Male chemistry student

Our undergraduate program combines foundation courses with courses in cutting edge topics like Green Chemistry, Biological Chemistry, Advanced Materials, and Atmospheric Chemistry.

Chemistry is key to biochemistry and medical research, and is strongly complementary to studies such as condensed matter physics, atmospheric science, and cell biology.

At McGill, Frederick Soddy received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1921 for his work in radioactivity, Kelvin Ogilvie co-developed the first "gene machine" in 1981, and Bernard Belleau invented the anti-AIDS drug 3TC in 1988.

About half of our graduates go on to graduate studies in top schools. The other half either go on to professional programs in medicine, education, or policy or pursue rewarding careers in government laboratories, pharmaceuticals, and polymers, amongst others.

Program options

Undergraduate students may elect to follow an Honours, Majors, or Liberal program in Chemistry. Students take courses that cover the major areas of Chemistry (organic, inorganic, analytical, and physical), together with some electives in Mathematics, Physics or Biology. Honours students complete a full-year research project in their chosen field in their final year.

At the graduate level, the department is one of the pre-eminent research schools in the country, with nearly 1,500 Ph.D. degrees awarded to date. An M.Sc. program is also available.

Faculty members of the department are extremely active in research, directing projects in analytical, bioorganic, biophysical, colloid and polymer, inorganic, organic, physical, materials and nanoscience, and theoretical chemistry. Interests range from thermal wave imaging to spectroscopic methods, removing toxic gases from oil and natural gas to reduce air pollution, organic synthesis, and the design and synthesis of new therapeutic drugs.

Department highlights

  • Small classes (10-20) in the final year and classes of 30-40 students right from U1.
  • Excellent summer employment opportunities.
  • Innovative educational methods including modular courses and lab design.
  • The Office for Science and Society addresses the chemistry of everyday life through courses and the media.

More information

Department of Chemistry's webpage for prospective undergraduate students

Calendar entry for Chemistry - see online calendar