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Department of Chemistry

Central to most fields of science, chemistry helps us to understand a range of topics including environmental issues, drugs and medicine, production of plastics and other materials, and nutrition. A fundamental understanding of chemistry is also important and interesting for its own sake. There is a great demand for chemists in many industries and government agencies. In fact, the chemical industry in Charlottetown and the rest of Canada is a booming business.

Chemistry at UPEI

At UPEI we focus on providing truly excellent undergraduate and graduate programs while carrying out innovative chemical research. Our four-year BSc Honours, Majors, Minors, and Master’s degrees are accredited through the Canadian Society for Chemistry. There is a tremendous sense of excitement in both teaching and research in chemistry at UPEI.

The Chemistry department's programs have undergone major transformations in recent years, resulting in the advent of a new honours program, designed for "professional chemists" who intend to advance to graduate school or pursue careers as chemists in industrial or government laboratories; and a revised majors program intended for students who will proceed to a second profession-oriented degree or diploma program, or seek employment as, for example, laboratory technicians. The full program, including both majors and honours, is described on the Chemistry Program page (link on the right of this page).

Much of the core of the Chemistry programs offered at UPEI is in line with nationally recognized requirements found at many universities; that is, a first year of general chemistry, followed by a year of organic chemistry and a minimum of one year in each of the subdisciplines of physical, inorganic, and analytical chemistry.

An important distinction, however, is the inclusion of two undergraduate research-oriented courses, in addition to the normal honours research dissertation. Thus a key focus of our program is the introduction of undergraduates to research, initially at the sophomore level (CHEM 282) and later in CHEM 482, a one-semester research project course. Such courses are key to developing problem-solving and independent thinking/decision-making skills. The advantage we have at UPEI is that in relatively small class sizes, there is extensive opportunity for close student-faculty interaction, providing an optimum environment for learning and practising these skills.

Such research skills are unique in a majors program, and will serve our graduates well as they pursue careers in the "real world."

The department is located in the K. C. Irving Chemistry Centre, which is fully equipped with dedicated research labs, undergraduate teaching labs, student computer room, and "smart” classrooms. We have a very active Chemistry Student Society, which organizes chemistry open houses, fundraising barbecues, golf days, and other social events. For more information on our department, please don’t hesitate to give us a call or visit our campus for a tour.

Nola Etkin
Chair, Department of Chemistry
(902) 566-0693