Chemistry is the study of the composition and properties of matter, and how and why it undergoes change. Its study is central to the development of new medicines, to the secure supply of food and water and to the manufacture of innovative new materials for the 21st century.

The department is dedicated to supporting excellence in chemical education and research to meet the strategic needs of Abu Dhabi, the UAE and the international community. We are committed to teaching and developing the next generation of scientists through a strong, innovative teaching program that equips students with skills that are useful whatever their choice of career. All our students have the opportunity to take part in cutting-edge projects which are part of the substantial research activity undertaken by Faculty members in chemistry. Research is conducted across diverse fields including both fundamental and applied topics covering materials, the environment, energy, and human health. Much of this is multidisciplinary and is conducted in collaboration with colleagues in other departments at KU and around the world.

Program Enrolment and Degree Data
Program Educational Objectives

The BSc in Chemistry program aims to produce graduates who will:

  • Possess substantial technical skills and theoretical knowledge of chemistry, and will be able to apply these appropriately in a variety of professional or academic contexts.
  • Be competent in a broad range of technical and non-technical transferable skills, which are needed to have successful careers and assume leadership roles in industry, business and the government sector.
  • Be prepared to pursue advanced studies in a range of disciplines, including but not limited to those allied to chemistry.
Program Learning Outcomes

Students graduating with a BSc in Chemistry will:

  • Have specialized knowledge of the major sub-disciplines within chemistry, and the capacity to apply that knowledge in a professional context.
  • Have a broad understanding of the sciences, mathematics and other disciplines relevant to chemistry and be able to integrate that knowledge to solve problems.
  • Be able to efficiently search for, retrieve and critically evaluate technical literature and data.
  • Be able to design and implement laboratory or computational experiments, analyse the resulting data, and apply appropriate safety measures.
  • Be able to use the scientific method, apply critical thinking and reason analytically to solve chemical problems and conduct research.
  • Be able to communicate effectively in oral or written form, to a range of scientific and non-scientific audiences.
  • Be able to work productively in multidisciplinary teams to solve problems, debate different points of view, and exercise self-reflection following professional norms.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the societal and economic importance of chemistry, and the significance of ethical and environmental concerns for acting responsibly among chemists.
Career Opportunities

Students studying chemistry have a wide array of career opportunities available to them, spanning various industries and sectors. These careers leverage the analytical, problem-solving, and technical skills gained through a chemistry education.

  • Research and Development: A common path for chemistry graduates is to pursue careers in research and development. This can be in academic settings, where chemists contribute to scientific knowledge, or in industrial settings, where they develop new products or improve existing ones. For example, pharmaceutical and agrochemical companies often employ chemists to develop new compounds and test their safety and efficacy. Here in, we can include medicinal chemistry/agricultural chemistry jobs based on the discovery of new drugs/herbicides from a computational view, or analysis of the biological targets and designing strategies to interact with them, and process chemists that develop sustainable methods for the large-scale synthesis of those compounds.
  • Environmental Chemistry: With growing concerns about environmental sustainability, chemists are increasingly needed in roles focused on environmental protection and conservation. This can involve analyzing pollutants, developing methods to reduce environmental damage, or working on green chemistry initiatives to create more eco-friendly products and processes.
  • Chemical Engineering: Many chemistry students opt to specialize in chemical engineering, where they apply principles of chemistry, physics, and engineering to design and operate chemical plants and processes. This field plays a crucial role in numerous industries, including energy, food and drink, pharmaceuticals, and more.
  • Forensic Science: Chemists can also work in the field of forensic science, where they analyze evidence for law enforcement agencies. Their work often involves chemical analysis of substances found at crime scenes, which can be critical in solving criminal cases.
  • Teaching and Academia: For those who are passionate about sharing their knowledge, a career in teaching or academia can be fulfilling. This could involve teaching chemistry at the high school or university level, or conducting research and publishing in academic journals.
  • Quality Control and Assurance: In manufacturing and production industries, chemists are vital for quality control and assurance. They test products and materials to ensure they meet the required standards and specifications, which is crucial in industries like food and beverage, pharmaceuticals, and consumer goods.
  • Regulatory Affairs and Policy: Chemistry graduates can work in regulatory bodies or as part of legislative teams, helping to develop and enforce regulations related to chemicals and public health. This role is critical in ensuring the safe use of chemicals in various products and industries.
  • Consultancy and Advisory Roles: Some chemists leverage their expertise to provide consultancy services to businesses and government agencies. This can involve advising on chemical safety, environmental impact, product development, and more.
  • Materials Science: Chemists specializing in materials science work on developing new materials with specific properties, such as superconductors, nanomaterials, or biomaterials. This field has applications in electronics, medicine, construction, and more.

Each of these career paths requires a unique combination of skills and knowledge, emphasizing the versatile and dynamic nature of a career in chemistry. Moreover, as technology and scientific understanding evolve, new opportunities continue to emerge for those with a background in this field.

Career Specializations

Students of chemistry have a wealth of career specializations to choose from, each offering unique opportunities to apply their knowledge and skills. These specializations cater to a variety of interests and aptitudes, ranging from practical, hands-on work to more theoretical, research-focused roles.

  • Analytical Chemistry: Specializing in analytical chemistry involves the study of the chemical composition of natural and artificial materials. Analytical chemists use a variety of techniques, such as chromatography and spectroscopy, to identify and quantify the chemical components of substances. They often work in quality control in industries like pharmaceuticals, environmental agencies, and food and beverage companies.
  • Organic Chemistry: Organic chemists focus on compounds that contain carbon. This specialization is crucial in the development of a vast array of products including pharmaceuticals, plastics, dyes, and petrochemicals. Careers in organic chemistry often involve research and development, whether in creating new compounds or improving existing ones.
  • Inorganic Chemistry: Inorganic chemistry deals with inorganic compounds, typically those that do not contain carbon-hydrogen bonds. Specialists in this field might work on developing catalysts, coatings, metals, and materials used in various applications from industrial manufacturing to technology.
  • Physical Chemistry: This specialization combines physics and chemistry to study the physical properties of molecules. Physical chemists often work in areas involving the development of new energy sources or materials science. They may also be involved in studying the rate and extent of chemical reactions.
  • Biochemistry: Biochemists study the chemical processes within and related to living organisms. This field is pivotal in understanding diseases, genetics, and cell development. Careers in biochemistry can lead to roles in the medical sector, agricultural industries, and environmental conservation.
  • Theoretical Chemistry: This highly specialized area involves using mathematical models and abstractions to understand chemical systems. Theoretical chemists often work in academia or in research institutions, and their work can lead to new insights in fields like quantum mechanics and thermodynamics.
  • Medicinal Chemistry: This is a cross-disciplinary specialization that combines elements of organic chemistry with an understanding of biology and medicine. Medicinal chemists are involved in the design and development of new pharmaceuticals, playing a critical role in the drug discovery process.
  • Environmental Chemistry: Environmental chemists study how chemicals interact with the natural environment. This includes understanding pollution, its effects, and ways to mitigate it. They often work in government agencies, private environmental firms, and non-profit organizations focused on environmental protection.
  • Materials Science: Chemists in this field develop new materials and study the properties of existing materials. This can include anything from high-strength alloys for aerospace applications to biocompatible materials for medical implants.
  • Food Chemistry: Specializing in food chemistry involves understanding the chemical processes and interactions of all biological and non-biological components of foods. This field is essential in food safety, preservation, and enhancement, and offers opportunities in the food and beverage industry, as well as in government regulatory agencies.

Each of these specializations requires a deep understanding of chemistry fundamentals, but they also offer the opportunity to branch out into diverse and often interdisciplinary fields. The choice of specialization can significantly influence a chemist’s career path, opening doors to industries ranging from pharmaceuticals to environmental conservation. In Khalifa University, through our 4 academic tracks we offer the possibility to our students to specialize in any of this options.

Program Facilities

The BSc in Chemistry program aims to produce graduates who will:

  1. General and Physical Chemistry Laboratory
    • Muffle furnace with programmable temperature (Nabertherm)
    • Mixer Mill reactors (Retsch MM200, MM400)
    • Bomb Calorimeter (Parr 6300)
    • Force Tensiometer (Kruss, K 20)
  2. Synthetic Organic and Inorganic Chemistry Laboratory
    • Rotoevaporators (BUCHI-R300)
  3. NMR Facility
    • 500 MHz liquid/solid NMR spectrometer (Bruker Avance Neo)
  4. Analytical Chemistry Laboratory
    • UHPLC-PDA with quaternary pump (Thermo Ultimate 3000)
    • HPLC-UV/vis with binary pump (Waters Alliance 2695 HPLC)
    • GC-FID (Agilent 6890)
    • GC-MS (Agilent 6890)
    • ICP-MS (PerkinElmer Nexion 2000)
    • Powder X-ray diffractometer (PROTO)
    • ATR-FTIR (Bruker Alpha II)
    • Spectrofluorometer (Shimadzu RF 6000)
    • UV-Vis spectrophotometers (Shimadzu 1900, JANWAY 6850)
    • Potentiometer titrators (Metrohm 888 Titrando)
    • Coulometers (Metrohm 851 Titrando)
    • LED/fluorescence microscope with differential contrast capabilities (Optica)
    • High-precision triaxial upright optical microscope (OPTO-EDU)
  5. Analytical Instrumentation Research Facility
    • LC-MS-MS (SHIMADZU LC-8045)
    • GC-HRMS (Thermo GC-Isolink II)
    • FT-IR Spectrophotometer, Nicolet Is10
    • UV-Vis spectrophotometer (Shimadzu 1900)
    • Dynamic light scattering spectrophotometer (Malvern ZetaSizer NanoZSP)
Professional Chapters (if any)

The Department has an active student chapter of the American Chemical Society (ACS).

Program Structure
Course Descriptions


CHEM 115


Prerequisite: None

This course presents a comprehensive study of the facts, concepts, and laws of chemistry. It includes the study of the fundamental principles and laws of chemistry, including stoichiometric relationships, aqueous chemistry, the ideal gas laws and kinetic molecular theory, thermochemistry, quantum theory and electronic structure, periodic properties, and chemical bonding and molecular structure. The course is accompanied by a laboratory component that emphasizes quantitative procedures.

CHEM 116


Prerequisite: CHEM 115

This is the second course in the General Chemistry series. Topical emphasis is placed on intermolecular forces, colligative properties of mixtures, chemical kinetics, acid-base equilibria, buffer systems, introductory acid-base titrations, solubility and complex equilibria, entropy and free energy, and basic topics on both organic and inorganic chemistry. The importance of chemistry for both nuclear and environmental sciences is introduced.

CHEM 200


Prerequisites: CHEM 116; MATH 111

This course will provide students with the mathematical tools needed throughout their chemistry degree. By the end of the course, students will be able to manipulate algebraic expressions, perform statistical analysis of experimental data, perform basic computational modelling experiments using the Spartan’16 code and be familiar with the use of Excel for performing regression analysis. Foundational concepts in computational chemistry will also be introduced.

CHEM 206


Prerequisites: CHEM 116; Chemistry Major

The overall goal of this course is to provide a familiarity with chemistry as a ‘language’ including different structure representations and types of chemical information. Students will also develop the knowledge and skills they need to use electronic tools in chemistry. The principles behind safety from an operational and management point of view will be covered with an emphasis on risk assessment in the laboratory.

CHEM 211


Prerequisites: CHEM115

This course provides an introduction to naming, structure, bonding, reactivity, and properties of organic compounds such as alkanes, alkenes, alkyl halides, aromatic compounds, alcohols, amines, and carbonyl compounds in the views of atomic and molecular orbital theories. These basic principles are applied to a variety of topics ranging from chemical reactions to biomolecules.

CHEM 221


Prerequisites: CHEM116

This course provides an introduction to naming, structure, bonding, reactivity, spectroscopy, and properties of organic compounds such as alkanes, alkenes, alkynes, alkyl halides, aromatic compounds, and alcohols in relation to atomic and molecular orbital theories. These basic principles are applied to a variety of topics ranging from chemical reactions to structure determination of organic compounds.

CHEM 231


Prerequisites: CHEM 116

The properties of gas phase reactions are derived starting from basic assumptions and equations of state using the kinetic theory of gases. The First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics are introduced. Phase diagrams are introduced in the context of gas-liquid equilibria. The fundamental postulates of quantum mechanics are used to explain the observed atomic spectra of elements and diatomic molecules. Finally, vibrational and rotational spectroscopies are introduced using quantum models.

CHEM 241


Prerequisite: CHEM 116

This course introduces the principles and practices of analytical chemistry. It covers both qualitative and quantitative measurements of simple mixtures containing biologically relevant inorganic and organic substances. The theory and practice will cover topics on statistical data treatment and analysis, calibration methods, volumetric titrations, selected electroanalytical techniques, chromatographic separations, and sampling/sample preparation methods.

CHEM 251


This course introduces foundational concepts in inorganic chemistry including solid structures, advanced acidity and basicity, redox chemistry and its representations, and symmetry. It describes the properties and chemistry of the compounds of the main-group elements. It reviews techniques to characterize and quantify inorganic species.

CHEM 311


Prerequisite: CHEM 211 (for non-CHEM majors); CHEM 221 (for CHEM majors)

This course provides a basic working knowledge of biochemical concepts and techniques. Emphasis is placed on major biochemical concepts and techniques alongside factors affecting the structure and function of important classes of biomolecules and biomacromolecules – from proteins and enzymes to lipids and carbohydrates. These theoretical concepts are reinforced by hands-on laboratory activities.

CHEM 322


Prerequisite: CHEM 211

This course provides an introduction to the structure, conformation, stereochemistry, physical properties, spectroscopy and reactions of organic compounds, such as aromatic compounds, aldehydes, ketones, carboxylic acids and derivatives, and amines. Some of the important reaction mechanisms and advanced multi-step organic synthesis involving these compounds are discussed. Spectroscopy techniques such as NMR, IR, and MS are also covered.

CHEM 330


Prerequisite: CHEM 231

This introductory course in computational chemistry introduces students to the principles of computational chemistry and computer-based molecular design. Students learn the basic theories and applications of modern computational chemistry methods. Emphasis is placed on the computational cost and accuracies of different levels of theory. Students apply the theories discussed to solve problems of interest such as those involving small molecules, macromolecules and supramolecules.

CHEM 332


Prerequisite: CHEM 231

This course builds on the foundations of gas kinetics and thermodynamics introduced in Physical Chemistry I. The mathematical framework for rate laws will be extended to complex reaction mechanisms involving chain reactions and applications will be emphasized in polymerization processes and gas phase reactions in the upper atmosphere. Statistical mechanics will be used as a bridge between the microscopic properties of matter and their bulk properties.

The spontaneity of chemical and physical processes will be explained by introducing the Second Law of Thermodynamics and the Gibbs and Helmholtz energies will be used to probe the maximum work that can be achieved by a chemical process. The chemistry of surfaces will be discussed regarding how atoms are deposited and grown on surfaces. Experimental methods for probing the composition and structure of surfaces will also be described. Finally, several case studies of how surface chemistry is applied to catalysis will be discussed.

CHEM 342


Prerequisites: CHEM221 or CHEM 211; and CHEM 241

This course covers a range of electrochemical, separation, and spectrochemical instrumental methods that are used for routine qualitative and quantitative analysis of liquid and solid mixtures. The lecture component covers the theory, instrumentation, method classification and selection criteria, basic principles for method development, data analysis, and data interpretation. The lab offers hands-on and problem-based learning approaches of analytical and bioanalytical methods through real case studies.

CHEM 343


Prerequisites: CHEM342; CHEM351 or CHEM 351

This course discusses contemporary instrumental analysis techniques and related studies of the physicochemical properties of materials at the bulk or surface level, based on microscopy, porosimetry, atomic and molecular spectroscopy, and thermal approaches. The course covers the basic principles of each technique, including instrumentation, operation mechanism, detection limit, resolution, interference, variable parameters, and specimen preparation for a range of applications.

CHEM 351


Prerequisites: CHEM106; CHEM116

This course introduces and reviews foundational concepts in inorganic chemistry; for example, solid structures, advanced acidity and basicity, redox chemistry and its representations, and symmetry This course describes the properties, compounds and chemistry of the main-group elements, with an emphasis on rationalizing trends and behaviors based on these foundational concepts, and introduces techniques to characterize and quantify inorganic species.

CHEM 352


Prerequisite: CHEM 251

This course describes the properties, compounds and chemistry of the d- and f-block elements, including organometallics, thus providing students with an ability to rationalize trends and behaviors based on foundational concepts such as electronic structure and coordination chemistry. It introduces students to the applications, including materials and bioinorganic chemistry, with case studies such as inorganic chemistry in medicine, hydrogen-storage for energy applications and industrial catalysis.

CHEM 360


Prerequisite: CHEM115, 60 credits, or Junior Standing

This course focuses on two primary areas of study; microbiology and biocorrosion. The microbiology unit is designed to impart an understanding of the biological and chemical interactions of microbes and their impact on the oil and gas industry. The biocorrosion unit gives the students an in depth understanding of how microbes, initiate, facilitate and/or accelerate corrosion of various metals both in aqueous and non-aqueous environments. This knowledge will enable students to apply new methods and technologies in their engineering fields.

CHEM 391


Prerequisite: Junior Standing and approval of the department

This course gives an upper level undergraduate student the opportunity to participate in an individual or group project, study, or research activity under the supervision of a faculty member. A formal report is required.

CHEM 399


Prerequisite: Minimum of 70 credits earned by end of the preceding Fall semester, including at least 24 credits in core major courses

Students are required to spend a minimum of 8 continuous weeks* on an approved internship program. The internship provides students with practical, on-the-job experience which allows them to integrate theory with “real world” situations. It is academically supervised by a faculty member and professionally supervised by the company’s designated internship supervisor who provides feedback to the university about the student’s progress. The student must keep a detailed log book and prepare a formal report that documents the work undertaken during the internship period, and both of these must be submitted to the Department within the first two weeks of the semester following the internship. The report and the complete course activities are graded on Pass/Fail basis by the supervising faculty member, with input from the internship supervisor.

CHEM 423


Prerequisites: CHEM 311 and CHEM 322

This course introduces students to the principles of modern medicinal chemistry from drug action to the design and development of drugs and medicines. Students discover what factors need to be considered in designing effective drug molecules and how their physico-chemical characteristics and therapeutic properties are related. The action and fate of pharmaceuticals in the body are described within various physiological systems, with the discussion of specific case studies of successful drugs.

CHEM 424


Prerequisites: CHEM 432, CHEM 322

This course introduces and illustrates how contemporary synthetic organic chemistry is used in the identification and preparation of medicinally valuable compounds. The strategies and synthetic methods used to identify and prepare potential drug molecules are described along with some of the specialized technologies and techniques that are needed for structural confirmation. Real-world examples are used throughout to illustrate these methods, primarily through analysis of published papers.

CHEM 461


Prerequisites: CHEM 241; CHEM 251

This course lays the foundation for environmental chemical sciences through theory and practice. It introduces the biotic, chemical, and physical characteristics of the natural components of the earth system and the interactions among the various spheres.

CHEM 462


 Prerequisite: CHEM 461

This course introduces the basic concepts of environmental pollution and focuses on the sources, movements, reactions and fates of contaminants found in air, water and soil. The course deals with different facets of pollution analysis and management, including the basic principles of risk assessment, local and international laws and regulations, monitoring approaches, and control technologies.

CHEM 463


Prerequisites: CHEM 342; CHEM 461

This course covers the principles, techniques, and applications of trace environmental analysis through both theory and practice. It focuses on sampling, sample preparation, and analysis methods of inorganic and organic traces in solid, liquid, and gaseous matrices. The course deals with an array of modern separation, spectrochemical, and electrochemical methods, and includes microanalytical and lab-on-chip approaches.

CHEM 471


Prerequisite: CHEM 311

This course outlines concepts related to the application of scientific knowledge and methodologies to civil and criminal investigations within the justice system. It provides an introduction to forensic science within the context of applied chemistry and branching disciplines encompassing forensic toxicology, biology and statistics. The course follows the forensic process from crime scene to court.

CHEM 472


Prerequisite: CHEM 471

The course introduces students to the application of modern analytical chemistry tools and procedures to support forensic investigations of several types of physical evidence. Topics include ignitable liquids, explosives, controlled substances, polymer films, fibers, soils, glass, paints, fingerprints and gunshot residues.

CHEM 473


Prerequisite: CHEM 471

This course outlines concepts related to the toxicological principles underlying the actions of various drugs and poisons encountered in forensic toxicology as well as basic pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics. The course provides an understanding of the theoretical aspects of drug and analytical chemistry applied to forensic toxicology.

CHEM 481


Prerequisite: CHEM 352

This course outlines concepts related to the basic concepts of material chemistry and solid-state chemistry. It covers topics related to the development, characteristics and uses of advanced materials. It provides an introduction to the chemistry of the preparation, processing, characterization of various types of materials such as ceramics, glasses metals, alloys, composites, semiconductors, thin films, crystalline and amorphous solids, membranes and porous materials, and surface science of materials and biomaterials.

CHEM 482


Prerequisites: CHEM 481

This course provides students with an introductory perspective on different nanomaterials, their properties and applications in various emerging fields. Emphasis will be allocated to the design, synthesis, characterization and functionalization of nanomaterials for practical applications. A variety of topics covering applications of nanomaterials in drug delivery, molecular imaging, nanomedicine, biosensors, nanoenergy, catalysis and environmental fields will be surveyed.

CHEM 483


Prerequisites: CHEM 481

This course provides an introduction to polymer chemistry with an emphasis on synthesis, structure, and characterization of polymeric materials, the reaction mechanisms of various polymerization techniques, and the mechanical and rheological properties of polymers. A brief survey of processing methods and modern applications of polymeric materials are covered.

CHEM 491


Prerequisite: Senior Standing and approval of the department

This course gives an upper level undergraduate student the opportunity to participate in an individual or group project, study, or research activity under the supervision of a faculty member. A formal report is required.

CHEM 495


Prerequisite: Topic specific

This course mainly deals with new trends in Chemistry and related sciences. The course is repeatable if title and content differ.

CHEM 497


CHEM 498


 Prerequisite: Senior Standing or departmental approval

Over the course of two semesters, students work closely with a faculty member to address a significant and complex question at the boundary of knowledge in chemistry. Students may work individually or in small teams subject to departmental approval. The project will require students to apply a broad range of theoretical and practical research techniques to the question and to exercise advanced critical thinking and evaluation as the project progresses, leading to new insights.