What is Chemistry?

Chemistry investigates the composition, properties, and changes of properties in substances and various elementary forms of matter. The study of chemistry gives students an opportunity to explore the world and develop knowledge using modern techniques and instrumentation.

Why Chemistry?

Chemistry is often referred to as the Central Science. It is hard to imagine how one could do physics, biology, geology or engineering without a solid foundation in chemistry. The chemistry program at Westmont prepares the students to think like a scientist by exposing them to modern instrumentation and methods. We also go beyond this by tackling the bigger issues of relating vocation and Christian Mission in the world. A degree in chemistry can lead to many interesting and challenging careers, including: biochemist, chemical engineer, industrial or clinical chemist, college instructor, dentist, dietician, high school teacher, marine scientist, pharmacologist, physician, radiologic technician, nuclear medicine technician, forensic serologist, toxicologist, technical writer, patent lawyer, industrial hygienist, and industrial management. Westmont chemistry majors have received advanced degrees recently from graduate and professional programs at UCLA, UC Davis, UC Santa Barbara, UC Riverside, Stanford, Iowa State, Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, Harvard, Princeton, Loma Linda, and Oregon Health Sciences.


Chemistry students at Westmont have many opportunities to use state-of-the-art instrumentation such as atomic absorption spectrometers, Fourier transform nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometers, FT infrared and ultraviolet-visible spectrometers, gas and high performance liquid chromatographs and mass spectrometers (follow this link to see some of our instrumentation). They learn analytical chemical techniques (including microcomputer applications), and advanced organic synthesis techniques. Chemistry at Westmont involves computer programming, interfacing computers to instruments, and computerized literature searches on current research problems. Each student in the B.S. program is required to do independent research with a faculty member and to complete a written thesis or publishable journal article.