The Department of Chemistry has a proud teaching and research track record and is one of the largest departments in the Faculty of Science. It provides a high-level, quality learning experience for all its students, from undergraduate to postgraduate, in both theoretical and practical aspects of chemistry. It has no fewer than four recipients of the UCT Distinguished Teacher award on its current teaching staff. Two members of its academic staff have been awarded prestigious research chairs under the South African Research Chair Initiative. The Department has active research groups with strengths in Catalysis, Bioinorganic, Biophysical and Bioanalytical Chemistry, Synthetic Chemistry, Medicinal Chemistry, Supramolecular Chemistry, Scientific Computing and Chemical Glycobiology.
Chemistry is a popular study choice at UCT as graduates are directly employable and the postgraduate degrees are in demand in industry. The versatility of the chemistry qualification is borne out by the fact that graduates find employment in such diverse fields as energy (fossil fuels), agrochemicals, mining and minerals, pharmaceutical and medicinal (biotechnology, drug production, and vaccines), polymers (plastics), food (quality control, and wine and beer-making), and computational chemistry.