter graduate programs in the physical sciences including chemistry.
  • The Chemistry Department is staffed with eleven tenured or tenure-track faculty and three staff members.
  • Between 2009 and 2014, faculty had research and instrumentation grants from the National Science Foundation, the Petroleum Research Fund of the American Chemical Society, Research Corporation, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and the National Institutes of Health.
  • From 2009 to 2014, current faculty published 44 peer-reviewed articles describing research results and teaching innovations in journals such as Journal of the American Chemical Society, Chemistry--A European Journal, Chemical Communications, Organic Letters, Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry Letters, Chemistry of Materials, Organometallics, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, Journal of Geophysical Research, Journal of Chemical Education, Journal of Physical Chemistry, Organic Letters, Journal of Organic Chemistry, Inorganic Chemistry, Journal of Enzyme Inhibition and Medicinal Chemistry, Atmospheric Environment, Acta Crystallographica and Journal of College Science Teaching.
  • Several chemistry faculty have published textbooks and modules that support the teaching of chemistry at the college level, including a quantitative chemical analysis textbook, an organic chemistry laboratory textbook, and two ChemConnections environmental chemistry modules.
  • Our faculty are funded by HHMI and NSF grants to work on campus and national projects related to undergraduate science education, broadening access to science for underrepresented minorities, and the scholarship of teaching and learning.
  • Further details on the activities of students and faculty in the Chemistry Department can be found in the Annual Reports of the Chemistry Department.
  • The Chemistry Department is located in Seeley G. Mudd Hall of Science which was constructed in 1975. A major renovation of the Chemistry spaces in Mudd Hall occurred in 1997. Further details on facilities and instrumentation is available.