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Why study chemistry & biochemistry at Calvin?

Consider some of the many advantages to studying chemistry or biochemistry here:

A supportive community to tackle complex problems

Faculty will partner with you to create a lively community of support and fellowship. Your courses and labs will be taught by your professors, and they will know your name.

Start with the Basics
  • General chemistry
  • Organic chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Analytical, inorganic, and physical chemistry*
Consider adding a concentration
Make it your own
  • Focus on forensics, synthesis, materials, food science, pre-med, medical technology, or a host of other possibilities.

Faculty-led, cutting-edge research programs

Unlike large university settings, there are no graduate students teaching at Calvin. This creates exceptional opportunities for undergraduate students to work alongside faculty on real research projects—gaining hands-on experience, presenting research, and publishing results. Professors also bring their projects into the teaching labs, meaning that even as you complete your education, you can be doing research.

Exceptional outcomes

Calvin chemistry and biochemistry majors have an outstanding placement rate into prestigious graduate programs and pursue exceptional career paths. Students who have come through our program have been acknowledged as Barry M. Goldwater Fellows, Hertz Foundation Fellows, and National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellows, just to name a few.

A Christian liberal arts environment

Receive top-tier academic training while being exposed to outstanding research, both of which are tackled with discerning eyes of faith. You'll be equipped to think deeply and excel in your future career.

Our vision for chemistry at Calvin

  • Know chemistry fully

    Students will comprehend fundamental chemistry concepts and properly apply them in the five sub-disciplines (Organic, Physical, Inorganic, Analytical, and Biochemical).

    The discipline of chemistry provides a powerful lens through which to understand and manipulate the material world all around us. There is so much to learn in chemistry (information, terms, definitions, relationships, abstractions, theories, reactions, behaviors, etc.), and it is imperative that students achieve an understanding of the subject material that goes far beyond memorization. This requires developing and refining useful and lasting mental models. It is equally important to apply the knowledge appropriately in all the sub-disciplines. Therefore it is critical that students develop problem solving skills that are not just algorithmic (knowing what to do) but also insightful (understanding why it works), creative (sensing what else might work), and persistent (finding the best solution).

    Read more about our academics

  • Do chemistry fearlessly

    Students will demonstrate proficiency with lab techniques, scientific instruments, and computer applications in their implementation of experimental design, measurement, analysis, and interpretation.

    Doing chemistry requires technical skills that can only be developed through physical interaction with chemical systems. The laboratory is uniquely important in helping the students learn how to prepare and manipulate chemical samples, make accurate measurements with both traditional techniques and modern scientific instruments, analyze and interpret data, use computers to model chemical systems and, ultimately, to conduct experiments of their own design.

    Explore our cutting edge research equipment and space

    Read about projects our undergraduates have worked on

  • Speak chemistry fluently

    Students will communicate effectively through written, oral, and visual presentations (individually and as a team) that demonstrate their capacity to assimilate and convey scientific ideas from experiments and the literature.

    The discipline of chemistry embraces a community made up of diverse audiences, which include experts who are fluent in the sub-disciplines of chemistry, other scientists who are conversant in the discipline and a variety of other societal groups that have varying levels of familiarity with chemistry concepts. Within this community, effective propagation of information and ideas is central to achieving profitable development of the science itself, as well as the application of this science to solve problems that society faces.

    Communication skills are essential to achieving these goals as they support key aspects of the scientific process, including critical evaluation, peer review, experimental reproduction, and transmission of relevance to the broader world. Teaching students to communicate effectively includes mentoring them in how to assimilate and interpret scientific ideas, and how to convey their own ideas through diverse means including written, oral, and visual presentations. Because modern science is performed in the context of a team, students should not only learn how to convey ideas on their own, but also with other group participants.

  • Live chemistry faithfully

    Students will exhibit scientifically and theologically grounded principles that inform their personal and communal participation in work, worship, service, and stewardship.

    Living chemistry is the culmination of what students learn in the chemistry department. We believe that knowledge should lead to action that is grounded in a (Reformed) theological understanding of who God is and the world He created. We would like our students to be able to articulate how bringing their faith together with the new chemical expertise they have acquired shapes how they think about various decisions they will make in life, particularly related to the work they do, the worship they experience, the service they perform, and the stewardship principles that inform their decisions. It is the department’s responsibility to equip our students with the knowledge, skills, and understanding they need to make decisions in the key areas we have highlighted, and it is our hope that through the work of the Holy Spirit, students will use their acquired skills and knowledge to inform their actions. 

    Questions we like to think about

    How could ideas of Christian community inform our approach to research at a Christian college?

    See how Professor Baker is tackling this question

    How do we think about sustainability as scientists and Christians?

    See how Professor VanderGriend tackles this issue in General Chemistry

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