About the Major

At Hamilton, students don’t just study chemistry — they help break new ground as members of a scientific community while developing a strong background for a wide range of health-related professions or graduate work in specialized science fields. Small classes and labs foster mentoring relationships and one-on-one dialogue. Professors encourage students to pursue independent projects and collaborate with them on original research.

Students Will Learn To:

  • Apply scientific reasoning to explain chemical phenomena as evidenced by performance on a standardized exam (breadth of chemical reasoning)
  • Demonstrate the ability to conduct a sustained research project (chemical research)
  • Communicate chemistry’s impact on society with attention to ethics and inequities in science from which science policy decisions are made (impact of chemistry)

A Sampling of Courses

Installing solar panels on KJ

Chemical Approaches to Solar Energy Conversion

An introduction to the fundamental electro- and photochemical processes that enable harvesting of solar energy. Topics to be addressed will include the theory and application of semiconductor materials as solar cells to capture light energy, as well as the electrochemical processes that enable the storage of that energy as solar fuels (artificial photosynthesis) or in grid scale batteries. The course will revolve around readings from the primary chemical literature. One-half credit seminar. Maximum enrollment, 12. Prerequisite, 225, 265, or 270. Next offered in Spring 2021. Kramer.

Explore these select courses:

Structure and bonding of organic compounds and their acid-base properties, stereochemistry, introduction to reactions and reaction mechanisms of carbon compounds and the relationship of reactivity and structure. Three hours of class and four hours of laboratory.

Topics in inorganic chemistry, including periodicity and descriptive chemistry of the elements, electrochemistry, transition metal coordination chemistry, and the structure and properties of solid state materials. Laboratories emphasize synthesis and characterization of inorganic coordination compounds, electrochemistry, and inorganic materials. This course satisfies the second semester of a one-year General Chemistry requirement for post-graduate Health Professions programs.

A survey of the chemical and physical nature of biological macromolecules, including nucleic acids, proteins, lipids and carbohydrates; biochemistry of enzyme catalysis; bioenergetics and regulatory mechanisms. Principles and techniques of experimental biochemistry, focusing on isolation methods and techniques for analyzing structure and function. This course satisfies the second semester of a one-year General Chemistry requirement for post-graduate Health Professions programs, however, this course might not also satisfy a Health Profession program’s requirement for a course in Biochemistry.

An integrated lecture-laboratory course in which students learn to design, build, and use instrumentation to study the physicochemical properties of atoms and molecules. Topics include the theory and practice of optical spectroscopy, thermochemical measurements of gases and condensed phases, and the measurement of reaction kinetics. Evaluations stress mastery of laboratory technique and communication of results with an emphasis on oral communication. Speaking-Intensive. One hour of lecture, three hours of laboratory.

An investigation into the concepts of organic synthesis as applied to small molecule drug and probe development for the treatment and understanding of human disease. Emphasis will be placed on modern organic synthesis, medicinal chemistry, and chemical biology research aimed toward the realization of personalized therapeutics. The process of developing an original research proposal will be a primary mechanism to reinforce the concepts of this course.

Meet Our Faculty

Karen Brewer

Chair, Professor of Chemistry


synthesis and luminescence properties of rare earth (lanthanide) sol-gel derived materials

Shiblee Barua

Visiting Assistant Professor of Chemistry


quantum chemistry; astrochemistry; Titan atmosphere; exoplanet atmospheres; Venus sulfur chemistry

Charles Borton

Associate Professor of Instruction in Chemistry, Laboratory Supervisor


Michael Ihde

Visiting Assistant Professor of Chemistry


Organic chemistry, analytical chemistry, supramolecular chemistry, and environmental chemistry

Wesley Kramer

Visiting Assistant Professor of Chemistry


Max Majireck

Associate Professor of Chemistry, Director of Biochemistry/ Molecular Biology


organic chemistry, natural products, medicinal chemistry and chemical biology

Ryan Martinie

Assistant Professor of Chemistry


biochemistry, bioinorganic chemistry, enzymology, and natural product biosynthesis

Ian Rosenstein

Associate Professor of Chemistry


organic chemistry, free radical reactions, reaction stereochemistry, and development of new synthetic methodology

Sarah Rosenstein

Associate Professor of Instruction in Chemistry


structure-function biochemistry, RNA enzymes, biochemistry lecture and laboratory development and pedagogy, ocean microplastics, microplastics as microbiological habitats

Adam Van Wynsberghe

Associate Professor of Chemistry


physical chemistry, biophysical chemistry, and theoretical chemistry

Michael Welsh

Assistant Professor of Chemistry


biochemistry and chemical biology

Greg Rahn

Instrumentation Specialist


Timothy Elgren

Professor of Chemistry Emeritus (retired)


Robin Kinnel

Silas D. Childs Professor of Chemistry Emeritus (retired)


isolation and structure elucidation of natural products and natural products chemistry; NMR spectroscopy; separations technology; liquid chromatography/ESI mass spectrometry; organic synthesis, peptide and peptidomimetic chemistry; medium ring chemistry; chemical defense and antimicrobial compounds

Explore Hamilton Stories

Caleb Phelan '22

Chemistry in the Mountains

On the hikes to obtain water samples, Phelan has spent plenty of time with his two professors. He highlighted this opportunity as one unique to a small college, remarking that “that’s what the Hamilton staff is all about.” The willingness to drive up into the mountains to help with his project, Phelan said, is amazing.

Max Majireck in the lab.

Hamilton and MMRI Awarded AHA Research Grant

Associate Professor of Chemistry Max Majireck and Postdoctoral Fellow Dr. Khanh Ha of the Masonic Medical Research Institute (MMRI) were recently awarded a grant for approximately $154,000 from the American Heart Association.

Claudia Morse ’19

Because Hamiltonians Shoot for the Stars: Claudia Morse ’19

Long interested in clean energy and renewable energy, Claudia Morse ’19 designed her own major at Hamilton to focus on environmental chemistry. For her thesis she studied perovskite solar cells. She went directly from the Hill to Solid Power — she did her first interview with the company during commencement rehearsal. 

Careers After Hamilton

Hamilton graduates who concentrated in chemistry are pursuing careers in a variety of fields, including:

  • Professor of Neurology & Pediatrics, University of Pennsylvania
  • Engineer, Lockheed Martin
  • Global Skincare Development Coordinator, Estee Lauder
  • Public Relations Director, AT&T
  • Clinical Research Coordinator, Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon
  • Senior Food Technologist, Rich Products
  • Patent Attorney, The Eclipse Group
  • Vice President, athenahealth


Department Name

Chemistry Department

Office Location
198 College Hill Road
Clinton, NY 13323

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