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Division of Natural Sciences & MathematicsDepartment of Chemistry & Biochemistry

Chemistry and Biochemistry


Why study chemistry?

All materials, whether naturally occurring or synthetic, are chemical structures. Various chemicals assume dominance in different fields; doctors are interested in drugs, anti-cancer agents, and hormones; geologists in rocks, minerals, and soils; mechanical engineers in the metal alloys, plastics, and glass; but the common thread of chemistry runs through all of these applications. Chemistry is a science central to our understanding and use of the natural world. Our development of new medicines, faster computer chips, better pollution control and improved structural materials depends on chemical knowledge and the work of chemists in all fields of endeavor.

Chemistry is a dynamic and exciting field. Recent experimental and theoretical advances allow us to explore the most fundamental steps of chemical change. These advances have opened great possibilities for progress in nearly every aspect of the chemical world. Exceptional opportunities abound for better understanding of chemical questions of great importance, such as how the complexities of biological molecules are related to the nature of life, or how the ultimate microscopic structure of atoms determine the macroscopic properties of all materials.

The study of chemistry can lead to a fulfilling and rewarding career. There are numerous job opportunities for chemistry majors and a relatively small number of graduates competing for them. In addition, aside from becoming a chemist, an undergraduate major in chemistry has many other options. Practitioners of other fields increasingly find that progress in their profession requires greater knowledge of the chemical nature of their working materials.

Professional studies

At the University of Denver, preprofessional students must choose a major, such as chemistry, biochemistry, or biology. Most medical, dental, and veterinary schools require a minimum of two or more years of chemistry of their applicants and many now require biochemistry. Therefore, a chemistry or biochemistry degree is excellent preparation for medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, and the allied health professions.

Why study at the University of Denver?

The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry has a research-active faculty with an international reputation. Although this is to be expected at a high-quality university, the difference at DU is the particular effort we take to insure that you participate in smaller and less formal classes while receiving the personal attention that can vitalize your college experience. Our faculty are accessible.

All chemistry, biochemistry, and environmental chemistry majors are encouraged to engage in a research project under the close supervision of a faculty member. This is often the highlight of a student's undergraduate experience. Our goal at the University of Denver is to help you realize your highest potential as both a literate and knowledgeable citizen as well as excellent scientist.

DU facilities

The research laboratories of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry are in the Seeley G. Mudd Building, a 63,000-square-foot building constructed in 1981.

Next door is F.W. Olin Hall, built in 1997, contains the undergraduate laboratories and the Department's main office. This beautiful building, constructed of brick, granite, and limestone, boasts a copper roof and a large domed rotunda area for informal gatherings of students and/or faculty. Its undergraduate laboratories are 'high-tech' and feature an innovative design. There are two large classroom/lecture halls and a smaller classroom.