A major in Chemistry leads one to a trail head at graduation from which many career paths may be taken. One path leads to medical school, or veterinary school or nursing; that is, to a career in the health sciences. Another path leads to graduate studies in chemistry or biochemistry, fore-shadowing a life of teaching and research. Most environmental problems have a fundamental chemical basis. The chemistry major is well prepared to attack such problems, both technically and politically. Chemical analysis underlies many specialties. Criminal forensics, medical tests, and impurity testing come to mind. The chemistry major may choose a path in one of these directions. Synthesis of new materials and drugs is often the goal of the chemical and pharmaceutical industries. Many of our chemistry majors choose paths leading to careers in these areas. Large numbers of our former chemistry majors follow non-chemistry career paths. They tell us that their chemistry major provided excellent grounding in analytical thinking and an understanding of the basics of nature that helped make them successful in their chosen line of business.

At UCSB the freshman student planning a degree in chemistry begins with a three quarter course in General Chemistry with Laboratory. Courses in Physics and Mathematics also are taken to provide the tools and understanding needed for later chemistry courses. In the second year, the student takes a three quarter course in Organic Chemistry with Laboratory. More required courses in Physics and, in the case of the B.S. degree Mathematics, also are taken. The student takes Analytical and Physical Chemistry with Laboratories in the junior year. The first opportunity to take upper division electives in chemistry occurs in this year. Electives allow you to place an emphasis on one of the subfields of chemistry. The student takes Inorganic Chemistry and more electives in the senior year. In addition to advanced courses in organic, inorganic and physical chemistry, electives exist in biochemistry, biophysics, quantum mechanics, photochemistry, and statistical mechanics. We urge qualified chemistry majors to do some real research too by encouraging independent study and research with individual professors.

The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry offers two degrees in Chemistry. The B.A. degree is intended for those who want more time for courses outside chemistry itself, and who intend to branch farther afield after graduation.


Tel: (805) 893-3295


Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry
University of California Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-9510