Western's Chemistry program provides close student-faculty contact and relatively small classes, direct access to modern laboratory equipment and instrumentation, and opportunities for cutting-edge research under the direction of a faculty advisor. 

Within the department, faculty are active in many research areas including biofuels, protein engineering, computer modeling, catalysis, nanomaterials, materials for solar cells, electrochemistry, polymers, thin films, protein structural analysis by nuclear magnetic resonance and x-ray crystallography, and organic synthesis.

Western’s Chemistry Department is part of the College of Science and Engineering.

Portrait of Catherine Miles

“My professors are as excited about chemistry as I am. They teach with such vigor that you can’t help getting excited. I believe I’m getting one of the best undergraduate educations possible.”

Catherine Miles
Chemistry Student

The Chemistry Department, in addition to its core of fundamental studies in Analytical, Biochemistry, Inorganic, Organic and Physical Chemistry, has added a variety of elective courses that offer diversity in training, study, and research at the undergraduate level. Students are immersed in an environment emphasizing strong interdisciplinary scientific preparation, and receive hands-on experience with advanced chemical and biochemical methods.  

The Chemistry Department at Western Washington University is approved by the American Chemical Society (ACS), and students who complete the Bachelor of Science in the Chemistry program receive ACS certification of their degree.


Western’s Chemistry program is widely recognized by employers and graduate schools as one of the strongest in the United States.

Beyond the Classroom

Opportunities beyond classroom study are a cornerstone of the Chemistry Department. Undergraduate and graduate students are encouraged to pursue faculty mentored research projects and to present results of their research at a national conference or during Western’s annual Scholars Week. Undergraduate and graduate students often coauthor papers that are published in scientific literature. 

The department strives to offer a diverse and vibrant seminar program. Each year, leading researchers, as well as faculty and graduate students from Western, present and discuss their cutting-edge research. 

Western Chemistry students might also be involved in the Chemistry Club (WEsTeRn Chem Club)–a Student Chapter of the American Chemical Society. The chapter provides students at Western with an opportunity to gain information on educational and professional opportunities and activities. Most importantly, the chapter gets students involved with fun social and service activities that help strengthen bonds among students and faculty.

94.1% of Chemistry, BS graduates continued their education within six months of graduation, of those who responded to Western's 2015-2016 Employment Survey

Careers and Graduate Studies

Graduates have gone on to careers in medicine, aerospace, microelectronics, biotechnology, community college teaching, the energy sector, and many other fields.

Employers of recent Western graduates: 

  • Ecig Express: Lab Technician 
  • Pacific National Laboratories: Research Assistant 
  • Phillips 66: Lab Technician 
  • TOKU-E: Laboratory Technician 

Western graduates who pursue graduate studies are doing so at such schools as: 

  • University of California: Chemistry (PhD)
  • University of Chicago: Chemistry (PhD)
  • University of Illinois: Physical Chemistry (PhD)
  • University of Massachusetts: Chemistry (PhD)
  • University of Oregon: Chemistry (MS)
  • Western Washington University: Chemistry (MS) 

Sample Jobs

  • Chemical/Pharmaceutical Sales 
  • Crime Lab Analyst 
  • High School Teacher 
  • Industrial Chemist 
  • Veterinarian 
  • Technical Writing 
  • Forensic Scientist 
  • Quality Assurance Specialist 
  • Research Scientist 
  • Physician 
  • Occupational Safety Specialist

Requirements and Course Details

To learn more about this program, including grade requirements, a course listing, how to declare the major, and more, see the Program of Study Details.