For over 200 years, Yale has been at the forefront of chemical research, from the most fundamental and basic, to the most economically and socially relevant applied chemistry. Yale Chemistry faculty have solved some of the most challenging and fundamental chemical and societal problems ever addressed by chemistry. The department teaches undergraduates at Yale College and trains Ph.D.s and postdoctoral fellows in chemistry, who go on to leadership positions in academic and industry professions.
Yale’s long history of chemistry teaching and research, which began alongside the Chemical Revolution, abounds with innovation. Early Yale chemists were known for advances in mining, gas illumination, fertilizers, petroleum production, agricultural chemistry, and mineralogy, among other areas. Chemistry’s honor roll includes such heavyweights as Yale physicist J. Willard Gibbs and chemist Lars Onsager for their respective contributions to statistical and irreversible thermodynamics. Decades of ground-breaking science as “the greatest benefit to humankind” have been recognized in the presentation of the Nobel Prize to eleven chemists associated with Yale. Today, faculty explore solutions to the most pressing problems of modern time, such as alternative-energy vectors to replace fossil fuels, carbon emission capture and utilization, practical quantum technology, disease treatment and prevention, inflammation, drug discovery, computer and data science, and sustainable industrial practices.
The department is home to 23 primary faculty, 45 junior and senior class declared majors, 192 graduate students, 63 postdoctoral fellows, and 27 administrative staff. Here at Yale, world-renowned researchers prepare students for professional careers in various fields, with knowledge of the scientific method, skills in quantitative reasoning, and exposure to scientific research. For example, chemistry majors often pursue graduate study or work in chemistry, biochemistry, or health-related disciplines, but also find their broad scientific training beneficial in energy research, policy, environment, business management, and law. Chemistry Ph.D.s and postdoctoral fellows practice careers in academia and industries that range from biomedical and pharmaceutical to cosmetic, forensic, law, environment, food, and agriculture.
The department, which is consistently recognized as one of the best chemistry programs in the U.S., consists of seven chemistry research areas: biophysical, chemical biology, inorganic, materials, organic, physical, and theoretical. Teaching and research facilities include the iconic Sterling Chemistry Laboratory, which encompasses a new state-of-the-art undergraduate teaching center, the completely reworked Kline Chemistry Laboratory, and the cutting-edge Class of 1954 Chemistry Research Building, in addition to three interdisciplinary research laboratories on Yale’s West Campus: the Yale Energy Sciences Institute, Yale Institute of Biomolecular Design and Discovery, and Yale Microbial Sciences Institute. The department is also represented in the Yale Center for Natural Carbon Capture, the Yale Center for Research on Interface Structures and Phenomena, and the Yale Quantum Institute.
Many of the research activities are carried out in collaboration with these interdisciplinary laboratories and centers. This interdepartmental research leads to novel, large-scale discoveries and provides students with the opportunity to conduct research in other disciplines. In addition, the quality and range of expertise in the Yale Chemistry community, which includes faculty with joint appointments in cell biology, chemical and environmental engineering, molecular biophysics and biochemistry, and molecular, cellular, and developmental biology, has made Yale a premier center in chemistry for both students and faculty.
Learn about Yale Chemistry research and why the New York Times recently ranked New Haven among the top 52 ‘Places to Go in 2023’ in its guide for travelers.