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While we are, of course, concerned with all students enrolled in the chemistry program, a primary concern of the Department has been the success of those students graduating with chemistry majors. Reed chemists have long been successful in graduate study. From 1991-1995, 23 Reed graduates obtained PhD’s in chemistry, reflecting a subset of those graduates of the Department who received doctorates in other science and engineering disciplines. While this is not a large number in an absolute sense, Daedelus1 reported in that Reed College ranks sixth nationally (among both universities and four year colleges) in the fraction of its graduates who went on to receive PhD’s in science and engineering from 1991-95.

Aside from graduate school, a significant number of graduates enter the workforce in technical positions. There has been a particularly solid track record of success in placing students in the pharmaceutical industry in recent years. Generally feedback from employers has been positive, and several companies have actively recruited additional Reed graduates following a positive experience with a new hire. The focus on research experience as part of a student’s education not only enhances the student’s fundamental understanding of a field, but it also provides practical experience that is of real value in the workplace. However, some graduates have expressed concern that a perceived departmental focus on graduate study made it difficult for them to evaluate opportunities in the workplace.

Of course, a significant number of students choose careers outside of science. Professional training in medicine and law is not uncommon, and former students have pursued a variety of careers that are apparently unrelated to the study of chemistry as undergraduates. In these instances, it is the Department’s belief that, through the integration of research in the curriculum, the students have received valuable training in analytical thinking and in practical application of theoretical concepts that will serve them broadly in life.

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Research in an Undergraduate Setting
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