Rice University logo

Department Overview 

LabworkChemistry at Rice is where innovation meets collaboration. Two Nobel laureates, dominance in the field of nanoscale science and technology, and significant contributions to both bioscience and materials science have propelled Rice University’s Department of Chemistry to unparalleled status over the past two decades.

Chemistry is central to many modern scientific disciplines—biochemistry, materials, multiple areas of engineering—and is a leading department within Natural Sciences in its level of research support. Since Chemistry holds a unique position in science and technology, we have been the nucleus of collaboration across departments and schools. The department is making fundamental contributions to the biological sciences, which are exploding with the opportunity to impact human health. We have also been the leader in establishing shared facilities through the Shared Equipment Authority by providing space and personnel to this endeavor.

The Chemistry graduate program is ranked number 28 nationally by U.S. News & World Report in 2008. Multiple surveys, such as Small Times, rank Rice in the top 10 in many areas of nanoscale science, and our future leadership in this arena requires a strong and entrepreneurial faculty. The department has the potential to move into the top 20 nationally if we continue to create state-of-the-art space, to recruit outstanding graduate and post-doctoral students and to enhance our undergraduate program. 

Laboratory experiences are an integral component of the curriculum, and serving the large number of enrollees in these courses is a major endeavor of the department. Innovations that develop modular projects which closely simulate activity in a research setting have made these laboratories more effective and enjoyable for our students. Computer analysis and result simulation infuse laboratory work with information technology that now pervades the scientific enterprise.

Chemistry has selected four primary areas for its future focus - nanochemistry, materials, biological and theoretical chemistry. The contributions from chemistry to these disciplines have been growing in prominence. Other schools have also recognized the importance of these domains to the future of chemistry as an enterprise, demonstrating that this selection was visionary when it was first made over 10 years ago.


  • To benefit humankind and ensure a sustainable economy
  • To conduct cutting-edge research into key areas of chemistry, and to provide a world-class education to undergraduate and graduate students, targeted at forming future leaders responsible for scientific discovery, education, application and policy

Department Goals 

  • To strategically recruit and develop a world-class faculty 
  • To forge new ties to the energy industry and governmental partners in energy and capitalize on our strengths in nanotechnology 
  • To continue developing collaborations with medical researchers, especially in the Texas Medical Center 
  • To provide strong research infrastructure to support faculty and students 
  • To promote undergraduate and graduate educational experiences that generate future leaders