The chemistry curriculum offers a number of degree options for students who wish to concentrate in chemistry. An A.B. in chemistry, with or without American Chemical Society (ACS) certification, a correlate sequence (minor) in chemistry, and an A.B. in biochemistry are all options. Courses offered by the department also satisfy requirements for the Environmental Studies major.
Throughout the chemistry curriculum, lecture and laboratory courses are taught in conjunction with one another, and students are encouraged and expected to use sophisticated instrumentation at all levels of the curriculum. The department strongly believes in the value of the undergraduate research experience, and therefore provides research opportunities for credit at all levels of the curriculum. A senior thesis based upon a student’s indpendent research project is required of all chemistry majors.
Chemistry majors from all classes form our Majors Committee which plays a vital role in the department, with responsibilities ranging from organizing our annual end-of-year picnic to planning and conducting outreach activities during National Chemistry Week to distributing and collating majors’ evaluations of the faculty. Majors Committee meetings are generally held every other Friday at 1:00 pm in the Chemistry Faculty Lounge. The Majors Committee chair announces meetings via email.
Another extremely important role of the majors is to serve as chemistry tutors and laboratory interns in the General Chemistry and Organic Chemistry laboratory courses. The laboratory interns assist the regular instructor in the teaching of the laboratory section. Some chemistry majors, as well as other interested chemistry students, are active in Vassar’s student affiliates chapter of the American Chemical Society.
The number of students who graduate from Vassar with a major in chemistry ranges from five to twelve students each year. Approximately the same number of students also obtain a degree in biochemistry.