Chemistry Major and Minor
The program in chemistry is designed to meet the needs of students who are pursuing chemistry as part of a pre-professional course or to increase their knowledge of the natural sciences.
Our program recognizes that chemistry as a discipline is a core science but is also intertwined with a number of other fields, including physics, biology and math/computer science. In fact, some of the most exciting areas in science today are found in the interdisciplinary fields of chemical physics, chemical biology, theoretical/computational chemistry, environmental studies and materials science.
Curriculum & Courses
Our curriculum is approved by the American Chemical Society and students can obtain an ACS-certified degree in chemistry by taking an additional course in physical chemistry, a full year of physics, and at least one semester of biochemistry.
Majors can also design a program that explores interdisciplinary areas such as chemical physics, computational chemistry, materials science, or biological chemistry. Many opt to pursue our Biochemistry and Biophysics Concentration, Scientific Computing Concentration, or an array of complementary minors.
The core required courses are:
- four semesters of introductory and organic chemistry: CHEM H111, CHEM H113 OR CHEM H115, CHEM H112 OR CHEM H114, CHEM H222, and CHEM H225.
- two semesters of advanced integrative chemistry laboratory (“Superlab”): CHEM H301 and CHEM H302.
- one semester of physical chemistry: CHEM H304 or CHEM H305.
- one semester of senior research tutorials: CHEM 36x or CHEM H380.
- two half-semester courses in inorganic chemistry: CHEM H320 and one of CHEM H351, CHEM H353, or CHEM H354.
- Senior Seminar: CHEM H391 (a half credit course over two semesters).
Chemistry majors must also complete:
- one semester of additional advanced chemistry courses numbered CHEM H304-CHEM H358.
- one semester of math (MATH H118 or above).
- two semesters of either introductory physics (PHYS H101/PHYS H102 or PHYS H105/PHYS H106) or biology (BIOL H200).
- Four semesters of introductory and organic chemistry: CHEM H111, CHEM H113 OR CHEM H115, CHEM H112 OR CHEM H114, CHEM H222, and CHEM H225.
- One semester of physical chemistry: CHEM H304 or CHEM H305.
- One semester of advanced chemistry chosen from courses numbered between CHEM H301 and CHEM H369.
Students must take at least three of the courses for the chemistry minor at Haverford College. The Senior Seminar (CHEM H391) is not required, but recommended.
Associated Programs and Concentrations
Research & Outreach
Research is a key piece of our program, and we are committed to providing compelling research opportunities at every level of the curriculum. Students can pursue our research–based courses and paid summer research internships with a faculty member. As seniors, majors participate in high-level research tutorial courses in which they engage in directed research on a particular topic under the guidance of a faculty member.
Student research culminates with the senior thesis, which is required of every major and is produced, along with an oral and poster presentation, over the course of senior year in conjunction with our Senior Seminar.
About 70% of our students present their work at meetings and 20% appear as a co-author on a peer-reviewed publication.
The chemistry major’s senior thesis research, conducted with chemistry faculty members Lou Charkoudian’03 and Casey Londergan, was recently published in Nature Communications.
For chemistry major and German minor Emma Bullock ‘19, the thesis process was all about improvisation and re-evaluation.
The chemistry major and environmental studies minor wrote her thesis on the impact of oil spills on the marine environment.
Trained as scientific thinkers and problem solvers, students graduate from our program prepared for careers in chemistry, biochemistry, engineering, medicine, law, business, and primary and secondary education, as well as many other fields.
Close to one third of majors go on to top-ranked graduate programs leading to a Ph.D., while another third enter medical school. The remaining third pursue jobs in a range of areas, including teaching, laboratory science, and information science.
Schwarz works on creating enterprise level safety, compliance, and training software for research institutions, including pharmaceutical companies, biotech organizations, and universities.
Tsai will be teaching English in Taiwan as the recipient of a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Grant.
Hosler shifted from academia to a career in science communication and outreach.
Birnholz was recently appointed crossword constructor for The Washington Post's Sunday edition—a gig that places him among the elite of newspaper criciverbalists.
Check out our other academic offerings: