The Hope College Department of Chemistry is recognized internationally for its excellence, undergraduate research and the accomplishments of its graduates and faculty.

At Hope, you get the chance to take courses in chemistry and do real-world research with our award-winning faculty. As a student, you’ll enjoy small class sizes and state-of-the-art facilities, and join the ranks of successful alumni when you graduate.

Degree Programs

We offer an ACS-certified chemistry major with an optional emphasis in biochemistry (B.S.), a chemistry major (B.S. or B.A.), chemistry education major and minor, and chemistry minor options. Whether you plan to pursue a Ph.D., medical school and health professions, education or work in the chemical industry, our program will prepare you for success.

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

For those interested in exploring the intersection of chemistry and biology, Hope offers two certified biochemistry majors (ACS and ASBMB) and a biochemistry minor.

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology program 


All of our students learn by doing, not just by lectures. Hope has the oldest undergraduate student research program for chemistry in the nation. As a chemistry student, you’ll have unparalleled opportunities to study and research alongside faculty members for innovative research. Visit our Research page for more information.

  • 1865: Rev. Charles Scott is appointed Chair of Chemistry and Natural History
  • 1893: William Dehn is the first Hope grad to obtain a Ph.D. in Chemistry (at the University of Illinois)
  • 1904 (Godfrey Era): Almon T. Godfrey hired as instructor of Chemistry and Physics
  • 1923–55 (VanZyl/Kleinheksel Era): Gerritt Van Zyl pioneered the undergraduate research program and Harvey Kleinheksel was a master teacher
  • 1948: First ACS PRF Grant received by Hope College
  • 1953: Hope College Chemistry Department certified by ACS
  • 1955–64: Eugene Jekel and Irwin Brink join the Chemistry faculty
  • 1964–67 (VanderWerf Era): President Cal VanderWerf (Hope undergrad, Ph.D. in Chemistry from OSU) hires Neckers, Mohrig, Klein, Smith and Wettack
  • 1965: Hope College acquires its first NMR
  • 1968–75 (Post-VDW Era): Doyle, Williams, Mungall, Boyer and Friedrich
  • 1978–present: current faculty hired
  • 2013: Biochemistry program accredited by ASBMB

Hope by the Numbers

  • 1stCollege to offer collaborative research

    During Dr. VanZyl’s tenure from 1923 to 55, the concept of collaborative research began. Hope became one of the first colleges to offer undergraduate student/faculty collaborative research.

  • #2In nation for Ph.D.s in Chemistry

    Between 1920–1980, Hope College ranked 2nd in the nation among 894 private undergraduate institutions for graduates who received Ph.D.s.

  • 100%Success rate of grad school applicants

    Our chemistry and biochemistry students have achieved a perfect success rate over the last 10 years when applying to grad school.

  • 88%Success rate of medical school applicants

    Our chemistry and biochemistry students have achieved a high success rate over the last 10 years when applying to medical school.