Prospective Majors

Dear Student:

The chemistry faculty at Dickinson appreciates your interest in our department. As we started to draft this letter, we thought about all the wonderful reasons why Dickinson would be an excellent choice for students who are considering chemistry as a field of study. We believe our chemistry program has several distinctive qualities.  For example, in our introductory course, we have designed laboratory modules that allow students to discover concepts rather than have them introduced by way of lecture. We have also carefully structured our curriculum so that chemistry majors can take advantage of Dickinson's strong international programs. We have partnerships with universities in England and Australia where our majors can take chemistry courses towards their major requirement while abroad. Also, unlike most other colleges, students can begin to do research after they finish their introductory freshman chemistry course.

The department is well-equipped, having received over $500,000 in grant money over the last decade for the purchase of teaching equipment and the renovation of laboratory space. We teach our students how to use this instrumentation, so you will get a great deal of hands-on experience if you come to Dickinson. You will use many different types of instruments, from powerful nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometers that allow us to determine the structure of complex molecules (similar to the well-known MRI used in medicine) to gas chromatograph/mass spectrometry instruments that are used in the identification of trace compounds (the method used in drug testing for athletes) to molecular modeling software that permits us to look at a molecule in dozens of different ways in order to understand its behavior.

Our small class size allows us to take time with students as individuals -- the introductory course has fewer than 50 students, and even in the larger (40 - 50 student) Synthesis & Reactivity sequence, the lab sections are no larger than 24 students.  In upper level courses, enrollments are typically between five and 15 students. As you can no doubt imagine, this allows us to get to know each student pretty well -- and if you're thinking ahead, such familiarity makes it much easier to write solid letters of recommendation for jobs, graduate or professional schools, internships and the like.

Although we emphasize our small class size, we are big enough to maintain a vibrant department with many opportunities. All faculty maintain active research programs funded by both internal and external grants. Interested students can undertake an original research project with a faculty member either during the summer or the academic year. In years past, research students have had the opportunity to present their results at national American Chemical Society meetings (in locations as exotic as San Francisco). A number of our research students are full co-authors on papers published in a variety of chemistry journals. Many of the 15 or so students who graduate each year with degrees in either Chemistry or Biochemistry & Molecular Biology earn some spending money by serving as lab assistants and tutors. 

If you would like to obtain further information about the College or the department, please contact Professor Cindy Samet.  If you would like to talk to some of our students, we would be happy to have them get in touch with you. And, of course, if you have not done so already, we would like to offer you a personal invitation to visit the campus.

The Chemistry Faculty

Graduate and Professional School Placements

Duquesne University
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Emory University
Florida State University
Northwestern University
Pennsylvania State University
Princeton University
Stanford University
University of California at Irvine
University of Delaware
University of Maryland
University of Pennsylvania

About one third of Chemistry graduates enter Medical or Dental schools, including:
George Washington University
Georgetown University
Johns Hopkins University
Emory University
University of Oklahoma
University of Pennsylvania
Harvard University
University of Maryland
Vanderbilt Medical School

Two members of the chemistry faculty serve on the Committee for the Health Professions, the body that advises pre-health majors and are available for advising students interested in medical or dental school. 

Career Directions
Recent graduates who have chosen to enter the work force directly have found positions at:
AMP Incorporated
J.T. Baker Co.
The Fox-Chase Cancer Center
Hershey Foods
National Institute of Health
Sigma-Aldrich Chemical Company
Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories
Department of Environmental Protection

Others have used their liberal arts and chemistry experience to enter fields as varied as journalism, sales, public relations, teaching, medicine, and military service.