The 50 Best Chemistry Programs in the World


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Attending Chemistry Programs to Become Future Chemists

While physicists focus on the quantum realm or the stars, chemists are concerned with understanding and manipulating the atoms and molecules that compose the world around us. Chemists of the past worked to discover types of elements, molecules, and the relations between them. While this research still carries on, today’s chemists also work in new, exciting fields. In the nanomaterials field, chemists develop substances with enormous manufacturing implications, like graphene, an incredibly strong and light carbon molecule. In the bioengineering field, chemists produce environmentally friendly materials using bacteria, such as bacteria that create natural, biodegradable plastics.

However, chemists need well-equipped laboratories to do their work. Each school on this list has proven time and again that it has the investments and facilities required to fully utilize their chemists’ potential. Wherever the future of chemistry lies, these schools will be at the forefront.

Featured Chemistry Programs

Taking the QS ranking as our point of departure, we set their ranking against the ranking for chemistry programs produced by Using machine learning and search algorithms to characterize academic influence on the web, avoids the human bias that infects most academic rankings.

The rankings uncovered by are based on the influential faculty and alum publications, citations, and references associated with a school, degree programs, departments, or discipline. This ranking by influence approach elevates a school or degree program based on which members of its academic community are objectively influential in a given discipline.

By weighing both the QS Programmatic World Rankings and Academic Influence’s rankings, we not only created a unique ranking of the top 50 chemistry programs, but we reveal why each university chemistry program appears where it does.

The 50 Best Chemistry Programs in the World

1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Cambridge, Massachusetts

MIT featured some of the best undergraduate chemistry programs as early as 1865. The list of intellectual greats associated with the school is almost as impressive as its long-standing history in offering the subject. These luminaries include James Mason Crafts, Arthur Amos Noyes, G. N. Lewis, James Flack Norris, Arthur C. Cope, and F. Albert Cotton.

MIT’s Department of Chemistry maintains two service centers. The Instrumentation Facility features the numerous research tools used by the department, such as seven NMR spectrometers (ranging from 300 to 600MHz), an EPR spectrometer, and a high resolution FT mass spectrometer operating with a 4.7 Tesla superconducting magnet. The second service center is the X-Ray Diffraction Facility. Research facilities at MIT include:

  • The Center for Materials Science and Engineering
  • The Institute for Medical Engineering and Science
  • The Institute for Soldier Nanotechnology
  • The Lincoln Laboratory
  • The Novartis Center for Continuous Manufacturing
  • The Plasma Fusion Center
  • The Research Laboratory of Electronics
  • The Whitehead Institute

2. University of California – Berkeley

Berkeley, California

Berkeley has offered some of the best chemistry programs since 1868, and there have been an impressive 13 Nobel Prize recipients associated with the school’s College of Chemistry. The college is divided into two main areas: (1) chemistry, and (2) chemical and biomolecular engineering. The numerous facilities and centers on campus feature a variety of research equipment and techniques that allow study in high-vacuum, high-pressure, low-temperature environments as well as equipment for nuclear magnetic resonance and gas chromatography.

Research facilities include:

  • The Mass Spectrometry Facility
  • The Microanalytical Facility
  • The Molecular Graphics and Computation Facility
  • The NMR Facility
  • The X-ray Facility

Supplemental research centers and institutes at Berkeley include:

  • The Catalysis Center
  • The Center for Green Chemistry
  • The Institute for Quantitative Biosciences
  • The Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis
  • The Nanotechnology Club
  • The Stem Cell Center
  • The Synthetic Biology Engineering Research Center

3. University of Cambridge

Cambridge, England

The University of Cambridge strongly encourages interdisciplinary work. Within the Department of Chemistry, there are five specific research groups: biological research, materials chemistry research, physical chemistry research, synthetic chemistry research, and theory/modeling and informatics research.

There are an additional three areas of collaborative research associated with the school’s chemistry graduate programs:

  • Innovative Molecular and Materials Design
  • Sustainable Energy, Environment, and Climate Studies
  • The Chemistry of Health

The research centers and facilities associated with these collaborative efforts include:

  • The BP Institute for Multiphase Flow
  • The Cambridge Centre for Climate Science
  • The Cambridge Graphene Center
  • The Centre for Molecular Informatics
  • The International Centre for Advanced Materials
  • The Lennard-Jones Centre
  • The Melville Laboratory for Polymer Synthetics

The faculty members for the department include fellows of the Royal Society, the Academy of Medical Sciences, and the Royal Society of Chemistry.

4. Harvard University

Cambridge, Massachusetts

Harvard’s Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology boasts the distinction of claiming the first American recipient of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry: Professor Theodore William Richards. Richards received the prize for his research on atomic weights. The department is associated with a total of seven Nobel laureates associated , four of whom currently serve as members of the faculty.

The various laboratories and research centers utilized in Harvard’s chemistry master’s programs include the FAS Small Molecule Mass Spectrometry Facility, the X-Ray Laboratory, and the Magnetic Resonance Lab. These labs and facilities offer instruments such as X-ray diffractometers, nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometers, and a small molecule mass spectrometer. Harvard’s chemistry department has also partnered with the FAS Green Labs Program to promote green practices on campus.

5. Stanford University

Stanford, California

The Department of Chemistry at Stanford University maintains a strong focus on instrumentation for analysis and spectroscopy. The department’s instruments include five Varian NMR spectrometers equipped for a variety of atomic nuclei. Other specialized technologies available to research groups include:

  • Biological Culture Facilities
  • Dynamic Light Scattering Spectroscopy
  • Electrochemical Systems
  • Femtosecond and Picosecond Linear and Nonlinear Spectroscopy
  • Ion Cyclotron Resonance Facilities
  • Single-molecule Spectroscopy
  • Ultra-high Resolution Laser Spectroscopy

To facilitate its chemistry Ph.D. programs, the school features a Cary UV/Vis/NIR spectrophotometer, a Fluorolog 3 Fluorometer, and a Vertex 70 FTIR.

Stanford’s research centers and laboratories include the NMR Facility, the Mass Spectroscopy Laboratory, and the Optics Facility. The department also maintains close affiliations with the Center for Molecular Analysis and Design and the Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource.

6. University of Oxford

Oxford, England

In 1860, chemistry became a separate academic discipline at the University of Oxford after the construction of a dedicated laboratory. Since 1904, there have been 21 Nobel laureates associated with the school’s Department of Chemistry and a total of 92 Nobel laureates associated with the school at large. The most recent Nobel recipients include Michael Levitt in 2013 for his development of multiscale models for complex chemical systems and Venki Ramakrishnan in 2009 for his studies of the structure and function of the ribosome.

The department’s research laboratory houses NMR facilities and a mass spectrometry research facility with sixteen systems, each the largest facility of its kind in the United Kingdom. Oxford’s other research centers and facilities include the Centre for Advanced Electron Spin Resonance, the Surface Analysis Facility, and the X-ray Crystallography Facility.

7. California Institute of Technology

Pasadena, California

There have been five Nobel laureates associated with Caltech’s chemistry Ph.D. programs: Linus Pauling, Rudy A. Marcus, Ahmed H. Zewail, Robert H. Grubbs, and Frances Arnold, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in October of 2018. She is only the 5th woman ever awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry and the very first woman associated with CalTech to win a Nobel Prize for any category. These researchers have been recognized for their work in the nature of the chemical bond, electron transfer reactions, femtochemistry, and metathesis in organic synthesis, respectively.

Through Caltech’s Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, graduate students can pursue tracks of study in biochemistry and molecular biophysics. The department boasts severalresearch centers, including:

  • The Center for Catalysis and Chemical Synthesis
  • The Center for Science and Engineering of Materials
  • The Donna and Benjamin M. Rosen Bioengineering Center
  • The Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis
  • The Materials and Process Simulation Center
  • The Resnick Sustainability Institute

8. University of California – Los Angeles

Los Angeles, California

Most research universities have a building dedicated to the study of chemistry, but UCLA turned its chemistry building into an ongoing experiment. The structure features transparent solar cells under study by Dr. Paul Weiss and other researchers from the school’s California NanoSystems Institute, the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering, and UCLA’s Chemistry and Biochemistry Department. Offering some of the best undergraduate chemistry programs, the school’s chemistry department manages research facilities and technologies such as:

  • The Magnetic Resonance Facility
  • The Mass Spectrometry Laboratory
  • The Materials Characterization Laboratory
  • The Molecular Instrumentation Center
  • The X-ray Diffraction Laboratory

The school’s magnetic resonance facilities contain NMR spectrometers for liquid samples, solid-state NMR spectrometers, and an EPR spectrometer.

Other interdepartmental and research facilities associated with UCLA’s chemistry department include:

  • The Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research
  • The Institute for Genomics and Proteomics
  • The Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • The Molecular Biology Institute

9. Northwestern University

Evanston, Illinois

Established in 1884, the Department of Chemistry at Northwestern University celebrated the completion of its Integrated Molecular Structure Education and Research Center in 2013. This endeavor has fostered new opportunities for interdisciplinary work and novel instrumentation in the university’s offering of some of the best chemistry programs available.

Other research centers and institutes affiliated with Northwestern’s chemistry department include:

  • The Argonne-Northwestern Solar Energy Research Center
  • The Center for Cancer Nanotechnology Excellence
  • The Center for Molecular Innovation and Drug Discovery
  • The Chemistry for Life Processes Institute
  • The High Throughput Analysis Laboratory
  • The Institute for Sustainability and Energy
  • The Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center
  • The Quantitative Bioelemental Imaging Center

The Northwestern University Atomic and Nanoscale Characterization Experimental Center manages three subcenters:

  • The Electron Probe Instrumentation Center
  • The Keck Interdisciplinary Surface Science Center
  • The Nanoscale Integrated Fabrication, Testing, and Instrumentation Center

10. ETH Zürich

Zürich, Switzerland

The Department of Chemistry and Applied Biosciences at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology boasts association with 10 Nobel laureates in the field of chemistry. These researchers were awarded and recognized for work in various areas including ammonia synthesis, polymethylenes and higher terpenes, the development of nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, and the stereochemistry of organic molecules and reactions.

Founded in 1855 with the opening of the school, the chemistry department has grown to include 55 research groups. The department’s research, which facilitates a variety of chemistry graduate programs, occurs at five institutes and laboratories:

  • The Institute for Chemical and Biochemical Engineering
  • The Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences
  • The Laboratory of Inorganic Chemistry
  • The Laboratory of Organic Chemistry
  • The Laboratory of Physical Chemistry

11. Imperial College London

London, England, UK

Imperial College is a public research university established in 1907. Initially known as the Royal College of Chemistry, the Chemistry Department is home to many famous chemists, including two Nobel prize winners. Imperial College boasts an extensive list of faculty members who specialize in areas such as analytical chemistry, biophysics, cancer, drug discovery, infectious diseases, and organic chemistry.

Most recently, Dr. Anna Barnard won the Sir Henry Dale Fellowship for her research on bacteria. Additionally, Professor James Durrant won the 2018 Hughes Medal for his research on solar energy. The school’s state-of-the-art research facilities include:

  • Computational Chemistry Labs
  • Crystallography
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • The Center for Rapid Online Analysis of Reaction

Offering some of the best chemistry programs in the United Kingdom, Imperial College grants degrees at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels. The department offers unique language-focused tracks in which candidates study both chemistry and French, German, or Spanish. These students spend their final year studying at a university in France, Germany, or Spain after completing intensive language-focused coursework in London.

Prospective doctoral candidates should hold an honors degree in chemistry and a strong academic research record before applying. The department typically admits 65–70 doctoral and 90–100 master’s students per year, many of whom receive funding.

12. Yale University

New Haven, Connecticut

Yale boasts more than 300 years of academic history and excellence, making it the third-oldest institution for higher education in the U.S. The school’s Department of Chemistry is no less impressive. Professor Thomas Steitz of the Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry at Yale was awarded the 2009 Nobel Prize in chemistry for his pioneering work with the ribosome. Other notable chemists associated with Yale’s chemistry department includes Francis S. Collins, the director of the Human Genome Project and a major science advisor to the Obama administration as well as Josiah Willard Gibbs, a mathematician and chemist known for his work in thermodynamics and physical chemistry.

Yale’s Department of Chemistry features four primary areas of study:

  • Biophysical Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry

The school’s chemistry Ph.D. programs also include three interdisciplinary research groups in chemical biology, synthetic chemistry, and green chemistry.

13. The University of Tokyo

Tokyo, Japan

The Department of Chemistry at the University of Tokyo was founded in 1861. The department’s history of successful research endeavors includes its discovery of umami in 1908, the development of the concept of rotation isomers in 1933, and the discovery of organic semiconductors in 1958. The department also experienced unprecedented success in recent years; it is associated with seven Nobel Prize winners since 2000.

All chemistry graduate programs at the University of Tokyo are available in English. Students in these programs may apply for two research stipends: (1) the Advanced Leading Graduate Course for Photon Science, and (2) the Materials Education Program for the Future Leaders in Research, Industry, and Technology. The University of Tokyo’s 12 main research groups can be broadly organized into the areas of physical, organic, inorganic, and analytical chemistry. Associated research laboratories and facilities include:

  • The Atmosphere and Ocean Research Institute
  • The Center for Ultrafast Intense Laser Science
  • The Earthquake Research Institute
  • The Photoelectric Conversion Chemistry Laboratory
  • The Research Center for Spectrochemistry

14. Princeton University

Princeton, New Jersey

Princeton is a private Ivy League research institution in New Jersey. Founded in 1746, the school serves approximately 8,200 students. The university’s Chemistry Department offers undergraduate and graduate programs along with postdoctoral research positions.

Princeton’s chemistry faculty specializes in several areas:

  • Catalysis and Synthesis
  • Chemical Biology
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Materials Chemistry
  • Spectroscopy and Physical Chemistry
  • Theoretical Chemistry

The department acts as a collegial forum where faculty engage in collaborative projects with professors inside and outside their field. There are four ongoing projects:

  • Computational Science and Engineering
  • Energy and The Environment
  • Materials Science and Technology
  • Theoretical Science

The chemistry department fosters opportunities for undergraduate students to conduct active research while pursuing their degrees. Graduate candidates may also participate in summer research opportunities, and some obtain permission to take courses outside of the chemistry program for further collaborative opportunities and interdisciplinary learning. Students pursuing a Ph.D. in chemistry can build a community outside of the lab and engage with student organizations that offer team-based scientific research projects and community outreach programs. Many chemistry program graduates take advantage of networking and job opportunities through Princeton’s extensive alumni community.

15. The University of Texas at Austin

Austin, Texas

The faculty members serving the Department of Chemistry at the University of Texas at Austin include four members of the National Academies, three fellows of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and one recipient of the National Medal of Technology and Innovation. These and other members of the department make significant contributions to the areas of chemical biology and material science.

U.S. News & World Report listed UT Austin’s graduate chemistry department in the top 15 for its 2018 rankings because of UT Austin’s high-caliber chemistry master’s programs. The department offers many interdisciplinary research opportunities through facilities such as:

  • The Center for Nano and Molecular Science and Technology
  • The Glass and Instrument Repair Shop
  • The Institute for Cellular and Molecular Biology
  • The Mallet Chemistry Library
  • The Texas Materials Institute
  • NMR, Mass Spectrometry, and X-ray Facilities

The chemistry library includes over 100,000 volumes, which makes it the largest chemistry library in the U.S.

16. University of Michigan

Ann Arbor, Michigan

The University of Michigan has hosted some of the best undergraduate chemistry programs since the school’s founding in 1839. The Chemistry Department saw the completion of the country’s first laboratory exclusively dedicated to chemistry research in 1856. The first chair of the department was Professor Moses Gomberg, known for the discovery of organic free radicals.

Research at Michigan breaks down into six major clusters: physical, organic, material, inorganic, chemical biology, and analytical chemistry. These areas divide further into 15 research themes. The analytical chemistry program centralizes in the areas of:

  • Electrochemistry
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Microfluidics
  • Separations

The organic chemistry cluster has strengths in the areas of:

  • Bioorganic Chemistry
  • Organic Materials
  • Organic Synthesis
  • Organometallic Chemistry

Facilities and technologies supporting the department’s research include:

  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Porous Materials Characterization
  • The Glass and Instrument Shop
  • NMR
  • Raman Spectroscopy
  • X-ray Crystallography

17. National University of Singapore


Founded in 1905, NUS is a research university specializing in medicine, chemistry, dentistry, and food science. The school’s Chemistry Department offers three-year bachelor’s degree tracks and four-year undergraduate programs for honors students. All undergraduates learn fundamental inorganic, organic, and physical chemistry principles in addition to energy and environmental science. Candidates also explore multidisciplinary fields such as nanotechnology, chemical biology, materials chemistry, and medicinal chemistry.

Other bachelor’s degree options include a four-year chemistry and food science program and a four-year degree offered in partnership with the Australian National University. The department offers minors in nanoscience, analytical chemistry, environmental chemistry, and forensic science. NUS students can also pursue a minor in chemistry while majoring in another field. Undergraduates enjoy several research opportunities, including a European research immersion program, a professional internship program, and a student exchange program.

Graduate students may pursue a master of science or Ph.D. in chemistry. Each fully funded doctoral position takes four years to complete. Graduate studies at NUS are highly individualized, with room for independent study and experimental work as well as original research and thesis components. Ph.D. candidates can specialize in general chemistry or food science and technology.

18. University of Chicago

Chicago, Illinois

Several Nobel laureates of the sciences claim association with the University of Chicago. Specific recognition in chemistry has been given to Robert S. Mulliken in 1966 for his work with chemical bonds and the electronic structure of molecules, Herbert C. Brown in 1979 for the development of the use of boron and phosphorus-containing compounds, F. Sherwood Rowland in 1995 for work in atmospheric chemistry, and most recently, Irwin Rose in 2004 for the discovery of ubiquitin-mediated protein degradation.

The school’s Department of Chemistry offers eight general research areas for chemistry graduate programs:

  • Biophysics
  • Catalysis
  • Chemical Biology
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Materials/nanoscience
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Physical Chemistry
  • Theoretical Chemistry

Affiliated research institutions include:

  • The Argonne National Laboratory
  • The Enrico Fermi Institute
  • The Howard Hughes Medical Institute
  • The Institute for Biophysical Dynamics
  • The Institute for Molecular Engineering
  • The Materials Research Science and Engineering Center

Research support facilities at UChicago include:

  • An Electronics/machine Shop
  • Glassblowing Facilities
  • Spectroscopic Facilities
  • The Searle Cleanroom and Nanofabrication Facility
  • MRSEC Facilities

19. (tie) Technical University of Munich

Munich, Germany

TUM prides itself on its research in the area of catalysis since the groundbreaking work of Professor Ernst Fischer, recognized for his work through the 1973 Nobel Prize in chemistry. In 2008, the university’s Department of Chemistry established the Catalysis Research Center as a corporate research center that fosters interdisciplinary work between 19 research teams.

Biochemistry and protein science also feature strongly in TUM’s chemistry graduate programs. Students and professors conduct research at the Center for Integrated Protein Science Excellence using techniques such as:

  • Biophysical and Biochemical Methods to Study Folding and Modifications
  • Chemical Synthesis of Complex Compounds
  • Small Angle X-ray Scattering
  • Solid-state NMR Methods
  • X-ray Crystallography

The chemistry department now focuses on the development of new electrocatalysts for electrolysers and fuel cells and has built a unique facility dedicated to algae cultivation on the Ludwig Campus.

19. (tie) University of Manchester

Manchester, England

Manchester is a public research university in England. With over 40,000 students, it is the second largest university in the United Kingdom. The School of Chemistry grants undergraduate and graduate degrees. Distinguished faculty members specialize in organic chemistry, systems genomics, nanoscience, synthetic biology, theoretical chemistry, and biophysics. Professor Nikolas Kaltsoyannis is the school’s head and co-director of the Centre for Radiochemistry Research. Other faculty members have received awards for their research from:

  • The Institute of Chemistry of Ireland
  • The Royal Society of Chemistry
  • The Swiss Chemical Society
  • Thieme Chemistry Journals

Many chemistry students gain hands-on laboratory experience and work with other universities' distinguished faculty by enrolling in one of Manchester’s study abroad programs. These programs typically take place during the student’s third year, and most candidates complete their bachelor’s degree in chemistry within four years. Manchester also offers chemistry master’s programs and doctoral degrees.

The school’s graduate program offers traditional, research-intensive graduate degrees such as the doctor of philosophy, master of philosophy, and master of science. The department also presents two research-based programs unique to Manchester: (1) a doctor of enterprise degree, and (2) a master of enterprise.

21. Cornell University

Ithaca, New York

Home to five Nobel laureates, including Manfred Eigen, Peter Debye, and Richard Ernst, Cornell’s Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology recently celebrated two of their alumni, Eric Betzig and William Moerner, winning the 2014 Nobel Prize in chemistry relating to achievements in optical microscopy.

In addition to excellent research, the school’s chemistry department claims prestige for its peer-reviewed Journal of Physical Chemistry and some of the best chemistry programs available today. The facilities on Cornell’s campus include:

  • The Advanced Center for Electron Spin Resonance Technology
  • The Center for Materials Research
  • The Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source
  • The Cornell Nanofabrication Center

Other research bodies at Cornell include:

  • The Center for Advanced Computing
  • The Center for Nanoscale Systems
  • The Center for a Sustainable Future
  • The Institute for Biotechnology and Life Science Technologies
  • The Nanobiotechnology Center
  • The Northeastern Collaborative Access Team
  • The Weill Institute for Cell and Molecular Biology

22. Nanyang Technological University


Known for a strong chemistry program, this research university was established in 1981 and serves approximately 33,000 students at its eco-friendly 490-acre campus. NTU’s School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences offers chemistry degrees at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels.

NTU undergraduates can pursue a degree in general chemistry, biological chemistry, or add a second major in food science and technology. Graduate learners can select either a research or coursework track. Students on the research track progress through coursework and projects independently with occasional help from their research committee and supervisor. Research-track students must pass doctoral examinations, an oral examination, and compose a dissertation based on original research. On the coursework track, candidates spend most of their time attending lectures and seminars and conducting laboratory work. While most write a dissertation, some students fulfill the dissertation requirement by completing additional coursework.

NTU’s chemistry faculty work in diverse areas, specializing in organic, biological, and green chemistry in addition to molecular electrochemistry. Department chair Choon Hong Tan runs the TCH Lab that bears his name and has published more than 120 articles in academic journals. Professor Loh Teck Peng earned the 2018 President’s Science Award for his work in organic and green chemistry.

23. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Champaign, Illinois

The Department of Chemistry at UI can trace its history back to 1868. Over time, there have been many notable accomplishments associated with the department, including the discovery of the amino acid Threonine, the development of electron transfer theory, groundbreaking work in polymer synthesis and coordination chemistry, and the discovery of the artificial sweetener sodium cyclamate. A total of 10 Nobel Prize recipients count among the department’s professors and alumni who have completed chemistry graduate programs.

UI offers four major research centers on campus:

  • The Chemical and Life Sciences Laboratory
  • The Chemistry Annex
  • The Roger Adams Laboratory
  • The William Noyes Laboratory

The Chemistry Annex serves as a collection of general laboratories specifically for undergraduates. Interdisciplinary and Supporting facilities at UI include:

  • The Beckman Institute
  • The Cell Media Facility
  • The Glass and Machine Shops
  • The High-Throughput Screening Facility
  • The Institute for Genomic Biology
  • The Mass Spectrometry Center
  • The Materials Research Laboratory

24. University of Toronto

Toronto, Ontario

Established in 1859, the Department of Chemistry at the University of Toronto hosts 11 research facilities. The school’s Center for Nanostructure Imaging opened in 2004 with joint funding from the Canada Foundation of Innovation and the Ontario Innovation Trust. The Chemistry Library, the Chem Stores, and the Machine Shop provide many of the supplies and services that support the school’s chemistry graduate programs.

Other chemistry facilities at the University of Toronto include:

  • The Mass Spectrometry Lab
  • The X-Ray Crystallography Lab
  • The X-Ray Powder Diffraction Lab
  • NMR Facilities

The school also hosts three research centers:

  • The Center for Nanostructured Polymer and Inorganic Materials
  • The Center for Quantum Information and Quantum Control
  • The Center for The Study of Thin Polymer Films for Advanced Properties

25. Georgia Institute of Technology

Atlanta, Georgia

Georgia Tech has been offering degrees in chemistry since 1906 and was one of the first schools in the state to feature chemistry Ph.D. programs. Today, its School of Chemistry and Biochemistry operates numerous research centers, facilities, and laboratories.

Some of these research centers include:

  • The Aquatic Chemical Ecology Center
  • The Center for Computational Molecular Science and Technology
  • The Center for Drug Design, Development, and Delivery
  • The Center for Ribosomal Origins and Evolution
  • The Center for Selective C-H Functionalization
  • The Institute for Paper Science and Technology
  • The Integrated Cancer Research Center
  • The Integrative BioSystems Institute

Other supporting research facilities include:

  • The Center for Computational Molecular Science and Technology
  • The Equipment Engineering and Support Services Center
  • The Laser Dynamics Laboratory

26. Columbia University

New York, New York

Located in one of the epicenters of culture and surrounded by research facilities, Columbia University has long prided itself on collaborative efforts in its chemistry graduate programs. It’s not surprising, then, that interdepartmental research plays a key role for the school’s Department of Chemistry. The school features severalcenters promoting shared research, including:

  • The Ancient Ink Laboratory
  • The Center for Precision Assembly of Superstratic and Superatomic Solids
  • The Columbia Science Initiative
  • The Energy Frontiers Research Center
  • The Genome Center
  • The Integrated Science and Engineering Center

The Columbia Nano Initiative, also managed by the chemistry department, maintains the Electron Microscopy facility. Other instruments available at the school include 10 NMR spectrometers; four of these possess solid-state capabilities. Columbia’s Protein Chemistry Core Facility is maintained by both the chemistry department and the medical school. The Brookhaven National Laboratory is nearby.

27. Peking University

Beijing, China

At Peking University, the research and study of chemistry is managed by the College of Chemistry and Molecular Engineering. The college can trace its history back to the Chemistry Division of the Metropolitan University of the Qing Dynasty, making it one of the oldest chemistry departments in China. Today, the college is organized into 10 departments and research institutes, including:

  • Applied Chemistry
  • Chemical Biology
  • The Departments of Polymer Science and Engineering
  • The Institutes of Inorganic, Organic, and Analytical Chemistry

Offering a variety of chemistry graduate programs, the school also hosts two State Key laboratories, two Ministry of Education Key laboratories, and one National Defense Key laboratory. These laboratories include:

  • The Beijing National Laboratory for Molecular Science
  • The Key Laboratory of Bioorganic Chemistry and Molecular Engineering
  • The National Laboratory of Rare Earth Material Chemistry and Application

The achievements of professors and researchers associated with Peking University’s chemistry department are published in 500–600 SCI papers each year.

28. Kyoto University

Kyoto, Japan

Kyoto University was originally founded on June 18, 1897 as the College of Science and Technology, Kyoto Imperial University. It has since grown into one of Japan’s premiere research universities; the study of chemistry has been present since the Kyoto University’s inception. The diversity of the research fields and areas of study at Kyoto’s Department of Chemistry fall into four main categorizations: theoretical and physical chemistry, inorganic chemistry of materials, organic chemistry, and chemical biology.

Nearly 30 laboratories sit under the umbrella of the university’s Division of Chemistry, which is part of the Graduate School of Science. 16 of these reside in the Department of Chemistry, eight reside in the Institute for Chemical Research, one resides in the Institute for Virus Research, one resides in the Institute for Reactor Research, one resides in the Research Center for Low Temperature and Materials, and two are headed by affiliate professors who teach chemistry graduate programs.

29. Tsinghua University

Beijing, China

Founded in 1926, Tsinghua’s Chemistry Department includes 40 full professors and 22 associate professors, many of whom are known for their award-winning research in the field. The National Natural Science Foundation of China named 25 faculty members from Tsinghua University as distinguished young scholars. Furthermore, five professors serve as academicians at the Chinese Academy of Sciences or Engineering.

Chemistry students at Tsinghua can pursue a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree. With 500 graduate and 300 undergraduate students, the large department is strategically divided into five institutes and two labs:

  • Analytical Chemistry Institute
  • Inorganic Chemistry Institute
  • Organic Chemistry Institute
  • Physical Chemistry Institute
  • Polymer Chemistry Institute
  • The Bioorganic Phosphorus Chemistry and Chemical Biology Lab
  • The Organic Optoelectronics and Molecular Engineering Lab

The department boasts a connection to the analysis center at Tsinghua and maintains research partnerships with the National Center of Surface Analysis at Beijing.

This graduate program for chemistry majors features a diverse curriculum that presents the necessary concepts for research-driven careers in chemistry and related fields, including chemical engineering, medicine, energy studies, and biology. Tsinghua undergraduate chemistry students must complete 170 credits and at least one semester of lab research training. In most cases, bachelor’s students earn their degree in four years. The master’s and doctoral degrees require approximately three and six years to finish, respectively.

30. École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne

Lausanne, Switzerland

EPFL is a Public Research Institute located in French-speaking Lausanne, Switzerland. As one of the best chemistry programs in the world, EPFL focuses on education, research, and technology development. The school offers a bachelor of science that serves as a pathway to master’s programs in molecular and biological chemistry or chemical engineering and biotechnology. EPFL students can also earn a Ph.D. in chemistry.

Doctoral program applicants must possess a master’s or bachelor’s degree from an exceptional university. Both undergraduate and graduate students can pursue specializations in:

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Chemical Biology
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Organic and Inorganic Chemistry
  • Physical Chemistry
  • Renewable Energy

EPFL’s chemistry faculty work in various labs across campus, including:

  • The Magnetic Response Laboratory
  • The Nanobiotechnology Laboratory
  • The Protein Engineering Laboratories Laboratory
  • The Ultrafast Spectroscopy Laboratory

Some of the notable faculty research areas include:

  • Drug Discovery
  • Engineering Chemistry and Related Devices
  • Nanoscience
  • Sustainability and Environmental Issues
  • Theoretical and Computational Chemistry

Dr. Lyndon Emsley heads the institute of chemical sciences and engineering. Dr. Emsley holds several awards and honors for his work in the field, including the Burke Award of the Royal Society of Chemistry. He is also a fellow of the International Society of Magnetic Response.

31. Seoul National University

Seoul, South Korea

Established in 1946, SNU is a prestigious public university in South Korea. The university maintains 16 colleges, one graduate school, and nine professional schools that serve over 28,000 learners. SNU chemistry students can earn bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. In 2017, the National Science and Technology Commission in Korea named SNU’s Chemistry Department one of the country’s top 100 research programs.

Students can explore a wide variety of chemistry subfields, including biological, inorganic, physical, and analytical chemistry — along with practical applications such as polymer synthesis. As one of the best chemistry graduate programs, many graduates become professors at universities and colleges, researchers in governmental or industrial laboratories, or business leaders engaged in commercial endeavors throughout South Korea and beyond. The university also serves as home to the Research Institute of Molecular Science, established in 1990, and the Center for Space-Time Molecular Dynamics, founded in 2007.

The department encourages students from all backgrounds to apply, especially international candidates. The chemistry department offers three internal scholarship programs for incoming undergraduate and graduate students. These programs include merit-based scholarships, grants for international students, and work-study positions. At present, this large department contains 35 faculty members, 224 undergraduate students, and 278 graduate students.


Daejeon, South Korea

A public research university, KAIST was established in in 1971 and holds the distinction of being South Korea’s first research-based educational institution for the sciences and engineering. KAIST’s Chemistry Department offers a diverse selection of specialization options, including tracks in polymer, inorganic, physical, bio/nano, analytical, and organic chemistry. The department grants bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees.

Because of its reputation as one of the best chemistry programs, admission to the institute proves highly competitive. Prospective graduate students should demonstrate a successful academic record, including a history of receiving academic awards and scholarships. Acceptance rates for local students and international students are 14.9% and 13.2%, respectively.

KAIST’s chemistry faculty members have earned several significant awards over the last two years. Professors Hee-Sung Park, Mu-Hyun Baik, Hye Ryung Byon, and Sungwoo Hong received research awards from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in Germany, the Chemical Society of Japan, the Korean Chemical Society, and the Korean government’s Ministry of Science. As the chair of the college of natural sciences, Sang Kyu Kim collaborates with department faculty to develop engaging creative projects that help students become future leaders in chemistry research and education.

33. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The founding of the University of Pennsylvania and the history of its Department of Chemistry can be traced back as early as 1740. Benjamin Rush, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, served as a professor of chemistry at Penn in 1769. Penn’s chemistry department, featuring some of the best chemistry programs available, claims association with seven recipients of the Nobel Prize and 18 members of the National Academy of Sciences. Recent Nobel laureates include Ei-ichi Negishi in 2010 for his work on developing palladium-catalyzed cross-coupling reactions and Alan G. Macdiarmid in 2000 for his discovery and development of a new form of organic polymer that conducts electricity.

Other Nobel recipients associated with Penn have been acknowledged for their work in establishing the connection between chemical structure and catalytic activity at the center of the ribonuclease and for developing ultrafast laser techniques for observing chemical reactions in real time. Research facilities at Penn’s Department of Chemistry include:

  • The Laboratory for Research on the Structure of Matter
  • The Parallel Reaction Screening Service Center
  • The Wistar Center for Cancer Research

34. Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

Hong Kong

Located in Clear Water Bay, HKUST is a public research university that serves approximately 9,800 domestic and 5,000 international students. The university is one of eight major schools in Hong Kong. Chemistry students at HKUST can pursue intense study in virtually any science-related field, including molecular biology, molecular physics, material sciences, nanotechnology, drug design, and forensic science.

Learners can obtain a bachelor of science degree with optional concentrations in:

  • Biomolecular Chemistry
  • Environmental and Analytical Chemistry
  • International Research Enrichment
  • Materials Chemistry
  • Pure Chemistry

This makes HKUST one of the best undergraduate chemistry programs. Graduate students may earn both master’s and doctoral degrees. HKUST even offers an environmental chemistry master’s program with concentrations in marine or atmospheric studies. Incoming Ph.D. candidates with a previously completed master’s degree in chemistry often earn their doctoral degrees in as few as three years.

Professor Ian D. Williams serves as both the head of the department and the master’s chemistry programs director. HKUST students work alongside renowned professors, receiving hands-on laboratory training with state-of-the-art equipment. Prospective students should consider visiting the department and participating in events, including an undergraduate “information day” and a summer research camp for prospective graduate students.

35. Purdue University

West Lafayette, Indiana

Purdue established its Department of Chemistry in 1874. The first appointed chemistry professor was Dr. Harvey Wiley, the father of the Pure Food and Drug Act. Another notable professor is Ei-ichi Negishi, who received recognition in 2010 through the Nobel Prize for his work on building complex organic molecules.

Purdue’s chemistry department, which offers some of the best chemistry programs, maintains affiliations with severalresearch institutes, including:

  • The Bindley Bioscience Center
  • The Birck Nanotechnology Center
  • The Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship
  • The Center for Catalyst Design
  • The Homeland Security Institute
  • The Purdue Cancer Center
  • The Purdue Climate Change Research Center

36. Fudan University

Shanghai, China

This prestigious C9 league university is in Shanghai, China, and got its start in 1905. Today, the school maintains four campuses in Handan, Fenglin, Zhanjiang, and Jiangwan. The Chemistry Department began in 1926 with the goal of creating a cutting-edge research facility to generate top scholars in the field. It now serves 400 undergraduate and 400 graduate students today. The department is home to five independent research institutions: inorganic chemistry, analytical chemistry, organic chemistry, physical chemistry, and chemical biology. It also hosts several important laboratories, including:

  • The Engineering Research Center of Innovative Scientific Instruments
  • The Shanghai Key Laboratory of Chemical Biology for Protein Research
  • The Shanghai Key Laboratory of Molecular Catalysis and Innovative Materials

Fudan offers doctoral degrees and one of the best undergraduate chemistry programs, which allows students to pursue a bachelor’s degree in general or applied chemistry. The department boasts a wide-reaching curriculum and offers 160 courses per academic year.

Since 2010, the distinguished faculty has received more than 800 research grants and approximately $331 million in grant money to fund their world-class chemistry research projects. The university sponsors several collaborative student opportunities, including chemistry student exchange agreements with UC Berkeley, UC Santa Barbara, and ParisTech.

37. The University of Hong Kong

Hong Kong

HKU is a public research university in Lung Fu Shan. Founded in 1911, it was originally the Hong Kong College of Medicine for Chinese. Today, the university enrolls approximately 29,000 students and teaches the majority of its courses in English. The diverse chemistry curriculum holds accreditation from the Royal Society of Chemistry and trains students in new and progressive chemical science and technology areas. The Chemistry Department boasts several cutting-edge facilities for conducting research in areas such as analytical chemistry, chemical biology, polymer chemistry and synthesis, and x-ray crystallography.

The department offers undergraduate and graduate degrees focused on physical, organic, inorganic, and analytical chemistry. Graduate students can pursue a master of philosophy or doctor of philosophy degree. Students who complete the program receive a royal society of chemistry certificate and may apply for society membership upon graduation.

Department chair Professor Chi-Ming Che is known for his research in:

  • Green Oxidation
  • Inorganic Medicines
  • Material Science
  • Metal-nitrogen Multiple Bonds
  • Solar Chemistry

The chemistry faculty recently earned several international awards, including the L'OREAL-UNESCO Award for Women in Science and the TWAS prize in chemistry. Additionally, two faculty members obtained membership to the Chinese Academy of Sciences and became foreign associates of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.

38. Osaka University

Osaka, Japan

The Department of Chemistry at Osaka University branches out from the Graduate School of Science. There are four major divisions within the department: inorganic, physical, organic, and interdisciplinary chemistry. Each division maintains its own research groups and laboratories. Research facilities such as the Center for Structural Thermodynamics and the Laboratory for Natural Products Chemistry house and maintain instruments for areas including:

  • Electronic Spectroscopy
  • Magnetic Measurements
  • NMR
  • X-ray Diffraction Studies

The department’s inorganic chemistry and physical chemistry division manage research for:

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Bioinorganic Chemistry
  • Biophysical Chemistry
  • Condensed Matter Physical Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Quantum Chemistry
  • Radiochemistry
  • Reaction Dynamics
  • Surface Chemistry

The organic chemistry division includes:

  • Natural Product Chemistry
  • Organic Biochemistry
  • Physical Organic Chemistry
  • Structural Organic Chemistry

Finally, the interdisciplinary chemistry division covers biomolecular chemistry and coordination chemistry. Osaka University features an additional 13 interdisciplinary research groups in other institutes that collaborate with the Department of Chemistry in delivering its chemistry graduate programs.

39. Tokyo Institute of Technology

Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo Tech, a top national university for science and technology in Japan, is in the nation’s premiere center for culture and commerce. Tokyo Tech has become a leading research center in the Far East and can trace its history to the 1881 Tokyo Vocational School. Tokyo Tech’s Department of Chemistry, formally established in 1998, now falls under the purview of the Graduate School of Science and Engineering.

The department offers five major research areas for its chemistry master’s programs, each with corresponding laboratories: inorganic, organic, physical, analytic, and volcanic chemistry. The school boasts a total of 14 laboratories, including:

  • The Goto Lab
  • The Hibara Lab
  • The Kawano Lab
  • The Ohshima Lab
  • The Terada Lab

State-of-the-art instruments available at the various laboratories include NMR technologies, X-ray diffractometry, and laser Raman microscopy.

40. (tie) National Taiwan University

Taipei, Taiwan

Founded in 1928, NTU is a prestigious university located in Taipei City and has additional campuses in New Taipei City, Hsinchu County, Yulin County, and Nantou County. The university features 11 colleges, 54 academic departments, and 107 graduate institutes that serve over 33,000 students. NTU chemistry students can pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees. Since NTU is known as one of the best undergraduate chemistry programs in the world, department admission is highly competitive. Only five bachelor’s students and up to 10 master’s and doctoral candidates gain admission each year.

NTU is home to the Regional Advanced Instruments Center, which houses sophisticated research instruments, including a high-field NMR, elemental analyzer, and x-ray diffractometers. In 2004 and 2009, the school finished construction on two new chemistry buildings, demonstrating a strong dedication to providing students with cutting-edge facilities.

The chemistry department retains 33 academic staff members, 11 adjunct professors, and six distinguished research professors. Many instructors hold top research awards in the field. Department chair Yit-Tsong Chen boasts multiple teaching awards and specializes in physical chemistry, nanomaterial, and biosensor. Faculty members are active in Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs, national defense, Department of Health, and private organizations promoting technological development for society’s benefit.

40. (tie) University of Melbourne

Melbourne, Australia

This public research university in Victoria, Australia houses 10 colleges on its main campus. Melbourne is also home to several of Australia’s most important research centers, including the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research and the Grattan Institute.

As part of the world-class Bio21 biotechnology initiative, the School of Chemistry recently constructed a new research laboratory known as the Institute of Molecular Science and Biotechnology. Department head Professor Evan Bieske specializes in laser spectroscopy and served as the first researcher to capture high-resolution infrared spectra of anion complexes in the gas phase.

Melbourne offers chemical science degrees at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels, including a master of philosophy and a master of science in chemistry. Students can also pursue a joint MS/Ph.D. program in a dedicated research-intensive track. Melbourne currently enrolls 150 chemistry students. The Melbourne University Chemical Society hosts social and educational events open to both undergraduate and graduate students. Graduate students may also participate in or help organize functions hosted by the Chemistry Postgraduate Society, a branch of the Graduate Student Association at Melbourne.

42. Monash University

Melbourne, Australia

Founded in 1958 in Melbourne, Australia, Monash University features a science faculty that spans several schools: the School of Biological Sciences; the School of Chemistry; the School of Earth, Atmosphere, and Environment; the School of Mathematical Sciences; the School of Physics and Astronomy; and the Malaysia School of Science.

Monash’s School of Chemistry offers severalsubdivided research groups covering a broad span of topics in support of its chemistry graduate programs.

These groups include:

  • Biospectroscopy
  • Coal and Soil Science
  • Green Chemistry
  • Solar Energy Conversion
  • Surfaces and Surfactants
  • Water and Environmental Chemistry

Technologies that support the various research groups include:

  • Chromatography
  • General Analytical Services
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • NMR Spectroscopy
  • Water Studies Analytical Services

43. University of Sydney

Sydney, Australia

USYD is an Australian public university established in 1850. A research-centered school, USYD boasts several cutting-edge chemistry research facilities, including on-campus laboratories, field stations in remote wilderness areas, and even an island research station called One Tree Island. The Chemistry Department engages in collaborative research projects with medical and technology companies like Microsoft, Sirtex Medical, and IBM.

Department head and award-winning scholar Professor Philip Gale specializes in supramolecular chemistry and has received prizes and honors like the 2018 International Izatt-Christensen Award in Macrocyclic and Supramolecular chemistry and the 2014 Royal Society of Chemistry Supramolecular Chemistry Award.

The school offers a flexible bachelor of science degree with a concentration in mathematics and chemistry, in addition to master’s and doctoral degrees in the philosophy of science. Degree seekers can focus on:

  • Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • General Chemistry
  • Medicinal Chemistry
  • Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
  • Pharmacology

Graduate degrees are research based, focusing on advanced subjects such as:

  • Drug Discovery
  • Molecular Design and Synthesis
  • Soft Matter
  • Supramolecular Chemistry

Undergraduates in the four-year program can take advantage of USYD’s elective year option before graduating. The elective year allows students to seek full-time employment in the chemical industry or at government-funded scientific laboratories where they analyze industrial chemicals, test pharmaceutical products, and develop laboratory techniques.

44. McGill University

Montreal, Quebec

Established in 1821, McGill is a public research university in Montreal, Canada. The Department of Chemistry boasts 37 professors, more than 150 graduate students, and 40 postdoctoral fellows. McGill’s faculty specialize in biophysical chemistry, chemical synthesis, bio-organic chemistry, and nanochemistry.

Departmental chair Dima Perepichka is an award-winning scholar and teacher recognized by Peking University, the Italian Chamber of Commerce, and the California Nanosystems Institute. Most research in the department centers on six main topics:

  • Analytical and Environmental Chemistry
  • Chemical Biology
  • Chemical Physics
  • Green and Sustainable Chemistry
  • Materials Chemistry
  • Synthesis and Catalysis

The McGill chemistry faculty provide ample support for prospective students interested in any of these areas.

McGill offers one of the best undergraduate chemistry programs, with bachelor’s degrees in atmosphere and environment, bio-organic, materials, measurement, and bio-physical chemistry. Undergraduates may also pursue a bachelor of science degree through “liberal program” tracks and a major in biological or general chemistry. The department also offers a chemical engineering minor. Graduate students at McGill can earn a thesis-track master of science in chemistry and a doctor of philosophy in chemistry. Each graduate program focuses on independent research, and candidates must compose a thesis or dissertation based on original laboratory research prior to graduation.

45. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, North Carolina

The University of North Carolina system’s flagship school, UNC, is the 17-campus system’s main school. Altogether, UNC offers 71 bachelor’s, 107 master’s, and 74 doctoral programs and serves approximately 30,000 students.

Undergraduates in the Chemistry Department can pursue a bachelor of science in biochemistry or polymer chemistry, or they can earn a bachelor of arts or bachelor of science in general chemistry. UNC undergraduates enjoy unique opportunities to work as chemistry assistants in on-campus laboratories.

Bachelor’s degree seekers can also participate in six-week summer study abroad programs at foreign universities like the University of Hong Kong, the National University of Singapore, and institutions in Australia and Great Britain. Graduate students can earn a master’s or Ph.D. in chemistry, focusing on research areas such as:

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biological Chemistry
  • Materials Chemistry
  • Polymer Chemistry

Most first-year graduate students receive teaching assistantships. UNC offers one of the best chemistry programs in the country. The department’s researchers and students produce more than 300 academic publications annually; they filed over 100 patents in the last decade. The faculty includes members or fellows of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering — not to mention recipients of the Institutes of Health Director’s Pioneer Award.

46. University College London

London, England

Based on total undergraduate and graduate enrollment figures, this public research institution is the largest university in the United Kingdom. UCL’s main campus is in central London’s Bloomsbury neighborhood and houses over 100 academic departments and research centers. Professor Claire J. Carmalt serves as the head of the university’s Chemistry Department. She specializes in the study of inorganic materials, transparent conducting oxides, photocatalysts, and superhydrophobic paints. Carmalt also enjoys status as a Royal Society of Chemistry fellow and a winner of the Meldola medal and prize in 2000.

UCL’s reputation for offering one of the best undergraduate chemistry programs makes admission competitive, with only about 140 students accepted each year. Degree seekers can take advantage of UCL’s flexible programs and enhance their learning and career prospects through interdisciplinary course combinations. Undergraduates typically pursue minor concentrations in mathematics, management, medicinal chemistry, or chemical physics.

Graduate students at UCL can pursue master’s and doctoral degrees. The chemistry department offers five master’s programs, including:

  • Applied Analytical Chemistry
  • Chemical Research
  • Drug Discovery
  • Materials for Energy and Environment
  • Molecular Modeling

The chemistry department allows students to take maternity, paternity, shared parental, and adoption leave while enrolled in the program. Under special circumstances, students may enroll on a part-time basis while tending to matters outside of school. The department can also make arrangements for students on leave to receive additional financial support.

47. University of British Columbia

Vancouver, British Columbia

Located in Vancouver, UBC is a public research university. The school serves as home to the TRIUMF physics laboratory — a leading international research facility that houses the world’s largest cyclotron — in addition to the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies and the Stuart Blusson Quantum Matter Institute. Professor Michael Wolf, the head of the chemistry department, is known for his work in sulfur-bridged conjugated oligomers metal nanoparticle-conjugated polymer nanocomposites and biological imaging.

One of the best undergraduate chemistry programs for students interested in developing a specialty, UBC offers seven concentrations:

  • Applied Chemistry
  • Biological Chemistry
  • Chemical Analysis and Physics
  • Computational Chemistry
  • Materials Chemistry
  • Medicine, Dentistry, and Pharmacy
  • Synthesis

Undergraduates complete a rigorous, research-based curriculum that includes dedicated research skills courses and provides real-world experience through funded research opportunities. Graduate students at UBC can pursue master’s or doctoral degrees. Postgraduate candidates receive institutional funding packages which include a departmental research or teaching assistantship appointment. The graduate school guarantees master’s and doctoral students funding for two and five years, respectively.

Canadian prime ministers Kim Campbell and Justin Trudeau are notable UBC alumni, and students and graduates alike can secure job opportunities and collaborative research partners through the university’s extensive alumni network.

48. (tie) University of California – San Diego

La Jolla, California

UCSD enjoyed a recent success in its Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry when Professor Roger Tsien won the 2008 Nobel Prize in chemistry with Osamu Shimomura and Martin Chalfie for their discovery of and work with green fluorescent protein. UCSD’s prior recipient of the Nobel Prize in chemistry was Professor Mario Molina in 1995 for his study of the ozone layer and chlorofluorocarbon gases.

Chemistry research institutes at UCSD include:

  • The BioCircuits Institute
  • The Center for Aerosol Impacts On Climate and The Environment
  • The Center for NMR Spectroscopy and The Imaging of Proteins
  • The Center for Systems Biology
  • The Liquid Maps Institute

The chemistry department also supports severalresearch facilities and associated technologies. The school’s Biophysics Instrumentation Facility provides tools such as:

  • A Stopped-flow Fluorimeter
  • An Aviv CD Spectrometer
  • An Analytical Ultracentrifuge

Other facilities on and near campus that support the school’s chemistry master’s programs include:

  • The Biomolecular/Proteomics Mass Spectrometry Facility
  • The Cryo-Electron Microscopy Facility
  • The Molecular Mass Spectrometry Facility
  • The UCSD Biomolecule Crystallography Facility

48. (tie) RWTH Aachen University

Aachen, Germany

RWTH, Germany’s largest technical university, is a research university located in North Rhine-Westphalia. The school boasts more than 42,000 students and 144 academic programs. The Department of Chemistry is divided into five central research institutes: inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry, physical chemistry, technical and macromolecular chemistry, and interactive materials. The campus’s two prominent research laboratories include the Catalytic Center, which is in the Center for Molecular Transformations. Both labs organize and carry out large-scale research projects and foster collaboration between RWTH’s chemists, biologists, and engineers.

The chemistry department offers bachelor of science and master’s degrees, most of which focus on producing chemistry educators. The research-centered chemistry master’s program allows candidates to concentrate on:

  • Bioactive Compounds in Synthetic Methods
  • Catalysis
  • Computer Chemistry and Spectroscopy
  • Mesoscopic Systems

Similarly, RWTH offers one research-focused bachelor’s chemistry degree that explores the field’s foundations and culminates in a thesis project.

Chemistry students can also acquire hands-on practical lab work experience by participating in one of several internships and study abroad programs. RWTH is a member of an international association of technical universities that maintains a campus in California. Students enrolled in study abroad programs receive partial funding through the department.

50. Shanghai Jiao Tong University

Shanghai, China

Established in 1896, this Chinese research university is nicknamed “The MIT of the East.” SJTU’s School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering consists of three departments: polymer science and engineering, chemical engineering, and chemistry. The department has made substantial scientific contributions to notable national initiatives over the years, including projects sponsored by the Natural Science Fund and the federal “863” and “974” projects.

Undergraduates may pursue a degree in applied chemistry and chemical engineering or technology, choosing concentrations in foundational areas such as:

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Physical Chemistry
  • Polymeric Chemistry

SJTU also offers master’s and doctoral degrees in chemistry, chemical engineering and technology, and applied chemistry. In total, SJTU’s chemistry department consists of approximately 280 undergraduate students, 555 graduate students, and 100 professors and instructors.

With the ultimate goal of serving nearby communities, faculty research focuses primarily on popular Chinese industries. Faculty members contribute to many national projects, including the Shanghai Spark Program and other government-commissioned initiatives. Many of SJTU’s newer collaborative research projects take place on an international scale, and the department maintains partnerships with university researchers in America, Canada, Japan, Germany, and Holland.

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2015 Archive

The 50 Best Chemistry Programs in the World | 2015

  • University of California – Berkeley
    (Berkeley, California)
  • Harvard University
    (Cambridge, Massachusetts)
  • Stanford University
    (Stanford, California)
  • California Institute of Technology
    (Pasadena, California)
  • Northwestern University
    (Evanston, Illinoise)
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
    (Cambridge, Massachusetts)
  • University of Cambridge
    (Cambridge, England)
  • ETH Zürich
    (Zürich, Switzerland)
  • Kyoto University
    (Kyoto, Japan)
  • University of Pennsylvania
    (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
  • University of California – Los Angeles
    (Los Angeles, California)
  • Yale University
    (New Haven, Connecticut)
  • University of California – Santa Barbara
    (Santa Barbara, California)
  • Technical University of Munich
    (Munich, Germany)
  • Cornell University
    (Ithaca, New York)
  • Columbia University
    (New York, New York)
  • University of Oxford
    (Oxford, United Kingdom)
  • University of California – San Diego
    (San Diego, California)
  • University of Strasbourg
    (Strasbourg, France)
  • Purdue University
    (West Lafayette, Indiana)
  • Heidelberg University
    (Heidelberg, Germany)
  • Rice University
    (Houston, Texas)
  • University of Toronto
    (Toronto, Ontariot)
  • École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne
    (Lausanne, Switzerland)
  • University of Tokyo
    (Tokyo, Japan)
  • University of Texas at Austin
    (Austin, Texas)
  • University of California – Irvine
    (Irvine, California)
  • Georgia Institute of Technology
    (Atlanta, Georgia)
  • University of Michigan
    (Ann Arbor, Michigan)
  • University of Minnesota – Twin Cities
    (Minneapolis, Minnesota)
  • Peking University
    (Beijing, China)
  • University of Wüerzburg
    (Würzburg, Germany)
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
    (Champaign, Illinois)
  • University of Colorado at Boulder
    (Boulder, Colorado)
  • Tohoku University
    (Sendai, Japan)
  • King Abdulaziz University
    (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)
  • University of Florida
    (Gainesville, Florida)
  • Zhejiang University
    (Hangzhou, China)
  • Osaka University
    (Osaka, Japan)
  • Texas A&M University
    (College Station, Texas)
  • Weizmann Institute of Science
    (Rehovot, Israel)
  • University of California – Riverside
    (Riverside, California)
  • University of Wisconsin – Madison
    (Madison, Wisconsin)
  • Monash University
    (Melbourne, Australia)
  • University of Chicago
    (Chicago, Illinois)
  • University of Southern California
    (Los Angeles, California)
  • University of Müenster
    (Münster, Germany)
  • Tokyo Institute of Technology
    (Tokyo, Japan)
  • Imperial College London
    (London, England)
  • Nagoya University
    (Nagoya, Japan)
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