Major in Chemistry

Chemistry majors gain knowledge of chemical analysis, synthesis, and theory while acquiring competence in laboratory techniques, the use of chemical instrumentation, computer skills, written and oral communication, and effective use of the professional literature.

About The Program

Chemistry, a vital component of the liberal arts curriculum, is an integral part of modern life from the substances we use like food, fuels, plastics, and pharmaceuticals to the processes used in important industries such as power plants, medical diagnostics, and manufacturing. Chemists use the scientific method in their pursuit to understand the physical and chemical properties of matter. The Chemistry Department provides a learning environment for students to engage in the study of empirical principles; to develop analytical and problem-solving skills; to acquire the laboratory skills necessary to design, perform, and evaluate experiments; and to become skilled at organization, evaluation, and presentation of the concepts of chemistry. Students are encouraged to approach the chemical sciences from quantitative, descriptive and historical perspectives, to experience them within the context of the physical and life sciences, and to make connections to the world around them.

Why Study Chemistry at VWU?

Early Assurance Program with Eastern Virginia Medical School
The Early Assurance Program with EVMS gives admission preference to VWU students interested in pursuing advanced degrees.

Joint Program in Medicine with Eastern Virginia Medical School
Upon completion of a 4-year bachelor's degree at VWU, students in this program are guaranteed admission in the Eastern Virginia Medical School.

Pre-admittance and Joint Degree Options in Pharmacy with Shenandoah University
Virginia Wesleyan University students are given priority status into Shenandoah University's Bernard J. Dunn School of Pharmacy for Pre-Admittance and Joint Degree Options.

Pre-Engineering Program at ODU
The Pre-Engineering Program offers students the opportunity to earn both a Bachelor of Science degree from Virginia Wesleyan University and a Master's degree in Aerospace, Biomedical, Civil, Compute​r, ​​​Electrical, Environmental​, Mechanical, Modeling & Simulation, or Systems Engineering from Old Dominion University.

Greer Environmental Sciences Center
This 44,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art facility provides unprecedented opportunities for students while fostering regional collaboration with organizations such as the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center and the Virginia Institute for Marine Science (VIMS).

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Scanning Electron Microscope
The microscope, the result of a $242,502 grant from the National Science Foundation, is equipped with energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, an accessory that enables the user to determine the chemical composition of a specimen.

Ocean Explorer
The Chesapeake Bay, one of the largest estuaries in the world, is the perfect setting for Virginia Wesleyan students to engage in research and study.  The Ocean Explorer research vessel transports students from land to sea, giving them hands-on experience to examine the historical utilization, ecology and cultures inhabiting the Chesapeake Bay, the human impact on the preservation of this system, and consider different issues affecting the watershed and its future.

Students majoring in chemistry are offered the opportunity to conduct original scientific research in an area of interest. They work closely with one or more members of the natural science faculty to develop and conduct a research project, then present their findings orally during the semester’s undergraduate research symposium and as a formal rese arch paper. Students are encouraged to present their findings at a conference. Students will coordinate internship placement with their supervising faculty member in their junior or senior year. Internships are an intensive study of a specific field of science through an on-site field experience with hands-on learning opportunities that are relevant to the chosen site.

Internship organizations in the Hampton Roads area are available to students such as:

  • Chesapeake Bay Foundation
  • Eastern Virginia Medical School
  • Naval Medical Center Portsmouth
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  • Norfolk Botanical Gardens
  • Sentara Health Systems
  • The Elizabeth River Project
  • Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center
  • Virginia Institute of Marine Science
  • Virginia Zoological Park

CHEM 310: Metrology: Measurement Science

Description: This course introduces students to metrology as it applies to global commerce as well as the measurement systems and standards it generates. Students engage in high-level measurement practices with scientists at the U.S. metrology institute, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, in the Washington DC area. Students investigate how industrial chemists, regulated by those standards, ensure compliance with product specifications in a commercial laboratory; including day trips to local labs in Virginia.
Destination: Washington, D.C.

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A chemistry degree will prepare you for graduate work in chemistry or biochemistry, as well as internships and careers in industry, research, pharmaceuticals, education, environmental science, forensic science, medicine, and medical technology. Chemistry students are encouraged to seek research experiences or intense internships in the field as part of their overall curriculum. VWC helps students find such opportunities through a strong network of organizations and companies throughout the region. These serve not only to provide critical learning experiences for students, but often serve as springboards to careers after graduation.

Learn how VWU can help you achieve your professional goals