Chemistry

Chemistry Department

Chemistry at Western is designed to provide a foundation in the major themes of modern chemistry as applied to the natural, industrial and commercial worlds. This foundation allows for advanced studies in a wide range of research areas, from materials to energy, synthesis, biology, and biochemistry.

What You’ll Learn

A degree in chemistry at Western means learning the tools and techniques of chemistry along with the theoretical background required to interpret experimental results and develop new reaction pathways and compounds. The broad range of knowledge acquired and the numeracy, deductive and inductive skills secured are key in the development of our career-ready graduates (testimonial).

Careers

In addition to the option if entering professional areas such as finance, law, medicine, business and teaching, options for Chemistry graduates includes research in government, industry and academic laboratories; process development and control work; detection and characterization of trace substances; and technical sales and service.

Distinguishing Features

Community Mentorship

Explore Chemistry is a mentorship initiative designed to help first-year science students explore their interest in the discipline. Participants are paired with senior students early in the fall term to get a sneak preview of the Chemistry experience. They are invited to meet with and learn from industry guest speakers and later in the year shadow a fourth-year student engaged in their honors thesis research in the lab.

Facilities Tailored for Optimal Learning

Our first-year labs are flooded with natural light, offer large workstations designed to support learning collaborations and are fitted with computer-controlled modular equipment to simulate an authentic lab environment found in government and industry.

Professional Development

Chemistry students are highly sought interns in industry and government. The Science Internship Program facilitates discipline-relevant placements for 8 to 16 months. Those students completing a senior thesis project also acquire both research and corporate skills, in particular in their preparation for mock interviews with representatives from our alumni and industry community.

Authentic Learning

Part of becoming a professional chemist involves gaining hands-on research experience, preparing technical manuscripts and presenting posters at discipline-specific conferences. On average, 25 chemistry students secure summer research positions with the department each year. All of our students acquire experience in poster development and presentation in analytical chemistry, while students in the Undergraduate Thesis course routinely participate in the annual Southwestern Ontario Undergraduate Student Chemistry Conference (SOUSCC).

Honors Specialization Modules

In addition to Chemistry modules, we offer two Honors Specializations modules jointly with the Department of Biochemistry. The Biochemistry and Chemistry module has an emphasis in chemistry and is available to students enrolled in the science program. The Chemical Biology module has an emphasis in biochemistry, and is offered to students enrolled in the Basic Medical Sciences Program. These modules comprise of courses from both disciplines, and offer senior thesis courses enabling students to gain experience in interdisciplinary research laboratories.