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Department of Chemistry

Message from the Department Head


Welcome to the Department of Chemistry at Penn State!

Our department offers a rich variety of opportunities and resources. Since the heart of every department is its students, let’s begin by exploring our graduate and undergraduate programs.

Our graduate program provides opportunities to students in a wide array of chemical disciplines including analytical, biological, environmental, inorganic, materials, organic, physical, and theoretical chemistry. Graduate students have the freedom to personalize their courses and research projects. Moreover, we encourage graduate students to rotate in several different labs and we provide an opportunity to come to the department the summer before classes begin. Our graduate students have an active Chemistry Graduate Student Association and also have many opportunities for professional development, including teaching, communication, networking, outreach, and participation in regional, national, and international meetings. They are also part of departmental committees such as safety, seminars, and climate and diversity. These activities, together with research, make our students competitive for many career paths that include academia, industry, government, and national laboratories, among others.

Our undergraduate program offers an innovative curriculum that provides students with outstanding training for a variety of career paths including careers in the chemical industry, academia, medicine, education, and government, as well as other fields. We offer customized academic planning, advising, and research opportunities. The latter is especially important; students have the chance to work with faculty on cutting edge problems and gain skills that transfer to professional development, as well as co-author papers with faculty. A wide variety of scholarships, co-ops, and internships are also available. 

Our large and diverse faculty are involved in world-class research, are leaders in their fields, and have won numerous awards for their scientific contributions. We explore topics that range from climate change to DNA repair to new materials for alternative energy. Faculty are funded by the NIH, NSF, DOE, NASA, Army, and many other agencies. In addition, many of our faculty members have received prestigious awards including the PECASE, Humboldt Prize, NIH MIRA, NSF CAREER, and Packard Fellowship, among others. Several of our faculty members have been elected as fellows and members of prestigious academies and societies, including the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, the American Association of Arts and Sciences, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Our faculty also serve as journal editors, meeting organizers, and are involved in outreach initiatives in the community. The faculty are also engaged in outstanding teaching efforts to bring innovative teaching methods to the classroom, including active learning and flipped classrooms. Many of the faculty have participated in workshops to learn new and innovative teaching methods. 

We are also fortunate in the department to have an outstanding staff. Our talented staff members provide assistance to the students and faculty in areas of undergraduate teaching, graduate student recruiting, postdoctoral appointments, faculty recruiting, budgeting, and so much more. 

We welcome you to our website and invite you to explore these and many other aspects of our department. Please look at the news and events pages to see the latest stories and opportunities. I think you will find the Department of Chemistry at Penn State to be an exceptionally exciting, welcoming, and inclusive  place and we hope that you can visit and explore the many opportunities here.

With very best wishes,

Phil Bevilacqua

Head, Department of Chemistry


Phone: 814-863-3812

The Life Sciences Bridge during the spring semester.
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