UCSB CHEMISTRY & BIOCHEMISTRY UNDERGRADUATE PROGRAM
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.
About the Department
Sitting directly on the shores of the Pacific Ocean, with views of the Channel Islands to the south and the Santa Ynez Mountains to the north, UCSB’s department of Chemistry and Biochemistry offers a uniquely attractive combination: cutting-edge, world-class research in an unparalleled physical setting.
Our department consists of 37 faculty, 165 graduate students, 26 postdoctoral researchers, and 30 staff members, all dedicated to exploring the frontiers of chemical science. All branches of chemistry are well represented, including materials, inorganic, organic, physical, theoretical, analytical, and biochemical. We also feature a strong collaborative research environment, an ethos which is fostered by the creation of many interdisciplinary research units, including the Materials Research Laboratory (MRL), the California Nanosystems Institute (CNSI), the Center for BioEngineering (CBE), the Center for Polymers and Organic Solids (CPOS), the Center for Energy Efficient Materials (CEEM), the Institute for Collaborative Biotechnologies (ICB) and the Institute for Energy Efficiency (IEE). In support of these activities, the department features a full complement of state-of-the-art research instrumentation, including a large fleet of NMR spectrometers, an X-ray crystallographic facility, and a materials characterization facility. The department also maintains a machine shop, a glass shop, a mass spectrometer facility, and two stockrooms.
By any metric UCSB Chemistry and Biochemistry is one of the top programs in the country. Over the period 1997-2007 UCSB ranked 8th in the world in its citation impact in chemistry and the department ranked 22nd in the National Research Council rankings. The faculty includes two Nobel Chemistry prize winners (Walter Kohn, 1998, and Alan Heeger, 2000) and a half dozen members of the National Academy or Royal Society. Overall the UCSB campus ranked 4th in the US in terms of total number of citations 2005-09 in the US, and was ranked 2nd in the world in 2013 by the Centre for Science and Technologies Studies at Leiden University and 11th in the US in 2010 by Washington Monthly.