Chemistry is the central natural science; it serves as a bridge between mathematics, physics and the biological sciences. Knowledge of chemistry has always been fundamental to the investigation of the physical world as well as to a true understanding of living systems. The developing field of nanotechnology, in which materials and molecular systems are designed to have particular properties, depends on chemistry, as does the application of genomics to design substrates with desired function.
The Department of Chemistry at New York University has a long and illustrious history, dating back to well before the founding of the American Chemical Society (ACS) at the University in 1876. The Department has been designated by the ACS as a landmark in commemoration of this event. Professor John W. Draper, chairman of the department and first president of the ACS, was an early pioneer in the development of photography, working with Professor Samuel F.B. Morse. The late Gertrude B. Elion, corecipient of the 1988 Nobel Prize in medicine and physiology, earned a master's degree in chemistry in our department.
The department offers a major in chemistry and one in biochemistry, the details of which are set forth in the department's section in the College of Arts and Science Bulletin. For highly motivated students there are honors courses that cover the general and organic chemistry required for several science majors and for the pre-medical curriculum. These courses form a core for either the chemistry or the biochemistry major. Students in the honors courses include potential chemistry, biology, and computer science majors. The classes themselves are small enough to enable students to interact closely with faculty. A series of individualized laboratory experiments is offered to honors students in general and organic chemistry. An advanced inorganic/organic laboratory is also available as an upper level elective. The department also participates in a joint B.S./B.E. program with Stevens Institute of Technology. Students who complete this program receive a B.S. degree in chemistry from NYU and a B.E. degree in either chemical engineering or environmental engineering from Stevens. We offer a chemistry/biomedical engineering program as well.
The department also offers students the opportunity to earn both the bachelor's degree (B.A. or B.S.) and the master's degree (M.S.) in chemistry over a period of five years, with a 50 percent tuition scholarship towards the master's portion of the program. Students may apply to the Graduate School for admission to this program, typically during their sophomore or junior year. Students in the program must complete all requirements for both degrees; to enable completion of the master's requirements by the end of five years, they may accelerate by taking some graduate courses in their undergraduate semesters and/or during the summer.