Return to: USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences
The Department of Chemistry offers degree programs that provide undergraduate and graduate students with core instruction and excellent research opportunities. Undergraduate programs leading to the BS and BA degrees are offered. The BS degree is intended for students preparing for careers in chemistry and satisfies the guidelines for a chemistry degree recommended by the American Chemical Society. The BA degree is designed for students who wish a concentration of course work in chemistry, but who have career plans in the health sciences, business or law or other specialty areas. In addition, a chemistry minor is available for students who want a broader exposure to the chemical sciences. A minor program in biotechnology is offered by the Departments of Biological Sciences and Chemistry and the Marshall School of Business and a minor program in environmental chemistry and sustainability is also offered jointly with the Environmental Studies program. Graduate programs are offered leading to the Master of Arts, Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry.
Seeley G. Mudd 418
FAX: (213) 740-2701
Chair: Stephen E. Bradforth, PhD
Distinguished Professor of Chemistry, Biological Sciences and Biochemistry and Dana and David Dornsife Chair in Chemistry: Arieh Warshel, PhD
Lloyd Armstrong, Jr. Chair for Science and Engineering and Professor of Chemistry: Hanna Reisler, PhD
Ray R. Irani, Chairman of Occidental Petroleum Corporation, Chair in Chemistry: Mark E. Thompson, PhD
Paul A. Miller Chair in Letters, Arts and Sciences and Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry: Curt Wittig, PhD
Harold and Lillian Moulton Chair in Organic/Polymer Chemistry and Professor of Chemistry and Pharmacology: Nicos Petasis, PhD
George A. and Judith A. Olah Nobel Laureate Chair in Hydrocarbon Chemistry and Professor of Chemistry: G.K. Surya Prakash, PhD
Provost Professor of Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Neurology, Physiology & Biophysics, and Chemical Engineering & Materials Science: Raymond C. Stevens, PhD
Provost Professor of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, of Chemistry, and of Medicine: Mark Davis, PhD
Judge Widney Professor of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry: Ray R. Irani, PhD
Gabilan Assistant Professor of Chemistry: Smaranda Marinescu, PhD
Professors: Stephen E. Bradforth, PhD; Richard L. Brutchey, Jr., PhD; Lin Chen, PhD (Biological Sciences); Xiaojiang Chen, PhD (Biological Sciences); Vadim Cherezov, PhD; Valery Fokin, PhD; Myron F. Goodman, PhD (Biological Sciences); Thieo E. Hogen-Esch, PhD; Anna Krylov, PhD; Daniel A. Lidar, PhD (Electrical Engineering); Chi H. Mak, PhD*; Charles E. McKenna, PhD*; Sri Narayan, PhD; Oleg Prezhdo, PhD; Richard W. Roberts, PhD; Lawrence A. Singer, PhD*; Mark E. Thompson, PhD; Andrey Vilesov, PhD
Associate Professors: Andrea Armani, PhD (Chemical Engineering); Alexander Benderskii, PhD; Stephen B. Cronin, PhD (Electrical Engineering/Electrophysics); Kyung Woon Jung, PhD; Matthew Pratt, PhD; Peter Z. Qin, PhD; Remo Rohs, PhD (Biological Sciences); Susumu Takahashi, PhD; Barry C. Thompson, PhD; Travis J. Williams, PhD
Assistant Professors: Jahan Dawlaty, PhD; Moh El Naggar, PhD (Physics); Malancha Gupta, PhD (Chemical Engineering); Brent Melot, PhD; Fabien Pinaud, PhD (Biological Sciences); Chao Zhang, PhD
Professors (Research): Karl O. Christe, PhD; Sri Narayan, PhD
Associate Professors (Research): Ralf Haiges, PhD; Golam Rasul, PhD
Assistant Professors (Research): Peter Djurovich, PhD; Terry Takahashi, PhD
Associate Professor (Teaching): Jessica Parr, PhD
Assistant Professors (Teaching): Thomas M. Bertolini, PhD; Rebecca Broyer, PhD
Emeritus Professors: Robert A. Beaudet, PhD; David A. Dows, PhD; Thomas C. Flood, PhD; Otto Schnepp, PhD; Gerald A. Segal, PhD; Howard S. Taylor, PhD; William P. Weber, PhD*
*Recipient of university-wide or college teaching award.
The USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences departments of biological sciences and chemistry and the Marshall School of Business jointly offer the cross-departmental minor in biotechnology. This minor brings essential knowledge in the basic sciences together with the corporate skills needed in a rapidly growing industry. The minor is especially well suited for the business, biology, chemistry or engineering student seeking a career in business and/or the biomedical/biotechnical sciences. See Biological Sciences for course requirements.
Grade Point Average in Major Subject
A grade of C- or higher is required in each chemistry course specifically listed as a degree requirement. The GPA for all chemistry courses required for a department major or a physical sciences major must be C (2.0) or higher. The GPA for all upper-division chemistry courses must also be C (2.0) or higher.
A degree with honors in chemistry is available for eligible Chemistry BA, Chemistry BS, Chemistry BS — Research Emphasis, Chemistry BS — Chemical Nanoscience Emphasis, and Chemistry BS — Chemical Biology Emphasis students. To meet program requirements students must submit an application to the Department of Chemistry and satisfy the objectives of the program.
Students seeking admission must have at least junior standing (64 units) with an overall USC GPA of 3.5 or better in at least 16 units of chemistry courses. Students must complete 8 units of research (CHEM 490 or CHEM 494 , which may also satisfy major requirements*) under the supervision of chemistry faculty with the research results described in an undergraduate thesis reviewed and approved by a faculty committee. To graduate with honors students must earn a GPA of 3.5 in all chemistry courses required for the major and have an overall USC GPA of 3.5.
Upon graduation, transcripts will be noted "Bachelor of Arts with Departmental Honors" for Chemistry BA students, or "Bachelor of Science with Departmental Honors" for students who pursued the various Chemistry BS majors.
*For Chemistry BS, Chemistry BS — Chemical Nanoscience Emphasis, and Chemistry BS — Chemical Biology Emphasis, 4 units CHEM 490 are required for the major; for Chemistry BS — Research Emphasis, 4 units CHEM 490 and 4 units CHEM 494 are required for the major; and for Chemistry BA, 1–8 units of CHEM 490x are required for the major.
Close contact between students and faculty is a seminal feature of the chemistry graduate programs. The emphasis is on individualized programs aiming at in-depth understanding and development of scientific maturity. Attention is given to career aims, including research and development; secondary, college and university teaching; and the wide variety of industrial testing, operation and management areas.
A baccalaureate degree, equivalent to the BA with a major in chemistry at USC, is prerequisite to admission to the graduate program in chemistry. A baccalaureate degree in an appropriate physical science, engineering or mathematics is prerequisite to admission to the doctoral program in chemical physics.
Application must be made to the department on a special form, which includes application for fellowship and teaching assistant appointment and is available from the department Website. Materials describing the faculty, research areas and facilities will be sent to each applicant.
These degrees are under the jurisdiction of the Graduate School. Refer to the Requirements for Graduation section and The Graduate School section of this catalogue for general regulations. All courses applied toward the degrees must be courses accepted by the Graduate School.
Master of Arts and Master of Science in Chemistry
The department does not accept applicants for a Master of Arts or Master of Science degree in chemistry. The MA and MS degrees are intended only as transitional degrees in the process of completing requirements for the PhD in chemistry.
The Master of Arts degree is granted on completion of 24 units of graduate course work (not including 590) approved by the master's committee, and comprehensive final examinations. The Master of Science degree is granted on completion of 24 units of graduate course work, including not more than eight units (normally two registrations) in directed research, approved by the master's committee, an approved thesis on the results of an original investigation, and a final oral defense of the thesis. The final defense is made while the thesis is in final draft form.
A master's committee is appointed for each student. The master's committee is chaired by the research director in the case of the MS option, or by an appropriate member of the faculty in the case of the MA option.
Seminars and Research Symposium
Seminars are held regularly in physical, inorganic and organic chemistry. All students are expected to attend one and are invited to attend all of these. All students are expected to attend the departmental annual research symposium featuring speakers from all branches of chemistry, who may be local, national or international.
Teaching experience is required for the advanced degrees in chemistry.
ProgramsBachelor's DegreeMinorDoctoral Degree