Why Chemistry?

The Department of Chemistry at the University of Utah provides a world-class education and foundation for careers
in chemistry as well as other sciences, engineering, medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, and even business and law.

CHEMISTRY lies at the center of the scientific universe.

CHEMISTRY is the creation and analysis of new compounds and materials, from molecules like cisplatin for battling cancer to carbon nanotubes, the strongest material ever made.

CHEMISTRY is the investigation of the components of life itself on both the theoretical and experimental fronts, everything from modeling and simulating phase transitions of water to the theoretical study of protein folding dynamics to elucidating the mechanisms by which DNA is damaged and repaired.

CHEMISTRY is the search for better, more efficient energy sources, and the design of faster computers and molecular machines.

CHEMISTRY is fireworks on the 4th of July, the green of spring,
the smell of fresh bread, the Space Shuttle lifting off
from Cape Canaveral, and the feel of granite.

CHEMISTRY is the brain: the picture in our mind’s eye
of a loved one, the memory of a cherished experience,
and the expectation and hope of better days to come,
careers to be established, impacts to be made.

CHEMISTRY is a scientist's toy chest: lasers with pulses as short as 1 picosecond, atomic force microscopes that can image and move individual atoms, nuclear magnetic resonance instruments for characterizing molecules and studying their reactions, glove boxes for air- and water-sensitive compounds, and all the wild-looking laboratory glassware you could ever imagine.

CHEMISTRY is central to our search for answers as
we explore our world: What is it? How much is there?
How does this work? Why does it do that?

So, why not chemistry?

Recent Utah Chemistry alumni have gone to:

  • Graduate school at Harvard, Caltech, MIT, UCLA, UC Berkeley, UNC, Michigan, Utah, Stanford, Wisconsin, Cornell
  • Pharmacy school at Utah, UCSF, Boston U.
  • Medical school at Utah, Stanford, Harvard, the Mayo Clinic, UCLA, Ohio State, Virginia, Penn State, Oklahoma, Medical College of Wisconsin, Virginia Commonwealth, Case Western Reserve.
  • Chemistry Majors fill up to ten percent of the entering class at the University of Utah Medical School


Utah Chemistry is known for its excellence both nationwide and worldwide. It ranks in the top 15% of U.S. graduate programs (182 programs) and in the top ten of state-funded programs. The undergraduate program ranks 10th nationally with respect to number of majors and 4th nationally with respect to the number of degrees certified by the American Chemical Society.


Our faculty are some of the most distinguished on campus: Faculty Awards