Chemistry is the study of matter and energy and the changes they undergo. Everything in the physical universe is made up of either matter or energy and the rest is just empty space. Chemistry is often referred to as the central science. All other branches of science touch upon the subject of chemistry. At UH Hilo, most majors in the College of Natural and Health Sciences are required to take courses in Chemistry. Chemistry plays an important role in our lives in many ways. The economy, our health, and the enviroment all depend on chemistry. Chemistry is an essential part of everyday living. As you cook, eat, and clean in and around your homes, you are made aware of the many "chemicals" that are constantly in your daily life.

The Department of Chemistry at UH Hilo offers three distinct Chemistry tracks: the traditional Chemistry track with a Physical emphasis, the Biosciences track that builds knowledge of molecular biology and biochemistry, and the Health Sciences track that prepares students to pursue a career in the health science fields. Each track leads to a Bachelor of Science (Bs) degree in Chemistry.

Our Degrees and Campus

Undergraduate Programs

The Department of Chemistry offers the B.S. in Chemistry degree with three distinct tracks, as well as the Minor in Chemistry, and the Pre-Pharmacy Certificate.

  • B.S., Chemistry: A traditional curriculum with a strong physical science emphasis.
  • B.S., Chemistry-Biosciences: Combines the study of chemistry with selected biology courses focusing on the study of chemistry related to living organisms.
  • B.S., Chemistry-Health Sciences: A program for students seeking careers in health related fields such as pharmacy, medicine, and dentistry, and specifically satisfies the prerequisite courses required for the Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) program at UH Hilo.
  • Minor in Chemistry Earned by taking a minimum of 20 credits of general chemistry, organic chemistry, and one additional course with lab. The minor demostrates that the student is knowledgeable in chemistry fundamentals.
  • Pre-Pharmacy Certificate The Pre-Pharmacy Certificate program helps prepare students toward successful application to Colleges of Pharmacy.

The University

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo is characterized as a comprehensive, diverse, regional university. Scholarship and research are an important part of faculty work and student engagement, but the primary focus is on providing high-quality baccalaureate and postgraduate education.

Why Study Chemistry

Chemists contribute in a myriad of ways to our society today and will continue to do so practically and theoretically. This notion becomes more apparent as we head into a future that is becoming more technologically oriented. Our lives are becoming more dependent upon what chemistry can do. The study of life itself can be approached as a question of chemistry. Chemistry is omnipresent and it can be overwhelming, however, it can also be enlightening and comforting to be able to have a better understanding of our physical universe by studying Chemistry.

Prospects for Chemistry Graduates

Each chemistry program prepares the student for the job market immediately after graduation or for further education in graduate or professional school. As the name implies, the Health Sciences track is designed for students who are seeking careers in health related fields such as pharmacy, medicine, and dentistry. Chemistry majors who also complete the UH Hilo Teacher Education Program may apply for initial basic teaching certificates in elementary and secondary education in the State of Hawaiʻi.

Student Experiences in Our Programs

Students learn in and out of the classroom, on and off campus, applied learning experiences and career placement.


The Department of Chemistry greatly appreciates your gift to the UH Foundation UH Hilo Chemistry Department Fund (Fund #129-1410-4). These funds are primarily used as academic achievement awards for students majoring in chemistry. Several awards, including the Outstanding Freshman Chemistry Award, Outstanding Organic Chemistry Award, and Outstanding Senior Chemistry Award, are given out each year.

Give a Gift ot the UH Hilo Chemistry Department

Contact Us!

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(808) 932-7198

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