Department of Chemistry



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Hello and welcome to our Department of Chemistry,Peter Loock, Department Head

I am Peter Loock and the Head of the Department of Chemistry at Queen’s. You may have arrived at this page for a number of different reasons: maybe you are interested in undergraduate studies in chemistry or you consider pursuing a graduate degree. Maybe you are interested in the services we have to offer or you are looking for a job in our department. Or maybe you are an alumni interested in what has happened in Queen’s Chemistry since you graduated.

As you can see from our website, our department is doing extremely well by national and international standards – with regards to infrastructure (state-of-the-art building, over $10M in new research instrumentation, etc.) and with regards to teaching excellence and scientific recognition.  My colleagues and coworkers are a group of very successful individuals – students, postdocs and faculty – who all have the right to be proud of their accomplishments. Even more importantly, our department is small and cohesive enough that we all are very familiar with each other’s work. Students notice that their classmates quickly become like family, and faculty become trusted advisors who know their names and care about their progress through the program.

While the “vibe” of a department cannot be quantified very well, let me give you a couple of benchmarks.

  • Queen’s Chemistry has 25 faculty, including 7 women – the largest percentage of female chemistry faculty in Canada.

  • Among our faculty are 6 Canada Research Chairs, likely also the largest percentage in Canada.

  • Our department has well over 100 graduate students – M.Sc. and Ph.D. candidates – who enjoy the same high minimum stipend, are unionized, and have a very active and capably graduate society representation. About 50% of them continue as academics (a lot have become professors) and others pursue equally successful careers in the private and government sectors.

  • Of course, you can study Chemistry with us, but did you know that we also have courses in Scientific Ethics, in Business Skills for the Chemical Industry and (new this year) Leadership Skills?

  • The department and its researchers are very closely connected to local, national and international industry. For example, the Queen’s Chemistry Innovation Council is a group of business leaders (presidents, CEOs, etc.) who advise our department and give career advice to our students. Upon graduation most students have a tightly-knit network of professional contacts.

  • Chernoff Hall, our chemistry building, has won awards for its outstanding architecture and functionality. It remains one of the top-research facilities in the country.

  • About 46% of our graduate students manage to secure some kind of scholarship that tops up their salary. Our students are successful Vanier Scholars, NSERC PGS-M and PGS-D awardees, Ontario Graduate Scholars, Ontario Trillium Scholars, and also hold an assortment of 10 to 15 internal awards and fellowships.

  • About 30 positions are available each summer to Chemistry undergraduates. Students are hired typically after their 2nd and 3rd year in the program as summer research assistants. Their research projects frequently lead to scholarly publications or conference presentations. All undergraduates complete a research project in their final year that also may form the basis of a publication.

  • Our students see the world! We have a dual M.Sc. program with the University of Stuttgart, Germany, and offer a 2+2 joint undergraduate degree program with Tonji University – also open to Environmental Studies students. For many years we offer a joint graduate degree program with Trent University. Almost all graduate students represent their research group at an international conference at some point in their career, and many participate in student exchange programs - in the last years predominantly with French, Japanese, German and Italian universities.

  • Our graduate class has typically 25 students in the Chemistry Honours program and another 20 students in Engineering Chemistry. Most of these students continue as graduate students at Queen’s or elsewhere and all have excellent career options in a variety of “traditional chemistry” and “non-traditional” career paths. Interestingly, since about 2010 the majority of the graduates in both programs are female.

  • Our faculty and students win an astonishing number of national and international awards – practically every award by the Canadian Society for Chemistry has been won by my colleagues. We also host the researchers with the highest NSERC Discovery Grants nationwide, and were able to secure numerous CFI, CREATE and NSERC Discovery Frontiers Grants.

At this point it should be clear that I am very proud of the Department of Chemistry and its many accomplishments. It would be wonderful to welcome you as a member of our chemistry family. Should you consider undergraduate or graduate studies in chemistry, please feel free to contact me directly for more information at

Or drop by for a coffee and we can talk about your future at Queen’s..!

Peter Loock