Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry

Pier and Wrightsville Beach Sunrise


Why Choose UNCW

The UNCW Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry is routinely in the top 5% of Masters granting institutions in the entire country.

The UNCW Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry has an active research program in chemical education, which keeps our faculty on the cutting edge of innovative teaching methodologies.

The UNCW Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry has extensive experience working with corporate partners and their employees within our current graduate fellows program.

One of the most important factors contributing to our current success is the close supervision and mentoring of students by faculty (ca. 1.5:1). A result of this close contact between students and faculty is that interactions are very collegial, which provides the necessary atmosphere for the free exchange of new thoughts and ideas. 

The results of this close supervision of students by faculty are graduates who are well trained and highly sought after by both Ph.D. institutions and industry. Success of the graduates is indicated by the close to 100% placement in relevant positions.

A Unique Experience

We offer graduate students a diversity of research areas from which to choose within the traditional bounds of chemistry, as well as several non-traditional research programs. The research focus areas include biochemistry, inorganic and organic synthesis, organometallic chemistry, atmospheric and marine chemistry and chemical education. The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry seeks to maintain these research strengths by encouraging and valuing the research productivity of its faculty and students.

Because of the interdisciplinary nature of several research areas in our chemistry graduate program, we enroll many graduate students from varied undergraduate backgrounds. Approximately 30% of our full-time graduate students do not have traditional undergraduate degrees (BS/BA) in chemistry. We provide these students the opportunity to pursue their non-traditional chemistry interests in our department by working individually with each student to design a course plan whereby their undergraduate deficiencies in chemistry are made up during their graduate studies. 

Graduate students also have many opportunities to teach undergraduate labs and mentor younger students in research, including undergraduates and new graduate students.

Ideal Location For Graduate Study in Chemistry

The chemistry department at UNCW is located in the historic, coastal, seaport community of Wilmington, North Carolina, which is ideally situated between the Cape Fear River and Atlantic Ocean. Nestled on the banks of the Cape Fear River, historic Wilmington attracts students and visitors alike with its rich history, thriving arts community and lively nightlife with a variety of nightclubs, bars, theaters and music venues.

Settled in 1729, Wilmington flourished as a major port and was at one time home to the largest cotton exchange in the world. Through the centuries, the Wilmington area has seen a lot of action, in the Revolutionary War, the Civil War and World War II. Now it's a flourishing business, a tourist destination and the capital of North Carolina's film industry.

The Warm Gulf Stream waters and ocean breezes also make this a nice place to be in any season. In the fall, temperatures hover around the 60s. In winter, it rarely gets below 40 and summertime temperatures start in April.

UNCW is also in close proximity to the beach communities of Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach and the intracoastal waterway. Our graduate students and faulty enjoy a wide range of water related activities including sailing, kayaking, diving and paddle boarding. There is also an active surf culture within the department fostered by our graduate students and faculty. UNCW is consistently ranked as one of the 10 best universities in the nation by Surfer magazine based on its academic reputation and the quality of its surf.