Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

  • Commentary
  • Published:

Designing convergent chemistry curricula

Scientific convergence is a common theme of modern research, but undergraduate chemistry is commonly taught as an isolated discipline. Here we discuss curricular updates at three different institutions that are independently seeking to increase convergence in introductory chemistry courses.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Access options

Buy this article

Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout


  1. Sharp, P.A. et al. The Third Revolution: The Convergence of the Life Sciences, Physical Sciences, and Engineering (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2011).

    Google Scholar 

  2. Whitesides, G.M. Angew. Chem. Int. Edn. Engl. 54, 3196–3209 (2015).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  3. Khosla, C. Daedalus 143, 43–48 (2014).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. National Research Council. Convergence: Facilitating Transdisciplinary Integration of Life Sciences, Physical Sciences, Engineering, and Beyond (National Academies Press, 2014).

  5. American Chemical Society, Office of Professional Training. Undergraduate Professional Education in Chemistry (American Chemical Society, 2015).

  6. McCoy, A.B. & Darbeau, R.W. J. Chem. Educ. 90, 398–400 (2013).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  7. Wenzel, T.J., McCoy, A.B. & Landis, C.R. J. Chem. Educ. 92, 965–968 (2015).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  8. Wenzel, T.J. & Landis, C.R. Chem. Eng. News 93, 33 (2015).

    Google Scholar 

  9. Kirch, D.G., Mitchell, K. & Ast, C. J. Am. Med. Assoc. 310, 2243–2244 (2013).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  10. Mahon, K.E., Henderson, M.K. & Kirch, D.G. Acad. Med. 88, 1806–1811 (2013).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Brenner, C. J. Chem. Educ. 90, 807–812 (2013).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  12. Brenner, C. & Ringe, D. ASBMB Today 2012 (March), 12–14 (2012).

    Google Scholar 

  13. Reingold, I.D. J. Chem. Educ. 78, 869–871 (2001).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  14. Malinak, S.M. et al. J. Chem. Educ. 91, 994–1000 (2014).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  15. Thompson, K.V., Chmielewski, J., Gaines, M.S., Hrycyna, C.A. & LaCourse, W.R. CBE Life Sci. Educ. 12, 162 (2013).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Ege, S.N., Coppola, B.P. & Lawton, R.G. J. Chem. Educ. 74, 74–83 (1997).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  17. Undergraduate Chemistry Education: A Workshop Summary (National Academies Press, 2014).

  18. Falmagne, J.-C. & Doignon, J.-P. Learning Spaces (Springer, 2011).

  19. Freeman, S. et al. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 111, 8410–8415 (2014).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Stockwell, B.R., Stockwell, M.S., Cennamo, M. & Jiang, E. Cell 162, 933–936 (2015).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  21. Meyer, J.H.F. & Land, R. High. Educ. 49, 373–388 (2005).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Talanquer, V. J. Chem. Educ. 92, 3–9 (2015).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  23. Schaller, C.P. et al. J. Chem. Educ. 91, 321–328 (2014).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  24. Goess, B.C. J. Chem. Educ. 91, 1169–1173 (2014).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  25. Abdella, B.R.J., Walczak, M.M., Kandl, K.A. & Schwinefus, J.J. J. Chem. Educ. 88, 1257–1263 (2011).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references


We thank our fellow chemistry faculty for their hard work and contributions that made these changes possible. Thanks to D. Walt for helpful feedback. We also thank current and future contributors to the website for raising the visibility of new introductory curricula.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Joshua A Kritzer.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Charkoudian, L., Sampson, N., Kumar, K. et al. Designing convergent chemistry curricula. Nat Chem Biol 12, 382–386 (2016).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing