Chemistry connects the physical, life, and applied sciences.
In La Salle’s Chemistry and Biochemistry Program, students are trained to think critically and analyze problems through the fundamentals of chemical science coupled with a liberal arts education, preparing them for a well-rounded future.
Our Chemistry and Biochemistry students enjoy a wide range of interesting and unique courses. Some highlights include:
THERMODYNAMICS AND KINETICS
This course applies the principles of thermodynamics and kinetics to explain the behavior of gases, liquids, solids, and solutions. Topics include the elucidation of chemical equilibria, phase transitions, reaction mechanisms, and statistical ensembles of energy states.
QUANTUM MECHANICS AND SPECTROSCOPY
This course uses the formalism of quantum mechanics to understand fundamental chemical systems. It explores atomic and molecular structures, molecular vibrations, and molecular rotations. It also explores the use of spectroscopy to probe these chemical processes.
Occasionally, courses in “Bioinorganic Chemistry,” “Advanced Organic and Organometallic Chemistry,” or “Polymer Chemistry” may be offered as special topics. These courses are designed for juniors and seniors majoring in chemistry and/or biochemistry.
ORGANIC CHEMISTRY I
Organic Chemistry is the study of compounds containing carbon. This course is focused on the structure, bonding, and stereochemistry of these compounds together with an introduction to reactions, reaction mechanisms, and synthesis. This course, as well as CHM 202, is intended for students majoring in chemistry, biochemistry, and biology as well as those pursuing a career in the health professions. The laboratory introduces techniques used in organic synthesis, separation, purification, and structure elucidation. A C- or better in CHM 112 is a prerequisite for this course. The class consists of three hours of lecture and three hours of laboratory.
ORGANIC CHEMISTRY II
The second semester of Organic Chemistry builds on the foundation established in CHM 201. The functional group and mechanistic approach to organic reactions allows for a more in-depth approach to organic synthesis. The use of basic spectral methods as a means of structure elucidation is also covered in this course. A C- or better in CHM 201 is a prerequisite for this course. The class consists of three hours of lecture and three hours of laboratory.
This course covers important areas of analytical chemistry, including statistics, error analysis, chemical equilibria, electrochemistry, and colorimetry.
This course covers the theory and practice of physical measurements with modern chemical instrumentation. The course is divided into two parts: spectroscopic and separation methods. Topics include UV-visible, FT-IR, fluorescence, and magnetic resonance spectroscopies as well as mass spectrometry, gas, and liquid chromatography. The prerequisite for this course is CHM 212 or permission of the instructor. The course consists of three hours of lecture and three hours of laboratory.
ORGANIC LABORATORY METHODS
This is a course in modern methods of organic synthesis and structure elucidation. This laboratory-intensive course emphasizes asymmetric synthesis, green chemistry, advanced spectral methods, and literature searching. CHM 201-202 are prerequisites. The class consists of 75 minutes of lecture and six hours of laboratory.
ADVANCED INORGANIC CHEMISTRY
This course covers theoretical and practical aspects of chemical bonding, descriptive periodic trends, and molecular structure and symmetry of molecules. A special emphasis is given to the chemistry of the transition metals, including coordination and organometallic chemistry. The prerequisites for this course are CHM 201-202 and 331-332.
Biochemistry I examines the biochemistry of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, enzymes, and hormones from a chemist’s perspective and emphasizes their role in metabolic processes. Laboratory work illustrates common techniques used to isolate, identify, and assay these molecules, such as chromatography, electrophoresis, and kinetic analysis. CHM 201, CHM 202, and CHM 331 are prerequisites for the course. The class consists of three hours of lecture and three hours of laboratory.
Biochemistry II focuses on the storage, replication, transmission, and expression of genetic information. It also examines recombinant DNA methodology and physiological processes at the molecular level. Laboratory work includes the isolation and analysis of plasmid DNA, creation of a new plasmid, and transformation into bacterial cells. CHM 411 is a prerequisite for the course. The class consists of three hours of lecture and three hours of laboratory.
These courses provide students with the opportunity to engage in individual chemical or biochemical research. The research can be either laboratory-based or theoretical in nature. The work is done under the supervision of a staff member. The courses are restricted to chemistry and biochemistry majors unless otherwise approved by the chair of the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department. The specific hours for the course are arranged with the supervising staff member.
Our small class sizes means that our students get the one-on-one attention and support they need to succeed.
Our program is certified by the American Chemical Society (ACS) as an ACS-approved major.
Topics covered in our courses include:
Chemistry of Solar Energy/Photovoltaics
For a full list of courses, you may check out the course catalogues for the Chemistry and Biochemistry majors.
"A scientific result or an equation can be appreciated in similar ways as, say, music, writing, or art. There is an inherent beauty in science that human beings should recognize, and science in and of itself is a substantial human achievement."
— Zeb Kramer, Ph.D., La Salle Chemistry Professor
Blaze Your Own Path
Every year, approximately 40% of student graduates from La Salle’s Chemistry and Biochemistry Department attend graduate school with their tuition fully-covered.
100% of our students are employed or enrolled in a program within 1 year after graduation.
La Salle’s Chemistry and Biochemistry Department serves qualified students by offering an unbeatable liberal arts education that sets a strong foundation for graduate studies and successful careers including:
Research at La Salle Research opportunities are available to students in La Salle’s Chemistry and Biochemistry Program. These courses provide students with the opportunity to engage in individual chemical or biochemical research. Students can also apply for the La Salle University Arts & Science Summer Research Grant to conduct research with a faculty member over the summer. Our students have conducted research projects:
Synthesizing and analyzing Parkinson’s drugs, antitumor agents and other medicinal compounds
Synthesizing small-molecule light-absorbing compounds for use in dye-sensitized solar cells
Improving methods of treating contaminated wastewater
Simulating atmospheric chemistry reactions
Examining the ability of fungi to degrade plastic waste
Opportunities Outside of La Salle Our students have participated in the following opportunities during their time at La Salle:
Internships at PeproTech
Internships at Johnson & Matthy
National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates at Texas A&M and Kansas State University
Internships at PolySciences
Internships with Philadelphia Water
La Salle University Chemistry/Biochemistry Tutor
La Salle University Chemistry/Biochemistry Supplementary Instructor
La Salle University Arts & Sciences Summer Research Intern
The Hugh and Nancy Devlin Center for Science and Technology is located in Holroyd Hall.
The facility includes state of the art:
teaching classrooms and labs
dedicated laboratories for student research
centralized instrumentation available to students
student study areas close to labs and professors
In keeping with the Lasallian tradition of teaching and intellectual development, it is the philosophy of the La Salle Chemistry and Biochemistry Department that instrumentation should be considered as tools for learning. All equipment is accessible to the students for use in class settings as well as for independent research. Following are the available instrumentation:
Fourier-Transform Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (400 MHz)
Fourier-Transfer Infared Spectroscopy
Gas Chromatograph-Mass Spectroscopy
High Pressure Liquid Chromatography
Pulse-Nitrogen Laser for Excited-State Lifetime Measurements
What was it that inspired you to go into chemistry? I want to learn new things and gain understanding. As a physical chemist, my own interests lie at the intersection of chemistry, physics, and mathematics. I find the ability to develop theories and equations based on the underlying laws of physics to explain chemistry […]
What was it that inspired you to go into chemistry?
I want to learn new things and gain understanding. As a physical chemist, my own interests lie at the intersection of chemistry, physics, and mathematics. I find the ability to develop theories and equations based on the underlying laws of physics to explain chemistry thrilling and rewarding. It makes me feel like I can understand the world around me.
How did your path lead you to La Salle?
I went to college at a primarily undergraduate university, and the education and mentorship I received from dedicated faculty members had a profound effect on me. This continued into graduate school, where I also learned that I greatly enjoyed being a teaching assistant and working with undergraduate students. By the time I finished my postdoctoral work, I felt that I wanted to go somewhere dedicated to teaching science and inspiring students to achieve and learn new things. La Salle fit the bill perfectly, so to speak.
How do you view your role as a teacher and what do you hope to instill or inspire in your students?
My role as a teacher is to give my students the opportunity and guidance to actively learn chemistry. I want to instill in my students with a sense of curiosity. When they leave my class, and they see a problem or issue that interests them, I want my students to have the problem-solving ability and critical thinking skills to pursue answers. My role as a teacher is to help students develop these abilities and to help them better appreciate science.
If your students could graduate having retained just one lesson, what would you hope it would be?
I want my students to come from my classes with the confidence and persistence to engage with complex problems.
What is your ideal way to spend free time?
Hiking or walking (with my dog) in places I’ve not been before, or relaxing at home with a good book.
What is the last book that you read?
Grant by Ron Chernow
Who are three people, dead or alive, you would invite to dinner if you knew they would attend?
A hard question! I think that there should be a balance between different facets of human experience represented at the table. Abraham Lincoln would be a good politician/leader, and I think he would make good dinner conversation. Niels Bohr would be a solid choice as a scientist. I have recently been re-reading the science fiction writings of the late Ursula Le Guin. I think she might round out the guest list and provide some conversation on what we our society can aspire to.
How do you view the role of science in the world today?
From a practical standpoint, science is a tool we use to address challenges we face as individuals and as a society. Such challenges include big issues–climate change, health, and energy and also more focused issues like how can we improve student learning.
Science has another, more fundamental role. It is the means by which we interpret and engage with nature. A scientific result or an equation can be appreciated in similar ways as, say, music, writing, or art. There is an inherent beauty in science that human beings should recognize, and science in and of itself is a substantial human achievement.
Beyond the Classroom
83% of faculty hold a Ph.D. or the highest degree in their field.
Ranked in Forbes list of Best Value Colleges in 2019.
Listed Top 4% nationally in 10-year earnings by Georgetown's Center for Education and the Workforce.
Ranked in the top 50 in the North Region on U.S. News & World Report’s 2022 list of Best Colleges.