Academics

academic student collageChemistry occupies a key position in the modern sciences.

Ultimately, most phenomena in biology, medicine, geology, and the environmental sciences can be described in terms of thechemical and physical behavior of atoms and molecules. Because of the wide appeal and utility of chemistry, UCSC offers many lower-division courses, differing in emphasis and style, which meet diverse needs. Students should also note the numerous upper-division course offerings and select those most suitable to their academic interests. The curriculum in chemistry exposes the student to the principal areas of modern chemistry, including organic, inorganic, biochemistry, and physical chemistry. The curriculum is designed to meet the needs of students who plan to end their formal education with a bachelor of arts or bachelor of science degree as well as those who wish to go on for an advanced degree. The UCSC chemistry B.A. or B.S. graduate is well prepared to pursue a career in chemistry or an allied field.

Research in chemistry at UC Santa Cruz is closely interwoven with graduate and undergraduate education.

The chemistry and biochemistry program is active at the graduate level, and the faculty also encourages undergraduates to become involved in research. Research work is done for academic credit in courses 180A-B-C, Senior Research, or in course 199, Tutorial. There are also opportunities for interdisciplinary research spanning, for example, chemistry-physics, chemistry-geology, chemistry-oceanography, chemistry-biology, and chemistry-computer science. It is not uncommon for students to see their own original work published in research journals.

Chemistry and biochemistry faculty and approximately 90 graduate students and 30 postdoctoral fellows are housed in two well-equipped buildings near the Science Library. Standard and specialized spectrophotometric equipment, a number of instruments devoted to structural studies, instrumentation for specialized analytical purposes, and computer facilities used in studies of structure and reactivity are all available. The Science Library has an excellent collection of current journals and reference works as well as earlier volumes of all the major journals, going back several decades. Additional source material can be readily and rapidly obtained on interlibrary loan.

A degree in chemistry opens the door to a wide variety of academic careers.

Some UCSC graduates are working as researchers in industry, in areas such as food, textiles, medicinal drugs, and petroleum. Others have entered government service, as research chemists in the Food and Drug Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, or law enforcement crime laboratories. Fields such as patent law, commercial development, and scientific writing are open to graduates. Many chemistry majors go on to university graduate programs across the nation to prepare for careers in research, teaching, or both. The degree in chemistry also provides a strong disciplinary background in preparation for a career in the important area of science teaching in high school. A major in chemistry is also an excellent beginning for one of the many opportunities in the health sciences.