Message from the Associate Chair, Undergraduate Studies

A very warm welcome to the University of Toronto, the Faculty of Arts & Science and the Department of Chemistry! Our Department offers various programs for students wishing to specialize or major/minor in Chemistry, as well as many different courses for those who wish to learn Chemistry as part of another degree program. We also offer multiple different undergraduate research opportunities at the second-, third- and fourth-year levels. It is important to appreciate that students enrolled in any Chemistry program learn many transferable skills that make them highly employable in various different sectors. These include critical thinking, problem-solving and deductive reasoning, among others. The Department is highly committed to improving undergraduate communication skills and has been part of the Arts & Science WIT initiative (“Writing Instruction & Training”)  for over a decade.

Chemistry is uniquely positioned as the “central science” and chemists have transformed life science fields through molecular biology applications, such as the development of COVID-19 vaccines. Materials science has been impacted through the creation of novel polymers and nanostructured materials, and environmental studies have benefited from chemical remediation. And Chemistry itself also keeps changing and growing. The Department of Chemistry at the University of Toronto is helping to reimagine and redefine the discipline on many fronts. Many exciting developments are placed within reach of our undergraduates, because researchers who teach chemistry are creating new chemistry in their laboratories. As such, students are brought right to the cutting edge of what is new and important in the subject. In addition, faculty are constantly striving to educate students based upon best practices from the pedagogical research literature. This includes creating practical experiences where undergraduates are designing their own solutions to real-world chemistry problems.

Chemists have a critical role to play in addressing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals that focus on many global challenges that society faces. To that end, in 2016 the Department of Chemistry was the first Canadian unit to sign on to the Green Chemistry Commitment (GCC). This is a voluntary pledge to assist in the preparation of chemists whose skills are aligned with the needs of the planet and its inhabitants in the 21st century. Participating in the GCC ensures that students in all first-year undergraduate courses and Chemistry programs become conversant with the 12 Principles of Green Chemistry, and understand how scientists are becoming more environmentally responsible. As of 2021, all students taking one of the departmental specialist or major programs are eligible to enroll in a Focus in Green Chemistry. Members of the departmental Green Chemistry Initiative are routinely involved in teaching undergraduates in both classroom and laboratory settings.

The information presented here is intended to assist you in your course selection, and in planning your academic program(s) of choice. Also included is information about the operation of the Department, various resources, scholarships, and possibilities for research during both the summer and the academic year. If you need further clarification, or would like to know more about our programs, please do drop by room LM 151 to speak with either Nicole Treston (our Undergraduate Program Advisor) or myself. We will work together to make your association with our Department a very productive, successful and enjoyable one!


Dr. Andy Dicks
Professor, Teaching Stream