Department of Chemistry

Research at the Department of Chemistry at Carolina


Royce Murray"The UNC Chemistry culture of respect among the faculty for one another is perhaps our greatest asset because we can work together for common goals that are good for all. This contributes to the great congenial, collaborative environment we provide for development of independent student scholars."

Dr. Royce Murray,
Kenan Professor of Chemistry

Graduate Research

We conduct research in all areas of modern chemistry and our research program is one of the strongest in the country with more than 300 publications published annually and over 100 patents filed within last 10 years. Our research has led to number of significant scientific discoveries. Current faculty bring over $21 million in external funding into the department annually and have extensive collaborations with industry and other academic research institutions. For more comprehensive summary of research accomplishments, please review this section using the divisional navigation in the left-hand column.

Graduate students usually select a research advisor in their first semester after exploring in detail the opportunities available. For more information about the individual faculty research please visit our Faculty by Research page.

Our state-of-the-art facilities play an important role in supporting the active research of the department and are extensively utilized by current graduate students. Venable Hall, home to the chemistry department since 1925, was demolished in late 2007 and early 2008 and two new buildings have now replaced the former campus and chemistry landmark. Our newest buildings, named Venable Hall and Murray Hall, were dedicated on University Day, October 12th, 2010, by Chancellor Holden Thorp, and house the W. R. Kenan Chemistry Library, laboratories, classrooms, lecture halls, conference rooms and the Marine Sciences Department. Including Chapman Hall, Kenan Laboratories, Morehead Laboratories, and Caudill Laboratories, Carolina Chemistry now offers some of the most advanced science research laboratories in the country.

Undergraduate Research

Almost every undergraduate chemistry major that has undertaken a research project has found it to be an exciting and rewarding experience. Undergraduate research can help you acquire a spirit of inquiry, initiative, independence, sound judgment, patience, persistence, alertness, and the ability to use the chemical literature. The Department strongly endorses undergraduate research as one of the potentially most rewarding aspects of your undergraduate experience.

The reasons are many. One certainly is that it affords an opportunity to make pioneering discoveries at the forefront of science, using instrumentation and techniques far more sophisticated than those usually encountered in standard laboratory courses. Moreover, concepts learned in lecture courses become alive as they are applied to real situations. For students considering graduate studies, it is a chance to work along side graduate students and postdoctoral associates and experience firsthand some aspects of graduate training. But perhaps even more important than any of these reasons is the maturity, which comes from facing the challenge of designing an experiment or new type of calculation from scratch. There are no laboratory manuals with "cookbook" procedures for doing original research! It is not surprising, then, that almost 100 students are involved in undergraduate research projects in chemistry each year.