Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry

About The Department

As I begin my third year as chair, I am pleased to report that the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry is still growing in size and excellence. In addition to our traditional Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science (ACS Certified) and Masters of Science, we offer innovative on-line Masters degrees. In the 2014-2015 academic year we graduated 54 undergraduates (14 B.A. and 44 B.S.) as well as 28 graduate M.S. students. We currently have approximately 200 chemistry majors and 190 minors. Our program continues to be one of the most productive in the country. This success is a direct result of the great work of our faculty and staff, who's dedication to students and to outstanding research make "doing science" a vital and exciting experience. Last year our faculty directed 12 honors and 40 graduate projects and advised more than 70 students in DIS research. They also published 35 refereed articles, 29 of which had student co-authors and made over 40 presentations, all of which included student co-authors at national and regional meetings.

Our success in chemistry instruction has not gone unnoticed by the funding agencies. This past year, the department has active grants totaling approximately 3.6 million dollars, including new grants this year totally $1.3 million dollars. These include four new NSF or NIH grants to our faculty enabling continued excellent research oportunities for undergraduate and graduate students. Recent NSF Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) awards for a new GC/MS/MS and GC/IRMS instruments continue to increase our research capabilities and provide students with experience with state-of-the-art equipment. The program officer from NSF indicated that the review committee was particularly impressed with the quality of proposed research and the involvement of large numbers of undergraduates in the research projects.

I am also pleased to report that our second option to our unique graduate distance education MS in Chemistry is in its second year. This Chemical Studies track is a fully on-line, course work only option and does not require a laboratory research based thesis. It does require 36 graduate credits, with a minimum of 21 coming from Chemistry and at least 9 credits from Clinical Sciences, Education or Business graduate on-line course work. This option enables students who can't fulfill the thesis requirement to still earn a MS in Chemistry. For this non-thesis option, applicants do not need to be employed in the chemical industry and additional coursework in an area of specialization allows students to gain knowledge in a field helpful to their professional goals. The capstone course, CHM 597, was offered for the first time during summer 2014, resulting in 14 new MS graduates in 2014/2015. If you are interested in pursing a graduate degree online, or in taking one or two graduate courses, you can consult the Web site at or contact John Tyrell ( for further information.

If you have any questions or want further information about the department, feel free to contact me.

Sincerely yours,

Pamela Seaton, Professor and Chair
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, UNCW
601 S. College Rd., Wilmington, NC 28403-5932