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Department of Chemistry

WKU McNally Award winner Ka Wai Kwong at the 2016 Fall Picnic, along with current and retired faculty.

Welcome to WKU Chemistry

WKU Chemistry provides an amazing array of educational and professional opportunities for our students.  Our department is home to a growing number of vibrant and enthusiastic researchers who are dedicated to their students in the both the classroom and in the research lab.

Active research areas in the department include energy conversion materials, novel analytical extractions, protein engineering for DNA detection, potential energy surface modelling, laser spectroscopy for environmental applications, organic nanomaterials for energy harvesting, platinum anti-cancer chemistry, metal-organic frameworks, and aerobic oxidation catalysis.  Our faculty have garnered funding support for their research from NASA, NIH, NSF, USDA, and a variety of other sources.  With over 200 undergraduate chemistry and biochemistry majors and over 25 active Master’s students, the department is constantly buzzing with actively engaged students who are excited about what they do.

As students move through our undergraduate coursework, they receive closer and more personalized attention at each progressive level, with most 400-level major’s courses having 25 students or less.  Our faculty strongly value the close interaction that this fosters.  Nearly 40% of our undergraduate majors are involved in meaningful research experiences, many of which lead to publications, at some point during their time with us.  A new and very attractive option for those undergraduates most interested in research experiences is our Joint Undergraduate-Master’s Program (JUMP) that creates a pathway to earn both B.S. and M.S. degrees in just five years.

We are very proud of the high success rates that both our undergraduate and graduate students have in pursuing doctoral degrees.  We regularly send two to eight graduating students to excellent Chemistry Ph.D. programs, while approximately half of our BS graduates matriculate into professional schools (medical, dental, & pharmacy) and go on to productive healthcare practices. Still others pursue chemical education, or move directly to chemical industry upon graduation.

As department chair, I invite you to explore our website to learn more about the exciting work in our department. If you would like to know more, or you would like to arrange a visit, please feel free to contact us via email at

Stuart Burris

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 Last Modified 10/19/16