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About the Department

Established in 1884 and located on the shore of Lake Michigan in Evanston, Illinois, the Department of Chemistry is a center for global excellence in undergraduate and graduate education and research in chemistry. We have a long-standing commitment to collaborative research in the fundamentals of chemistry as well as exploring multidisciplinary connections in nanotechnology, energy sciences, catalysis, life processes, biological chemistry, material science, drug development, chemical and biological engineering, and environmental science. Our department has innovative faculty and outstanding students. We currently have 29 world-renowned 100% research-active chemistry faculty including ten members of the National Academy of Sciences and one Knight-Bachelor.

The measure of a department is the success of its students. Over 90% of our undergraduate chemistry majors go on to medical school or graduate school for further study. The outstanding accomplishments of our doctoral students and alumni reflect the department’s highly selective admission standards. All Ph.D. students receive broad training that prepares them equally well for careers in academia or industry. Approximately 60 percent of our current alumni hold industrial positions, 30 percent have academic positions and 10 percent are employed by government or independent research institutions. Northwestern Chemistry enjoys strong ties to the chemical industry and works with companies on research projects and career opportunities for our students.

The Department of Chemistry was rated as one of the top five in the nation by the latest National Research Council survey in 2010. NU Chemistry has almost doubled in size over the last ten years and now, in addition to our faculty, has approximately 250 graduate students and 175 postdoctoral fellows, 5 lecturers, 14 research professors, and 40 staff members.

The Integrated Molecular Structure Education and Research Center, IMSERC, a world-class analytical facility was completed in 2013. IMSERC was established to educate Northwestern students to be scientific leaders of the 21st century and support world-class research. The synthesis of small molecules fuels research of numerous core disciplines and interdisciplinary activities, including chemistry, molecular/cellular biology, drug discovery, chemical biology, translational medical research, materials, catalysis, nanotechnology, and energy storage/conversion. All research at Northwestern utilizing novel compounds relies on IMSERC to characterize these molecules before application testing can begin. As a “one-stop shop” for molecular structure characterization, all instrumentation and staff scientist offices are located in a single location.