College Facts

The College of Chemistry at UC Berkeley

MissionCollege of Chemistry Facts Brochure Cover 2018-2019

The mission of the College of Chemistry is to advance 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. Our students are researching solutions to some of society's most urgent 21st-century issues — resource scarcity, climate change, health issues and more.


Our two departments, the Department of Chemistry and the Department of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, provide outstanding coursework and research opportunities to our undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers. Faculty and students regularly participate in multidisciplinary collaborations with other researchers on campus, national laboratories, and global industry and academic institutions.

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

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

College History

The College turned 146 years old in 2018. Information about the College's history and a timeline of our notable faculty, discoveries and major events is available on our history webpage.


UC Berkeley is rated the best university in the world in Chemistry in the 2018 Academic Ranking of World Universities and US News & World Report Education. The chemical engineering undergraduate and graduate programs are ranked #2 nation-wide by US News & World Report.

1. Berkeley 1. MIT
2. MIT* 2. Berkeley*
2. Nanyang Tech U.* 2. Caltech*
4. Stanford 2. Stanford*
5. Northwestern U. 5. U. of Minnesota

* Tied

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)

Tribute to Nobel Laureates in Latimer HallPlaques honoring the college's Nobel Laureates are on display in the lobby of Latimer Hall.


Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering (as of July 1, 2018)

Full Professors: 15*
Associate Professors: 1
Assistant Professors: 3
Adjunct Professors: 3
Lecturers: 8

Chemistry (as of July 1, 2018)

Full Professors: 50*
Associate Professors: 5
Assistant Professors: 6
Adjunct Professors: 3
Lecturers: 4

Honors Held by Current Faculty**

National Medals of Science: 6
National Academy of Engineering: 12
National Academy of Sciences: 33
American Academy of Arts & Sciences: 37
Distinguished Teaching Awards: 9***

*includes Professors of the Graduate School
**includes emeriti professors


Enrollment by Major, Academic Year 2018-19


Degrees Awarded, Academic Year 2017-18

Bachelor of Science
Bachelor of Arts
Master of Science
Doctor of Philosophy

Julian Wolf, intern - Shun Wu and Fang Fang, mentors - Materials Sciences. Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internship (SULI).
Photo Ⓒ Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

College Life

The college complex is a small city unto itself — six buildings that 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 (LBNL). Particle accelerators, high-energy X-ray light sources and more are a short distance away. Together with LBNL, 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.


  • Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering with an optional concentration in biotechnology, chemical processing, environmental technology, materials science and technology, or applied physical science.
  • Bachelor of Science in Chemistry with an optional concentration in materials chemistry or Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry (through the College of Letters and Science).
  • Bachelor of Science in Chemical Biology.
  • Double majors in Chemical Engineering and Materials Science and Engineering; Chemical Engineering and Nuclear Engineering.


  • Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy in Chemical Engineering, and Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry. Ph.D. students interested in interdisciplinary work may join the Chemical Biology Graduate Program or the Designated Emphasis in Nanoscale Science and Engineering.
  • Master of Science in Chemical Engineering in Product Development (Product Development Program, or PDP).

Our Student Experience


The undergraduate majors at the College of Chemistry provide training for students planning careers in the chemical sciences along with those interested in biology, medicine, and earth sciences. Students participate in activities and events across campus as well as at the College.

Advisors in our undergraduate advising center provide expert and confidential academic guidance. They are supported by our Peer Advising program made up of students who can further aid in academic planning.

Our Peer Tutoring program provides coaching for both upper and lower division chemistry courses, as well as other courses required for majors in the College.


The College offers the unique experience of graduate research with world-class faculty making discoveries on the boundaries of the chemical sciences.

These are exciting times in both chemistry and chemical and biomolecular engineering research at the College. We are engaged in bold new initiatives in virtually every research sub-discipline. As a graduate student, you work in small, integrated research groups allowing you to tackle big research questions directly. There is ample support and opportunity to publish your work.

Our faculty are also involved in exceptional joint research opportunities as a consequence of our strong relationships with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, other colleges on campus, and national and international institutions.

Raymond Weitekamp, Corinne Allen. Berkeley Lab Molecular Foundry
Photo Ⓒ Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Into the World

Where do our graduates go?

Everywhere! The college's 14,725 alumni can be found in 57 different countries throughout the world. They work in academia (23.4%), corporations (64.4%), government agencies (5.4%), and in non-profit foundations and other areas, including innovative startups (6.8%). They carry with them the deep scientific understanding and advanced technical skills they need to be leaders in their communities.

Partnering with Industry

The College of Chemistry welcomes opportunities to partner with industry. Today's forward-thinking companies invest in public education to ensure that our society continues to produce the talent of tomorrow. We greatly value collaborative relationships with corporate and organization funders.

Corporate partners support us through unrestricted gifts, fellowships, scholarships, named lectures and programs. In addition, corporate ties are reinforced through contract/grant and gift sponsorship of our faculty's research groups and through student recruiting.

Private Support

Private support is crucial to enabling the College to fulfill its public mission. We are deeply grateful to our donors for their ongoing philanthropy. Thanks to the generous support of our friends, we continue to be able to fund vital college projects:


  • Capital improvements
  • Unrestricted support for students and faculty
  • Undergraduate summer research scholarships
  • Graduate fellowships

For information about giving to the college contact:

Laurent "Lo" de Janvry, Assistant Dean
College Relations and Development
(510) 643-9351