College of Science and Engineering at the University of Minnesota
College of Science and Engineering

Department of Chemistry

The Department of Chemistry provides a world-class education through its classroom and laboratory teaching, and creates new scientific knowledge through research aimed at solving some of society’s most important human health, energy, and environmental problems.

Tradition of excellence

Our department’s roots date back to the 1860s when the University of Minnesota was in its early years. Chemistry was then, and continues to be today, a central science that is a foundation for many other disciplines. Our prominent alumni and former faculty include the inventor of synthetic rubber, a pioneer of photography processes at Kodak, the inventor of Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, and two Nobel Prize winners. Fifty-nine chemistry alumni have received Outstanding Achievement Awards, the University's highest alumni award. Currently, our faculty members include eight Distinguished McKnight University Professors, three Regents Professors, 13 members of the Academy of Distinguished Teachers, and one member of the National Academy of Sciences.

World-class academics

Our students receive broad training in chemistry’s major subfields, apply modern techniques, and acquire a thorough understanding of tools and theories. Students learn from world-renowned faculty and have access to state-of-the-art equipment needed for top-notch chemical research. After graduating from our internationally recognized chemistry programs, our alumni are prepared for challenging careers at the forefront of many scientific fields such as medicine, energy, forensics, food science, materials science, pharmaceuticals, and polymer science. Our alumni work in industry, education, or government. In addition to teaching future chemists, more than 12,000 registrations from a variety of academic majors across campus occur each year for the courses we teach.

Cutting-edge research

Our chemists play key roles in breakthrough research that provides the foundation for protecting our natural resources, developing renewable products and new sources of energy, and discovering medical cures. Our faculty and student researchers are on the leading edge of many subfields of chemistry research including theoretical, organic, inorganic, physical, biological, analytical, and environmental chemistry. Our Center for Metals in Biocatalysis aims to understand the key role metal ions play in biochemical processes. Our Center for Sustainable Polymers aims to design, prepare, and implement polymers derived from renewable resources for a wide range of advanced applications. Our Nanoporous Materials Genome Center develops high-end computational tools important to energy and environmental research. The Center for the Study of Charge Transfer and Charge Transport in Photoactivated Systems is developing software tools critical to solar energy research. Researchers also are conducting medical, pharmaceutical, and materials research in collaboration with the University’s world-class medical school and top-ranked science and engineering programs.

Business and industry connections

Our department has ties to many major corporations including 3M, Ecolab, General Mills, DuPont, Dow Chemical Company, and others. Our researchers also receive significant funding from government organizations such as the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, and departments of Energy and Defense.

National rankings

Our chemistry graduate program ranked in the top 25 in the nation in the most recent National Research Council and U.S. News and World Report rankings. We also ranked #22 in the 2009 Academic Ranking of World Universities.


Contact Information

Department of Chemistry
College of Science and Engineering
University of Minnesota
139 Smith Hall
207 Pleasant St. S.E.
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Phone: (612) 624-6000
Fax: (612) 626-7541



At a glance

337 undergraduate students

215 master’s and Ph.D. students

37 faculty