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Degree, Minors and Certificates Offered

General Information


Undergraduate Programs

Colleges of Arts and Sciences Program Requirements

Professional Programs



College of Natural Sciences
Bilger 239
2545 McCarthy Mall
Honolulu, HI 96822
Tel: (808) 956-7480
Fax: (808) 956-5908
E-mail: office@gold.chem.hawaii.edu
Web: www.chem.hawaii.edu


*Graduate Faculty

*T. T. Bopp, PhD (Chair)—physical chemistry, nuclear magnetic resonance
*G. Andermann, PhD—physical analytical chemistry, surface chemistry, natural products material science, x-ray spectroscopy, optical properties, superconductors
*R. E. Cramer, PhD—inorganic chemistry, structure and bonding of metal complexes, ionophores
*J. D. Head, PhD—theoretical chemistry, electronic structure determination of large molecules and clusters
*T. K. Hemscheidt, PhD—organic and bioorganic chemistry, biosynthesis of natural products
*C. M. Jensen, PhD—inorganic and organometallic chemistry, polyhydride and dihydrogen metal complexes, homogeneous catalysts, hydrogen storage materials
*R. I. Kaiser, PhD—physical chemistry, reaction dynamics, chemistry in extraterrestrial environments
*K. K. Kumashiro, PhD—physical chemistry, solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance of proteins and peptides
*R. S. H. Liu, PhD—organic and bioorganic chemistry, photochemistry, visual pigments
*K. Michael, PhD—organic and bioorganic chemistry, synthesis of carbohydrates, molecular recognition
*R. E. Moore, PhD—organic chemistry, structure determination and biosynthesis of natural products from microalgae marine organisms
*D. W. Muenow, PhD—physical chemistry, high-temperature chemistry, geochemistry, mass spectrometry
*K. Seff, PhD—physical chemistry, intrazeolitic chemistry, structure determination by x-ray crystallography
*S. Takara, PhD—inorganic and organometallic chemistry, development of green catalytic systems, bio-inspired molecular catalysis, organometallic materials chemistry
*M. A. Tius, PhD—organic chemistry, synthesis of natural products

Cooperating Graduate Faculty

C. J. Simmons, PhD—inorganic chemistry, metal-dioxygen and Jahn-Teller copper complexes, structure determination by X-ray crystallography

Degrees Offered: BA (including minor) in chemistry, BS in chemistry, MS in chemistry, PhD in chemistry

The Academic Program

Chemistry (CHEM) stands at the crossroads between physics and biology. As biological processes are examined in ever finer detail, chemistry is increasingly called upon to provide the insights, techniques, and materials needed to understand the workings of living organisms, including ourselves. Chemistry is thus a popular major for those interested in biomedical careers. In another direction, chemistry is also essential to the search for solutions to the ecological problems created by the ever-expanding range of human activities. Chemists create new substances with new properties that find application throughout our civilization.

As a major, chemistry provides a solid foundation of scientific knowledge and experimental skills that enables one to specialize in many directions toward careers in research, teaching, business, or professional practice. Also, because virtually all constructed things we see and use in our daily lives involve chemistry, there is a huge pool of jobs for chemists in the manufacturing industries.

Undergraduate Study

BA Degree


  • 27 credit hours in chemistry courses numbered 200 and above, including CHEM 272/272L, 273/273L, 274/274L, 333/333L, 351, and 352/352L
  • Math Calculus III
  • PHYS 170/170L, and 272/272L
  • Recommended languages: German, French, Russian, or Japanese

BS Degree


  • 40 credit hours in chemistry courses numbered 200 and above, including CHEM 272/272L, 273/273L, 274/274L, 333/333L, 351, 352/352L, 422, 423 and 443
  • A minimum of 6 credits from CHEM 399, 445, 601, 602, 621, 622, 623, 631, 632, 633, 641, 642, 643, 651, 653, or 658, HON 493 and 494, ENBI 402 or BIOC 441
  • Math Calculus III
  • PHYS 170/170L and 272/272L
  • Recommended electives: Math Calculus IV and PHYS 274
  • Recommended languages: German or French



  • 17 credit hours in chemistry courses numbered 200 and above, including CHEM 272/272L, 273/273L, 274/274L, and 351

Graduate Study

The department offers MS and PhD research and study opportunities in inorganic, organic, and physical chemistry, with specialized research opportunities in geochemistry and marine-related chemistry.

Intended candidates for the MS or PhD must present the minimum undergraduate preparation in general, organic, analytical, and physical chemistry courses. Foreign applicants for the MS and all PhD applicants must take the GRE General Test and subject test in chemistry.

Graduate study in chemistry consists of course work, independent study, teaching, and research. A thesis or dissertation based on original research is the most important part of the master’s or doctoral degree respectively. Candidates for advanced degrees are required to serve as teaching assistants for a portion of their program.

Additional details concerning MS and PhD degree requirements, as well as assistantships available to prospective students, are outlined in brochures available upon request from the department.

Master’s Degree


The candidate for the MS in chemistry (Plan A only) is granted 12 credit hours for an acceptable thesis. The remaining 18 credit hours must be selected from acceptable graduate courses in chemistry (listed in the back of this Catalog) or from graduate offerings in mathematics and the natural sciences. Required courses are CHEM 691 or 692, and 700.

Doctoral Degree


Doctoral candidates must complete a minimum of six semesters of graduate study of which at least three semesters must be in residence at UH Manoa. Courses are selected from acceptable graduate courses in chemistry listed in the back of this Catalog and from graduate offerings in related disciplines as directed by the faculty. Candidates must demonstrate mastery of core material in graduate courses in their chosen areas. Each candidate must pass a comprehensive oral examination consisting of the defense of an original research proposal written by the candidate and a résumé of the candidate’s dissertation research and its current status.

The most important requirement for the PhD degree is the research project that culminates in the dissertation. Prior to beginning the second semester of study, each candidate selects one member of the chemistry graduate faculty to serve as his or her research director. The research director works with the candidate throughout his or her program and chairs the candidate’s dissertation committee.

More information about the chemistry department and its programs can be found on its website.

CHEM Courses