Gustav H. Carlson School of Chemistry

Student and professor in lab

Undergraduate Program

Chemistry is the study of matter and its changes, including the relationship between the chemical and physical properties of the substance. It encompasses all materials from molecular structures and nanoparticles to DNA and high performance carbon fiber composites.

Students working in lab

Clark is a small research university that combines active Ph.D. programs with a liberal arts education for undergraduates. This combination of small size and active research provides an ideal environment for undergraduates to participate in original experimental research. The chemistry department has a variety of research programs, many of which are currently funded by grants.

Choose Your Track

The Carlson School of Chemistry and Biochemistry offers undergraduates the choice of two tracks leading to a B.A. in Chemistry. The requirements for the two tracks are designed to allow students to choose their course work depending upon their ultimate career goals.

ACS (American Chemical Society)-Certified Track

Recommended for those students with a strong interest in chemistry and a desire to continue to a profession in the chemical sciences. It meets the entrance requirements for graduate study in chemistry.

Standard Track

This track offers more latitude in course selection and is appropriate for those students with an interest in chemistry, but who plan to continue in one of the health professions (medical, dental, veterinary school), public school teaching, technical sales, and other chemistry-related fields.

Courses and Labs

Courses

The recommended courses for the two tracks are the same for the first two semesters, so students do not need to decide until the spring of their sophomore year. Chemistry 101 and 102 or Chemistry 103 are prerequisites for all other chemistry courses. Following Chem 101 and 102 or 103, students normally take 100-level courses. Juniors and seniors may take 200 or 300-level courses provided that they have passed the prerequisites and/or have the permission of the instructor. For 300-level courses, the approval of the Dean of the Graduate School is also required.

More detailed information about course selection for the major and minor can be found under "Programs and Courses". Additional suggestions for course planning can be found here.

Labs

Almost all chemistry courses have laboratory work associated with them. These usually involve a one four-hour afternoon session per week when experiments are performed, some reading preparation, plus some time to write up lab reports. Most labs are supervised by TAs (teaching assistants) as well as faculty.

Tutoring

Tutoring is available when needed. Please email Ernest Krygier at ekrygier@clarku.edu).

Engage in research with faculty

Although the department is small, with ten full-time faculty members, the research interests of the faculty are diverse, and opportunities for research in most of the important areas of chemistry are available. The rare combination of a small department and an active faculty with many and varied research interests offers the student a unique opportunity for an intellectually stimulating program in a close and friendly setting.

For many undergraduates, the opportunity to conduct research in an active laboratory is the defining experience of their degree program. Research demonstrates real-world applications of classroom knowledge and skills, develops independent thinking, and provides valuable experience to those considering a career in industry or continuing studies in medical or graduate schools.

The chemistry program at Clark will allow you to take part in advanced scholarship and research as early as your first year. You can choose a traditional program of inorganic, organic, analytical, or physical chemistry, or pursue one of our interdisciplinary programs which include biochemistry and molecular biology, and materials science.

As an undergraduate chemistry student, you might

  • Work on the aggregation of amyloid fibers (a proposed cause of Alzheimer's and other amyloid diseases) with Professor Sharon Huo.
  • Study mesoporous materials for use as catalysts with Professor Luis Smith.
  • Assist Professor Fred Greenaway with his study of copper-containing enzymes.
  • Research "designer" magnets with Professors Mark Turbull and Chris Landee (Physics).
  • Investigate the coming together of rogue proteins associated with human disease in Professor Noel Lazo's laboratory.

Research facilities
Because of our strong commitment to research, the department has been able to acquire specialized research equipment normally found only in much larger departments. Much of this equipment is physically located in the Sackler Sciences Center; however, the department also has ready access to a considerable amount of additional equipment at affiliated institutions in the greater Worcester area, mainly at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center and the Worcester Art Museum. More information.

Graduate study in chemistry or teaching

Clark's innovative Accelerated B.A./Master's Degree Program allows qualified students who develop strong research interests the opportunity to integrate undergraduate and graduate-level study to earn a master of science degree in chemistry with the fifth year tuition-free. Students thinking about a career teaching science might be interested in the Accelerated B.A./M.A.T. program, as well as the Noyce Teacher Scholarship.