The Virginia Commonwealth University Department of Chemistry has 24 faculty members, approximately 60 graduate students and nearly 400 undergraduate chemistry majors.
The department brings in more than $4 million annually in research and educational grants.
The department offers full-time undergraduate programs leading to the Bachelor of Science. The degree concentrations allow students to focus on different aspects of chemistry, depending on their specific interests. The concentrations include chemical science, professional chemist, professional chemist with honors, chemical modeling and biochemistry.
The department also offers full- and part-time graduate programs leading to the Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in analytical, inorganic, organic and physical chemistry and to the doctoral degree in chemical physics. A wide range of graduate courses is offered; the courses are small in size and personal in nature.
The recent addition of new faculty, new laboratories and the acquisition of new instrumentation provide a firm basis for continued excellence in both teaching and research. A program of studies is tailored to the individual student and is designed to provide a sound background in all areas of chemistry, with emphasis on the student's area of research. The low student-to-faculty ratio ensures that each student receives personal attention.
An important and distinctive feature of the department is close interaction between faculty and students. This interaction, in an active and friendly environment, is designed to promote scholarship, develop experimental ability and stimulate creative thought. Students work side by side with faculty members in small research groups. They are encouraged to present the results of their research at regional and national meetings of the American Chemical Society and other professional organizations.
The department is committed to excellence in both research and teaching. Its 18 full-time faculty actively conduct research in the areas of analytical, inorganic, organic, physical, and polymer chemistry and, in cooperation with the Department of Physics, chemical physics. Faculty members have received training and experience at leading universities, industrial laboratories and national research laboratories. Their excellent and diverse backgrounds ensure a graduate program of quality and balance, one that can meet the varied needs of future professionals. John B. Fenn, Nobel Laureate 2002, is a member of the Department of Chemistry faculty.
Scholarships available to chemistry majors include the Bass Scholarship, the Ingraham Scholarship, the Chemistry Merit Scholarship and the Honors Program Scholarship.
State-of-the-art instrumentation used by faculty, graduate students and undergraduate students in courses and research includes magnetic resonance spectroscopy, infrared, uv-vis, and fluorescence spectroscopy, mass spectrometry and liquid and gas chromatography.
A weekly seminar program brings distinguished speakers to the department from academia and industry. Arrangements are made for the speakers to meet with students to discuss research and other topics. The program results in graduates well-prepared for careers in industry, academics and national research laboratories.
Mary E. Kapp Lecture
In addition to the regular seminar program, the annual Mary E. Kapp Lecture in Chemistry brings a chemist of international reputation to the department for a two-day visit. This lecture honors Kapp, the first chairman of the department, who guided the department through its formative years. Kapp established an endowment for the department from her estate. This endowment, in excess of $3.5 million, was established specifically to support the graduate program in chemistry. It is currently used to fund the seminar program, assistantships for doctoral candidates, and graduate student travel to scientific meetings where they present papers.