University of California, Berkeley - College of Chemistry


About Berkeley

The University of California was founded in 1868, born out of a vision in the State Constitution of a university that would "contribute even more than California's gold to the glory and happiness of advancing generations."

From a group of academic pioneers in 1868 to the Free Speech Movement in 1964, Berkeley is a place where the brightest minds from across the globe come together to explore, ask questions and improve the world.

What happens at UC Berkeley isn't magic. It just feels that way.

About the College of Chemistry

The College of Chemistry is comprised of:

  • The Department of Chemistry
  • The Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Both disciplines provide the opportunity and means for meeting major scientific and technological challenges, such as addressing climate change, increasing the world's food supply, synthesizing new materials, and discovering and delivering important drugs. The College prides itself on a balanced approach to science, with research areas ranging from experimental to theoretical. Faculty in both departments are engaged in teaching and research in a wide range of applications and subdisciplines.

The College offers undergraduate degrees in chemistry, chemical biology, and chemical engineering, as well as double majors in chemical engineering and materials science and engineering, and in chemical engineering and nuclear engineering. A new option is a concentration in materials chemistry.

The College offers doctoral programs in chemistry and chemical engineering, and a master's program in chemical engineering, including a concentration in product development. Cross-disciplinary programs are encouraged.

The chemical and biomolecular engineering faculty have established world-renowned research programs in thermodynamics, surface catalysis, electrochemical processes, fluid mechanics, separation and transport processes, polymer processing, and control systems. New research being explored includes biochemical engineering, nanotechnology, and the study of electronic and optical materials.

Faculty in the chemistry department is currently interested in research that includes analytical, inorganic, organic, and physical chemistry, as well as such diverse areas as nanoscience; nuclear, biophysical, materials and atmospheric chemistry; and structural and chemical biology.

College researchers have access to numerous other facilities on campus including the microfabrication laboratory and the brain imaging center. They also collaborate with scientists throughout the campus and the nation. The nearby Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL)(link is external) houses state-of-the-art charged particle accelerators used extensively by our nuclear chemists. In addition, LBNL's Advanced Light Source is one of the world's brightest sources of ultra-violet and soft x-ray beams and is used by college researchers to decipher the folding of biomolecules.



The College of Chemistry advances society through education and research.

We honor that mission by educating students who become world-class scientists, researchers, and educators pushing the boundaries of chemical science.


The Departments of Chemistry and Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering provide outstanding coursework and research opportunities for undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers.

Chemistry has consistently produced leaders in analytical, inorganic, organic, nuclear, physical and theoretical chemistry. We now lead exploration at the frontiers of knowledge in the areas of biophysical, materials, and atmospheric chemistry, as well as the burgeoning fields of chemical biology and nanoscience.

Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering (CBE) houses premier research programs in molecular thermodynamics, heterogeneous catalysis, electrochemical engineering, biochemical engineering, and separation processes. CBE faculty are research pioneers in the growing fields of synthetic biology, nanotechnology, theoretical chemistry and the development of polymeric, optical, and semiconductor materials.

College Life

The college complex is a small city unto itself — six research buildings operate 24 hours a day. Undergraduates hurry between teaching labs and classrooms. Grad students and postdocs drop in at the NMR, spectroscopy and crystallography facilities. Faculty members consult with their lab groups and monitor experiments. Nearby, college researchers have access to numerous specialized labs on campus and at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBL). Particle accelerators, high-energy X-ray light sources and more are a short distance away. Together with LBL, the U.S. Department of Energy and private sector partners, the college has helped create the world's most advanced cluster of research centers on biofuels and artificial photosynthesis.

Startup Culture

UC Berkeley hosts a vibrant series of incubators and venture funds geared toward the University's support of students and faculty in their efforts to start new companies. The Berkeley Catalyst Fund was started several years ago by College alumni to focus on early-stage funding of faculty and student startups in the College of Chemistry.


The College's Nobel Laureates


  • 1949 William F. Giauque (B.S. ’20, Ph.D. ’22)
  • 1951 Glenn T. Seaborg (Ph.D. ’37)
  • 1961 Melvin Calvin
  • 1986 Yuan T. Lee (Ph.D. ’65)


  • 1934 Harold C. Urey (Ph.D. ’23)
  • 1960 Willard F. Libby (B.S. ’31, Ph.D. ’33)
  • 1973 Geoffrey Wilkinson (Postdoc ’50)
  • 1983 Henry Taube (B.S. ’35, Ph.D. ’40)
  • 1989 Thomas Cech (Ph.D. ’75)
  • 1995 Mario Molina (Ph.D. ’72)
  • 1996 Robert F. Curl, Jr. (Ph.D. ’57)
  • 1999 Ahmed Zewail (Postdoc ’74)
  • 2002 Kurt Wüthrich (Postdoc ’67)
  • 2018 Frances Arnold (Ph.D. '85)

Faculty Honors

  • National Medals of Science: 11
  • National Academy of Engineering: 12
  • National Academy of Sciences: 36
  • American Academy of Arts & Sciences: 31
  • Distinguished Teaching Awards: 12

Number Of Countries Our Faculty Are From

  • 21

Where Do Our Graduates Go?

Everywhere! The College has over 15,000 alumni that reside in over 50 counties throughout the world. They

work at universities, national laboratories, corporations, government agencies, non-profit foundations, and innovative startups. They carry with them the deep scientific understanding and advanced skills needed to be leaders.

Partners with Industry

The College of Chemistry welcomes opportunities to partner with corporate partners. Today's forward-thinking companies invest in public education to ensure that our society continues to produce the talent of tomorrow. We gratefully acknowledge their support of unrestricted gifts, fellowships, scholarships, named lectures, and programs.




College of Chemistry,
420 Latimer Hall,
University of California, Berkeley

CA 94720-1460 Berkeley, California, USA


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