Academic Programs

Choose NIU Chemistry!

There are many reasons why the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Northern Illinois University is an excellent place to complete your graduate work, several of which are discussed below.


Close contact with the faculty.  Graduate students in the department enjoy an extremely favorable student-to-faculty ratio. Most of our research groups average between three and six members. This offers graduate students a great deal of individualized attention from, and ready accessibility to, faculty members.


Multidisciplinarity.  Our faculty members do research spanning all the traditional areas of chemistry (analytical, biochemistry, inorganic, organic, and physical), and in nanotechnology. Most of them have research interests spanning several of these disciplines in chemistry, and some also pursue research at the interface between chemistry and other sciences (biology, physics, and environmental sciences, to name just a few).


Location.  NIU’s main campus is close to Chicago and Rockford. This gives our students all the advantages of an urban lifestyle, but without some of the problems that often accompany it—like higher costs of living, crime, and congestion. On campus, the department is centrally located with respect to most of the other science departments, in the Faraday Hall/La Tourette Hall Complex with nearly 70,000 square feet of space for instructional, office, and research use, part of which was completed as recently as 1995.


Jobs.  DeKalb is the western anchor of the Illinois Research and Development Corridor, which is home to a number of Fortune 500 companies and major government facilities, many of whom have a long history of cooperation with NIU and the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. Some of the firms with offices or laboratories in our area include Abbott Laboratories, AT&T Network Systems, a branch of AT&T’s Bell Laboratories, Argonne National Laboratory, Baxter HealthCare, NutraSweet, Nalco, Rockwell International, Eastman Kodak, the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, Sunbeam, and Hewlett-Packard. Many communities in and around Chicago are among the fastest-growing in the nation, and the area has a great deal to offer to high-tech companies looking to begin or expand their operations. Our M.S. and Ph.D. graduates have generally had no difficulty in finding jobs, whether locally or across the nation.


Reputation.  Our faculty members collaborate with scientists all over the United States and the world, including several Nobel laureates. Through the generosity of companies such as Abbott Laboratories and Baxter HealthCare Corporation, and graduate student fees through the NIU Graduate Colloquium Committee, we are able to bring outstanding speakers to campus each semester for departmental seminars (these seminars are open to our graduate students). Our own graduates have gone on to successful academic careers at institutions like Butler, Penn State/Erie, Rice, Stanford, Emory, Texas A&M, Wisconsin, Rush University, and the universities of Minnesota and North Carolina.

Faraday West

Carnahan Group

Swirl Catalyst

Commencement