22 Best Chemistry Colleges in the World

Have you thought about studying Chemistry abroad? There are several options for universities that do a great job in this area, including here in Brazil. But some of them stand out more than the others, either for the quality of the research developed, for the financial investment made or for the cutting edge technology used in their laboratories. So what, after all, are the best chemistry colleges in the world? This is what you will discover now!

World’s Best Chemistry Colleges: MIT

Since its founding in 1865, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has had some of the best chemistry programs in the world. The list of big names in the field who have already been associated with the MIT Chemistry Department is almost as impressive as the institution’s long history in this field of study. Some examples are chemists James Mason Crafts, Arthur Amos Noyes, GN Lewis, James Flack Norris, Arthur C. Cope and F. Albert Cotton.

The MIT Chemistry Department maintains two service centers. The Instrumentation Center brings together the numerous research tools used by the department, such as seven NMR spectrometers (ranging from 300 to 600 megahertz), an EPR spectrometer and a high resolution FT mass spectrometer operating with a 4.7 superconducting magnet Tesla. The second is the X-Ray Diffraction Center.

MIT Department of Chemistry

World’s Best Chemistry Colleges: University of California – Berkeley

No less than 13 Nobel Prize winners are or have been associated with the Faculty of Chemistry at the University of California at Berkeley. Founded in 1868, this faculty occupies the premises of six buildings and houses the departments of Chemistry, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and Chemical Biology.

The highlight of Berkeley’s Chemistry programs is its equipment and research techniques that allow the study in environments of high vacuum, high pressure and low temperature, as well as equipment for nuclear magnetic resonance and gas chromatography.

World’s Best Chemistry Colleges: Harvard

The Harvard Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology has the distinction of claiming the first American Nobel Prize winner in Chemistry: Professor Theodore William Richards, who received the award for his research on atomic weights. But in addition to it, six other prize winners are associated with the institution. Four of them are currently on the faculty of the university.

The various laboratories and research centers used in Harvard’s chemistry master’s programs include the Small Molecule Mass Spectrometry Facility (located at the Faculty of Arts and Sciences); the X-Ray Laboratory and the Magnetic Resonance Laboratory.

These laboratories and facilities offer instruments such as X-ray diffractometers, nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometers and a small molecule mass spectrometer. The Harvard Department of Chemistry has also partnered with the FAS Green Labs Program to promote green practices on campus.

Harvard Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology

World’s Best Chemistry Colleges: Cambridge

A very strong characteristic of the University of Cambridge is the strong incentive given to interdisciplinary work and in the Chemistry Department of the institution this is no different. There are five specific research groups there: biological research, materials chemistry research, physical chemistry research, synthetic chemistry research and theory / modeling and computer science research.

In addition, there are three other areas of collaborative research associated with the school’s graduate chemistry programs:

  • Studies on Sustainable Energy, Environment and Climate
  • Health Chemistry
  • Innovative Design of Molecules and Materials

Several university research centers and facilities are associated with these collaborative efforts. Among them, the Cambridge Center for Climate Sciences stands out; the Melville Laboratory for Synthetic Polymers and the International Center for Advanced Materials.

The faculty members of the department include fellows from the Royal Society, the Academy of Medical Sciences and the Royal Society of Chemistry, all highly renowned institutions in the UK and internationally.

World’s Best Chemistry Colleges: Stanford

The Department of Chemistry at Stanford University maintains a strong focus on instrumentation for analysis and spectroscopy. The department’s instruments include five Varian NMR spectrometers equipped for a variety of atomic nuclei. Other specialized technologies available to research groups include:

  • Dynamic light scattering spectroscopy
  • Electrochemical Systems
  • Linear and non-linear femtosecond and picosecond spectroscopy
  • Cyclotron ion resonance installations
  • Single molecule spectroscopy
  • Ultra-high resolution laser spectroscopy

More focused on the activities developed within the scope of the doctorate, the department also has a Cary UV / Vis / NIR spectrophotometer, a Fluorolog 3 fluorometer and a Vertex 70 FTIR. The department also maintains a close relationship with the Molecular Design and Analysis Center and the Synchrotron Radiation Light Source, a division of the Stanford Center for Linear Acceleration that is operated by the university in partnership with the United States Department of Energy.

Stanford Department of Chemistry

World’s Best Chemistry Colleges: Oxford

In 1860, Chemistry became an independent academic discipline at Oxford University after the construction of a specific laboratory for the area. Since 1904, 21 scientists and researchers associated with the university’s Department of Chemistry have received the Nobel Prize. The most recent were biochemist Michael Levitt, in 2013, for his development of multiscale models for complex chemical systems; and structural biologist Venki Ramakrishnan, in 2009, for his study of ribosome structure and function.

The department’s research laboratory houses Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) facilities and a sixteen system mass spectrometry research facility that is the largest of its kind in the UK. Other centers and facilities used by the department include the Advanced Electronic Rotation Resonance Center and the X-ray crystallography facility.

Oxford Inorganic Chemistry Laboratory

World’s Best Chemistry Colleges: National University of Singapore

Founded in 1905, NUS is a research university specializing in Medicine, Chemistry, Dentistry and Food Science. The school’s Chemistry Department offers 3-year bachelor’s degrees and 4-year graduate programs. All undergraduate students learn fundamental principles of Inorganic, Organic and Physical Chemistry, as well as Environmental and Energy Sciences. They also explore multidisciplinary fields, such as Nanotechnology, Chemical Biology, Materials Chemistry and Medicinal Chemistry.

Other bachelor’s options include a 4-year Chemistry and Food Science program offered in partnership with the National University of Australia. The department also offers minors in Nanoscience, Analytical Chemistry, Environmental Chemistry and Forensic Science.

NUS students can also take a degree in Chemistry while they graduate in another field. Undergraduate students enjoy several research opportunities, including a European research immersion program, a professional internship program and an exclusive exchange program.

Graduate students are offered a master’s degree in science and a doctorate in chemistry for 4 years. Postgraduate studies at NUS are highly individualized, with space for independent studies and experimental work. In the department’s doctorate, doctoral students can specialize in General Chemistry or Food Science and Technology.

World’s Best Chemistry Colleges: ETH Z├╝rich

The Department of Chemistry and Applied Biosciences at the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich is associated with 10 Nobel Prize winners in the field of Chemistry. These researchers were awarded and recognized for work in several areas, including synthesis of ammonia, polymethylenes and superior terpenes, development of nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and stereochemistry of molecules and organic reactions.

Founded in 1855, just 2 years after the foundation of the Institute, the Department of Chemistry has grown to include 55 research groups today. All of this research, which forms the basis for a wide variety of graduate programs in the field, takes place in five institutes and laboratories:

  • Institute of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering
  • Pharmaceutical Sciences Institute
  • Inorganic Chemistry Laboratory
  • Organic Chemistry Laboratory
  • Physical Chemistry Laboratory

ETH Department of Chemistry and Applied Biosciences

World’s Best Chemistry Colleges: Nanyang Technological University

Known for its strong Chemistry program, NTU was founded in 1981 and serves approximately 33,000 students. Chemistry courses at the bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral levels are offered by the School of Physical Sciences and Mathematics.

NTU undergraduate students can graduate in General Chemistry, Biological Chemistry or add a second specialization in Food Science and Technology. Graduate students, on the other hand, can choose to follow a path more focused on the job market or specialize in the scope of research. In the first option, doctoral students spend most of their time attending lectures and seminars and carrying out laboratory work. In the second, they have a more independent training process (more or less how it works here in Brazil in the relations between supervisors and students) with the main objective of developing a thesis.

NTU’s Chemistry studies have a special focus on Organic, Biological and Green Chemistry, in addition to Molecular Electrochemistry.

World’s Best Chemistry Colleges: Northwestern University

Founded in 1884, Northwestern University’s Chemistry Department celebrated the completion of its Integrated Molecular Structure Education and Research Center in 2013. This effort promoted new opportunities for interdisciplinary work and new instrumentation in offering the university some of the best Chemistry programs available in the world.

Some research centers and institutes affiliated with the Northwestern Department of Chemistry include the Argonne-Northwest Northwest Solar Energy Research Center; the Institute of Chemistry for Life Processes; the Center for Excellence in Cancer Nanotechnology; the High Performance Analysis Laboratory; the Nanoscale Engineering and Science Center; the Sustainability and Energy Institute and the Center for Molecular Innovation and Drug Discovery.

Northwestern’s Experimental Atomic and Nanometric Characterization Center, in turn, manages three sub-centers:

  • Instrumentation Center for Electronic Probe
  • Keck Surface Science Interdisciplinary Center
  • Integrated Nanoscale Manufacturing, Testing and Instrumentation Center

World’s Best Chemistry Colleges: California Institute of Technology (Caltech)

Five Nobel Prize winners in Chemistry have already been associated with Caltech’s Ph.D. programs in Chemistry : Linus Pauling, Rudy A. Marcus, Ahmed H. Zewail, Robert H. Grubbs and Frances Arnold. The latter was the fifth woman (and the first associated with the university) to receive the award, in October 2018, for her study in enzyme evolution.

Through Caltech’s Chemistry and Chemical Engineering Division, graduate students can focus their studies on Biochemistry or Molecular Biophysics. The department has several research centers, including the Catalysis and Chemical Synthesis Center, the Resnick Sustainability Institute and the Materials and Process Simulation Center.

World’s Best Chemistry Colleges: University of California – Los Angeles

Most research universities have a building dedicated to the study of chemistry, but UCLA has turned its building into an ongoing experiment. The structure features transparent solar cells studied by one of the leading American nanoscientists, Paul Weiss, as well as other researchers from the California Institute of Nanosystems, the School of Engineering and Applied Science and the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at UCLA.

Offering some of the best degree programs in the area in the world, the institution’s Chemistry Department manages several research facilities and technologies such as the Molecular Instrumentation Center, the Mass Spectrometry Laboratory and the X-Ray Diffraction Laboratory.

Other interdepartmental and research facilities associated with the UCLA Chemistry Department include the Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research; the Institute of Genomics and Proteomics and the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, a research center specializing in cancer.

California Nanosystems Institute Headquarters at UCLA

Honorable Mentions

Other universities that stand out in the field of Chemistry were left out of the TOP 12 but deserve a mention. Check out:

  • Imperial College London – United Kingdom
  • University of Tokyo – Japan
  • Federal Polytechnic School of Lausanne – Switzerland
  • Kyoto University – Japan
  • University of Toronto – Canada
  • Peking University – China
  • Tsinghua University – China
  • Seoul National University – South Korea
  • Yale University – USA
  • Hong Kong University of Science and Technology