The Department of Chemistry offers undergraduate degree programs in chemistry and biochemistry. American Chemical Society accreditation is available to BS graduates in chemistry. The WWU chemistry and biochemistry program is recognized as one of the finest in the country and is focused on supporting our students and ensuring their success in their chosen careers. The Department of Chemistry — in addition to its core of fundamental studies in physical, inorganic, organic, analytical and biochemistry — has added a variety of elective courses that offer diversity in training, study and research at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Within the department, faculty members are active in many research areas, including organometallic chemistry, organic synthesis, photochemistry, protein and nucleic acid biochemistry, molecular biology of viruses, electrochemistry, molecular spectroscopy, reaction kinetics, materials, polymers, and environmental chemistry. Detailed explanations of the current research areas of the faculty can be found on the department website (http://www.chem.wwu.edu).
Every effort is made to update and modernize course work and teaching methods. The department maintains state-of-the-art instrumentation for both teaching and research activities. Students gain experience in modern analytical methods through hands-on use of the instrumentation. Several faculty members have authored successful textbooks and computer-assisted instructional materials that have found wide usage at major universities. Western’s graduates have a long and enviable record of success in PhD programs at major research-oriented universities and in a variety of medical, dental and pharmacy programs.
All of the members of the department hold the PhD degree, and most have had postdoctoral experience before coming to Western. The department supports an active undergraduate research program, and students are encouraged to undertake a research project early in their studies.
There is a high degree of personal contact between faculty and students in the department. Supporting students is a core mission of the department. Faculty and department staff members can assist with academic and career counseling.
STEVEN D. GAMMON (2002) Chair and Professor. BA, Bowdoin College; PhD, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
SPENCER J. ANTHONY-CAHILL (1997) Associate Professor. BA, Whitman College; PhD, University of California-Berkeley.
EMILY J. BORDA (2005) Assistant Professor. BS, Gonzaga University; MEd, PhD, University of Washington.
MARK E. BUSSELL (1990) Professor. BA, Reed College; PhD, University of California-Berkeley.
STEVEN R. EMORY (2001) Associate Professor. BS, California Lutheran University; PhD, Indiana University.
JOHN D. GILBERTSON (2008) Assistant Professor. BA, Augustana College; MS, PhD, University of Oregon.
GEORGE S. KRIZ (1967) Professor. BS, University of California-Berkeley; PhD, Indiana University.
AMANDA MURPHY (2010) Assistant Professor, BS and BA, Western Washington University; PhD, University of California-Berkeley.
GREGORY W. O’NEIL (2008) Assistant Professor. BS, Boston College; PhD University of Colorado-Boulder.
DAVID L. PATRICK (1996) Professor. BS, University of California-Davis; PhD, University of Utah.
GERRY A. PRODY (1984) Associate Professor. BS, PhD, University of California-Davis.
ELIZABETH A. RAYMOND (2006) Assistant Professor. BA, Whitman College; PhD, University of Oregon.
SERGE SMIRNOV (2008) Assistant Professor. BS, MS, Moscow Institute of Physics & Technology; PhD, State University of New York at Stony Brook.
P. CLINT SPIEGEL (2007) Assistant Professor. BS, Oregon State University; PhD, University of Washington.
JAMES R. VYVYAN (1997) Professor. BS, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire; PhD, University of Minnesota.
THOMAS K. PRATUM (2004) BS, University of Puget Sound; PhD, University of California-Berkeley.
A chemistry department major who wishes to graduate with honors in chemistry must complete a one-year program of research, culminating in CHEM 498. The student must also maintain a 3.50 cumulative grade point average, submit a senior thesis and present a public seminar covering the research topic. Criteria for candidacy for departmental honors are 1) a minimum grade point average of 3.50 at the conclusion of the penultimate year and 2) acceptance for admission to the program by the chemistry department. Students who are in the University Honors Program must also satisfy these departmental requirements.
Other Departmental Information
Programs and Career Opportunities
The programs of study offered by the chemistry department are diverse and challenging, and provide the following benefits to the student:
- A wide variety of accredited programs, designed to meet diverse career goals
- A faculty committed to excellence in undergraduate education and research
- Close student-faculty contact and relatively small classes
- Direct access to modern laboratory equipment and instrumentation
- Opportunity for research work under the direction of a faculty advisor
The chemistry department offers three basic degree programs: Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Arts in Education. All three programs have a common core of study:
- One year of general chemistry and one year of college-level calculus
- One year of organic chemistry, one year of college physics and one quarter of analytical chemistry
- One year of physical chemistry
This provides the foundation for elective courses in the student’s area of interest. Through choice of degree programs and electives, the student can prepare for careers in industry or government, teaching at the secondary level or further study at the graduate level.
Students planning to major in chemistry or biochemistry or to begin university transfer programs involving chemistry courses are advised to consult the department during the first year to arrange for the proper sequence of courses.
Students planning to transfer to Western after completing two years of college study elsewhere should complete as many of the following program requirements as possible prior to transfer in order to avoid delays in degree work completion:
- One year of general chemistry
- One year of college-level calculus
- One year of organic chemistry
- One year of college-level physics
- One quarter or one semester of analytical chemistry
Bachelor of Science. The department offers BS programs in chemistry and biochemistry. These are specifically designed for students interested in graduate study or careers in industry and government as laboratory scientists.
Bachelor of Arts. This program provides less intensive training in chemistry but, when combined with a minor in a related area, prepares students for a variety of career opportunities in fields such as:
- Chemical Sales and Marketing
- Computer Sciences
- Technical Writing (Journalism)
- Environmental Sciences
- Secondary School Teaching
Bachelor of Arts in Education. This program provides several program emphases (chemistry-biology, chemistry-mathematics, and chemistry-physics). Although requirements within these options differ in detail, the three programs are similar enough that the prospective teacher need not choose among them until the sophomore or junior year. Successful graduates are qualified to teach in their areas of concentration at the middle school or high school level. Prospective teachers with qualifications in more than one area will have a distinct advantage in seeking such positions. Detailed descriptions of each of these degree programs and course descriptions are given below.
Undergraduate Degrees and Programs
Biology/Chemistry - Secondary, BAE
Chemistry/Physics — Secondary, BAE
Chemistry/Mathematics — Secondary, BAE
Graduate Degrees and Programs
Chemistry, Industry Internship, Non-Thesis, MS
Chemistry, Thesis, MS