The Department of Chemistry was initiated in 1996 with the establishment of the Faculty of Education at the then Alemaya University. It started to run training with B.Ed. degree in Chemistry the same year. In the year 2004 the Department launched a unique graduate program leading to M.Ed. degree in Chemistry with the intention of playing a role towards fulfilling the Country’s needs for high-level qualified Chemistry educators. The good experience of running the M.Ed. in Chemistry greatly encouraged the Department for initiating taught curriculum that leads to M.Sc. degree in Chemistry. It is, however, a standard procedure for a department to ensure with sound evidences about the market demand before launching any training program, especially when it is at higher level of education like the one in question. Thus, the Department of Chemistry could be able to open up in 2007/08 the parallel program in M.Sc. Chemistry by ensuring its significance on the basis of the positive outcomes of an earlier needs analysis and feasibility study conducted on a wide range of stakeholders across the country that included experts, potential candidates, company managers & organizational leaders working in several government & non-government organizations, higher learning institutions, manufacturing industries and many others.
Currently, the Department enrolls several candidates both in the Regular & Summer B.Sc. and M.Sc. programs. It is also running PhD regular program. In our M.Sc. program the students are all expected to take core Chemistry courses as well as some topical and seminar courses. In addition, the M.Ed. candidates need to take some pedagogical courses including research methodology in science education in order to be able to undertake thesis research in the context of chemical education. The M.Sc. candidates, on the other hand, are required to register for quantitative research methodology course that would eventually help them prepare for undertaking thesis research in basic or applied science areas that will address particular problems relevant to industrial, agricultural, health and environmental development as well as in knowledge generation.
Chemistry underpins research and development of the chemical industry, agriculture, health as well as the higher education institutions where chemistry, biology, pharmacy, medicine, agriculture and other related disciples require a strong knowledge base in the various branches of chemistry. The demands of contemporary research and teaching are such that advanced training beyond undergraduate degree level is becoming increasingly necessary. Therefore, the M.Sc. & M.Ed. programs of the Department shall serve to upgrade the skills of scores of chemists with B.Sc./B.Ed. qualification from higher institutions of learning and other governmental and non-governmental organizations. The postgraduate program will help in part, to overcome the chronic shortage of qualified Chemistry teachers faced by the higher learning institutions.
In recent years some young faculties or colleges in most senior universities, like the College of Natural & Computational Sciences (CNCS) in the Haramaya University, are being forced to admit more candidates in their postgraduate programs in spite of their current carrying capacity. This situation of massive enrollment may appear havoc, to many of the institutions, because of its adverse consequences that will have serious impact at reducing the quality of education in the particular programs. The impact may continue affecting the programs significantly at least for the first few years. However, the pressure developed this way will naturally diffuse, in due course; as the institution should have to look for a cope up means of easing the adverse effects of the expansion. Global experiences suggest that institutions who build their capacity for running several parallel programs simultaneously in a specific subject area not only can provide options for admitting more applicants at any one time to their postgraduate programs but also can maintain the quality of training by efficient use whatever limited resources they may have.
In this regard, the Chemistry Department of HrU is well ahead of time in building a strong base for delivering Master of Science training programs in various areas of chemistry specializations including Analytical, Inorganic, Materials, Organic and Physical Chemistry in Regular and Master of Science in Chemistry and Master of Education in Summer admission mode.
Currently the department is also running the first PhD program in the history of the department since 2017. The new PhD program is in Materials Chemistry. In a similar way the Department is on the verge of opening one undergraduate and four PhD programs very soon. The new undergraduate program is in Laboratory Technology and Management while the PhD programs will be in Analytical Chemistry, Inorganic Chemistry, Organic Chemistry and Physical Chemistry. The curricula for the undergraduate and the four new PhD programs are already prepared pending review and approval by the University. The undergraduate and postgraduate programs which are already launched are described below.