Chemistry and Biochemistry

The College's chemistry majors and faculty

Chemistry Major

Biochemistry Major

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Concentration

Why Study Chemistry or Biochemistry at K?

Close relationships with faculty, hands-on research experience, and a broad focus on the role of chemistry in society prepare K chemistry and biochemistry majors for meaningful scientific careers.

K chemistry majors conducting an experiment

As a chemistry student, you will learn and research closely with faculty to gain a molecular view of the world. Through your courses, labs, and completion of your Senior Integrated Project, you will gain scientific literacy, presentation skills, and the ability to conduct experiments and draw conclusions that advance the field. This knowledge will also be put into the broader perspective of how chemicals and chemical waste affect the environment and society.

The department imparts these lessons through learner-focused and evidence-based teaching and lab methods that are designed to help you engage with the material in an educational, fun, and safe manner. By taking a student-centric approach to teaching, the department empowers you to learn complex subjects—like Organic Chemistry; Thermodynamics and Kinetics; Biochemistry; and Principles of Medicinal Chemistry—and gain the skills necessary to start your career. 

Our chemistry alumni are prepared to go straight into the workforce in academic, pharmaceutical, public health, forensic science, and other chemical sectors or to continue their educational journey in graduate school. Notably, Kalamazoo College ranks in the top 2% of universities producing alumni who go on to complete research-based doctoral programs

Note: The Chemistry and Biochemistry majors are two separate programs housed within the same department. Due to the significant overlap in their programming and courses, students cannot pursue degrees in both chemistry and biochemistry.

What can you do with a chemistry or biochemistry degree?

Below are some of the careers, employers, and graduate schools of our chemistry alumni.


  • Medical Doctor
  • Lab Manager
  • Professor
  • Research and Development
  • Chemical Engineer
  • Quality Assurance and Control


  • Pfizer
  • Stryker
  • Perrigo
  • Cargill
  • National Institutes of Health
  • National Science Foundation

Graduate Schools

  • University of Michigan
  • Michigan State University
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Vanderbilt University
  • University of Chicago
  • Northwestern University

Program Spotlights

A student and professor in a chemistry lab

Conduct meaningful research 

At K, we are passionate about research and invite you to work alongside your professors in their labs investigating supramolecular chemistry, photoactive complexes of metals, antimicrobial activity, biosensing, protein manipulation, genome engineering and more! Outside of K, you are encouraged to pursue internships in different industries, academia and government to gain relevant experience and find your passions. We see our students as true collaborators, and their insights help advance the field; many of our students are even invited to present their research and network at regional, national and international conferences.

Chemistry faculty in Alice in Wonderland Halloween costumes

Join a fun community of chemists 

The department prioritizes building personal connections on campus and within the broader scientific community. Kalamazoo is home to many chemists across academia (WMU and K) and the private sector (Pfizer and Stryker), and to help you foster professional relationships, the College collaborates with the Kalamazoo Section of the American Chemical Society to host speed networking, seminars, and other events. On campus, you will get to know your fellow classmates and professors on a human level as you have fun at mini golf tournaments, escape rooms, alumni events, and other excursions!

Meet the Current Departmental Student Advisor


Caelan Frazier

Caelan Frazier (He/Him/His)

Major: Chemistry

Minor: Computer Science

What is the best thing about being part of this department?

The staff in the chemistry department are not only amazing at teaching and helping students, they are amazing people too!

How have you taken advantage of the open curriculum or experienced breadth in your education?

I have been able to test the waters in a lot of different departments like theatre, philosophy, environmental studies, and more. It is because of the open curriculum that I was able to find out that I liked computer science and wanted to be able to use it in the future.

What experiential education opportunities have you participated in?

I have done research with Dr. Bartz and Dr. DAR as well as while studying abroad in Northern Ireland. I have also helped the CIP [Center for International Programs] with readying students studying abroad next year in Northern Ireland.

What is your Senior Integrated Project (SIP)?

I am doing research on photoactive complexes with Dr. DAR! I am mainly synthesizing and characterizing these complexes in the hopes that they can be useful with things like solar energy production.

What are your career aspirations/next steps after K?

After K, I hope to go to grad school and continue to study chemistry, specifically either inorganic or analytical chemistry. After that, hopefully I will be able to work in a lab to make life better for the next generations and the world!


Abby Barnum

Abby Barnum (She/Her/Hers)

Major: Biochemistry

Minor: German

What is the best thing about being part of this department?

Despite the major being fairly new, all of the faculty are already so supportive and excited to grow the Biochemistry major!

How have you taken advantage of the open curriculum or experienced breadth in your education?

I’ve been able to study abroad and minor in German, which has really expanded my worldview, as well as participate in theatre productions and choir on campus.

What experiential education opportunities have you participated in?

I’ve participated in the Young Adult Program and Sisters in Science, as well as doing research in Dr. Tresca’s lab and being a TA for general chemistry.

What is your Senior Integrated Project (SIP)?

My SIP will focus on peptoid synthesis and the impact of urea addition on peptoid conformation.

What are your career aspirations/next steps after K?

I plan on taking a gap year after K to apply for medical schools and spend time with my family. As a career, I hope to become a pediatrician, ER physician, or a trauma surgeon!

Chemistry and Biochemistry Department News