In one of the best-equipped undergraduate laboratory facilities in the country, RMC chemistry majors learn by doing in an apprentice-style lab environment where students and professors research together. Courses are rich in guided inquiry, group problem-solving and molecular modeling, with opportunities for cutting-edge, original research beginning as soon as freshman year. Our program is accredited by the American Chemical Society, and Randolph-Macon chemistry graduates are well-prepared to pursue graduate school and careers in a wide range of fields including healthcare, forensic science, education, biotechnology, and pharmaceutical research. 

up close
In and Beyond the Classroom

Ana Leal '22
Ana Leal ’22 worked on her senior thesis research project with Dr. Serge Schreiner for four years including three paid summers in the Schapiro Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program where she studied “Synthesis, characterization, and biological activity of hydroxylated diphosphine complexes ruthenium, platinum, and palladium.” Ana’s work was supported by SURF and the Jackson Professorship. She presented her work at American Chemical Society (ACS) Meetings in San Diego, California and San Juan, Puerto Rico. Ana is is pursuing her Ph.D. in chemistry at Northwestern University.

hands-on research

Randolph-Macon’s chemistry department takes pride in providing hands-on research and instrumentation learning opportunities for students—through classwork, summer fellowships, and year-round research. Unlike other programs where learning is largely theoretical, RMC chemistry majors gain fluency with all available laboratory instruments by graduation. Students and faculty are currently conducting research in the areas of:

  • organometallic and inorganic chemistry
  • polymer science
  • forensic science and analytical chemistry
  • organic chemistry
  • environmental chemistry
  • physical chemistry
  • biochemistry
  • nanotechnology and materials science


Featuring 7 teaching laboratories, 5 research laboratories, 2 multimedia classrooms, and additional rooms for housing instrumentation, Randolph-Macon is among the best-equipped chemistry departments in the country because of the quantity and quality of instruments, and the low student-to-instrument ratio. As an RMC chemistry major, you are trained to use and optimize each of these instruments through laboratory courses and your own original research projects, providing you with fundamental, marketable skills for future careers and graduate studies. Randolph-Macon labs are equipped with:

  • 7 Agilent Cary 8454 UV Visible Diode-array systems
  • Agilent 1200 HPLC
  • Agilent 6850 GC/5975 MS system
  • JEOL 400 MHz NMR Spectrometer
  • JEOL 500 MHz NMR Spectrometer
  • Jobin Yvon Horiba Fluorimeter
  • Agilent 4200 MP-AES
  • Bruker single crystal x-ray

high-impact internships

Chemistry majors gain valuable skills directly in the field as undergraduates. RMC students recently interned at:

  • FBI Academy
  • WestRock
  • New Market 
  • Boehringer Ingelheim
  • Virginia Department of Environmental Quality
A vineyard

Global Education

In the Chemistry of Winemaking (CHEM 160) travel course, students journey to Australia and New Zealand to get a first-hand look at wine classification systems, and develop an understanding of the grape plant, its variety, and taxonomy. Learn the chemical mechanisms behind the fermentation of natural substances to produce ethanol, as well as the analytical instrumentation used in the quality control, verification, and identification of wines from around the world. As part of this immersive course, you’ll tour wineries and wine laboratories; visit research university departments of enology and viticulture; and get hands-on experience with winemaking. 


Several scholarship opportunities are available for incoming freshmen and current students who have already declared chemistry as a major. The Jackson Fellowships are awarded to encourage promising chemistry, biology, and pre-med students. The scholarships:

  • range from $2,000 to $5,000
  • are awarded in addition to any other financial aid and 
  • can be renewed for up to four years. 

For more information, contact Dr. Serge Schreiner at


The legacy of personalized support from faculty in the chemistry department is perhaps best illustrated by the fact that three of its professors are alumnae of the program who returned to teach at RMC. One-on-one mentorship runs through the entire chemistry curriculum, from support of original research to career and graduate school advising. Additional advising is also available through the EDGE Career Center for pre-health students. 

  • 90%
    of RMC chemistry majors who complete a SURF research project go onto professional school
  • #1
    producer of women graduates earning doctorates in chemistry in the country
  • 2
    nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometers are available for chemistry student use
A chemistry student wearing goggles and gloves works with a glass beaker under a hood.

CHEMISTRY IN FULL Courses You Won’t Want to Miss

(A very small sample)

CHEM 125


Extensively analyze case studies to understand the role of the forensic scientist in detecting and solving crimes. Learn the methods and techniques used in crime detection including microscopy; toxicology; serology; fingerprinting; document and voice examination; and arson and explosives investigation. 

CHEM 305


Investigate environmental chemistry topics from an earth systems science perspective focusing on the atmosphere and hydrosphere. Learn the concepts of earth systems science including box modeling, reservoirs, and element cycling. Using environmental data analysis and modeling, examine climate change, stratospheric ozone depletion, and pollution. 

CHEM 402


Study the chemical structures of drugs and their direct influence on pharmacological activity. Gain an understanding of the structural features of drugs that cause them to produce various biological responses. This basic understanding supports further study in medicine, dentistry, biochemistry, or pharmaceutical chemistry.

Opportunities Worth Grabbing

Popular activities and programs among chemistry majors
Faculty member and student working together in a chemistry lab

chemistry club

Student-run, official affiliated chapter of the American Chemical Society, one of the world’s largest scientific organizations. 

Phi Lambda Upsilon

Randolph-Macon’s chapter of the chemistry honorary society

pre-health society

A student-run group that brings together students and alums to learn more about medical career options, the application process for professional schools, and opportunities to gain medical experience. 

From Here To What you can do with a Chemistry degree from RMC.

Kate Haywood '20

Kate Haywood ’20

Medical Student
University of South Carolina School of Medicine

“As a student at RMC, I was given a lot of individualized attention from professors and other career mentors who helped me both prepare academically in the classroom for the rigors of medical school as well as connected me with research opportunities and internships. The pre-med advising program was incredibly helpful as a first generation medical applicant and college attendee who was unfamiliar with the process and requirements for medical school.”

Stephanie McClements ’10

VP of Business Development

Ian Stewart ’12

Sr. Research and Development Chemist
Afton Chemical Corporation

PJ Patel ’19

Medical Student
University of Virginia Medical School

Nate brown ’22

Naval Warfare Center Dahlgren Division

ana leal ’22

Doctoral Candidate
Northwestern University

Buzzworthy The Latest From RMC Chemistry

News Story categories: Chemistry Alumni Career Preparation

Double Major, Single Passion

The unusual combination of studies in chemistry and history led Amanda Metell ‘17 to a career in intellectual property law.

Amanda Metell '17 headshot
News Story categories: Chemistry Physics

Freezing Point: Will Adair ‘24 Conducts Chemistry Research at Cambridge

Will Adair ’24, a chemistry major and physics minor at Randolph-Macon, started 2023 with an opportunity few undergraduates can claim – the…

Will Adair point at a sign that reaeds "Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy" at cambridge university
News Story categories: Chemistry Biology Engineering

RMC Honors Faculty Members with Prestigious Awards

On May 10, President Robert Lindgren and Provost Alisa Rosenthal announced to the assembled faculty the winners of the College’s…

Get Ready Discover Chemistry at RMC.