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Washington and Lee University

Washington and Lee University
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Mission Statement


We have as our primary pedagogical goals both to instill in our students understanding of chemistry based in current chemical knowledge and to instill in our students the desire to continue the pursuit of a deeper or broader understanding of chemistry, in particular, and knowledge in general. We are committed to preparing life-long learners who are equipped with skills derived in our classrooms and laboratories.


Upon completing a major in chemistry or biochemistry, our students will understand essential chemical principles and have a foundation of factual chemical knowledge on which they may build in the future. Our students will develop intellectual skills that they may use to solve problems in chemistry and beyond. Our students will learn to use the chemical literature and learn to communicate scientific results both orally and in writing. Our students will have the opportunity to develop a wide range of technical skills as a result of working with modern laboratory technology, while simultaneously developing basic competence in laboratory techniques, skills, practices, including basic laboratory safety skills. Finally, our students will learn to work as part of a team and understand ethical practices in chemistry.


We serve students with varied interests. These students include, but are not restricted to: those pursuing careers in the chemical sciences directly upon graduation or after further studies; those pursuing careers in the Health Professions; those pursuing careers in branches of the natural sciences other than chemistry; and those who will study chemistry as part of W&L's Foundations and Distributions requirements or for purposes of scientific literacy.


We are committed to an environment that is conducive to the pursuit and practice of scientific research in chemistry and related fields. This research contributes to faculty development and it provides exposure for students in the role and practice of the scientific method. Our Department makes its expertise in the chemical sciences available to others in the University and larger community as needed. Members of the Chemistry Department serve as student advisors and on University committees.


Click here for details concerning learning objectives specific to individual courses.