May 18, 2024  
University Catalog 2023-2024 
University Catalog 2023-2024

Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

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Information about the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry


Location: Biological Sciences 336
Phone: (323) 343-2300
Website: Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Consult the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry for the e-mail addresses and telephone numbers of the current department chair, undergraduate adviser and graduate adviser.


Name: Jamil Momand
Phone: 323-343-2300


Undergraduate Studies Chemistry and biochemistry provide understanding of molecular structure and reactivity and thus are central for the study of physical and biological phenomena. The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry offers two undergraduate degrees: the Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry and the Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry. The department participates in the B.S. in Natural Sciences degree program through its Chemistry Option. The department also offers a minor in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology.

Students who earn the B.S. degree in chemistry or biochemistry are prepared to enter careers in chemical, material science, pharmaceutical, biochemical and molecular life sciences industries; careers in government and academic laboratories; and to pursue advanced education in graduate and professional schools. Students pursuing a B.S. degree in Biochemistry may qualify for entrance into health professional schools such as medical, dental, pharmacy, etc. by selecting appropriate elective courses within their program while those students pursuing a B.S. degree in Chemistry may qualify for entrance into these professional schools by taking additional courses. The Chemistry Option in the B.S. in Natural Science is designed for students who plan to be high school chemistry teachers.

Undergraduates in both degree programs are encouraged to broaden their educational experience by participating in a research project under the direction of one of the department’s faculty members. The department has a strong tradition of involving undergraduates in research and these students are often provided financial support through training programs.

Bioinformatics and Computational Biology (BINF minor). The BINF minor provides a deep understanding of bioinformatics software programs and databases utilized to make discoveries in molecular life sciences. The BINF minor teaches students how to create software programs that analyze molecular life science data. Students who earn a BINF minor are prepared for more advanced studies in bioinformatics, systems biology, genomics, and computational biology. Pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries offer career opportunities for those with advanced BINF training. The BINF minor provides preparation for students to pursue graduate and professional schools.

Graduate Studies The Master of Science degree programs prepare students for supervisory positions in industry, teaching positions in community colleges, or more advanced study toward the Ph.D. degree in chemistry, biochemistry, or molecular life sciences. The M.S. Chemistry degree program includes three options: the Thesis option, the Biochemistry option and the Comprehensive Examination option. The Thesis option and the Biochemistry option provide extensive research training, and are recommended for those students who wish to pursue a career as a laboratory scientist or to continue their education in a doctoral program. The Comprehensive Examination option is intended for persons in industry or government who need to develop a more current understanding of chemistry and for other specific areas of chemical application in which an advanced degree is beneficial. The Comprehensive Examination option is not recommended for students who wish to continue to a doctoral program in chemistry, nor for those who intend to upgrade their laboratory research capabilities significantly.

The Faculty

Professors: Yong Ba, Krishna Foster, Jamil Momand (Chair), Scott L. Nickolaisen, James Rudd, Matthias Selke, Linda M. Tunstad, Robert L. Vellanoweth, Xin Wen.
Assistant Professors:  Michael Hayes, Olaseni Sode, Petr Vozka, Cecilia Zurita-Lopez
Emeriti: Costello L. Brown, Joseph Casanova, Jr, Phoebe K. Dea , Anthony Fratiello, Harold Goldwhite, Scott D. Grover, Carlos G. Gutiérrez, Donald R. Paulson, Stanley H. Pine, Wayne R. Tikkanen, Feimeng Zhou.

Undergraduate Degrees

Students who expect to earn a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry or Biochemistry in the minimum time should include courses in chemistry, physics, geometry, trigonometry, and algebra (two years) in their high school preparation.

It should also be noted that the chemistry programs are tightly structured and that students should begin calculus and physics sequences at the earliest possible time in order to complete the degree in four years.

For Chemistry and Biochemistry majors, only courses with a grade of C- or higher in the major program are credited toward the degree. Successful completion of the major requires a minimum C (2.0) overall grade point average in required courses and a minimum C (2.0) grade point average in upper division required courses and electives. Students who have taken community college organic chemistry have the option of earning credit by examination in CHEM 2200 , and/or 3200 .

Departmental Honors Program

A departmental honors program in Chemistry is offered for students to pursue chemistry studies at a level significantly beyond that defined by the normal curriculum.  The focus of the program is undergraduate research performed under the direction of a Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry faculty mentor, which provides the basis for a written thesis.  Honors students often present their research results at research conferences.

Students who possess a minimum B (3.0) grade point average in all college work and in chemistry, averaged separately, are eligible. Students must be nominated by two members of the department faculty and then approved by department vote.

To graduate with honors in Chemistry, qualified students must complete a minimum of two units of CHEM 4990 , and successfully complete an original written thesis and oral defense under the direction of a faculty advisor and a thesis committee consisting of two additional faculty members while enrolled in CHEM 3810 .

Diplomas and transcripts of honors program graduates are designated: “Graduated with Departmental Honors in Chemistry.”

The Credential Program

The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry participates in the interdisciplinary Bachelor of Science degree program in Natural Science, which has been approved for the Single Subject credential in Science. The Chemistry Option in this program is described in the section of the catalog dealing with the Natural Science degree. In addition, holders of a Single Subject credential issued by the state of California may complete the supplementary authorization program described below.


    Degree - UndergraduateDegree - MinorDegree - GraduateCredential - Secondary Teaching


      Bioinformatics (Undergraduate)Chemistry (Graduate)Chemistry (Undergraduate)

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