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Chemistry plays a central role in the most exciting and critical areas of modern scientific exploration. Wilkes’ chemistry majors receive a solid foundation in chemical theories and laboratory techniques, preparing them for a range of career opportunities in chemical or pharmaceutical industries, government laboratories, and academia.
Our chemistry department has well-equipped laboratory facilities and exceptional chemical instrumentation. The use of chemical instrumentation is integrated into the curriculum beginning in the freshman year. The department possesses a wide range of modern spectroscopic and separations instruments, thermal analysis facilities, and routine equipment for synthesis and analysis.
In 2008, the prestigious Howard Hughes Medical Institute recognized Wilkes University as one of “the nation’s best undergraduate institutions” in awarding a $1 million grant to creatively engage students in the sciences. Wilkes is using the grant to further strengthen the capacity of students in mathematics, the physical sciences and computer science so they can conduct cutting-edge research.
Chemistry majors find ample opportunity to participate in research at Wilkes, and majors are required to complete a capstone senior research project. However, students can begin their involvement in an original research project as early as the freshman year. Students can become involved as volunteers, paid technicians, or interns, or through enrollment in independent studies.
Independent Study allows students to collaborate in novel projects with many related disciplines, such as biology, pharmacy, computer science, and others. A wide range of research topics is currently being explored within the department. Ongoing and planned projects include:
- organic synthesis
- biochemical investigations (enzymology and pharmaceutical applications), materials science (amorphous alloy production and characterization)
- analytical chemistry
- computational chemistry.
In addition to the on-campus opportunities offered by the faculty, the chemistry department also encourages student participation in a variety of off-campus activities, such as summer research internships or a semester-abroad. Recently, students spent their summers at Aventis Pasteur and Los Alamos National Laboratory.