The Chemistry department provides cadets who major in chemistry with a strong foundation in chemistry, mastery of modern chemical instrumentation, excellent analytical and mathematical skills, and the ability to think things through and solve problems.

All majors are encouraged to participate in an undergraduate research experience under the guidance of a faculty member either in a 10-week summer program or during the academic year. 

The chemistry department's Bachelor of Science is approved by the American Chemical Society, and cadets fulfilling the requirements for a Bachelor of Science are certified as having met the standards of professional training by the society. The B.S. degree has two tracks to choose from: a pre-med option and a research option.

The Bachelor of Arts degree provides cadets with an opportunity to pursue other interests in preparation for a career of their choosing while providing a solid foundation in the basic areas of chemistry. This degree requires cadets to choose another focus area outside of chemistry and complete either a minor, concentration or certification. Faculty members will work closely with B.A. majors to design a program that best meets the cadets’ career goals. Career choices could correspond to the following focus areas:

  • Medical, Dental Schools-Concentration in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • Military or Intelligence Agencies-International Studies Minor, National Security Minor, Arabic Minor
  • Law Enforcement or Forensics-Concentration in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • Business/MBA-Business or Economics Minor
  • Math/Science Teacher-Teacher Certification Program

Degrees and Programs

Major(s): Chemistry




Research Opportunities

The majority of chemistry majors participate in at least one undergraduate research experience. Most of these cadets will present their research at a local or regional professional meeting, and a smaller number will have their results published. Chemistry majors also have the opportunity to work as industrial interns with a company during the summer. Majors who have demonstrated excellence in the study of chemistry are invited to participate in the departmental honors program during their 1st Class year. Cadets who accept the invitation will be engaged in extensive research under the close supervision of a faculty sponsor.

Chemistry in the News

Find out more about the department's cadets and faculty in recent VMI news.

Students part of Lt. Col. Kevin Braun’s general chemistry lab course recently conducted preliminary data analysis on metals in an unconventional place — the VMI Museum.

VMI Chemistry Majors Study Antiquities

Cadets in Lt. Col. Kevin Braun’s general chemistry lab took their research to an unlikely place — the VMI Museum on post. The archeology-themed activity called for the cadets to choose unidentified displayed artifacts, and use their prior knowledge of metals to speculate their origin.

3D model of a COX-2 protein molecule using ChimeraX

Computer Software Brings Wonderment and Support to Chemistry

Visualizing three-dimensional (3D) molecules on a two-dimensional piece of paper can be a struggle for any chemistry student. Lt. Col. Dan Harrison ’05, associate professor in the Department of Chemistry, used his experience with research software to find a tool to address this challenge.

VMI: Forging 21st Century Leaders