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UC Santa Barbara General CatalogUniversity of California, Santa Barbara

Chemistry and Biochemistry

Division of Mathematical, Life, and Physical Sciences
Building 232
Telephone (805) 893-5675
Undergraduate e-mail:
Graduate e-mail:

Department Chair: Mattanjah S. de Vries


About the Department

Sitting directly on the shores of the Pacific Ocean, with views of the Channel Islands to the south and the Santa Ynez Mountains to the north, UCSB’s department of Chemistry and Biochemistry offers a uniquely attractive combination: cutting-edge, world-class research in an unparalleled physical setting.

Our department consists of 38 faculty, 160 graduate students, 27 postdoctoral researchers, and 30 staff members, all dedicated to exploring the frontiers of chemical science. All branches of chemistry are well represented, including materials, inorganic, organic, physical, theoretical, analytical, and biochemical. We also feature a strong collaborative research environment, an ethos which is fostered by the creation of many interdisciplinary research units, including the Materials Research Laboratory (MRL), the California Nanosystems Institute (CNSI), the Center for Bioengineering, the Center for Polymers and Organic Solids (CPOS)Center for Energy Efficient Materials (CEEM), Institute for Collaborative Biotechnologies (ICB) and the Institute for Energy Efficiency. In support of these activities, the department features a full complement of state-of-the-art research instrumentation, including a large fleet of NMR spectrometers, an X-ray crystallography facility, a mass spectrometer facility, and a materials characterization facility. The department also maintains a machine shop, a glass shop, and two stockrooms.

By any metric UCSB Chemistry and Biochemistry is one of the top programs in the country. Over the period 1997-2007 UCSB ranked 8th in the world in its citation impact in chemistry and the department ranked 22nd in the National Research Council rankings. The faculty includes two Nobel Chemistry prize winners (Walter Kohn, 1998, and Alan Heeger, 2000) and a half dozen members of the National Academy or Royal Society. Overall the UCSB campus ranked 4th in the US in terms of total number of citations 2005-09 in the US, and was ranked 2nd in the world in 2013 by the Centre for Science and Technologies Studies at Leiden University and 11th in the US in 2010 by Washington Monthly.

Mission Statement

The department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at UCSB is dedicated to performing cutting edge chemical and biochemical research in an environmentally and ethically sound manner, in service to the county of Santa Barbara, the state of California, and the world. We are committed to addressing the grand challenges that humanity faces in the 21st century and believe that chemistry and biochemistry are at the forefront of this endeavor. In accord with this mission we strive towards excellence in undergraduate, graduate, and outreach education, and we will instill in our graduates the skills and drive necessary to meet these challenges.

Prizes and Honors

The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry recognizes its outstanding undergraduate and graduate students with several awards, presented annually at the Departmental Awards Ceremony.  Many of the gifts and fellowships honor former professors, students no longer with us, and alumni. The generosity of our contributors is essential in supporting our teaching programs, research enterprises, lecture and event programs, improvements to facilities, overall development of the quality of our program, and, most importantly, our students.