Chemists (along with their partners, biochemists and chemical engineers) develop and use the materials, medicines, foods and fuels that are the hallmarks of modern life—and they also play a key role in understanding and protecting our natural environment.

As makers, measurers, and modelers, we engage with the natural world at the atomic and molecular scale and recognize the integral role of chemistry in everyday life. Our mission in the Lawrence chemistry department is to develop within ourselves, our students, and our community a transformative engagement with chemistry.

As an American Chemical Society certified chemistry major at Lawrence, you will develop analytical techniques, problem-solving strategies and critical thinking skills necessary for success in the physical, medical or life sciences through coursework and independent research opportunities. The American Chemical Society has approved our program, finding that we provide rigorous and comprehensive training that equips scientists to tackle a broad array of challenges. Our department of six faculty is large enough to ensure that all the major areas of chemistry are well-represented, yet small enough for you to build close working relationships with faculty members.

  • Reducing air pollution in your lifetime
  • Neuroscience and how your brain works
  • Developing synthetic medicines to combat tropical disease
  • Medical care for pets and other animals
  • Presenting your work at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society
  • Build an instrument to detect chemicals using Arduinos and small sensors
  • Teaching high school or college students
  • Technical sales and marketing
  • Becoming a doctor, dentist or other health professional


Life After Lawrence

Lawrentians can enjoy careers in...

Academic research, drug development, energy, engineering, secondary teaching, medicine, forensic science, veterinary medicine, dentistry, law, business, oceanography, public service

Recent employers include...

Cambridge Major Labs, MilliporeSigma, Thedacare Physicians, Illinois State Water Survey, ATRONA Metallurgical Lab Services, McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff LLP, Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica, Deloitte Consulting

Lawrentians can earn advanced degrees in...

chemistry, chemical engineering, chemical biology, food science, geochemistry, finance, law, medicine, neuroscience, law, management, business

Recent schools include...

Cornell, Michigan, Yale, Columbia, Michigan Tech, Iowa, Boston College, Colorado, Arizona, Denver, Wisconsin, Colorado School of Mines  

Engage with faculty in independent research

Work directly with faculty on independent research of your own or assist faculty with their research during the academic year or during the summer with a Lawrence University Research Fellowship. You will deepen skills and independence necessary to succeed in the workplace or in advanced study.

Love Organic

Talk with almost anyone who has taken organic chemistry and you will often hear howls and complaints. Not so at Lawrence, where Lawrentians (thanks to the enthusiasm of the faculty) actually share their professor’s love of the subject.

Develop a personal relationship with ARTEMIS

ARTEMIS is our Atmospheric Research Trailer for Environmental Monitoring and Interactive Science—a mobile platform with a solar panel to allow environmental monitoring on the road. Spend a weekend with ARTEMIS or an entire summer. (We trust you.)

Follow the path of a Nobel laureate

Lawrence chemistry graduate (and musician), Thomas Steitz, received the 2009 Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 2009. We’re not saying you would also win the Nobel Prize—but we’re also not saying you won’t.

Components of the Major

  • Principles of Chemistry I and II
  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry I and II
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Biochemistry I
  • Physical Chemistry I
  • Four chemistry electives (including an advanced physical chemistry course)

Course descriptions and more courses

The Chandler Senior Experience

The chemistry department’s Senior Experience consists of a series of three seminars: Perspectives on Chemistry, Chemical Literature and Senior Seminar which requires a presentation based on research.

Recent Senior Experiences include:


Toxins in our backyard: PCB analysis using GC-MS

Diving into the Barrel: Tracking pH and titratable acidity in mixed fermentations

Spectrophotometric analysis of iso alpha acids in beer

Medicinal chemistry: synthesis and screening of potential anti-malarial compounds

Alternative Treatments for Asthmatic Patients: Anti-IgE Activities Inhibited by Corticosteroids