About the programs
- Augustana College offers a major and minor in chemistry, a major and minor in biochemistry, and a major for teaching chemistry. The program is nationally accredited by the American Chemical Society.
With Old Main in the background, a student works in the Science Building.
- Eight of the nine full-time faculty hold the Ph.D.; all are active in research and teach laboratory sessions. Pamela Trotter holds the Robert W. Beart Chair in Chemistry, an endowed position that supports her collaboration with students in research and preparations for presenting at conferences.
- One chemistry faculty member also advises Augustana's pre-pharmacy program, a degree program typically requiring two years of study at an undergraduate school followed by fours years at an accredited school of pharmacy. The curriculum for Augustana's program focuses on chemistry, biology, mathematics, physics and coursework to build a strong liberal arts foundation. The acceptance rate of Augustana students into pharmacy schools has been 95 percent over the past five years.
- The chemistry department's close proximity to other departments in the Science Building -- biology and physics -- supports a great deal of interdisciplinary study and research in the sciences. Five laboratories are dedicated to undergraduate research in chemistry, including the new and extensive Guehler biochemistry laboratory.
- Special equipment includes a 400 MHz liquid- and solid-state NMR spectrometer, scanning electron microscope and instrumentation for X-ray powder crystallography.
Outside the classroom
- Given the nature of the discipline and the devotion of the faculty to collaborative research, Augustana's chemistry students are heavily involved in research both in and out of the classroom, during the academic year and in the summer. Grants are available for on- and off-campus student research.
- Senior Inquiry --a capstone experience for all Augustana students -- is the focal research experience for chemistry majors. The multiple-part process includes laboratory research on campus or 8-10 weeks performing research at another institution during the summer before the senior year.
- Many chemistry and biochemistry majors attend and present at regional and national conferences. Recent examples include the Argonne Undergraduate Research Symposium at the nearby Argonne National Laboratories, the Midstates Consortium for Math and Science Undergraduate Research Symposium, the annual Sigma Xi meeting, and the annual meeting of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.
- Augustana's more than 150 campus organizations provide opportunities for comaraderie, professional preparation and dynamic interchange for like minds on campus. Students of chemistry often participate in the college's student-affiliate chapter of the American Chemical Society, which has won awards from the national chapter each year for the past five years.
- Besides educating chemists and biochemists, the department is committed to educating students who need a chemistry background to complete other majors and programs, including pre-medicine, pre-dentistry, pre-veterinary medicine, pre-pharmacy, pre-physical therapy, biology, geology and environmental studies.
- Over the past 25 years, more than 65 percent Augustana's chemistry graduates have chosen to continue their studies at major universities, with graduate school placement at virtually 100 percent.
What students say
Christoper Kassl '09, chemistry and German majors:
"I have always been a firm believer in the axiom, ‘Attitude is everything.' When I came to Augustana, instead of being assimilated into a massive and faceless student body, I found an administration that seemed overjoyed that I would be lending my own talents and personality to a uniquely integrated community. The chemistry program afforded me the opportunity to work with a talented, experienced and approachable faculty and to test my capacity as an independent researcher on several projects of my own inspiration. The liberal studies program has enabled me to step outside the arena of the concrete and quantitative into a world of abstraction, metaphor, insight and intuition, something for which I am very thankful. The magnitude of professional potential and personal attainment offered at Augustana College showcases a unique experience whose like cannot be compared with any other institution."
Sam Alvarado '10, chemistry major:
"Chemistry is a hands-on discipline, and the opportunities at Augustana allow students to roll up their sleeves and delve into the science. In my own experiences, I have been able to be a laboratory proctor and tutor, use research-grade instruments that undergrads may not get to use at other colleges or universities, and work closely with professors on their research. The faculty is not there to just get students through the classes, but to encourage them to build on the things they've learned and apply them to new questions; they're willing to do what it takes for students to succeed. Seeing the big picture is important, and learning the science of chemistry along with other liberal arts classes lets me see a big picture indeed."
Deidre Leist '09, biochemistry, biology and pre-medicine majors; classics and chemistry minors:
"When it came to choosing an undergraduate institution, Augustana College could not have been a more perfect match. Augustana prides itself on individualized instruction from professors, and that is exactly what I have experienced. This personal connection between faculty and students provides endless opportunities for learning experiences. I had the incredible opportunity of conducting research under my biochemistry advisor for not one but two summers. I watched myself grow not only as a student but also as an individual as I presented my research findings among my peers and participated in research seminars at Washington University's School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri. The fact that Augustana is a liberal arts school has also allowed me to seek out my interests in areas other than the sciences. At no other place could I study abroad in Europe for a trimester, have three majors, two minors, and still graduate on time."