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Dates of existence
Dalhousie’s Faculty of Science was founded in 1987 but it dates as far back as 1842 when Dalhousie’s first science professor of natural science, James MacIntosh began teaching chemistry. The first dedicated professor of chemistry, George Lawson, was appointed in 1863. The Faculty of Science was formally established in 1877, and turned into the Faculty of Pure and Applied Science in 1891/92. The geology program was established in 1879. The University’s organizational structure changed again in 1906 when the Faculty of Arts and the Department of Pure Science were merged into the Faculty of Arts and Science, while the Department of Applied Science became the Faculty of Engineering.
Dalhousie has offered graduate programs in science since the 1900s. James Forrest was the first to receive a postgraduate degree at Dalhousie, earning a Master of Arts with his thesis "The Science of Chemistry, Its History and Progress,” and the first Master of Science degree was awarded in 1904 to W.H. Ross. During this period, deans included James MacGregor (1891) and Ebenezer MacKay (1902), who was also the first honours graduate in Chemistry from Dalhousie in 1886. In 1956, the departments of Bacteriology, Biochemistry, Biology, Pharmacology, and Physiology were combined into the Division of Biological Sciences, which began offering a PhD program. Dalhousie built the Institute of Oceanography in 1951, and the Oceanography department was officially founded in 1971.
Dalhousie’s current Faculty of Science was founded in 1987, after consideration from a Presidential Advisory Committee on the Structure of the Faculty of Arts and Science consisting of R.J. Smith (Chair) (humanities), D. Braybrooke (social sciences), B.K. Hall (life sciences) and C. Field (physical sciences). The Faculty was split into three faculties (Arts and Social Sciences, Science, and Education), and each department was allowed to choose where it wished to belong. Donald D. Betts became the first dean of the Faculty of Science in 1988.
In 1988, the Faculty of Science had 233 regular staff, with at least fifty percent working full time. In the 1988/89 academic year, the Faculty’s Academic Plan began to provide advanced major options in almost all BSc areas. In the same year, a PhD program in Clinical Psychology was approved, and Dr. Nahomi Fujiki became the first woman to graduate with a PhD in Physics. The Dalhousie University Faculty of Science Award for Excellence in Teaching was created in 1990, and was first awarded to Dr. Patrick N. Stewart of the Department of Mathematics, Statistics and Computing Science.
As of 2017, Dalhousie’s Faculty of Science includes eleven departments and academic units: Biology; Chemistry; Earth Sciences; Economics; the Environmental Science, Marine Affairs, and Medical Sciences programs; Mathematics and Statistics; Oceanography; Physics and Atmospheric Science; and Psychology and Neuroscience. The Faculty also has a large number of facilities, including an Aquatron Laboratory, Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Research Resource (NMR-3), a greenhouse and an herbarium.