Our Department is research intensive with a strong commitment to excellence in teaching. Our unique undergraduate programs use innovative teaching methods, such as online modules and flipped classrooms, to give students the basics in first year. In levels 2 and 3 in lectures and integrated labs, students in Chemistry learn about the classic four sub-disciplines, as well as the interactions between those disciplines. Then they focus on topics they are most interested in, choosing from a wide range of higher-level courses ranging from Medicinal Chemistry through Computational Chemistry in levels 3 and 4. Laboratory courses throughout the program bring these ideas alive and promote a research-like environment.
Our Chemical Biology program offers a similar structure, but offers an emphasis on the biological applications within primarily Organic and Analytical Chemistry. Physical and Materials Chemistry application options are available in the upper years of the program. The Chemical Biology Inquiry course provides foundational skills in research, and an overview of this emerging sub-discipline, delivered in small groups using a peer-mentoring methodology.
Choose Chemistry & Chemical Biology at McMaster For:
McMaster Chemistry & Chemical Biology undergraduate students can apply the knowledge and practical talents developed in our integrated laboratory courses in multiple ways. Students take advantage of paid research positions, usually offered in the summer; every year summer 25 to 30 positions are available. Students can also gain experience through research course-credit courses such as a research practicum and senior thesis. You work on in-progress research projects using state-of-the-art equipment, including Magnetic Resonance, X-ray Diffraction, and Mass Spectrometry. The Honours Co-op programs in Chemistry and in Chemical Biology include four 4-month terms of paid relevant work experience over a 5-year degree. Often these are combined into two 8-month terms. Employment rates in this program have been consistently at 100%, with students placed in high calibre research and industry positions both inside Canada (from British Columbia to Newfoundland) and internationally (Australia, United States and Europe). The Faculty’s dedicated Science Career and Co-op Education (SCCE) Office provides everything from job postings and career development workshops to individual resume critiques and mock interviews. We encourage students to present their research findings at conferences such as the Canadian Society for Chemistry Conference and provide financial support to help them travel. Our students regularly win top prizes at these events. We also hire about 25 undergraduates each year as Teaching Assistants in the 1st Chemistry Courses. These students from Chemistry & Chemical Biology act as ambassadors for our upper year programs, gain valuable experience for their CVs, and earn money in the process.
The Department of Chemistry & Chemical Biology ranks among the highest in research grants and publications per faculty member in the Faculty of Science, and among similar departments across the country. Our faculty members have received numerous awards, including national CSC awards, and international awards. Students are taught by the professors who make the discoveries; students participate in our research through summer research, co-op or undergraduate thesis programs. Our faculty members are affiliated with the BioInterfaces Institute, the Centre for Probe Development & Commercialization, the Brockhouse Institute for Materials Research, and collaborate with biologists, biochemists, materials scientists and engineers. We host outstanding facilities for mass spectrometry, nuclear magnetic resonance and X-ray crystallography.
Chemistry is often described as the central science, as it sits as the interface between physics and biology. As such, chemists interact and collaborate with scientists throughout at McMaster, with colleagues across Canada, and with chemists across the globe. At McMaster, we offer courses in a wide variety of disciplines and specializations within chemistry, along with cross-disciplinary courses such as biomaterials.
Chemistry & Chemical Biology students are consistently recognized for their high level of academic achievement, receiving awards from generous benefactors and donors to the university. Many of our students have earned distinction, winning the Provost Honour Roll Medal for academic perfection, the Dr. Harry Lymann Hooker Scholarship for outstanding grades, the Schulich Leader Scholarship and University Senate Scholarships.
Chemistry and Chemical Biology provides both hard science training and transferrable skills such as inquiry, critical thinking and problem solving. Explore a select few of the many career paths and observations from some of our recent grads: Explore Career Paths
Many of our graduates continue their studies by pursuing Master’s or PhD degrees, or by entering professional schools for medicine, dentistry or law. Others find employment in chemistry-related fields. Our graduates have established rewarding careers in the medical field, working in hospitals, clinics and research labs. They secure positions in industries dealing with pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, the environmental, chemical and petrochemical manufacturing, research and development, to name a few.