6 California Colleges for Chemistry Majors

Consider one of these six UC schools if you’d like to pursue better living through chemistry.

By Sydney Nikols | February 17, 2017

The College of Chemistry is one of UC Berkeley's 14 schools.

If you’d like to study chemistry in college, it’s important to find a school that has a strong department in your chosen major. Whether you’re looking to get an undergraduate or graduate degree, consider these six California colleges, all of which are known for providing an excellent education and conducting important research in the field of chemistry.

There are a number of schools available in California that offer strong chemistry programs.

1. University of California, Berkeley

The University of California, Berkeley, offers the country’s third-best grad school for chemistry according to U.S. News and World Report. The chemistry department was also recognized by the National Research Council for excellence in research and in criteria that both scholars and faculty members find important. The department prides itself on maintaining a thriving intellectual environment; undergraduate and graduate chemistry students have access to the school’s chemistry library, as well as a student commons room in order to socialize and learn from one another.

2. University of California, San Diego

The University of California, San Diego, earned a Top 25 spot on U.S. News and World Report’s list of the country’s best grad programs for chemistry. Washington Monthly gave the school the number one spot on its list of colleges that excel in the categories of research, service and social mobility (enrolling and graduating low-income students), all of which reflects well on the chemistry department as it aims to use scientific research to make the world a better place.

3. University of California, San Francisco

Established in 1999, University of California, San Francisco’s grad program in chemistry has been acknowledged by U.S. News and World Report, the National Research Council, which gave it a particularly high score for excellence in research, and the Leiden Ranking, which named the program seventh-best in the world.

UCSF is a graduate school which only offers advanced degrees.
Photo: Aiche.org

4. University of California, Los Angeles

U.S. News and World Report ranked the grad program in chemistry at University of California, Los Angeles, the 16th best in the country, while QS ranked it the eighth-best in the world. The department is known for graduating researchers who win the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, including Dr. Willard F. Libby in 1960, Dr. Donald J. Cram in 1987 and Dr. Paul D. Boyer in 1997.

5. University of California, Santa Barbara

The University of California, Santa Barbara’s grad program in chemistry earned a top 50 spot in U.S. News and World Report’s ranking and was acknowledged by the National Research Council for maintaining criteria that students find most important. In addition, Science Watch reported that UCSB received more citations in scientific journals than most other universities in the country.

6. University of California, Irvine

The National Research Council gave a nod to University of California, Irvine’s chemistry grad program for having characteristics that students think are important, and U.S. News and World Report ranked the program 26th in the nation. Researchers in the department have recently made waves for receiving $20 million to attempt the very first real-time video of active single molecules. UCI researchers also recently developed the first “plastic antibodies” to be successfully used in live organisms.

Now that you know which schools to apply to, you can begin working towards making important scientific discoveries of your own.

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