Chemistry Department

Chemistry Department

Why Union?

The Union College Chemistry Department, certified by the American Chemical Society, offers small classes and laboratory settings. Our faculty members are dedicated teachers with a wide range of expertise in everything from organic and inorganic chemistry to analytical, forensic and environmental chemistry.

At Union, you will enjoy extraordinary opportunities for research. In addition to participating in the campus wide Steinmetz Research Symposium, many students present at national and regional conferences. Students also can get involved in summer research with faculty mentors; some 30-40 summer research fellowships in chemistry are awarded each year.

There are many assets of the Chemistry Department at Union College:

  • Our small class and laboratory sizes which allow for close interaction between students and faculty.
  • Our excellent collection of chemical instrumentation which can be used in laboratory teaching and for research.
  • Access to the IBM cluster for high performance computing.
  • Our strong tradition of student-faculty research leading to publications in well-recognized journals and presentations at national and regional conferences. This research occurs both during the academic year and during the summer.
  • Our location within a liberal arts college, allowing our chemistry and biochemistry majors to explore their interests in areas such as arts, classics, history, economics, and many others.
  • Union’s strong tradition of terms abroad experiences, of which the majority of our majors take advantage.
  • Our national award-winning Chemistry Club which sponsors plant tours, attendance at monthly professional society meetings, and social events.
  • The opportunity for students to do internships at local chemical and technical firms

A recent survey showed that 100% of the 70 students who graduated in the past 5 years with a Chemistry or Biochemistry major were either employed or enrolled in graduate or medical school. Here is a summary of their current status:

  • 14% enrolled in MD or DO programs
  • 10% enrolled in other health-related graduate programs
  • 24% enrolled in graduate school in chemistry or biochemistry
  • 16% enrolled in graduate school in other programs such as law, educational studies or MBA
  • 36% went directly to employment, mainly in chemical or biotechnology corporations

Our facilities and equipment

Our facilities and instrumentation are top-notch. Major instruments available to undergraduates include: a 400 MHz nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer, research-grade mass spectrometers, liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry, thermogravimetric analyzer, scanning electron microscope, atomic absorption spectrometer, voltammetric analyzer, atomic force microscope, IR and Raman microscopes and much more.

In addition, the Peter Irving Wold Center is home to the Aerogel Fabrication, Characterization and Applications Lab, an interdisciplinary facility for faculty and student researchers in chemistry and mechanical engineering that includes state-of-the-art instrumentation.

Your goals, our approach

Beyond campus, many majors go on Union’s Sicily term abroad, where they engage in research projects with scientists and graduate students at the National Research Council in Palermo. Others hold internships at local chemical and technical firms. Our national award-winning Chemistry Club is involved in numerous activities, including professional society meetings and volunteer work at local schools.

Union students who graduate with a major in chemistry enroll in medical school or other health-related graduate programs, and go on to further study and careers in business, education and law. About a third of our graduates go directly to jobs in chemical or biotechnology corporations.