Chemistry is an interdisciplinary subject with natural, robust ties to the other sciences and engineering that, in general, involves the study of matter and the changes it undergoes. Advances in chemistry will be required to meet global challenges of clean air, safe water, healthy food, dependable medicine, advanced materials, eco-friendly products, and sustainable energy.
Our understanding of the fundamental nature of the world is grounded in chemistry. Molecular transformations are central to the production of food, medicines, fuel, and a countless array of materials. Chemists seek to understand the fundamental nature of matter and the changes it undergoes on a molecular or atomic level. While this goal was once limited almost exclusively to chemists, there is an increased effort toward molecular-level characterization in most areas of science and technology. Chemistry has therefore emerged as the “central science.”
The Department of Chemistry at Johns Hopkins University has a long tradition of excellence that began with Ira Remsen, the discoverer of saccharin, dating back to the inception of the university in 1876.
Today, Hopkins chemistry is made up of internationally recognized faculty involved in contemporary chemical science, including interdisciplinary areas that interface chemistry with the fields of biology, medicine, physics, materials, and environmental science. A selection of current class syllabi for the semester can be found on the course syllabi page.
Undergraduate research is strongly encouraged for chemistry majors. Most students graduate with several semesters of experience with a research group in our department or with a professor in another related department on the Homewood or medical school campus.
Research is important for chemistry majors who are going to graduate school, professional schools, or industry. You will gain valuable laboratory experience, learn new techniques, and reinforce your knowledge of chemical principles. You will learn the need for persistence and for patience when conducting research. You will gain confidence in your course work, perspective on your career choice, and an important letter of recommendation. In some cases, your work will lead to a publication, a noteworthy accomplishment.