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Our Department


The Department of Chemistry, established in 1818, is celebrating its Bicentennial! Over these two-hundred years, we have awarded more than 1300 Ph.D. degrees, and over 500 master’s degrees.


Our Faculty

Our large and diverse faculty includes five members of the National Academy of Sciences, one member of the National Academy of Engineering, a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, two recipients of an NIH Director’s Pioneer Award, several winners of American Chemical Society national awards, a Lemelson-MIT Prize winner, and numerous recipients of other prestigious national and local awards in chemistry and teaching.

The Li Group

One of our many research groups, the Li Group, performs research integrating chemical biology, enzyme chemistry, and microbiology to address challenges of antibiotic resistance and infectious disease.

Our Research

We conduct research in all areas of modern chemistry, and our research program is one of the strongest in the country with more than 300 publications annually and over 100 patents filed within the last 10 years. Our research has led to a number of key discoveries. Current faculty bring in over $21 million of external funding annually and have extensive collaborations with industry and other academic institutions.

Our state-of-the-art capabilities play an important role in supporting the active research of the department and are extensively utilized by our graduate students. Venable Hall, home to the Chemistry Department since 1925, was demolished in late 2007, and two new buildings have replaced this former campus and chemistry landmark. Our newest buildings, named Venable Hall and Murray Hall, were dedicated on University Day, October 12th, 2010, by Chancellor Holden Thorp, and house the W. R. Kenan Chemistry Library, laboratories, classrooms, lecture halls, conference rooms and the Marine Sciences Department. Including Chapman Hall, Kenan Laboratories, Morehead Laboratories, and Caudill Laboratories, Carolina Chemistry now offers some of the most advanced science research laboratories in the country.

We have outstanding research programs underway in all areas of modern Chemistry. Chemistry also is a focal point for interdisciplinary research efforts on campus in biological and materials sciences. Currently, our faculty includes 43 tenured and tenure-track faculty and 8 teaching faculty. We also have a dedicated technical and administrative support staff to support the research and teaching of 800-some undergraduate majors, 270 graduate students, and 52 postdoctoral research associates.

Graduate Students

Graduate students contribute to nearly every aspect of the department’s operation. In addition to taking a wide variety of courses, our students have the opportunity to participate in groundbreaking research, to teach, to attend research group meetings, to attend seminars, and to serve on committees that affect all aspects of life in the department.

The Association of Chemistry Graduate Students, ACGS, sponsors both professional and social events and represents graduate students in departmental matters.

Undergraduate Students

The Chemistry Department has approximately 800 undergraduate majors distributed among four tracks of study: BS Chemistry, BS Chemistry, Biochemistry track, BS Chemistry, Polymer track, and BA Chemistry. Chemistry majors are challenged with a rigorous academic program that provides excellent preparation for post undergraduate opportunities in graduate school, dental school, medical school, pharmacy school, law school, patent law, education, teaching, and a wide variety of industrial settings. Students who choose the chemistry major have a wealth of opportunities to participate in cutting-edge undergraduate research, an encouraged component in the program.

Lin-Zhi Wei

Lin-Zhi Wei is one of our many undergraduate students performing research alongside Ph.D. students in a research group.

Undergraduate students are an integral part of the Chemistry Department, and the department recognizes this annually with scholarships, fellowships, job fairs, a Junior/Senior Banquet, and a spring BBQ. Our students frequently receive national recognition for their achievements through scholarships and awards including the prestigious Goldwater Scholarship and Churchill Fellowship.

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