About the Department

Margaret A. Cargill Natural Sciences and Health Building

Chemistry Department Information

The Department of Chemistry offers a full set of courses designed to prepare students for:

  • Graduate study
  • Medical school
  • Secondary education
  • Work in the chemical industry

This coursework includes a foundational two-year program with associated labs in:

  • General,
  • Organic and
  • Quantitative chemistry

After this, students continue by taking intensive junior/senior lab courses alongside advanced courses in:

  • Biochemistry
  • Physical, inorganic and organic chemistry

All our majors assemble a Chemistry Portfolio over their junior and senior years. These insure each student has:

  • Conducted experiments in all areas of chemistry
  • Has achieved proficiency in all major areas of instrumentation
  • Attended and given seminars both inside and outside of Berea College.

Problem solving using both practical and quantitative reasoning skills indoctrinate our courses. The department strongly believes students should conduct research as part of their undergraduate curriculum. All of our Faculty administer undergraduate research with our students. Faculty members also send some students to undergraduate research programs at other institutions.

We aim to prepare students to address chemical problems dominating today’s news headlines. These topics range from nuclear to biomedical issues and everything between.

Our students have gone on to work in many fields including:

  • Chemical industrial research
  • Medicine (including doctors, physician assistants, and pharmacists)
  • Teaching (both college and secondary)

Our courses also serve as collateral requirements in:

  • Biology
  • SENS
  • Nursing

They also provide general and environmental chemistry courses to serve the entire student body.

Chemistry is central to many of the major issues that will face society for years to come. Such crucial issues range from energy and waste management to medicine and biotechnology.

Fifth Annual Hilda Roderick Chemistry Seminar

Our speaker in April 2023 will be Mei Hong from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the Planetarium in the Margaret Cargill Natural Sciences and Health Building.

Visiting Assistant Professor of Physical Chemistry

We need to rapidly hire a visiting professor for physical chemistry to start in the fall of 2022.

Historical Information

The chemistry department has undergone many changes over the course of the College’s history. The first science instruction began at the turn of the century (circa 1900) and grew slowly. By the mid-’60s, we had three faculty members: Julian Capps, Gus Levey, and Thomas Beebe. These three men combined to serve Berea College for over 100 total years of service time. Beebe was the first at Berea to form an undergraduate research program in the mid-’60s. In the early ’80s, the department expanded to four full-time members. By the late ’90s, we embraced an active biochemistry requirement and added a part-time member in the sustainability and environmental studies area.