Since its inception, the Department has embodied the University's central mission of excellence in both research and teaching.
When the University of Chicago was founded in 1891, one of the first departments established was the Department of Chemistry. Our current faculty has considerable strength in inorganic, organic, and physical chemistry, as well as in interdisciplinary research that delves into biology, physics, and materials science. As of 2015, approximately 175–200 graduate students and 60 postdoctoral research associates were in residence, along with a faculty of 34. Research groups range in size from 5 to 25 people, allowing for close personal interaction between students, postdocs, and faculty.
The undergraduate program is also extremely strong—almost 40% of all students in the College take at least one year of chemistry and 50–70 bachelor's degrees in Chemistry are awarded each year. A large number of undergraduates participate in research projects with the faculty.
Faculty research laboratories and shared-instrumentation facilities are housed in the Gordon Center for Integrative Science, the Searle Chemical Laboratory, and the George Herbert Jones Laboratory. In addition to housing many chemistry research groups, the Gordon Center (or GCIS) is also home to the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, a portion of the Department of Physics, the James Franck Institute, the UChicago Materials Research Science and Engineering Center, the Institute for Biophysical Dynamics, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and the Ben May Cancer Institute. The collocation of this diverse set of researchers in a single integrated facility greatly enhances collaborative interdisciplinary research. Finally, the Kent Chemical Laboratory, which was built in 1895, houses excellent undergraduate teaching laboratories and classrooms.
Close student-faculty interactions have been a hallmark of our Department for over a century. These have fostered a unique intellectual environment that both ensures superb graduate education and continues to produce important and exciting scientific discoveries.