University of California Santa Cruz - Chemistry and Biochemistry (2024)

2022-23 UCSC General Catalog > Academic Units > Physical and Biological Sciences Division > Chemistry and Biochemistry

Chemistry and Biochemistry Department
230 Physical Sciences Building
(831) 459-4125

Programs Offered

Chemistry B.A.

Chemistry B.S.

Chemistry B.S. with Biochemistry Concentration

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology B.S.

Chemistry Minor

Chemistry M.S.

Chemistry Ph.D.

Chemistry is central to modern science. Ultimately, most phenomena in biology, medicine, materials, engineering, geology, and the environmental sciences can be described in terms of the chemical and physical behavior of atoms and molecules. Because of the wide appeal and utility of chemistry, UC Santa Cruz offers comprehensive lower-division courses in introductory and organic chemistry, differing in emphasis and style, to 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, physical, materials, analytical, and biochemistry. The curriculum is designed to meet the needs of students who plan to graduate with a bachelor of arts (B.A.) or a bachelor of science (B.S.) degree, as well as those who wish to pursue an advanced degree. The UCSC Chemistry B.A. or B.S. graduate is well prepared to pursue a career in chemistry or a related field. The B.S. degree can be completed with a concentration in biochemistry.

Research in chemistry at UCSC is closely interwoven with graduate and undergraduate education. The chemistry and biochemistry research program is highly active at the graduate level, and faculty also encourage undergraduates to become involved in research. Research can lead to academic credit in Senior Thesis (CHEM 195A, CHEM 195B, CHEM 195C) or Senior Research (CHEM 199). The department offers a coursework undergraduate research experience in biochemistry (CHEM 160J, CHEM 160K, CHEM 160L). There are also opportunities for interdisciplinary research combining chemistry with a wide range of sciences, for example, biology, physics, geology, ocean sciences, microbiology, and environmental toxicology. At UCSC, it is not uncommon for students to become co-authors of original work published in research journals.

Chemistry and biochemistry faculty and approximately 100 graduate students and 15-20 postdoctoral fellows are housed in the Physical Sciences Building near the Science and Engineering Library. The department maintains and constantly expands cutting-edge facilities (such as the Chemical Screening Center, Macromolecular Structure Function Core Facility, Cryo-Electron Microscopy, Mass Spectrometry, NMR Facility, and X-Ray Facility) that enable scientists to carry out their research

The Science and Engineering Library has an excellent collection of current journals and reference works, as well as access to earlier volumes of all the major journals. Many of these are subscribed to online. Additional source material can be readily and rapidly obtained on interlibrary loan.

Undergraduate Program

A degree in chemistry or biochemistry and molecular biology opens the door to a wide variety of academic careers. Some UC Santa Cruz graduates are working as industry researchers in electronic materials, biotechnology, medicinal chemistry, pharmacy, or laser technology. Others have entered government service as research chemists in the Food and Drug Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, DOD, DOE, 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 academia, government, or industry. The degrees in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at UC Santa Cruzalso provide a strong disciplinary background in preparation for a career in the important and much-needed 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.

The UCSC Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry offers both Chemistry B.S. (with or without biochemistry concentration) and B.A. degree programs. For either degree program, the courses stress the fundamentals of chemistry and allow students to pursue independent research. The B.S. degree provides complete coursework in all subdisciplines of chemistry and can meet the requirements for accreditation by the American Chemical Society. The B.A. degree has fewer specific course requirements and is suited for students who desire more flexibility to explore other academic disciplines. Either degree is suitable for future graduate study or getting an industry job following graduation.

A minor in chemistry is also offered for those who wish to have a strong complementary program in chemistry while majoring in another area of study.

A B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (BMB) is excellent preparation for medical, dental, and graduate school, as well as careers in biotechnology; pharmaceutical design, development, and sales; food and drug design; and environmental research and protection. The BMB is interdisciplinary and involves coursework in the Department of Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology.

Graduate Program

The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry offers three graduate degrees: the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), a thesis Master of Science (M.S.), and a coursework M.S. The Ph.D. and thesis M.S. programs are designed to help students develop into independent scholars while pursuing the excitement of scientific research in a personal, supportive environment. Both the Ph.D. and the research M.S. programs prepare students for careers in academia, industry, government laboratories, and other settings requiring an advanced education in chemistry and related disciplines. The coursework M.S. does not require research and is suited to future teachers and others wishing to update or broaden their chemical expertise. Approximately 100 graduate students are currently enrolled in the graduate program.

The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry invites well-known researchers from outside UC Santa Cruz to share and discuss their current research. Visiting speakers from other universities and government or industrial research labs expose students to advances at the frontiers of chemical research, offering the opportunity for personal contact with leading scientists. All Ph.D. and thesis M.S students are required to enroll in the CHEM 291, Research Seminar until they have advanced to candidacy.

Teaching assistantships provide both financial support and the opportunity to put into practice the required pedagogical training offered in CHEM 296 (presentation techniques, discussion strategies, laboratory teaching skills, laboratory safety procedures, and time management). Doctoral students may also be supported as graduate-student researchers.

University of California Santa Cruz - Chemistry and Biochemistry (2024)


What is UC Santa Cruz Biochemistry ranked? ›

UC Santa Cruz Biochemistry Rankings

The bachelor's program at UC Santa Cruz was ranked #113 on College Factual's Best Schools for biochemistry list. It is also ranked #14 in California.

Is UCSC a good school for chemistry? ›

UC Santa Cruz is a solid choice for those interested in pursuing a chemistry major. The Chemistry and Biochemistry Department at UCSC offers research opportunities, dedicated faculty, and a supportive academic environment for students interested in this field.

Does UC Santa Cruz have Biochemistry? ›

The Departments of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Molecular, Cell, and Developmental (MCD) Biology host a very active seminar series of national and international scholars in which advanced undergraduates are encouraged to participate.

What is a Biochemistry major at University of California? ›

The major in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology is designed to provide students with the appropriate tools and training to successfully pursue graduate degrees that emphasize basic scientific research, including Ph. D. and M.S. training as well as combined M.D./Ph.

What are the three most popular majors in UCSC? ›

Most Popular Majors
  • Computer Science. 607 Graduates.
  • Psychology. 431 Graduates.
  • Managerial Economics. 287 Graduates.
  • Cellular Biology. 236 Graduates.
  • Sociology. 223 Graduates.
  • Cinematography and Video Production. 172 Graduates.
  • Political Science and Government. 172 Graduates.
  • Economics. 161 Graduates.

Which UC has the best biochemistry program? ›

Best Schools for Biochemistry, Biophysics & Molecular Biology in California
  • Stanford University. Stanford, CA. ...
  • University of California - Los Angeles. Los Angeles, CA. ...
  • University of California - Davis. Davis, CA. ...
  • University of California - Berkeley. Berkeley, CA. ...
  • University of California - San Diego. La Jolla, CA.

Is biochemistry a competitive major? ›

Because pre-med and pre-vet students are highly competitive, there is a lot of competition for good grades. Students work hard to earn the highest marks and best grades. In that sense, biochemistry is competitive.

What is the acceptance rate for UCSB biochemistry? ›

The number of applications received per year varies; on average, 30% of applicants are admitted.

Is biochem a big part of the MCAT? ›

On the MCAT, biology (at 65% of the Bio/Biochem section) will be by far the most important of the four “classic” MCAT subjects, followed in importance by general chemistry (30% of the Chem/Phys section); physics (25% of the Chem/Phys section); and finally organic chemistry (15% of the Chem/Phys section).

Is biochemistry a hard major? ›

Biochemistry can be a challenging subject for many students because the material is broad and complex. It's a multidisciplinary science that calls for expertise in a variety of fields including chemistry, biology and mathematics.

Is biochemistry a high paying major? ›

$52,300 is the 25th percentile. Salaries below this are outliers. $85,400 is the 75th percentile.

What is the average GPA for a biochemistry major? ›

The average GPA in the Biochemistry major is 3.16. A minimum GPA requirement for most graduate school programs is 3.00.

What is CSU biochemistry ranked? ›

CSU Biochemistry ranked 6th in Top 25 Programs on – Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology | CSU.

What is UCLA biochemistry ranked? ›

The UCLA Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry's graduate program ranked No. 16 in the country.

What is UCSD biochemistry ranked? ›

UCSD Biochemistry Rankings
Ranking TypeRank
Best Biochemistry, Biophysics & Molecular Biology Bachelor's Degree Schools9
Best Value Bachelor's Degree Colleges for Biochemistry, Biophysics & Molecular Biology (With Aid)11
Best Value Colleges for Biochemistry, Biophysics & Molecular Biology (With Aid)13
19 more rows

What is UC Santa Cruz ranking? ›

University of California, Santa Cruz's ranking in the 2024 edition of Best Colleges is National Universities, #82. Its in-state tuition and fees are $15,288; out-of-state tuition and fees are $47,862.

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