Promoting the Elements of Excellence

Students majoring in chemistry at Western Michigan University may prepare for a career in industry, teaching or graduate study in chemistry, biochemistry, medicine and dentistry or pharmaceuticals. The course offerings for the undergraduate degree are structured to give a broad but thorough grounding in the elements of chemistry. The chemistry curriculum can be fortified by a minor in physics, mathematics or biological sciences.

WMU is a premier, comprehensive, public research university. The University strives to add value to the lives of its learners and continuously improve the quality of its programming to meet the needs and expectations of the communities it serves.

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Thinking about studying chemistry at Western Michigan University?

We offer a variety of undergraduate and graduate programs. Learn more about our programs and how to apply.

Department news 

  • June 2018 - Please join us Tuesday, June 26th as we joyfully wish Pamela McCartney, Dr. Robert Sutton and Tami Yonkers of the Chemistry Department all the best as they begin their journey into retirement. Light appetizers and refreshments will be served from 11:30 am to 1:00 pm in the Brown and Gold Room (Room 242) of the Bernhard Center.
  • June 2018 - The second edition of Special Elements in Excellence newsletter was distributed by email and print. Click here to see what's been happening in the Chemistry Department.
  • April 2018Dr. Robert Sutton has received the 2017-2018 College of Arts and Sciences Dean's Appreciation Award. The award recognizes Dr. Sutton's outstanding commitment to student learning over the course of his career. The College will honor Dr. Sutton with an award presentation at 1:00 pm on April 3, 2018 in room 1260 of the Chemistry Building. Please RSVP to
  • March 2018—If it wasn’t for Mohammad Hossein Yassaman (B.A.'77, Economics; M.A.'78, Operations Research), Dr. Hashem Akhavan-Tafti’s (M.A.'88, Chemistry) years as a student in the United States would have been profoundly different. Without Yassaman, Akhavan-Tafti would have never ended up at Western Michigan University, a move that he says “saved his life.” So to honor his friend and mentor, Akhavan-Tafti and wife SuzAnne recently established an endowed scholarship in Yassaman’s name. Read the full story here.
  • November 2017The First Annual Collaborative Research Gathering was Thursday, November 9, 2017 at 8:30 am in room 3830 of the Chemistry Building. There were over 40 faculty and staff in attendance from Chemistry, Biological Sciences, Physics, Chemical & Paper Engineering, Office of Vice President for Research and Anthropology. The presenters each had 2 slides and 6 minutes to present their research projects, scientific instruments used and possible collaboration areas to the attendees. Many questions were asked, similarities were found and

    future research collaborations are in formation. A big thank you to all the presenters and attendees!

  • November 2017—Congratulations to Dr. Andre Venter for receiving a College of Arts and Sciences Discovery and Dissemination Award for investigation of ionization efficiency improvements using ultra-high resolution mass spectrometry at Sorbonne University - University of Pierre and Marie Curie, Paris, France.
  • November 2017—Grad student Elahe Honavar wins Detroit Society of Applied Spectroscopy Poster Award for the outstanding graduate student chemical analysis poster "Comparing the effect of additives on protein analysis between DESI and ESI" presented at the November 2, 2017 ANACHEM/SAS symposium in Livonia, Michigan.
  • November 2017—Austin Salome receives the College of Art's and Sciences' Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities Award for "Synthesis of 1,3-bis(1H-pyrazole-3-yl) propane and the corresponding nanojar. Austin's mentor is Dr. Geller Mezei.
  • November 2017—Lilly Ruell receives the College of Art's and Sciences' Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities Award for "Carbamoyl Phosphine Oxides as Lead Compounds in the development of Innovative Radioprotective Agents.
  • October 2017—Dr. Gellert Mezei to receive Emerging Scholar Award. Dr. Mezei is leading research to study new methods for purifying water and will be honored by Western Michigan University as an emerging scholar during a campuswide awards ceremony Friday, Oct. 6.
  • September 2017—Please join us Friday, September 15 from 2 to 4 p.m. in Room 3880 Chemistry Building for our annual Chemistry Fall Welcome. Undergraduate and graduate students are encouraged to display past posters for this event. Soft drinks and light snacks will be provided.
  • August 2017—Thank you Honeywell Burdick & Jackson for your generous chemical donation
  • June 2017—Accepting graduate student applications for spring 2018 semester (limited spots available). Prospective applicants are required to take the Graduate Record Examination General Test and preferably the Chemistry or Biochemistry Subject Test. International students are required to demonstrate their English proficiency by taking either TOEFL or IELTS.
  • April 2017—Congratulations to our 2017 Chemistry award recipients.
  • April 2017—Check out our first "Special Elements" newsletter.
  • March 2017WMUK spotlights Western students turning Chemistry into art.
  • February 2017—Congratulations to Christian Hartman and Jacob Kirkendall for being selected as recipients of the OVPR Undergraduate Research Excellence Award.
  • January 2017—Kalamazoo Area American Chemical Society presents an award to Dr. Don Schreiber for 25 years of service to project SEED, Summer Research Internship Program for Economically Disadvantaged High School Students.
  • November 2016The Mohammad Hossein Yassaman Endowment for Chemistry Scholarship was established.
  • November 2016—Dr. Andre Venter has been elected to serve on the editorial board for the Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry.
  • November 2016—The College of Arts and Sciences has selected to award Dr. Elke Schoffers with the Interdisciplinary Engagement Award for the project entitled Science and perception of Climate Change.
  • July 2016Dr. William Rantz was appointed as Interim Chair of The Department of Chemistry on July 1. Dr. Rantz holds a Ph.D. in Psychology-Applied Behavior Analysis from Western Michigan University. He earned his first Master of Arts degree in Career and Technical Education and a second Master of Arts degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology. His undergraduate degree is a Bachelor of Science in Aviation Operations.
  • July 2016—Dr. Yirong Mo and colleagues proposed and validated a new concept termed intramolecular multi-bond strain, which refers to the repulsion among pi bonds.
  • June 2016—Dr. Gary Blackmer will be recognized for 18 years of service to WMU during a retirement reception from 2 to 4 p.m. on Thursday, June 9, in 3880 Chemistry Building.
  • April 2016—Dr. Steven Bertman was pivotal in developing the new sustainable brewing program in collaboration with KVCC. The program started in the fall semester of 2015; thirty students at Western Michigan University are already declared majors.