Student working with chemistry beakers
Degrees Offered: BA IBA (MS) PhD Minor

Biochemistry: BA; IBA; (MS); PhD; minor

Chemistry: BA; IBA; (MS); PhD; minor

Chemical Physics: PhD

The Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry at the University of Colorado Boulder emphasizes knowledge of the basic principles of chemistry, including atomic and molecular theory, the states of matter and reactivities and properties of chemical substances. Students study the basic subfields of chemistry, such as organic, physical, analytical and inorganic chemistry (and biochemistry for biochemistry majors), all while developing the mathematical skills to understand fundamental chemical relationships and to manipulate experimental data. Graduates also learn safe chemical practices, including handling waste, safety equipment, assembling chemical apparatus and designing experiments.

Undergraduate Opportunities

Students can major in either chemistry or biochemistry. Both programs lead to the Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree. Both majors require courses in general, organic and physical chemistry as well as in calculus and physics. Chemistry or biochemistry majors are prepared for many different careers after graduation. About 30 percent of chemistry majors enter directly into industry or government positions that require scientific expertise, such as the chemical, oil, electronics, mining and manufacturing industries; water districts; and crime laboratories. In the future, chemists will increasingly find jobs in fields such as energy development, biotechnology, health and safety, atmospheric science and environmental quality. One­third of graduates go on to specialized graduate education in chemistry and biochemistry, while another third go on to professional school, pursuing advanced degrees in medicine, dentistry, law, business, engineering and computer science.

Graduate Studies

The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry is internationally recognized for its research and education. As part of a commitment to continuing this tradition of excellence, the department provides a graduate program that integrates opportunities for cutting­edge creative research and study across a wide range of areas, such as atmospheric, biophysical, environmental, organic, materials and nanoscience, and physical chemistry. Faculty and students at CU­Boulder are involved in harnessing solar energy, preparing synthetic DNA, developing better medications, measuring atmospheric pollution and many other research activities at the frontiers of chemistry.

Research Opportunities

Undergraduate teaching laboratories, as well as departmental shops and analytical, inorganic and physical chemistry research laboratories are located in the Ekeley Sciences building. Specialized equipment includes mass and nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometers, computers, lasers, photochemical reactors, gas and liquid chromatographs, x­ray crystallographic laboratories and ultraviolet, visible and infrared spectrometers.

Students enjoy extensive scientific collaboration with chemistry and biochemistry faculty, with other departments such as molecular, cellular and developmental biology and physics, and with research institutes and agencies such as the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES), the Joint Institutes of Laboratory Astrophysics (JILA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).