Our Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry offers flexible and interdisciplinary coursework within the foundational fields of analytical, inorganic, organic, and physical chemistry.


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Teaching is serious business for our faculty, who treat students as individuals and use a variety of teaching techniques to help them think productively and critically—in the classroom and in the laboratory. Our faculty members are active in research and often include students in their work. They receive numerous grants that support their research and acquire modern instrumentation.

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Department Overview

Current. Foundational. Flexible. Interdisciplinary. Experiential. Rigorous. Collaborative.

These are a few of the strengths of Oberlin’s chemistry and biochemistry program, which is accredited by the American Chemical Society.

Our chemistry program offers flexible and interdisciplinary coursework within the foundational fields of analytical, inorganic, organic, and physical chemistry. Our biochemistry program offers excellent training and coursework in biochemistry, cell and molecular biology, and bioorganic chemistry. In addition, in the course of fulfilling the biochemistry major, students simultaneously fulfill all of the science coursework required by medical schools.

The Oberlin College Science Center, a comprehensive state-of-the-art building, has classroom and instructional research facilities for up to 45 student researchers in biology, 30 in chemistry, and 15 in neuroscience. The space is ideal for faculty-student research, which ranges from bioorganic chemistry to atmospheric chemistry, photochemistry to catalysis research, materials chemistry to peptide structure, and cancer biochemistry to natural products research.

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Curriculum Overview

Hands-on research is an essential component of the chemistry and biochemistry program. Students work alongside faculty as junior colleagues on research projects and as coauthors on research publications. You will develop critical and analytical thinking skills as you apply the knowledge and skills from your formal coursework to cutting-edge research problems.

Our faculty members receive numerous grants to support their research and to acquire modern instrumentation. Most majors participate in undergraduate research, which is characterized by one-on-one instruction and strong mentoring. Summer internships and research projects on and off campus, and winter-term projects enhance the academic experience.

While chemistry and biochemistry are well established disciplines, in recent years, the program has become more interdisciplinary, offering courses in environmental chemistry, chemical biology, materials chemistry, structural biology, and bioanalytical chemistry. Some introductory courses are specially designed for non-major students. We encourage majors to take additional science and mathematics courses, particularly if graduate school is in your future.

Our graduates are well prepared to enter medical or graduate study or to directly pursue careers in education and in the chemical or pharmaceutical industry. Graduates work in such professions as medicine, education, patent law, business, environmental science, pharmacology, toxicology, and geochemistry, among others.

Upcoming Chemistry / Biochemistry Events

Chemistry / Biochemistry News

smiling woman standing in a science lab

Chemistry and Conservation

March 8, 2017
Noalle Fellah ’16 is combining her passion for art history and chemistry as she pursues a PhD at New York University.

New Instruments Bolster Science Research Capabilities

February 17, 2017
This January, through a combination of charitable gifts and funds from the college, the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry acquired two new instruments that will greatly enhance teaching and research in many areas of chemistry and biochemistry, including environmental and forensic analysis, biochemical and peptide/protein studies, and synthesis of new bioorganic and organic compounds.

Sprinting to Success

January 6, 2017
Sarel Loewus '16, former captain of Oberlin women's track and field and cross country teams, is pursuing a PhD in biochemistry at the University of Pittsburgh.