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Undergraduate Chemistry

Program Highlights

The Department of Chemistry at Penn State offers a superior undergraduate program.

Chemistry is a relatively small major within the Eberly College of Science; we graduate between 40 to 50 students per year. Students are able to be placed into major-specific courses as early as their Freshman year. Chemistry majors have access to world-class laboratory facilities in Whitmore, which was recently renovated. From freshman through senior year, the chemistry laboratory curriculum emphasizes real-world training through project-based courses as well as hands-on use of research-grade instrumentation. Lecture courses are continuously innovating the chemistry curriculum to emphasize collaborative learning and chemistry-in-context. Finally, the Department of Chemistry is full of dedicated and passionate faculty members that are committed to creating a quality undergraduate chemistry program for our majors! Continue reading to find out why chemistry is right for you!

Program Goals

  1. Students will acquire a foundation in chemistry of sufficient breadth and depth to integrate and apply knowledge across chemical subdisciplines.
  2. Students will develop analytical reasoning and problem solving skills required for the pursuit of scientific research.
  3. Students will retrieve, read, and incorporate information from the chemical literature in various media forms.
  4. Students will demonstrate the necessary laboratory skills to design and safely conduct experiments and to accurately document and interpret experimental data.
  5. Students will develop the ability to communicate scientific information in written and oral form using an appropriate scientific style.
  6. Students will conduct themselves in a professional, ethical, and productive manner when working independently or in a team setting.
  7. Students will recognize the interdisciplinary nature of chemistry and its impact on society and the environment.
  8. Students will explore traditional and nontraditional career paths in chemistry and related fields.





Penn State brings chemistry to life with a team of dedicated faculty committed to excellence. Chemistry classrooms feature the latest teaching techniques and dynamic teaching teams, including teaching and learning assistants. 




Undergraduates enjoy world-class laboratory facilities in Whitmore, which recently underwent a $34 million renovation. The undergraduate lab space features dedicated general chemistry, organic chemistry, and analytical/physical chemistry labs, an organic chemistry instrument room, and new studying facilities. 



What to Expect during your.....


First Year


Experience innovative general chemistry lecture curricula that stresses collaborative learning! Larger classes feel smaller with the integration of Learning Assistants in almost all lecture courses.




Lecture demonstrations bring chemistry to life during class; they are made possible by a dedicated lecture demonstration team.




Specialized general chemistry lecture and laboratory courses put chemistry into context.  Learn chemistry by seeing connections to biology, environmental science, materials science, and food chemistry!



Second Year


Organic Chemistry Lab (Chem 213M) cohorts chemistry majors together in a project-based lab experience.  The second floor of Whitmore offers a dedicated majors-only, research-grade organic lab space.




Organic chemistry laboratory students have access to a dedicated organic instrumentation room.  Our program offers students the hands-on use of modern instrumentation such as NMR, IR, GC, and GC-MS.




Analytical Chemistry (Chem 227) is an integrated lecture/lab course.  This course provides students with  comprehensive exposure to sample preparation techniques and methods used in biotech, environmental, forensic, and pharmaceutical laboratories.



Third Year and Beyond


Our Physical Chemistry Laboratory (Chem 457) is a project-based lab course.  Chemistry majors are placed in a special section and have access to over $1 Million dollars of research-grade instrumentation.




The Chemistry Department offers a large variety of 400-level lecture courses for students to specialize their degree. 

Take advantage of a nationally ranked Chemistry research program - numerous research opportunities help prepare students for success after graduation. 



advanced labs

Chemistry majors can choose from FOUR 400-level capstone chemistry lab courses in either organic chemistry, analytical chemistry, or physical chemistry. The goals of each lab experience are to provide students with the skill set and knowledge base necessary to be competitive for positions in industry or to be successful in graduate school.