The department is housed in Haberlin Hall and Smith Labs, part of the College's Integrated Science Complex which was completed in 2010. Faculty helped to design the state-of-the-art facility, to help match their teaching methods. Students use modern instrumentation throughout the curriculum preparing them for the work force or graduate school.
A major strength of the department is its undergraduate research program. The department offers qualified students an opportunity to conduct research in association with faculty mentors for academic credit. In addition, summer research positions (with a monetary stipend) are available on a competitive basis. As of result of these opportunities, Holy Cross undergraduates regularly contribute papers to professional science publications.
Students graduating with a chemistry major go on to a variety of careers. In recent years, the majority of graduates attend health-related professional schools (medical, dental, veterinary, etc.) or top-ranked graduate schools to focus on an area of chemistry.
The “Discovery Chemistry” lab-based guided inquiry style of teaching began at Holy Cross, and serves as a model for the national chemistry education community. It ensures that students are exposed to the same processes and structure that scientists use to support their creative insights. Students participate in a teaching and learning experience that parallels the scientific method itself. Cooperative efforts by the students in both obtaining and evaluating data support Discovery Chemistry — a curriculum that features introduction of many chemical concepts in the laboratory rather than the lecture.