Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry enjoys a solid reputation for providing high quality education, conducting outstanding research with faculty who strive to be the best teachers and mentors for our students.

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Congratulations Class of 2020! 

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Department Statement of Solidarity

The faculty and staff in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of San Diego wish to publicly, loudly, and explicitly support all efforts to fight anti-Black racism in our community. Black lives matter. 

We express our support for the recommendations put forward by USD’s Black faculty in their letter to the administration in summer 2020. Many of our department members are working actively towards the implementation of those recommendations at the college and university level, but we also recognize the importance of our actions and words as an individual unit within the broader USD community. Systematic, structural racism can only be addressed by sincere and sustained effort at every level of organization within our institution. We, as a department, are committed to improving our departmental policies and procedures to reflect our values and support anti-racism efforts throughout the community.

Specifically, we commit to the following ongoing activities:

  1. We unequivocally support the Black members of our department. We will listen to our Black colleagues and students, have empathy for their ongoing trauma of living in a racist society, and not add to that burden. We will support the growth and success of our Black faculty including acknowledging and valuing the extra emotional and intellectual labor they invest in all areas – teaching, research, and service. 
  2. The department will provide training for members to understand implicit bias and dismantle its influence on departmental decision-making and the work of faculty, staff, and students.
  3. We have convened a standing committee of faculty and staff which will take our commitment to diversity, inclusion, addressing racism, and equity, and turn it into actionable, accountable outcomes.  
  4. We are revising our policies for determining merit pay, reappointment, tenure, and promotion to ensure equity.  
  5. We are improving our hiring practices, with the explicit goal of diversifying our faculty and staff.
  6. We are undertaking a review of our Department policies and practices to identify mechanisms through which we can better provide support for Black students in our classes and in our research laboratories, and will regularly review these mechanisms.

Additionally, every member of our department reaffirms their individual commitment to counteract racism in our research laboratories, in our classrooms, and in our community. We will hold ourselves accountable to our stated mission, recognizing that there is real work required of all of us to help create a diverse and inclusive community at USD.

Why Choose Chemistry or Biochemistry at USD?

Coursework in chemistry and biochemistry is designed to prepare students for a variety of options and career paths following graduation.  Our programs in chemistry and biochemistry are recognized by the American Chemical Society providing our graduates the opportunity to have an accredited degree. Our biochemistry degree follows the professional principles of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology ensuring all graduates an exceptional experience. Junior and senior years offer an integrated laboratory/lecture experience in organic/physical chemistry, inorganic/physical chemistry, biophysical chemistry, instrumental methods, and biochemistry.

Our students are given a strong foundation in the principles and practices of modern chemistry and biochemistry within the framework of a liberal arts education. All students are able to conduct research giving them critical hands-on learning with sophisticated instrumentation and computer equipment. Many students are able to work with their research mentor for several years.

Our students continue their education at prestigious graduate and medical programs throughout the country. Recent graduates have entered doctoral programs at universities such as University of California, Los Angeles, Cal Tech, MIT, Vanderbilt, Johns Hopkins, Yale and Scripps Research Institute. Other recent graduates have entered medical or pharmacy programs at institutions such as Creighton University, Thomas Jefferson University and many in the University of California system. Many of our graduates enter the workforce starting interesting and exciting careers in chemistry and biochemistry. Some of the recent companies include organizations like Pfizer, Proctor and Gamble, Pharmatek and Genomics Foundation of Novartis, to name just a few. 

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Engaged Faculty

Students' relationships with their faculty create productive research opportunities, effective advising and career counseling, as well as opportunities for recommendations for medical and graduate schools.

Student Research Opportunities

Our students must complete at least 100 hours of undergraduate research, so each student gains valuable experience that enhances their professional pursuits, as well as solidifies their knowledge of concepts and procedures.

Advanced Faculty Research

Exposure to active research conducted by faculty encourages a climate of academic excellence and provides students with opportunities to co-publish with faculty advisors. Faculty serve as models of what students could accomplish if they choose to pursue advanced degrees.

Liberal Arts Foundation

Students have a well-rounded liberal arts foundation upon which their chemistry/biochemistry knowledge is built. This provides a holistic perspective of how chemistry/ biochemistry can affect other facets of the human experience.


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