Department History

About The Department

The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the City College of New York was originally established as the Department of Chemistry in 1904. Like the rest of the College, it has traditionally provided high quality education to students from immigrant and low-income families and it continues to do so today. The public investment in human potential has paid off great dividends: four chemistry graduates have gone on to win a Nobel prize and another twenty have become members of the National Academies of Science or Engineering.

Our name was officially changed in 2015, as we began conferring B.S. degrees in both Chemistry and Biochemistry.  We offer instruction and research experience to students at the undergraduate and graduate levels in all major areas of chemistry. The Department is accredited by the American Chemical Society and offers major concentrations in Chemistry and Biochemistry. The concentrations within the Chemistry major include standard chemistry and environmental chemistry. In conjunction with the School of Education, the department also offers an option in secondary school teaching. For more information on the bachelors, masters, B.S.-M.S., and doctoral programs, click at the corresponding link on the menu.

Over the last 60 years, research has also been a central part of our departmental mission. Research interests of the faculty encompass the entire range of modern chemistry and biochemistry, including nanotechnology, surface chemistry, materials chemistry, electrochemistry, laser spectroscopy, quantum chemistry, organometallics, mechanisms of inorganic and organic reactions, synthetic organic chemistry, environmental chemistry, molecular biology, structural biology, biological NMR, and both experimental and theoretical biophysical chemistry. Major in-house instrumentation for spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, microscopy, x-ray diffraction, protein crystallization, and computation is described at the Science Division Forum.

The Chemistry and Biochemistry Department looks to the future with great excitement. Our faculty ranks have been enriched in the past few years by many new hires who bring a new vitality to our research and teaching. Our students organize social and professional development activities through the undergraduate Baskerville Society and the graduate Science Alliance.  Complementing our home base for teaching and research in the Marshak Science Building, a new Center for Discovery and Innovation (CDI) research building opened on the South Campus in 2015, in close proximity to the CUNY Advanced Research Science Center, the New York Structural Biology Center, and the CCNY Dormitory. Together with the ongoing expansion of Columbia University into Manhattanville, these projects are making West Harlem’s City College of New York an internationally recognized center for research and education.