Chemistry Students

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.



Chemistry Illustration

The Department is the home of three research centers: the Center for Integration of Modern Optoelectronic Materials on Demand (IMOD),the UW Molecular Engineering Materials Center (MEM-C) and the South Asia International Center of Excellence for Malaria Research (South Asia ICEMR).

Chemistry is also a key department in several campus initiatives which support fellowships, travel awards, unique research facilities, and broader educational and professional opportunities for Chemistry students, faculty, and postdoctoral scholars, such as the UW Clean Energy Institute (CEI), the UW Molecular Engineering & Sciences Institute (MolES), and the joint UW-PNNL Northwest Institute for Materials Physics, Chemistry and Technology (NW IMPACT).

Faculty research highlights include:

  • Design of the world’s most sensitive calorimeter for measuring the strength of chemical bonding on surfaces, then applied to clarify numerous surface chemical reactions of importance in catalysis and microelectronics fabrication.
  • Development of a mass spectrometry technique for newborn screening of lysosomal storage diseases, which is being used in newborn screening labs worldwide.
  • A new fundamental understanding of metal-mediated oxidation reactions, processes that play important roles from biological chemistry to large-scale industrial production.

Areas of Research

  • Analytical chemistry
  • B​​ioanalytical chemistry
  • Bioinorganic chemistry
  • Bioorganic chemistry
  • Biophysical chemistry
  • Catalysis
  • Chemical biology
  • Chemical data science
  • Chemistry education
  • Clean energy
  • Computational chemistry
  • Electronic spectroscopy
  • Inorganic chemistry
  • Laser spectroscopy
  • Mass spectrometry
  • Materials chemistry
  • Nanotechnology
  • NMR spectroscopy
  • Opto-electronics
  • Organic chemistry
  • Organic materials
  • Organic synthesis
  • Photonics
  • Physical chemistry
  • Polymers
  • Surface science
  • Theoretical chemistry


Undergraduate majors


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.


Autumn 2023

  • 1,046 Undergraduate majors
  • 48 MS ACST students
  • 220 PhD students
  • 55 Postdoctoral scholars

Degrees Awarded

Summer 2022 - Spring 2023

  • 360 Bachelor's degrees
  • 29 MS ACST degrees
  • 33 PhD degrees

Major Student Awards

since 2022

  • Astronaut Scholarship, Astronaut Scholarship Foundation
  • Churchill Scholarship
  • Council of Graduate Schools / ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Award
  • Goldwater Scholarships
  • Graduate Research Fellowships from DoE, NIH, and NSF
  • Howard Hughes Medical Institute Gilliam Fellowship
  • Husky 100
  • NIH Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards
  • UW Excellence in Teaching Award
  • UW Gonfaloniere
  • UW President’s Medals
  • Washington NASA Space Grant Summer Undergraduate Research Program

Major Postdoc Awards

since 2022

  • Clean Energy Institute Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellowship
  • Community Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE)
  • Mistletoe Research Fellowship, Momental Foundation
  • United States-Israel Education Foundation (Fulbright Israel)
  • Washington Research Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowships
  • Zuckerman Postdoctoral Scholar, Mortimer B. Zuckerman STEM Leadership Program


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
  • ACS National Awards
  • Beckman Young Investigator Award
  • Cottrell Scholars awards
  • Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Awards
  • 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
  • PECASE Awards
  • Sloan Fellowships
  • UW Distinguished Teaching Awards
  • UW Faculty Lecture
  • Washington State Academy of Sciences


The Diversity and Equity Steering Committee was established in 2015 to develop practices and policies that build and maintain an inclusive environment where differences of opinion, beliefs, and values are sought, listened to, respected, and valued. Recent committee work includes becoming an ACS Bridge Partner and facilitating seminars and community lunch & learns featuring guest experts.

Students in the Department of Chemistry formed Inclusion in the Chemical Sciences (InCS-UW) in 2012 to educate and empower people in science by providing a safe and open space for dialogue, mentorship, collaboration, camaraderie, and skill building through activities including guest speakers and panels, student-facilitated discussions, workshops, and outreach.


Chemistry Students in Classroom

We rely on private support not only to maintain our high-quality educational and research programs, but also to make them more accessible for students wishing to study at this world-class institution.

We are grateful for our donors who provide annual support through the Friends of Chemistry Fund and endowment support used to fund activities and programs not covered by state-derived funding such as scholarships and awards to students, researchers, staff, and faculty; faculty support that helps us retain talented faculty being sought by other universities; support for student organizations; and events like our annual graduation ceremony.

While we invest most endowment-derived funds in our students and faculty, needs shift over time, so endowments that can be spent at the discretion of the chair are the most beneficial. We invite you to join our community of generous alumni and donors and support us with a tax-deductible gift, and please contact us if we can be of assistance.


Department of Chemistry
Box 351700
University of Washington
Seattle, WA 98195
(206) 543-1610


last update: May 2024