Chemistry is the science that studies matter, the stuff of which all things are made. Chemists study the composition, structure, properties, and reactions of matter on the molecular scale and larger. Chemists also discover and synthesize entirely new materials. Modern chemistry touches many other fields of science, engineering, and medicine. Chemistry will continue to provide critical solutions to intellectually exciting and societally important problems.


A student wishing to study chemistry or biochemistry and undertake cutting-edge research in the Pacific Northwest has a nationally and internationally recognized option at the University of Washington. We offer bachelor’s degrees in chemistry and biochemistry, a chemistry minor, a master’s in applied chemical science & technology (ACST), and the Ph.D.

The Department serves many non-majors, with more than 3,000 undergraduates taking at least one introductory chemistry course annually. It has the largest undergraduate instructional laboratory program at the UW.

Many of our undergraduate majors enrich their educational experience through participation in undergraduate research with our faculty.

Diversity & Equity

In the UW Department of Chemistry, our courses and research programs leverage fundamental chemical principles and the diverse expertise of our students, staff, and faculty, to shape a sustainable, resilient, and just future. Together we tackle some of the biggest challenges facing science and society: clean water and energy for all, eradicating disease and promoting global public health, advancing the next generation of efficient, sustainable, and accessible technologies, and educating to advance scientific literacy, among others.

We embrace the rich perspectives and experiences that arise from racial, ethnic, socio-economic, sexual, gender, religious, ability, and other differences that embody diversity. We acknowledge the harm caused by the inequities, racism, and social injustices in our nation, community, and institutions, both in the past and the present. We are fully and proudly committed to rectifying these issues as we move into the future. We know that our best work will happen when members of our community are affirmed, empowered, and committed to our shared CHEM ideals:

COLLABORATION that brings all people and ideas to the table
HONOR and respect for the people and lands in and around our community
ENGAGEMENT with tough questions and curiosity that drives discovery and change in science and society
MOTIVATION to strive for excellence in education and research at the frontiers of chemical science


The Department of Chemistry has 45 faculty who have received numerous awards from a wide variety of organizations. Faculty honors include:

  • American Academy of Arts & Sciences Fellows (18)
  • ACS National Awards
  • Beckman Young Investigator Awards (3)
  • Cottrell Scholars awards
  • Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Awards (9)
  • Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Chemical Society and American Physical Society
  • Kavli Microbiome Award
  • National Academy of Sciences
  • NSF CAREER Awards
  • Packard Fellowships (3)
  • PECASE Awards
  • Sloan Fellowships (20)
  • UW Distinguished Teaching Awards
  • UW Faculty Lecture
  • Washington State Academy of Sciences Members (13)

Students as of Autumn 2021

  • Undergraduate majors: 947
  • MS ACST students: 50
  • PhD students: 219
  • Postdoctoral scholars: 55

Degrees awarded from Summer 2021 through Spring 2022

  • Bachelor’s degrees: 358
  • MS ACST degrees: 19
  • PhD degrees: 32

Major student awards since 2017

  • A&S Dean’s Medal in the Natural Sciences
  • Churchill Scholarship
  • Goldwater Scholarships
  • Howard Hughes Medical Institute Gilliam Fellowship
  • Husky 100
  • Graduate Research Fellowships from DoE, NIH, and NSF
  • UW Excellence in Teaching Award
  • UW Gonfaloniere
  • UW President’s Medals

Major postdoc awards since 2017

  • Cell Mentor's list of 1,000 inspiring Black scientists
  • Forbes’ 30 Under 30: Energy
  • International EPR Society John Weil Young Investigator Award
  • European Commission Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Fellowship
  • NIH Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards
  • Washington Research Foundation Fellowships

Historical Record of Departmental Chairs

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