What You Will Learn as a Chemistry Major

In support of Rollins’ mission of providing a “strong and distinctive undergraduate education”, the Department of Chemistry designs and delivers challenging and engaging curricular and co-curricular learning experiences intended to produce liberally educated graduates prepared for meaningful lives and careers.

To fulfill its mission, the Department has designed a curriculum that combines a broad knowledge of chemical disciplines with a deep understanding of modern chemical principles. The curriculum prepares students for (a) entry into graduate or professional programs, (b) work as a practicing chemist or (c) any other activity helped by the skills that liberal learning confers.

A chemistry professor and student install a water filtration system in a home in the Dominican Republic.

Global Citizenship

Our faculty utilizes both foundational disciplinary and advanced elective course content in chemistry to prepare our students to become global citizens and responsible leaders with meaning and purpose in their lives. In today’s complex world, the ability to analyze complicated and nuanced problems through the lens of chemistry and the scientific method is invaluable to creating tomorrow’s solutions.

A chemistry student and professor work one on one in a lab.

Productive Careers

Our pedagogy incorporates skills and content for students to progress in their professional lives. Faculty members employ developmental approaches to teach students to think critically about problems, execute individual and collaborative approaches for problem solving, and practice scientific oral and written communication skills for diverse audiences. Chemistry students link theory with data from multiple sources as they progress well beyond rote memorization. Information and quantitative literacy is an essential skill for any position a student may hold in life. The ability to analyze primary chemical literature and creatively generate an original extension that may contribute to the body of knowledge is the ultimate goal for our majors. Students have the opportunity to build these skills in the core specialties of organic, physical, analytical, inorganic, and biochemistry, as well as other interdisciplinary studies at Rollins College.

A chemistry student and professor work one on one in a lab.

Responsible Leadership

We challenge students to establish a strong technical foundation and further explore and contemplate their intended role in society as scientists. Pseudoscience and chemophobia are pervasive in our culture; a lack of understanding about basic scientific principles is evident in the proliferation of misinformation in social and popular media outlets on a variety of topics. These issues have far-reaching community and global implications. Knowledge of chemistry contributes to the creation of solutions to challenges in healthcare, the development of alternative/sustainable energy sources, advances in agriculture and food safety, environmental stewardship, and improved and accessible STEM education. We seek to enhance our students’ understanding of chemistry content, the scientists who helped advance our body of knowledge, and the cultural impetus and impact of the science. We ask our students to explore ethical implications of past discoveries and consider the unintended consequences that may result from future innovations.

Two chemistry students test water from a filtration system in a home in the Dominican Republic.

Meaningful Lives

The study of chemistry at Rollins provides students with tools they need to become innovative and invested leaders in local and global communities. These foundations create talented professionals. Whether by building up their background knowledge on key scientific concepts or by providing the framework for investigative research and query-based innovation, professors in the chemistry department endow students with the fundamental tools for research and leadership: curiosity, drive, determination, and follow-through. The ability to ask a question, consider potential answers, design a way to test the validity of a method, and then evaluate collected data to make an informed decision is a skill that every lifelong learner needs.

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