Chemistry is a “central science” because a foundation of chemistry is essential for a comprehensive understanding of other science disciplines.  The principles and techniques of chemistry are increasingly transforming the fields of biology, medicine, engineering and materials science to name a few.  The Chemistry major provides the student with a rigorous introduction to chemistry.  The course offerings are purposely broad in scope since the chemistry discipline itself represents a wide range of sub-disciplines including the areas of organic chemistry, inorganic chemistry, analytical chemistry, physical chemistry and biochemistry.  This major is offered in the context of a Catholic liberal arts institution in practice as well as in name. Students receive excellent preparation for graduate studies and careers in the sciences, while being well-formed in the Catholic moral, theological, and philosophical tradition.

Explore the Chemistry Program

The major consists of a set of foundational courses recommended by the American Chemical Society combined with the opportunity to take several focused, advanced elective courses in the student’s particular area of interest.  Mentored by faculty members with lively research agendas in the field, students are provided with valuable lab experience as they acquire an introduction to the scientific method in a challenging research environment.  Department faculty work closely with students to help them discern and successfully pursue their long-term career goals.

The major in Chemistry consists of 60 credits.  Forty-eight credits are required foundational courses; twelve credits are advanced elective courses.

Required courses (48 credits):

  • CHEM 125 General Chemistry I
  • CHEM 126 General Chemistry II
  • CHEM 221 Organic Chemistry I
  • CHEM 222 Organic Chemistry II
  • CHEM 231 Inorganic Chemistry
  • CHEM 301 Introductory Biochemistry or BICM 305 Biochemistry I: Structure, Mechanism and Metabolism
  • CHEM 332 Analytical Chemistry
  • CHEM 352 Physical Chemistry
  • MATH 151 Calculus I
  • MATH 250 Calculus II
  • MATH 252 Ordinary Differential Equations or STAT 230 Applied Statistics or MATH 231 Mathematical Statistics and Design of Experiments (MATH 252 and STAT 230 or MATH 231 are recommended)
  • PHYS 221 University Physics: Mechanics
  • PHYS 222 University Physics: Materials

Elective courses (12 credits required)

  • CHEM 297 Directed Research (Does not count towards 12 credits required.)
  • CHEM 415 Chemistry Module (2 credits)
  • Possible Topics Include:
    • Organic Synthesis of Natural Products
    • Polymer Chemistry
    • Bio-organic Chemistry
    • Medicinal Chemistry
    • Chemical Modeling
    • Advanced Spectroscopy
  • CHEM 429 Advanced Organic Chemistry
  • CHEM 442 Advanced Inorganic Chemistry
  • CHEM 455 Advanced Physical Chemistry
  • CHEM 495 Directed Research I
  • CHEM 496 Directed Research II
  • PHYS 321 Modern Physics

See the Academic Catalogue for course descriptions

The following major equipment is available for research and teaching activities.


Cary Eclipse fluorescence spectrophotometer with 96-well plate reader accessory

Cary 50 UV-Vis spectrophotometer with stopped-flow module accessory

Perkin Elmer RX-I Infrared spectrophotometer

Anasazi FT-NMR spectrometer

Proton and carbon probes

GE Storm Fluorescent Gel Imager and Phosphorimager

Beckman LS 6000SC Liquid Scintillation Counter

Molecular Biology

Syngene GeneFlash and GeneGnome gel documentation stations

UVP Ultraviolet Crosslinker and blot hybridization incubator

New Brunswick Inova and G25 Incubator/shakers

PCR thermocycler (several)

Revco ultra-cold freezer

Motic high-resolution dissecting scopes

VanGuard 1400FL Series fluorescent microscope with high resolution camera

Savant DNA Speedvac

Plant grow carts


Sorvall RC5C PLUS superspeed refrigerated centrifuge

Beckman L8-80M ultracentrifuge


Varian CP-3800 capillary gas chromatograph

HP-Agilent GC-Mass Spectrometer ***NEW 9/09***

BioRad Biologic chromatography system

Computer Resources

Macintosh computer lab with G5 server

Wavefunction Spartan 06 software for molecular mechanics and quantum chemical modeling

Chemical Abstracts SciFinder Scholar Database access with structure search module

Building Facilities

Dark room

Cold room

Media prep room

Amsco Renaissance Series autoclave

Fully equipped research-dedicated labs for biological and chemical research

Tony Barbosa, Ph.D.

Chair of the Chemistry and Physics Department, Assistant Professor of Chemistry
Education: B.S., Chemistry, Providence College; M.S., Organic Chemistry, University of Rochester; Ph.D., Organic Chemistry, University of Rochester
Office: Henkels 3050
Phone: (239) 280-1584

Patrick Hillesheim, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Chemistry 
Education: B.S., Chemistry, North Caroline State University; Ph.D., Inorganic Chemistry, University of Florida B.S., Chemistry, North Caroline State University
Office: Henkels 2049
Phone: (239) 280-1528

Stephen Thong, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Chemistry 
Education: B.Sc., Chemistry, Bowling Green State University; M.Sc., Chemistry, Northwestern University; Ph.D., Chemistry, Northwestern University
Office: AB 3048
Phone: (239) 304-7940

James Vranish, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Chemistry
Education: B.S., Biochemistry, University of Notre Dame; Ph.D., Biochemistry & Biophysics, Texas A&M
Office: Henkel’s 3053
Phone: (239) 280-1607