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    American University
    Jun 09, 2023  
American University Catalog 2019-2020 
American University Catalog 2019-2020 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]



Chair  Shouzhong Zou

Full-Time Faculty

Professor  D. Fox, J.E. Girard, S. Zou
Associate Professor Emeritus  F.W. Carson
Associate Professor  S. Costanzi, M. Hartings, M. Konaklieva
Assistant Professor  A. Zestos
Senior Professorial Lecturer  S. Dehghan
Professorial Lecturer  J. Axe, M. Lansigan, S. Rodriguez-Valazquez, M. Tiso

Department Overview

Chemistry is the science that deals with the composition of materials, their structures and properties, the transformations they undergo, and the energy changes that accompany these transformations. Areas of study include general, organic, physical, analytical, and inorganic chemistry, as well as biochemistry and earth science. Students are encouraged to participate in research projects at all levels.

Approved by the American Chemical Society, the department offers programs leading to the Chemistry (BS) Chemistry (MS) , and Biochemistry (BS) . Besides training for a career or graduate study in chemistry and biochemistry, undergraduate students are prepared for medical or dental school, engineering programs, and other careers where technical expertise is needed. The department provides a personal, congenial environment where students can develop and pursue a flexible program of study designed to fulfill individual interests and needs.

The Department of Chemistry is equipped with standard chemical instrumentation, including spectrometers and chromatographic equipment. Laboratory facilities in the Beeghly building include modern teaching and research laboratories as well as specialized laboratories established for research in biochemistry, polymer chemistry, nanomaterials chemistry, electrochemistry, and carbohydrate chemistry, and for work requiring an inert atmosphere. Graduate and undergraduate students are involved in a variety of research projects using the facilities of the department or through cooperative agreements with many governmental laboratories. Students learn how to design, conduct, and analyze research in advanced laboratory courses as part of their curriculum.

Faculty members are involved in conducting research in analytical chemistry, biochemistry, carbohydrate chemistry, inorganic chemistry, biotechnology, organic synthesis, electrochemical energy conversion, nanomaterials chemistry, and physical biochemistry. Laboratory research projects for both BS and MS students are available in our own well-equipped modern building and also at many world-renowned research laboratories in the Washington, DC area.

Research opportunities in the Washington area through internships, work-study programs, and special arrangements are available at the following laboratories: Center for Advanced Research in Biotechnology, Food and Drug Administration, National Institute of Standards and Technology, National Institutes of Health, Naval Medical Research Institute, Naval Research Laboratory, Naval Surface Weapons Laboratory, US Army Mobility Equipment Research and Development Command at Fort Belvoir, and the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. Students who participate in these programs obtain experience with specialized equipment and interact with research scientists outside the university.

The Premedical  programs of the College of Arts and Sciences, including a Postbaccalaureate Premedical (Undergraduate Certificate) , are available to help all undergraduate, postbaccalaureate, and graduate students who are considering a career in medicine or one of the allied health professions. For more information see Preprofessional Programs .

Special Opportunities

Teaching Certification

Students interested in obtaining teaching credentials for grades 7-12 may take a 36-credit hour Secondary Education (Second Major Only)  or combine their undergraduate degree with the Teaching (MAT)  with a concentration in secondary education. For information on admission and program requirements, see the School of Education  secondary education programs.

Honors in Chemistry

The Honors in Chemistry  program is a mark of distinction for undergraduates interested in pursuing a graduate training and research career in chemistry, biochemistry, engineering, biomedical, or related fields. The goal of the program is to prepare undergraduates for independent specialized research and to provide additional mentorship on professional practices and ethics that will allow the student to become creative, productive, collaborative colleagues in the future.   


    Major Program (UG)Minor (UG)Master’s Program (GR)Certificate (GR)