Carleton chemistry students learn how to do science through an apprenticeship model that is used throughout our curriculum. This includes opportunities to work on multi-week inquiry-based projects in lower-division laboratories, more sophisticated projects in advanced courses and laboratories, and research projects with faculty.

Many activities, from lab projects to the senior integrative exercise, involve students working creatively in teams on complex tasks. Through our work together, we aim to establish an environment that encourages free and informal exchange of ideas both among students and between students and faculty.

Departmental Highlights

  • The Chemistry Department graduates an average of 30 students per year, out of a total campus enrollment about 2000 students.
  • On average, one-third of all chemistry majors go on to Ph.D. programs in chemistry or related fields. Another one-third of our majors pursue post-graduate study in health professions. The remaining students enter the job market and other professional programs-with a combination of chemistry and the liberal arts, they have pursued careers in education, architecture, engineering, business, law, and the ministry.
  • Carleton ranks first among baccalaureate institutions in the number of graduates who go on to obtain Ph.D.’s in chemistry and related fields (based on NSF data, 1966-2019).
  • From 2018 to 2023, Carleton chemistry graduates matriculated into graduate programs in Chemistry and related fields at Brown University, California Institute of Technology, Case Western Reserve University, Colorado State University, Cornell University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Mayo Clinic, Northwestern University, Ohio State University, Oregon State University, Oxford University, Princeton University, Stanford University, Texas A&M University, University of British Columbia, University of California Berkeley, University of California Davis, University of California Irvine, University of California Los Angeles, University of California San Diego, University of California San Francisco, University of California Santa Cruz, University of Chicago, University of Colorado Boulder, University of Connecticut, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, University of Massachusetts Amherst, University of Michigan, University of Minnesota, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, University of Pennsylvania, University of Toronto, University of Washington, University of Wisconsin Madison, Vanderbilt University, and Yale University.
  • Between 2021 and 2024, an average of 16 students stayed on campus during the summer to do research with Chemistry Department faculty members. Many other chemistry majors pursue summer research opportunities off-campus.
  • From 2011 to 2021, Carleton undergraduates presented more than 100 research posters and seminars at national and regional scientific meetings such as American Chemical Society National Meeting, American Geophysical Union Meeting, American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Annual Meeting, American Association for Aerosol Research National Meeting, American Association of Immunologists Annual Meeting, Keystone Symposia on Mitochondrial Dynamics and Function, Midwest Undergraduate Conference in Computational Chemistry, Minnesota Regional Biophysics Networking Meeting, International Conference on Aminoacyl-tRNA Synthetases, Minnesota Academy of Science Annual Meeting, Nutrition and HIV Collaborators Meeting, Mercury Conference on Computational Chemistry, and National Conference on Undergraduate Research.
  • An article in the Chronicle of Higher Education (May 5, 2006, page A13) highlighted the success Carleton has had in encouraging women to enter graduate programs in the physical sciences including chemistry.
  • The Chemistry Department is staffed with eleven tenured or tenure-track faculty and three staff members.
  • Between 2011 and 2021, faculty managed research, instrumentation, and education grants in excess of $5M from the US National Science Foundation, the Petroleum Research Fund of the American Chemical Society, Research Corporation, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Dreyfus Foundation, and the US Department of Energy.
  • From 2011 to 2021, current faculty published 97 peer-reviewed articles describing research results and teaching innovations in journals such as Journal of the American Chemical Society, Chemistry–A European Journal, Angewandte Chemie, Chemical Communications, Organic Letters, Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry Letters, Chemistry of Materials, Organometallics, Dalton Transactions, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, Journal of Geophysical Research, Journal of Chemical Education, Journal of Physical Chemistry, Organic Letters, Journal of Organic Chemistry, Inorganic Chemistry, Journal of Enzyme Inhibition and Medicinal Chemistry, Comments on Inorganic Chemistry, Atmospheric Environment, Acta Crystallographica and Journal of College Science Teaching.
  • Several chemistry faculty have published books, textbooks and modules that support the teaching of chemistry and science at the college level, including a quantitative chemical analysis textbook, an organic chemistry laboratory textbook, two ChemConnections environmental chemistry modules and a book of scholarly studies on integrative science learning.
  • Our faculty are funded by HHMI and NSF grants to work on campus and national projects related to undergraduate science education, broadening access to science for underrepresented minorities, and the scholarship of teaching and learning.
  • Further details on the activities of students and faculty in the Chemistry Department can be found in the Annual Reports of the Chemistry Department.
  • The Chemistry Department is located in Evelyn M. Anderson Hall. Further details on facilities and instrumentation is available.