University Of Washington Department Of Chemistry

University Of Washington Department Of Chemistry

The Department of Chemistry at the University of Washington is a leading research institution in many areas and has been recognized as one of the top 50 chemistry departments in the country by U.S. News & World Report. The department’s mission is to prepare students for success in careers where science and technology are critical, such as medicine and environmental sciences; to train scientists for academia; and to pursue fundamental knowledge about chemical processes through research. The department offers BS degrees with majors in chemistry or biochemistry, MS degrees with majors in biochemistry or analytical chemistry, PhD degrees with majors in bioanalytical chemistry or physical chemistry, postdoctoral training opportunities supported by fellowships from federal agencies such as NIH and NSF; support packages are also provided by UW Medical School (UWMS), School of Pharmacy (UPSP), School of Public Health (UWSPH) etc.).

Mission Statement

The University of Washington Department of Chemistry is a world leader in the areas of research, education and service. We enrich our community by providing opportunities for students to learn how to do creative science; we train tomorrow’s scientists; we enhance our local economy through the development and commercialization of new technologies; we make discoveries that benefit society at large.

The department has more than 200 faculty members representing over 30 research groups serving about 600 students each year. Most UW chemistry graduates go on to advanced studies or careers in industry or government after earning their bachelor’s degree here.


The research areas of the department are biochemistry, chemical physics, chemistry education and outreach, environmental chemistry, materials science and engineering, natural products chemistry and drug discovery.

The most important research areas in the department are:

  • Biochemistry (how molecules interact with each other)
  • Chemical Physics (the interaction between nanoscale objects in solution)
  • Chemistry Education & Outreach (teaching people about chemistry)

The most promising research areas in this department include:

  • Materials Science & Engineering (designing new materials from scratch)

The most unique research areas at this university include:

Natural Products Chemistry & Drug Discovery.

Research Overview

The Department of Chemistry at the University of Washington is a leading research institution in its field. The department’s areas of expertise include:

  • Computational chemistry, materials science and biochemistry
  • Chemical education
  • Materials chemistry and inorganic chemistry
  • Organic chemistry, physical chemistry and quantum chemistry

In addition to these core areas of focus, many faculty members also participate in interdisciplinary research that crosses traditional lines. For example, there are several collaborations with departments such as bioengineering or environmental engineering.


The mission of the Department of Chemistry is to conduct innovative research, train future generations of scientists and engineers, and provide state-of-the-art services that have a strong impact on society.

Education Overview

The UW Department of Chemistry is a leader in many areas of research and education, with resources for graduate students, undergraduates, and faculty. Our department has a long tradition of providing an excellent education while being at the forefront of research that addresses critical issues facing society.

The UW Department offers a wide range of courses at both undergraduate and graduate levels. Students can choose from more than 50 different courses offered by our faculty each year. The curriculum is designed to provide students with both breadth and depth in their studies by offering beginning courses as well as advanced material for those pursuing advanced degrees such as MS or PhD degrees.Our mission (What do we do?):

We educate students about chemistry through rigorous coursework that provides background knowledge for further study or employment.We provide research opportunities to give students hands-on experience conducting experiments or interpreting data from published articles.We engage in groundbreaking work which advances the field through collaboration between researchers across disciplines worldwide.

Graduate Program

The Chemistry Department is committed to providing a high quality graduate program. The department’s research, education and diversity programs are world-class.

The department offers two types of degrees: Graduate Certificates and Master’s Degrees (M.S.). The Graduate Certificate provides an opportunity for students who already hold a Bachelor’s degree in chemistry or another field, but who do not wish to pursue a traditional Master’s Program. In this case they may work on one area of study or several areas simultaneously; either option will be described in the student’s statement of purpose that is required before admission into the program. It is also possible for any applicant with an undergraduate degree in science or engineering to enroll directly into our M.S./PhD program after passing a qualifying examination at the end of their first year.*

Students can choose from either graduate certificate programs or master’s degrees—both are awarded by Washington State University Vancouver which means you will receive two degrees when you complete your coursework!

Undergraduate Program

The UW Chemistry undergraduate program is ranked #1 in the country by a variety of sources and has been so for over a decade. A large number of students apply to our major, but we only accept about half. The rest are accepted into one of our highly-ranked minors.

We offer eight majors: Organic Chemistry; Inorganic Chemistry; Physical Chemistry; Biochemistry; Polymer Science & Engineering (a joint major with the Department of Materials Science); Chemical Biology (a joint major with the Center for Excellence in Genomics); Chemical Physics (a joint major with the Department of Physics); and Chemical Biology.

Our core requirements include physical chemistry, quantum mechanics/electronic structure theory, biochemistry/bioorganic chemistry, chemical reactivity theory, polymer synthesis/characterization and an introduction to computational chemistry as well as two semesters of biology electives at any level. We also require either an independent research project or a senior thesis before graduation from UW Seattle or Bothell campuses where you will learn how to publish your results through either publication or presentation at meetings such as ACS national meeting each April in Boston MA USA where I went last year!

Diversity and Inclusion

UW Chemistry is committed to diversity and inclusion in all aspects of the department’s programs, including our curriculum, research activities, recruitment efforts, and hiring practices. The goal of our Diversity & Inclusion Committee is to promote a more diverse faculty and staff population as well as maintain an inclusive environment for all students.

We have a variety of resources available to support these efforts:

  • A Diversity & Inclusion website containing information about the D&I Committee and its initiatives;
  • A Diversity & Inclusion policy detailing how we will strive for equity within the department;

Diversity and Inclusion Overview

University of Washington Department of Chemistry is committed to diversity and inclusion. As an academic community, we strive for excellence in all aspects of our work, recognizing that excellence can only be achieved by fully engaging the talents and perspectives of all members of our department. Diversity enriches our academic community by providing opportunities for unique ways of seeing things, new ideas and approaches, greater creativity, stronger communication skills and willingness to take risks. It also helps us better understand each other so that we can create solutions together that lead to positive outcomes for all people across campus and beyond. Our commitment extends not only to individual employees but also those who might otherwise be overlooked or marginalized because they are part of historically underrepresented groups (for example: African Americans/Blacks; Latino/Hispanic/Latinos; Native Americans/Alaskan Natives; Asian Pacific Islander Americans (API) as well as other minority groups).

Faculty Profiles

We are proud to have a distinguished faculty in the Department of Chemistry. Their research, teaching and service have helped make us one of the most respected departments in the country.

Please visit our faculty profiles page for more information about these individuals, as well as links to their web pages, research interests and teaching philosophies. You can also find out more about each individual’s awards and publications on this page.

UW Chemistry is a leader in many areas of research and education, with resources for grad students, undergrads, and faculty.

UW Chemistry is a leader in many areas of research and education, with resources for grad students, undergrads, and faculty. If you are interested in joining our vibrant community of researchers or if you have questions about opportunities available to students at the University of Washington please contact us.

The Department of Chemistry at the University of Washington is a leader in many areas of research and education, with resources for grad students, undergrads, and faculty.

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