Chemistry and Biochemistry

Undergraduate Study

The department offers four majors: Chemistry (with concentrations in chemistry and physical chemistry), Biochemistry, General Chemistry, and Chemistry/Materials Science. The Chemistry and Biochemistry majors are designed to prepare students for graduate studies in each field, for entry into professional schools in the health sciences, and for careers in industries and businesses that depend on chemically and biochemically based technology. The General Chemistry major is intended for students who wish to acquire considerable chemical background in preparation for careers outside chemistry. The Chemistry/Materials Science major provides appropriate preparation for graduate studies in fields that emphasize research involving chemistry, engineering, and applied science.

Each course used to fulfill any of the requirements for any of the departmental majors must be taken for a letter grade. Seminar courses, individual study courses, and research courses (e.g., 194, 199) may not be applied toward the requirements for the majors.

Requirements for the majors are outlined below. For additional information, contact the Undergraduate Advising Office in 4006 Young Hall.


Students entering UCLA directly from high school who declare a Chemistry, Biochemistry, or Chemistry/Materials Science major at the time of application are automatically admitted to that major.

UCLA students who wish to enter one of the majors must have a minimum grade of C− in each of the preparation for the major courses completed and a combined grade-point average of at least 2.0 in those courses. Grades in any completed courses for the major must also average at least 2.0.

Transfer Students

Transfer applicants to the departmental majors with 90 or more units must complete the following introductory courses prior to admission to UCLA: one year of general chemistry with laboratory for majors, one and one half years of calculus, and either one year of calculus-based physics with laboratory or one year of organic chemistry for majors. Biochemistry majors must also complete courses equivalent to Life Sciences 2, 3, and 4 OR 7A, 7B, and 7C; Chemistry majors should have completed the equivalent of Mathematics 32B; Chemistry/Materials Science majors in the organic materials concentration must complete a full year of organic chemistry with laboratory in addition to the other courses listed above.

Entering transfer students who have successfully completed a year course (including laboratory) in general college chemistry intended for science and engineering students should enter course 30A. Transfer students should contact the Undergraduate Advising Office in 4006 Young Hall for assistance with the articulation of transfer coursework.

Refer to the UCLA transfer admission guide for up-to-date information regarding transfer selection for admission.

Advanced Placement in Chemistry

Students who have taken the Advanced Placement (AP) Chemistry Examination and obtained a score of 4 or 5 receive 8 units of chemistry credit and may petition for chemistry and biochemistry equivalency, or may take course 20A at UCLA. If students received a score of 3 on the AP Chemistry Examination, they receive 8 units of chemistry credit but no course equivalency.

Credit Limitations

Students may not take or repeat a chemistry or biochemistry course for credit if it is a requisite for a more advanced course for which they already have credit. This applies in particular to the repetition of courses (e.g., if students wish to repeat Chemistry and Biochemistry 20A, they must do so before completing course 20B).

Honors Program


The honors program provides exceptional Chemistry and Biochemistry Department majors with the opportunity to do research culminating in an honors thesis. Junior and senior majors who have completed all university-level coursework, including all preparation courses and requirements for the major, with an overall grade-point average of 3.0 or better and a 3.5 GPA or better in the required major courses, may apply for admission. Students must have the sponsorship of an approved faculty adviser.

For additional information and application forms, students should contact the Undergraduate Advising Office, 4006 Young Hall, early in their educational planning. Completed applications must be submitted at least two weeks prior to the term in which students plan to begin the honors program.


The core of the program consists of at least one approved undergraduate seminar course from Chemistry and Biochemistry 193A or 193B and three research courses (12 units minimum) from 196A, 196B, or 199, culminating in a thesis.

To qualify for graduation with departmental honors, students must satisfactorily complete all requirements for the honors program and the major and obtain a cumulative grade-point average of 3.5 or better in coursework required for the major. On recommendation of the faculty sponsor, and with the approval of the thesis by the departmental honors committee, students are awarded no honors, honors, or highest honors.

Students who have a grade-point average of 3.6 or better, both overall and in the major, and demonstrated exceptional accomplishment on the research thesis are awarded highest honors at the discretion of the departmental honors committee.

Computing Specialization

Majors in Chemistry and Biochemistry may select a specialization in Computing by (1) satisfying all the requirements for a bachelor’s degree in the specified major, (2) completing Program in Computing 10A, 10B, and one course from 10C, 15, 20A, 30, or 60, and (3) completing two computational chemistry courses from Chemistry and Biochemistry C126A, C145, CM160A. Courses need to be completed with a combined grade-point average of at least 2.0. Students must petition for admission to the program and are advised to do so after they complete Program in Computing 10B (petitions should be filed in the Undergraduate Office). Students graduate with a bachelor’s degree in their major and a specialization in Computing.