Chemistry & Chemical Biology

Chemistry occupies a key position in the modern sciences. Ultimately, most phenomena in biology, medicine, geology, and the environmental sciences can be described in terms of the chemical and physical behavior of atoms and molecules. The undergraduate program in Chemistry at UNM provides rigorous education in the fundamental areas of chemical knowledge and experimentation, including organic, inorganic, biochemistry, and physical chemistry. Our program is extremely flexible in its electives; you can explore your individual interests while receiving excellent preparation for careers in many different areas of chemistry and chemical biology. This science-based education is designed for students planning to go on to graduate study, as well as for those intending to immediately pursue professional careers in chemistry or an allied field in which sound knowledge of chemistry is important.

The Chemistry minor at UNM includes the medical school pre-requisites for Chemistry courses, and is a good option for those interested in going to medical school.

Offering a broad range of disciplines, the UNM Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology specializes in Biological Chemistry, Catalysis, and Electronic and Photonic Materials. As the flagship university for the state of New Mexico, UNM enjoys collaborative research opportunities with Sandia National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory and the Air Force Research Laboratory Space Vehicles Directorate.   

The department strives to provide its students with a friendly, stimulating, and rigorous learning environment, and we encourage students to become active members within our department by promoting interaction between undergraduates, faculty, and graduate students through class and laboratory contact. Our small classes offer students exciting opportunities to pursue undergraduate research projects under the direction of a faculty mentor.

Undergraduate research gives you the opportunity to apply what you have learned in the classroom to real problems of importance both to society and to basic science and gives you excellent experience for almost any career path after graduation. There are research opportunities in a wide range of areas, including organic synthesis, theoretical chemistry, laser spectroscopy, synthetic biology and many others. Experience as an undergraduate researcher is often a significant factor for admission to a top graduate program, medical school, professional school, or for landing an industry or government job. The department offers competitive scholarships and stipends (and other forms of support) for undergraduate research, especially for research carried out during the summer months. Course credit for undergraduate research is also available through arrangements with individual faculty mentors. Undergraduate research projects are usually carried out over several semesters, so it is best to start early!

Keep in mind that conducting an undergraduate research project is not a matter of simply signing up for a class. Rather, students and faculty members must talk, work out a plan, and come to mutual agreement. Working with a faculty mentor, students first develop background knowledge in a specific research area and then make original contributions, usually in the form of publications in the scientific literature and presentations at scientific meetings. 

The B.S. in Chemistry does require a minor, but taking ENGL 2210 (Professional & Technical Communication) and Math 311 OR 314 OR 316 (in addition to the Math 311/314/316 course completed for your supportive coursework) will result in an automatic distributed minor. If you choose this option, you do not need to complete requirements for an additional minor.

Undergraduate Program

Departmental Honors

UNM Catalog

Programs of Study


  • B.A. Chemistry
  • B.S. Chemistry
  • Chemistry
Shared Undergraduate/Graduate Credit Programs Available: 
  • B.S. in Chemistry and M.S. in Nanoscience and Microsystems Engineering

Contact Information

Undergraduate Academic Advisor(s): 
Advisor office locations vary. Please click on your advisor's name below to learn more.
Advising Email:
Department Email:
Department Location:
Clark Hall (Bldg 22), First Floor

Department/Program Website