What can I do with a chemistry degree from The College of Wooster?

Access to lab facilities, early research opportunities with faculty members and small classes at The College of Wooster give Chemistry majors lots of choices after graduation. Wooster is a national leader among private four-year undergraduate institutions when it comes to the number of graduates who go on to earn a Ph.D. in chemistry. Wooster ranks third among U.S. institutions where women doctorate recipients in chemistry earn bachelor’s degrees according to a 2019 report published by the Council of Independent Colleges and based on data from the National Center for Education Statistics and National Science Foundation. About 50% of our graduates go on to Ph.D. programs; another 20% enroll in medical or dental school. Other graduates are employed as teachers or work in labs for Merck, Eli Lilly & Co., Agilent and more.

Chemistry at  The College of Wooster

In addition to core courses, all students at The College of Wooster complete independent research under the guidance of a faculty mentor. This focused research project (of the student’s design) gives chemistry majors several semesters to develop research and presentation skills, culminating in a presentation to a faculty panel. Chemistry majors build professional skills for careers in the sciences, while also building critical thinking skills and expanding their perspectives through the variety of courses available at a small, private liberal arts college.


Faculty & Staff

Brett Baker

Brett Baker

Laboratory Coordinator, Chemistry; Instructor, Chemistry


Paul Bonvallet

Paul A. Bonvallet

Professor of Chemistry


Mary Cornelius

Mary Cornelius

Administrative Coordinator - Chemistry, BCMB


Paul Edmiston

Paul L. Edmiston

Theron L. Peterson and Dorothy R. Peterson Professor of Chemistry; Biochemistry and Molecular Biology


Jennifer Faust

Jennifer A. Faust

Assistant Professor and Department Chair of Chemistry


Karl Feierabend

Karl J. Feierabend

Associate Professor of Chemistry (On leave for AY 2023-24)


Kristin Feierabend

Kristin Feierabend

Stockroom Manager - Chemistry


Anna Gallo

Annastassia Gallo

Assistant Professor of Chemistry


Sara Martin

Sara E. S. Martin

Assistant Professor of Chemistry; Biochemistry and Molecular Biology


Jhony Mera

Electronics & Instrument Technician - Biology, Chemistry, Physics


Timothy Siegenthaler

Timothy Siegenthaler

Instrument and Lab Tech/Machinist - Biology, Chemistry, Earth Sciences, Physics


Mark Snider

Mark J. Snider

Robert E. Wilson Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Molecular Biology


Sarah Sobeck

Sarah J. Sobeck (Schmidtke)

Professor of Chemistry, Associate Dean for Experiential Learning


James West

James West

Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology; Biology; Chemistry


Latest Chemistry News

Jason Rosch ’01

Biology grad researches pathogens at St. Jude’s to develop new cures for childhood pneumonia

Jason Rosch ’01 initially chose The College of Wooster for its small class sizes, engaged faculty, and tight-knit community, as well as the emphasis […]

Campers at B-WISER

B-WISER summer camp inspires girls to pursue interests in science

The Buckeye Women in Science, Engineering, and Research (B-WISER) summer camp, an educational partnership of the Martha Holden Jennings Foundation and The College of […]

Image: Edmiston and Yubin Kim '24, a chemistry major, use Wooster's advancement mass spectrometer to study the chemicals in their samples.

Chemistry professor receives federal grant to study “forever chemicals”

Paul Edmiston, the Theron L. Peterson and Dorothy R. Peterson Professor of chemistry at The College of Wooster, received a $140,884 federal grant from […]

Rigoberto Hernandez

Chemistry Professor Rigoberto Hernandez to present Helen Murray Free Lecture on diversity in academia

The College of Wooster will welcome Rigoberto Hernandez, professor of chemistry at Johns Hopkins University, to present a public lecture on diversity and inclusion […]

More Chemistry Articles


Chemistry majors follow a curriculum informed by the American Chemical Society’s Committee on Professional Training comprised of courses across the major subdisciplines of chemistry.

The major requires completion of 15 course credits and room for electives and foundational courses in the liberal arts. Three semesters’ worth of work on Independent Study are factored into the major course of study.

View Courses


A minor in chemistry requires completion of six courses:

  • General Chemistry I
  • General Chemistry II
  • Organic Chemistry I
  • One of the following courses: Analytical Chemistry, Physical Chemistry I, Physical Chemistry II
  • Two Chemistry courses at the 200-level or above
View Courses

Independent Study

The College of Wooster is nationally recognized for its program of Independent Study, and for more than 50 years the College has required that every graduate complete a significant Independent Study project under the guidance of a faculty mentor. Chemistry majors begin identifying the project that will be the subject of their Independent Study thesis early in their junior year. Seniors set aside both semesters of their senior year to work on and deliver their projects.


Search the I.S. Database

Student Year I.S. Title Major 1 Major 2 Advisor
Please search to view results

Related Articles

Nosherwan Mughal head shot

Battling the Bloodsuckers: Examining the Expression of OBP23 in the Yellow Fever Mosquito

Name: Nosherwan Mughal Major: Biology Minor: Chemistry Advisor: Laura Sirot Aedes aegypti are notorious vectors that transmit deadly pathogens to humans. Odorant Binding Protein […]

Using Computational Methods to Study Changes in the Fundamental and Overtone NH Stretches due to Solvent Effects

Name: Sarah Mullen Major: Chemistry Minor: Mathematics Advisors: Dr. Karl Feierabend, Dr. Sarah Sobeck (second reader) Computational chemistry uses computer simulations to solve chemical […]

What’s in the Air: Characterization of Particulate Matter in Wooster, Ohio

Name: David DiGena-Segal Major: Chemistry Advisors: Jennifer A. Faust, Rebekah E. Gray, and Paul L. Edmiston Pesticides are commonly found environmental contaminants and health […]

Holly McAnlis head shot

Synthesis and Photophysical Evaluation of Porphyrin-Natural Product Hybrids for Use in Photodynamic Therapy

Name: Holly McAnlis Major: Chemistry Advisor: Dr. Paul Bonvallet Photodynamic therapy is a cancer treatment that involves dosing a patient with a drug molecule called a photosensitizer, […]


Approximately 50 percent of Wooster chemistry graduates enter Ph.D. programs in areas including chemistry, environmental science, biochemistry and epidemiology. Another 18 percent have gone on to health professional schools. Graduates in chemistry have won Fulbright Awards and have gone on to earn advanced degrees at some of the nation’s most prestigious research universities.

Related Articles

Jason Rosch ’01

Biology grad researches pathogens at St. Jude’s to develop new cures for childhood pneumonia

Jason Rosch ’01 initially chose The College of Wooster for its small class sizes, engaged faculty, and tight-knit community, as well as the emphasis […]

Dr. Diane Brown-Young ’87

Chemistry alumna combats high infant mortality rates as OB-GYN Physician

In 2020, of the 13,204 babies born in Cuyahoga County, 101 didn’t make it to their first birthday. The majority (73%) of these babies […]

Helen Murray Free attends the lecture of Madeleine Jacobs, president of Strategic Science and former executive director and chief executive officer of the American Chemical Society who spoke for the Helen Murray Free Endowed Lecture Series in 2016.

Alumna and renowned chemist Helen Murray Free dies at 98

Lecture, endowment honor legacy of Helen Murray Free at Wooster

Megan Cooper ’95

Chemistry alumna researches genetic sequencing of COVID-19 patients

Megan Cooper ’95 leads a research laboratory that is part of the international COVID Human Genetic Effort


The Helen Murray Free Endowed Lecture Series

Helen Murray FreeHelen Murray Free, a 1945 College of Wooster graduate and a pioneering scientist who was inducted into the National Inventor’s Hall of Fame in 2000, was honored with the inaugural Helen Murray Free Endowed Lecture, featuring Dr. Mary Lowe Good.

The lecture series was established by Helen’s children and endowed through the Al and Helen Free Foundation. Each year, this endowed fund brings a renowned chemical scientist to campus to interact with chemistry students at a technical level and present an all-college convocation on the contributions of science to the quality of life.

Free, whose research in clinical chemistry not only revolutionized diagnostic testing in the laboratory, but also in the home, developed the “dip-and-read” glucose tests for diabetics. She was awarded seven patents for her clinical diagnostic test inventions, and also helped to develop a product for diagnosing Hepatitis ‘A’ while working for Miles Laboratories. In addition, she provided invaluable leadership in the testing of newborn infants for genetic or metabolic disorders that might lead to mental retardation.

Throughout her career, Free has been an active advocate of science education. From 1987 to 1992, she chaired the American Chemical Society’s (ACS) National Chemistry Week Task Force. In 1980, she was chosen as one of Wooster’s Distinguished Alumni Award winners; in 1992 she received an honorary degree from Wooster; and in 1993 she was elected president of the American Chemical Society.

Free has authored more than 150 professional articles, and co-authored two widely used textbooks in the field. Her accomplishments have been recognized in a number of ways, including the awarding of the ACS Garvan Medal and the Professional Achievement Award in Nuclear Medicine from the American Society for Medical Technology, as well as the establishment of the ACS Helen M. Free Public Outreach Award.

Head shot of Rigoberto Hernandez

Thursday, February 23, 2023

Rigoberto Hernandez, Gompf Family Professor, Department of Chemistry and Professor, Departments of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, and Materials Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University; Director, Open Chemistry Collaborative in Diversity Equity (OXIDE)

  • Scientific Talk: “Spiral feedback between computation and experiment at the nano-bio interface”
    • 11:00 am in Lean Lecture Room, Wishart Hall (303 E. University St.)

Dr. Rigoberto Hernandez’s research area can be broadly classified as the theoretical and computational chemistry of systems far from equilibrium with applications to colloidal suspensions, liquid crystals, sustainable nanotechnologies, protein folding and rearrangement, autonomous computing machines, and energetic formulations. The work is presently supported by the NSF, DOE, and Sloan Foundation.

  • Public lecture:Managing Inclusive Excellence in Academia”
    • 7:30 pm Lean Lecture Room, Wishart Hall (303 E. University St.)

Both lectures are free and open to the public.

Biography: Dr. Hernandez is the recipient of a National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Award (1997), Research Corporation Cottrell Scholar Award (1999), the Alfred P. Sloan Fellow Award (2000), a Humboldt Research Fellowship (2006-07), the ACS Award for Encouraging Disadvantaged Students into Careers in the Chemical Sciences (2014), the CCR Diversity Award (2015), the RCSA Transformative Research and Exceptional Education (TREE) Award (2016), the Herty Medal (2017), the Stanley C. Israel Regional Award for Advancing Diversity in the Chemical Sciences (2018), and the RCSA IMPACT Award (2020). He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS, 2004), the American Chemical Society (ACS, 2010), the American Physical Society (APS, 2011), and the Royal Society of Chemistry (FRSC, 2020). He was a Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar in 2015-2016. He previously served as the District IV Director on the American Chemical Society Board of Directors (2014-2019). He currently serves on the Sloan MPHD Advisory Committee, and the AAAS Committee on Opportunities in Science (COOS).

Past Lecturers


Raychelle Burks, associate professor of chemistry at American University and a popular science communicator who has appeared on TV, in podcasts, and at large genre cons such as DragonCon and GreekGirlCon

  • Scientific Talk: llicit indications: colorimetric and fluorometric visualizations for forensic science
  • Public lecture: Monsters, Murder, and Marvel

Malika Jeffries-EL, Ph.D. associate dean, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, associate professor of chemistry and materials science and engineering, Boston University

  • Scientific Talk: Design and synthesis of organic electronic materials
  • Public lecture: Taking the Road Less Travelled: My Journey to the Ivory Tower


Geraldine (Geri) Richmond, Presidential Chair of Science and professor of chemistry, University of Oregon

  • Technical Lecture: Surf, Sink or Swim: Understanding Environmentally Important Processes at Water Surfaces
  • Public Lecture: The Importance of Global Scientific Engagement


Joseph S. Francisco, President’s Distinguished Professor, Department of Earth and Environmental Science, University of Pennsylvania

  • Technical Lecture: From Atmospheric Complexes to Aerosols: New Insights into Atmospheric Chemistry
  • Public Lecture: How We Can Rebuild Trust in Science— And Why We Must


Bassam Z. Shakhashiri,The William T. Evjue Distinguished Chair for the Wisconsin Idea, Department of Chemistry; Director, Wisconsin Initiative for Science Literacy, University of Wisconsin-Madison; President, the American Chemical Society, 2012.

  • Technical Lecture: Science and Society: Our Opportunities and Responsibilities
  • Public Lecture: Science Is Fun and The Joy of Learning


Madeleine Jacobs,President & CEO, Council of Scientific Society Presidents, Former Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the American Chemical Society.

  • Morning Lecture: Ten Lessons of a Lifetime of Science
  • Evening Lecture: The Two Cultures, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance


Ned Heindel, H.S. Bunn Chair Professor of Chemistry at Lehigh University and a consultant on drug development for Azevan Pharmaceuticals.


Paul Anderson, Retired Senior Vice President of chemical and physical sciences for the DuPont-Merck Pharmaceuticals Company.


Susan Solomon, Ellen Swallow Richards Professor of Atmospheric Chemistry and Climate Science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

2012 Fall:

Sam Niedbala, Professor of practice in the Chemistry Department at Lehigh University and CEO of DeTect Biosciences LLC.

2012  Spring:

Catherine Hunt, R&D Director of Innovation Sourcing and Sustainable Technologies at The Dow Chemical Company.


Lab Facilities

The Department of Chemistry has a wide array of state-of-the-art instrumentation. All of the instruments are intended for use by students in teaching labs and Senior Independent Study.

Two recent acquisitions include a high-resolution quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometer and a 400-MHz nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectrometer. Both instruments were obtained via grants from the National Science Foundation.

Read more about the NMR grant

Some of our instrumentation includes the following:

  • High resolution Q-TOF mass spectrometer
  • NMR spectrometer (400 MHz)
  • LC-MS/MS QQQ mass spectrometer
  • GC-mass spectrometer
  • High pressure liquid chromatographs
  • Isothermal titration calorimeter
  • IR spectrophotometers, including ATR + microscope attachment
  • UV-VIS spectrophotometers
  • Time-resolved fluorescence spectrophotometer
  • Atomic absorption spectrophotometer
  • Schlenk lines, dry glove box, high vacuum systems
  • Imaging microscopy (inverted microscopy)
  • Automated flash chromatography system
  • And more…