Chemistry and Biochemistry

Engaged Chemistry and Biochemistry

Engaged Chemistry and Biochemistry takes what you’re learning in your courses and puts it into practice through internships, research, study away, winter term, career exploration, and beyond.

Here’s a sampling of recent projects, field experiences, and post-graduate destinations for chemistry and biochemistry majors.

RISE at Oberlin
Research. Internships. Study Away. Experiential Learning.

Ways Chemistry and Biochemistry Majors Rise


  • 75% of Chemistry & Biochemistry majors participate in on-campus research, on topics such as air pollution, antibiotic resistance, biological probes, biomaterials, co-crystals, and neurochemistry.
  • Research experience may be gained at Oberlin through a winter-term project or during the academic year (for credit) or during the summer (for a stipend); research involves working closely with a faculty mentor.
  • During the academic year, honors students and research students are active in faculty laboratories.
  • Students have opportunities to present their research at local, regional, national, and international conferences.
  • Faculty and students often publish the results of their research together, giving students experience with the important final step in the research process: sharing the findings with the larger scientific community.
  • Research experience may also be gained off-campus, through internships and summer research programs.


Many students participate in Research Experience for Undergraduate (REU) summer programs, such as:

  • Virginia Institute of Marine Science, researching nutrient cycling and salinity release
  • Harvard University, developing microfluidic devices to study the gut microbiome
  • Cornell Center for Materials Research, Cornell University, performing electroorganic synthesis

Study Away

  • Maastricht University: Public Health & Medicine in Europe, Netherlands
  • Dresden Science Program, Germany
  • Institute for Study Abroad-Butler University, New Zealand

Experiential Learning

  • Several laboratory classes include Course-based Undergraduate Research Experiences that bring authentic research into the laboratory curriculum.
  • Each semester, chemistry & biochemistry department offers four to six research seminars by distinguished chemical scientists from around the country. These seminars and opportunities to meet with speakers provide a window into cutting-edge research in chemistry, biochemistry, and related fields such as art conservation, as well as educational and employment opportunities after Oberlin.
  • 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, law, business, environmental science, pharmacology, toxicology, and geochemistry, among others.

First Destinations of Recent Chemistry and Biochemistry Majors

  • Graduate and Medical Schools:
    • Harvard University
    • Caltech
    • University of Michigan
    • University of Pennsylvania,
    • University of Washington
    • Stanford University
    • MIT
    • UC Berkeley
    • University of Wisconsin
    • Columbia University
  • Positions:
    • Manufacturing chemist at Materia, Inc., Calif.
    • Assistant distiller, District Distilling Co., Washington, D.C.
    • Research scientist I, Gilead Sciences, Calif.
    • USDA Future Needs Fellow, Amherst, Mass.
    • Investigator, New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board
    • Chemistry teacher, Portland Public Schools
    • Research intern, Cleveland Clinic
    • Research assistant, University of Hawaii
    • Admissions counselor, Oberlin College