Flexibility of the Chemistry Major
The flexibility of the major enables students to tailor their coursework to best match their career interests. An extensive range of advanced elective courses is available within the department and across the Claremont Colleges. The program of study is designed to give students the opportunity to conduct study abroad or pursue other academic or extracurricular interests. Courses in all major branches of chemistry can be completed by the end of the junior year giving students a broad spectrum of specialty areas in which to pursue the senior capstone requirement. Students may elect to fulfill the capstone experience through a wide variety of options including a research investigation, a team-based clinic project, a national laboratory collaboration, or an industrial internship.
Students have abundant opportunities to engage in collaborative research with faculty beginning in the first year. Sustained involvement in multi-year projects is common. Students experience all facets of research including the opportunity to present their work at national disciplinary conferences.
Depth of the Chemistry Major
As a consequence of the depth of the chemistry major and the breadth of the College’s technical core, our graduates pursue a myriad of careers and routinely achieve positions of leadership in their chosen fields. Students completing the chemistry major have a particularly strong and broad background for immediate employment, professional school (business, law or medicine), or graduate work in chemistry or a wide range of allied fields. Our alumni work not only in chemistry but also in materials science, chemical engineering, biochemistry, pharmacology, molecular biology, genetics, oceanography, teaching, publishing, and viticulture. All chemistry graduates are certified by the American Chemical Society (ACS). The National Science Foundation recognizes the Harvey Mudd Department of Chemistry as the top department in the nation whose undergraduates, per capita, ultimately earn a PhD in chemistry. (See article The Colleges Where PhD’s Get Their Start).
Joint Chemistry and Biology Major
A second program, administered jointly by the departments of chemistry and biology, is the joint major in chemistry and biology. This joint major provides an opportunity for students interested in study at the interface between chemistry and biology. Students wishing to study such interdisciplinary areas as biochemistry, molecular biology, biological chemistry and chemical biology will find this program well-tailored to their career plans. Details on this program are listed in the “Interdisciplinary Programs” section of the catalogue.
Students completing the joint major in chemistry and biology graduate with a clear view of the science in both disciplines. Such a degree will prepare the graduate for immediate work or advanced study in molecular biology, biological chemistry, biochemistry or chemical biology. This degree is not an ACS certified chemistry major; students wishing to obtain ACS certification can do so by taking Chemistry 103, 104, 109, and either 114, 168B, 187, PO Chem 174, PO Chem 175, PO Chem 180, or PO Chem 181.