About Us

oliverhall-300x200 [View Image]The Virginia Commonwealth University Department of Chemistry has 40 faculty members, approximately 60 graduate students and nearly 500 undergraduate chemistry majors.  VCU Chemistry ranks in the top 20 nationally in BS degrees in Chemistry.

The department has an active research program with approximately $3 million annually in research and educational grants.

Mission Statement

The Chemistry Department of Virginia Commonwealth University is committed to the dual mission of teaching and research at the bachelor`s, master`s and doctoral level. In teaching, the purpose is to provide high quality education in chemistry to undergraduate as well as graduate students, in preparation for professional careers at all levels. In research, the goals are to advance the science of chemistry, to keep faculty on the forefront of the field, and to maintain an educational program consistent with the latest technology and development of the discipline. Service to the chemical profession is also an important aspect of the department`s activities.

Undergraduate programs

The department offers full-time undergraduate programs leading to the Bachelor of Science. The degree concentrations allow students to focus on different aspects of chemistry, depending on their specific interests. The concentrations include chemical science, professional chemist, professional chemist with honors, chemical modeling and biochemistry.

Graduate programs

Student-chemistry [View Image]The department also offers full- and part-time graduate programs leading to the Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in analytical, inorganic, organic and physical chemistry and to the doctoral degree in chemical physics. A wide range of graduate courses is offered; the courses are small in size and personal in nature.

The recent addition of new faculty, new laboratories and the acquisition of new instrumentation provide a firm basis for continued excellence in both teaching and research. A program of studies is tailored to the individual student and is designed to provide a sound background in all areas of chemistry, with emphasis on the student’s area of research. The low student-to-faculty ratio ensures that each student receives personal attention.

An important and distinctive feature of the department is close interaction between faculty and students. This interaction, in an active and friendly environment, is designed to promote scholarship, develop experimental ability and stimulate creative thought. Students work side by side with faculty members in small research groups. They are encouraged to present the results of their research at regional and national meetings of the American Chemical Society and other professional organizations.


fenn2 [View Image]The department is committed to excellence in both research and teaching. Its 18 tenured/tenure-eligible faculty actively conduct research in the areas of analytical, inorganic, organic, and physical chemistry as well as chemical biology, chemical physics, and nanoscience. Faculty members have received training and experience at leading universities, industrial laboratories and national research laboratories. Their excellent and diverse backgrounds ensure a graduate program of quality and balance. John B. Fenn, Nobel Laureate 2002, was a member of the Department of Chemistry faculty.


The Department has state-of-the-art instrumentation which is used by graduate and undergraduate students in courses and research.  Highlights include an NMR facility with 300, 400, and 600 MHz instruments, a mass spectrometry facility with modern Orbitrap and time-of-flight instruments, and access to a world-class surface characterization facility.


A weekly seminar program brings distinguished speakers to the department from academia and industry. Arrangements are made for the speakers to meet with students to discuss research and other topics. The program results in graduates well-prepared for careers in industry, academics and national research laboratories.

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