Graduate Program Overview

The UCSB Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry provides exciting research at the cutting edge of modern chemical and biochemical science. Our faculty is exceptionally distinguished, including two Nobel laureates, and publications from our department were the 7th most cited in the nation among all chemistry departments, as reported by Chemical and Engineering News

We offer state-of-the-art facilities for research in all areas of chemistry and biochemistry. Graduates of the PhD program are well-equipped to pursue a wide variety of career options.  For a partial list of employers of our alumni, take a look at our Alumni Job Placement Fact Sheet.

Our program fosters interdisciplinary collaborations both on campus and with scientists nationally and internationally. Affiliated research units on campus include the Materials Research Laboratory, the California Nanosystems Institute, the Institute for Terahertz Science and Technology, the Neuroscience Research Institute, the Marine Science Institute, the Center for BioEngineering, and the Mitsubishi Chemical - Center for Advanced Materials.

The UCSB campus has an unequaled geographical setting, with the Pacific Ocean and Channel Islands to the south and the Santa Ynez Mountains to the north. The city of Santa Barbara, known as the American Riviera, is rich with culture and natural beauty. 


Undergraduate Program Overview

Chemistry is the study of molecules, their formation from atoms, and their transformation into new molecules.  Chemistry seeks to understand and control the reactions that cause these transformations.  Chemistry's breadth results from the diversity of molecules, which range from the simple two- to three-atom molecules of the earth's atmosphere to the incredibly complex molecules and molecular structures of living things.

Students who like to invent and enjoy thinking in quantitative and mathematical terms may be interested in chemistry.  Likewise, students who can break complex questions into a series of less complicated questions that can be answered through experimentation should consider the chemical sciences.  The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry offers the Bachelor of Arts (BA) and the Bachelor of Science (BS) degrees in Chemistry and the Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Biochemistry.  The BA's requirements are somewhat less restrictive than those of the BS.  The BA is a good choice for students interested in medical, dental, law, or business school.  Students interested in graduate work in chemistry or biochemistry may pursue any of the three degrees.

A two-year core curriculum in chemistry, mathematics, and physics lays a solid foundation for the required and elective coursework of the upper division majors.  These upper division courses, which add breadth and specialization to the program, have low enrollments that enable students to work closely with faculty members of their choice.  Undergraduate students are encouraged to undertake independent study and research projects as soon as they acquire the basic laboratory skills and background to benefit from such experiences.  Many join departmental research groups during their junior and senior years.  All Chemistry and Biochemistry majors are assigned an advisor with whom they consult regarding selection and substitution of coursework and other matters pertaining to their academic careers.