About Us

The UMKC Department of Chemistry provides an education that prepares students to excel in any professional or academic arena.

We believe that student success is not solely determined through excellence in the classroom, but that it is also imperative to gain hands-on laboratory experience.

Our Spencer Hall laboratories are currently being renovated to provide state of the art facilities for students.

Our Faculty

The Department of Chemistry faculty carry out research in the traditional disciplines of chemistry such as inorganic, organic, analytical and physical chemistry.

Many faculty members are also actively involved in research and continually building strengths in interdisciplinary scientific areas, including medicinal and bioorganic chemistry, polymer science, material science and engineering, chemical physics, biomaterials and nanoscience.

Learn more about faculty research groups

Our Students

Chemistry students at UMKC receive cutting-edge research opportunities with expert faculty; exposure to theory, experiment/observation and simulation; and numerous connections to career opportunities within Kansas City, the country and abroad.

Meet our students

Academic Advising

The College of Arts and Sciences has a dual advising system of general/professional advisors and department advisors designed to help undergraduate students achieve academic success.

Chemistry faculty advisors help students get the most out of their experience at UMKC by advising them on the specifics needed for their major/minor.

In the Department of Chemistry, majors are required to meet with their faculty advisor every semester to discuss degree requirements, devise a plan towards academic success, explore career and post-graduate goals, and discuss questions or concerns they may have.

Advising Appointments

Most chemistry faculty advisors see students by appointment only. Some walk-in hours may be available.

Students who have already declared a chemistry major or minor should schedule advising appointments through Connect.

Students who are interested in declaring chemistry as a major or minor should email one of the advisors below with days and times they are available over a two week period. An automatic reply that lists walk-in hours may be sent.

To prepare for an advising appointment, students should review their MyPlan Audit and devise a potential course schedule for the upcoming term. Additionally, bring any questions you may have to the advising session.

Chemistry Faculty Advisors

Paul Barron, Chemistry AdvisorDr. Paul Barron
510E Flarsheim Hall
Ph: 816-235-2291
Fx: 816-235-5502

Undergraduate Advisor Dr. Andrea DrewDr. Andrea Drew Gounev
510F Flarsheim Hall
Ph: 816-235-2257
Fx: 816-235-5502

Undergraduate Advisor Dr. Lena E. Hoober-Burkhardt Dr. Lena E. Hoober-Burkhardt
510C Flarsheim Hall
Ph: 816-235-6650
Fx: 816-235-5502

Advising Forms

UMKC’s Major Maps are detailed, undergraduate four-year course outlines that inform students on the classes they should take and when to take them. All Major Maps are updated yearly and are in PDF format.

The department has also put together sample four-year plans that many students find helpful. All sample plans are in PDF format.

CAS Student Services

General UMKC advising and pre-professional program advising is handled by CAS Student Services. Current students should schedule appointments through Connect.

Become a Student

UMKC Chemistry students receive academic and career advising tailored to their individual needs.

Most of our courses have a small student to faculty ratio, allowing for more one-on-one interaction between faculty and students and an enhanced learning environment.

Both graduate and undergraduate students get the opportunity to work with faculty who are known on the national and international level.


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Graduate Admissions

All UMKC applications must be submitted online. Paper applications will not be accepted. Early applications are highly encouraged, but applications will be accepted and reviewed continuously.

All potential graduate students are urged to apply by the following dates:

  • April 15 (for Fall entry)
  • October 15 (for Spring entry)

Applications will be accepted and reviewed continuously.

Application Requirements

Applicants must apply by completing the online application and providing the following:

  • Resume/CV
  • Statement of purpose
  • All undergraduate and graduate transcripts
  • GRE score
  • Letters of recommendation
    • For the M.S. program, two academic and/or professional letters of recommendation are required
    • For the IPh.D. program, three academic and/or professional letters of recommendation are required
  • For international applicants, iBT Test of English as a Foreign Language Scores (if applicable)

More information can be found in the UMKC Catalog.

Contact Us

Please contact us if you are interested in learning more about our programs.

Contact Us

If you have questions about our programs or want to know more about studying chemistry at UMKC, get in touch with us.

Campus Location

The Department of Chemistry is located in two buildings on the UMKC Volker Campus: Spencer Hall and Flarsheim Hall. Campus maps can be accessed here.

Office Hours

Main Office
Spencer Hall, Room 233
Monday through Friday, 7 am – 4 pm

Contact Information

Ph: 816-235-2273
Fx: 816-235-6911

Mailing Address

University of Missouri-Kansas City
Department of Chemistry
5009 Rockhill Road
Spencer Hall, Room 233
Kansas City, MO 64110

Degree Programs

The Department of Chemistry at UMKC offers a world-class education with a small community feel with both undergraduate and graduate degree options.

Currently, the department offers two undergraduate degrees: a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Chemistry and a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Chemistry.

Both the B.A. and B.S. meet the American Chemical Society Accredited Programs requirements. Students can also designate an undergraduate minor in chemistry.

Learn more about our undergraduate programs.

The department also has a robust graduate program offering a Master of Science (M.S.) in Chemistry and an Interdisciplinary Ph.D. (iPh.D.) in conjunction with the UMKC School of Graduate Studies.

Learn more about our graduate programs.

Faculty Research Groups

The research interests of the chemistry faculty encompass a broad scope of multidisciplinary sciences.

Many of our faculty members are involved in a wide range of research topics including organic chemistry, analytical chemistry, materials chemistry, computational chemistry, inorganic chemistry and nanoscience with both graduate and undergraduate students.

Buszek Research Group – Organic synthesis, Medicinal and Pharmaceutical chemistry

Chen Research Group Nanomaterials research with applications in photocatalysis, electrocatalysis, pollution removal, light-matter interaction and the clean energy sector

Dias Research Group – Organic synthesis and characterization with a focus on bile (cholic) acids, tetracyclic triterpenoids and benzenoids

Kilway Research Group – Research includes the synthesis and study biomaterials and twisted polycyclic aromatic and linear acenes for biomaterial and material applications

Moteki Research Group – Chemical Biology and Materials research in nanozymes, catalysis and drug delivery

Oyler Research Group – Soild-state NMR studies of materials and the study of cultural artifacts using hyperspectral imaging

Peng Research Group – Development of functional/multifunctional materials for electronic, optical, and biomedical applications

Van Horn Research Group Biological inorganic chemistry of various transition metals with biological minerals and materials

Financial Support

Pursuing a graduate degree can be a major financial investment. At UMKC, we do our best to offer support and connect students to funding resources.

Graduate Teaching Assistantships

Most first-year graduate students are supported on Graduate Teaching Assistantships (GTA). GTAs have various responsibilities for undergraduate students in general, organic or analytical chemistry including, but not limited to, teaching laboratory sessions, grading assignments and tutoring.

GTAs receive a tuition wavier and a stipend. To be considered for a GTA position, please submit the UMKC application online no later than February 15.

Applications are considered until all positions are filled. More information can be found on the UMKC Admissions website.

Research Assistantships

Graduate students beyond their first year of study may be supported on research assistantships made available by faculty who have financial support through grants or contracts to perform research.

Research assistantships may be awarded to students beyond their second year, allowing them to focus solely on research with no teaching responsibilities in the classroom or laboratory.

Fellowship Opportunities

Fellowship opportunities are available for graduate students through UMKC and other institutions. Students are encouraged to apply for fellowships as part of the overall graduate experience.

Though the list below is not comprehensive, it does give some representative examples of fellowships for which graduate students may consider applying:

Graduate Programs

The chemistry department’s graduate program is a highly important and integrated part of UMKC.

Choosing where to do your graduate studies is one of the most important career decisions you will make. Where you end up will lay the foundation for your future.

Our chemistry graduate population is small, enabling each student to have a personalized, research intensive experience.

Graduate Options

The UMKC Department of Chemistry currently offers a Master of Science in Chemistry and an Interdisciplinary Ph.D. in conjunction with the UMKC School of Graduate Studies.

Research Excellence

We are proud of our tradition of excellence in research and many of our former students have gone on to highly successful careers in a myriad of fields.  We also have national and international collaborations, as well as partnerships with the UMKC Dental School and other programs within the university.

Once you explore our Graduate Admissions requirements, we invite you to visit campus and meet with the department.

Contact Us

Please contact us at if you are interested in learning more about our programs.

Interdisciplinary Doctorate of Philosophy (IPh.D.)

The Interdisciplinary Ph.D. program at UMKC, directed by the School of Graduate Studies, is designed to encourage students to gain knowledge in a primary discipline of study and at least one or more co-disciplines.

The Department of Chemistry is an active participant in the UMKC School of Graduate Studies IPh.D program. Students choosing to pursue an IPh.D. in Chemistry will choose an area of research that is represented by chemistry and another co-discipline and outline a course of study with their research advisory committee.

Typical co-disciplines include pharmaceutical sciences, physics, geosciences, molecular biology or biochemistry.

Choosing Chemistry as a Primary Discipline

The IPh.D. Program is designed to give students the opportunity to study the traditional subjects in chemistry and gain knowledge across other disciplines that can provide the skills to succeed in an ever growing multidisciplinary world.

By choosing chemistry as the primary discipline of study, your program will be designed with your research advisory committee to accommodate you in pursuit of a future career in either an academic, government or industrial sector.

Our departmental faculty have a wide range of expertise ranging from traditional chemistry topics, such as inorganic and organic synthesis, to multidisciplinary subjects such as pharmaceutical chemistry, materials science and catalysis.

Typical requirements for chemistry as the primary discipline:

  • 31 hours of didactic coursework
  • At least 15 hours of dissertation research

More information on coursework requirements for chemistry as the primary discipline can be found in the UMKC catalog.

Choosing Chemistry as a Co-Discipline

Chemistry can be defined as the study of matter and the changes it undergoes. Undoubtedly, this definition illustrates the wide role chemistry can play in other disciplines from engineering to geosciences, and from physics to biology.

Chemistry is therefore a natural fit as a co-discipline to graduate students in pursuit of the IPh.D. from various primary disciplines, such as pharmaceutical science, physics, geosciences, etc.

The typical requirements for chemistry as the co-discipline:

  • Three courses (9 credit hours) at the 400-level or above in the department
  • At least one course at the 5500+ level

More information on coursework requirements for chemistry as a co-discipline can be found in the UMKC catalog.

Contact Us

Please contact us if you are interested in learning more about our programs.

Kathleen Kilway to Receive STEMMy Award

Dr. Kathleen Kilway shows students objects in a chemistry lab.Kathleen Kilway, Ph.D., Curator’s teaching professor and chair, UMKC Chemistry Department, will be recognized for her professional and technical excellence by the Kansas City Central Exchange with a STEMMy Award.

The award will be presented by Central Exchange on Sept. 21 at the 4th Annual Stemmy Awards Luncheon at the Arvest Bank Theatre in downtown Kansas City. Continue reading

Meet Our Students

Chemistry students at UMKC come together from all over the world. Get to know our students and you’ll know what the College is all about.

Linh Hoang Aspires to be a Pioneer

UMKC Chemistry student Hoang Linh laughs and smiles.

How has your college program inspired you?

Before going to UMKC, I studied in the Vietnamese school system, which put a heavy emphasis on grades. However, when coming to UMKC, I have had chances to encounter a totally different researching style, which lets me take more control of my own study.

What led you to UMKC?

It was easy to find information about UMKC. My friend went here a semester before me. I looked at several schools and UMKC had a good healthcare and scholarship program.

What’s the best piece of advice you have ever received from a professor?

I came here alone from Vietnam, I struggled a lot with my first semester here, with language and emotions. At that time I received a valuable advice from my academic adviser, who is also my chemistry professor: “As long as you do your best, things only can get better.”

What are your lifelong goals?

Finish pre-pharmacy and go to school to be a pharmacist. I want to finish my chemistry and psychology degrees, then work a little before I go to grad school. I’d like to work in the states, but eventually I want to go back to Vietnam. There’s a real need for development there.

Haley Fiedler’s future profession is evident in her smile

A UMKC chemistry student smiles for a stock photo.

Where is UMKC taking you?

I want to own my own dental practice. When I was younger, they discovered I had a rare open bite. My orthodontist, Kelly Toombs is really good with kids. Kids inspire me and keep me smiling. Dr. Toombs made me smile, and I want to make children who come to the dentist smile, too.

What motto do you live by?

Dad always told me the harder you work, the more you get out of life. The little things matter most. Whatever work you put in will pay off eventually.

After Haiti, Gerby Jean-Noel wants to help others through trauma

A UMKC chemistry student smiles for a stock photo.

Since entering college, what have you learned about yourself?

UMKC is not the first school or college I’ve been to, but when I started here, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do as far as my career. The environment and the people — mainly the faculty and staff — here make me feel great about myself, and that’s when I realize that I have a lot of potential and I can do great.

Why did you choose UMKC?

I love the diversity. There are people here from so many different countries, so many different backgrounds. I enjoy that.

What made you decide to pursue being a doctor?

I am from Haiti, and when I was living there, I thought I’d pursue law school. The earthquake hit (2010) and my friends helped others through a mobile hospital. I want to help people through their trauma. I would love to be a surgeon. I’ve shadowed a doctor in the ICU.

Master of Science in Chemistry

The Master of Science in Chemistry degree program at UMKC is designed to train chemists for careers in industry, business or academia.

Students who earn their M.S. in Chemistry from UMKC receive the skills and knowledge necessary to conduct specialized research. Our M.S. students are also poised for competitive admission to Ph.D. or health sciences programs.

The M.S. in Chemistry program is designed both for students who wish to remain in their current positions while taking classes as well as those pursuing a full-time, research-intensive path. The department has a small research mentor/graduate student ratio that facilitates close interaction between students and faculty.

Program Options

We currently offer both a thesis and non-thesis option for obtaining an M.S. in Chemistry.

Master of Science in Chemistry: Thesis Option

Full-time students are expected to choose the thesis option, which has an emphasis on coursework and research. It requires a minimum of 31 hours of coursework in chemistry and the presentation of a thesis.

With this option, students must choose a research advisor within the Department of Chemistry.

Students must choose a thesis subject in conjunction with their research advisor. A candidate’s thesis must meet all the requirements set forth by the UMKC School of Graduate Studies.

More information on the precise coursework and thesis requirements can be found in the UMKC Catalog.

Master of Science in Chemistry: Non-thesis Option

Students pursuing the non-thesis option for the Master of Science in Chemistry are expected to have an emphasis on coursework. This option requires a minimum of 31 hours of coursework.

More information on course requirements can be found in the UMKC Catalog.

Contact Us

Please contact us if you are interested in learning more about our programs.

Natural and Physical Sciences News

    2017 Winter Commencement Challenges Graduates to Better the World

    UMKC students at graduationApproximately 1,000 University of Missouri-Kansas City graduates, friends and families filled Swinney Auditorium to celebrate the culmination of years of late nights and hard work as graduates claimed their diplomas. The university held three ceremonies on Saturday, Dec. 16 and presented two honorary doctorate degrees.


    $300,000 NSF Grant for Climate Research

    Prof. SunAssistant Professor of Geosciences Fengpeng Sun Ph.D. was recently awarded a $300,000 grant from the National Science Foundation. As the principal investigator, Sun will work as an independent researcher on a three-year project, “High-resolution Climate Change Projections in Missouri.”

    Sun’s funded project is part of NSF’s Missouri Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) program, “Missouri Transect: Plants, Climate and Community”, headed by Prof. John Walker at MU in Columbia. Missouri Transect is a five-year effort to build infrastructure, knowledge and collaborations in research and education across Missouri. As an established climate scientist, Sun brings to the Missouri Transect added expertise in the design of high-resolution regional climate modeling.


    365 students named to College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s List for Spring 2018 Semester

    A total of 365 students in UMKC’s College of Arts and Sciences were named to the Dean’s List for the spring 2018 semester. The CAS Dean’s List recognizes excellent academic performance among full-time undergraduate students with a grade point average of 3.85 or higher for the term.


    A Bridge to the Stars

    An innovative pipeline to improve STEM diversity

    Inner-city high school students in Kansas City now have a unique opportunity to learn in a college classroom with a professional astronomer through A Bridge to the Stars Scholarship and Mentoring Program at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

    The man behind the program is Daniel H. McIntosh, Ph.D., an award-winning professor of physics and astronomy, and a scientist researching the birth and growth of galaxies using the Hubble Space Telescope. As a teacher, McIntosh shares his knowledge, and his enthusiasm, to inspire others.


    Addressing the Cost of Higher Education: Open Educational Resources reduce costs for students, enhance learning

    Male student wearing UMKC shirt with laptopThe cost of higher education is an issue, and one the University of Missouri-Kansas City is addressing.

    As part of the four-campus University of Missouri System, UMKC has had one of the lowest rates of tuition increase in the U.S. during the past decade. And despite this year’s tuition increase of 1 percent, efforts to keep the overall cost of education are continuing, and are working.

    For example, in June 2017, the University of Missouri-Kansas City joined UM System in the Affordable & Open Educational Resources (A&OER) program to save students money on textbooks and other course materials.


    ALMA telescope to unlock mysteries of giant galaxy...

    Phoenix Cluster impression by B. SaxtonTeam used ALMA telescope to unlock mysteries of giant galaxy at the center of Phoenix Cluster

    A team of astronomers including Mark Brodwin, assistant professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, have discovered a surprising connection between a supermassive black hole and the galaxy in which it resides.


    Astronomer shares pro tip for finding the best place to watch the eclipse

    From astronomers to outdoor enthusiasts, astrophysicists to laymen — many are giddy about the coming totality of a solar eclipse.

    2017 Solar eclipse path in MissouriBut where to watch it unfold is a question facing eclipse hunters as the Aug. 21 event approaches.

    Daniel McIntosh, a distinguished professor of astronomy and physics at UMKC, has diligently plotted out where he’ll observe the eclipse, and he shared a pro tip that he himself is using to pick out a location: find a hill with a view to the west.

    “So you can see the western horizon,” he said. “You’ll see the shadow as it comes toward you.”


    CAS presents inaugural Royall Professorships

    Normal Royall Distinguished Professor AwardThe UMKC College of Arts and Sciences presented the inaugural Norman Royall Professorships to four faculty members during the College’s 2017 Fall Reception and Awards Ceremony. The Royall Professorship is the highest honor bestowed by the College.

    “As the highest recognition in the College, the Royall Professorship will reward faculty committed to research and/or teaching excellence, creativity and interdisciplinarity,” said Dean Wayne Vaught during the presentation.


    Chemistry Department Celebrates First Phase of Renovated Lab Space

    Beakers and Chemistry equipmentOfficials from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and McCarthy Building Companies recently gathered to commemorate the completion of the first phase of a $21.5 million project to renovate and modernize 75,000 square feet of laboratory space in the Spencer Chemistry and Biological Sciences buildings on the UMKC Volker Campus.

    “Renovating and expanding UMKC’s primary biology and chemistry teaching laboratories enhances our ability to offer outstanding research and academic degree programs in modern sciences at both the undergraduate and graduate level,” said Robert Simmons, UMKC associate vice chancellor of administration. “Modernizing outdated buildings benefits students, faculty and the community, while addressing functionality, enrollment capacity and deferred maintenance needs.”


    Chemistry Graduate competes in Rio!

    UMKC Chemistry graduate Courtney Frerichs (B.A. 2015) follows her dreams and competed in the Olympic games in Rio! See the complete story and how undergraduate advisor Prof. Drew-Gounev helped her make her dreams come true.


    Chemistry professor publishes book on black titanium dioxide

    Xiaobo ChenBlack TiO2 Nanomaterials for Energy Applications. The book, published through World Scientific Publishing, aims to present the recent progress on the research of black TiO2 nanomaterials and how they can be used in a number of clean energy applications.

    The book includes a theoretical analysis of TiO2 research, and provides a comprehensive review of the subject for students, researchers and practitioners in catalytic science, materials science, nanotechnology, green technology and chemistry.


    Colliding Neutron Stars Produce Gold, Silver and Platinum

    A conversation with Mark Brodwin, assistant professor in the University of Missouri-Kansas City Department of Physics and Astronomy

    Scientists recently witnessed the spectacle of colliding neutron stars. What are they?

    Brodwin: When a very massive star runs out of fuel to burn, it explodes in a huge supernova leaving behind a neutron star or, if the star is very massive, a black hole. A neutron star is a very compact ball of neutrons with the extreme density of an atomic nucleus. A typical neutron star has a mass twice that of our sun, but a size about that of Overland Park. It’s so dense that a teaspoon would weigh about as much as Mount Everest!


    Colorado cartoonist responds to Paris attack

    Colorado Cartoonist Mike Keefe, KUSA-TV 9 news reportDENVER - Longtime cartoonist Mike Keefe is responding to the terrorist attacks against French magazine Charlie Hebdo in the only way he knows how: by drawing.

    After 36 years at The Denver Post, Keefe now draws for the website Colorado Independent, which published his latest cartoon on the attacks.

    "This is exactly what cartoonists do. They see some injustice in the world and they either use humor, irony or drama to make a statement about it," he said.


    Dark? Cold? Here's what to expect with Monday's solar eclipse

    Sky already looks different

    We all know Monday’s eclipse [August 21, 2017] will be a rare sight, and one you should view with safety-approved glasses.

    But if you want to be the smartest person at your eclipse watch party, there’s more you should know.

    Professor Mark Brodwin“It gets dark, and it gets cold, and the wind picks up, and the birds freak out, and you can see stars,” said Mark Brodwin, a UMKC astronomy and astrophysics professor.

    “It’s a very surreal and emotional experience, I’ve read. I can’t wait to experience it myself,” Brodwin said.


    Dr. Rebecca Egli (UMKC History BA '08) receives Postdoctoral Fellowship at Linda Hall Library

    Congratulations to Dr. Rebecca (Mowry) Egli on receiving a post-doctoral Residential Fellowship at Linda Hall Library. During her two-month stay, she will conduct research for her current project, "Seeds of Misfortune: Food, Crop Diversity, and the Simplification of American Nature," a history of America’s plant explorers that examines the impact of plant introduction and breeding on agricultural biodiversity and innovation.

    Rebecca Egli FullRebecca grew up in Kansas City and received her Bachelor of Arts degree from UMKC's History Department in 2008. She earned a Master of Arts degree in history from King’s College London in 2010 and a doctorate in history from the University of California, Davis in 2018.

    Exploring intersections between agriculture, science, and the environment, her dissertation, "The World of Our Dreams: Agricultural Explorers and the Promise of American Science," looks at federal scientists in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, exploring developments in plant biology and the ecological consequences of importing non-native plants into the United States.

    We are so proud to have Dr. Egli conducting research again in Kansas City!


    Honeywell and UMKC Expand Science and Innovation Collaboration

    Physics Honeywell collaborators Wrobel and LambtonStudents and faculty gain improved access to new technology

    The University of Missouri-Kansas City has signed a master collaboration agreement with Honeywell Federal Manufacturing & Technologies (FM&T), creating closer collaboration on research and development of new technology to meet national security needs.

    “UMKC is proud to partner with Honeywell,” said UMKC Chancellor Leo E. Morton. “The collaboration will allow us to bring UMKC and Honeywell’s research expertise together, which will not only benefit our students and faculty, but also our national security.”


    UMKC geosciences graduate student researches accuracy of weather forecasts for NASA

    UMKC Geosciences graduate student Forrest Black poses for a photo with a sign welcoming people to NASA's Langley Research Center.Forrest Black isn’t a pilot, but he’s helping to make air travel safer and more efficient.

    Black, a UMKC geosciences graduate student, has been interning as a research assistant at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, since the fall of 2016.

    Black is researching how major weather events impact the National Airspace System (airports, navigation facilities and airspaces of the United States). He wants to develop a tool that will reconstruct the evolution of those events using weather and flight data.


    Infusing Confidence in Undergraduate Researchers

    UMKC PR ClassroomEUReka Math Course Researched Kansas City Water Cutoffs

    Experiences in Undergraduate Research, or EUReka classes, play a critical role in the undergraduate curriculum at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. The university takes advantage of its urban location to offer numerous opportunities for students at all levels to gain hands-on research experience that also benefits neighboring communities.


    Kansas City Philanthropist and Children's Health Advocate Receives Honorary Doctorate, Gives Commencement Address

    David Westbrook gives the commencement address during Spring 2018 College of Arts and Sciences Commencement CeremoniesUnhindered by juvenile glaucoma that took his sight at age 17, David Westbrook (B.A. ’71) has proven that vision has nothing to do with one’s ability to see. He founded Corporate Communications Group, a communications and public relations firm he sold before taking his talent and dedication to longtime client Children’s Mercy.

    Westbrook attributes his lifetime of success to his parents and to the University of Missouri-Kansas City. His alma mater awarded him with an honorary doctorate at the 2018 College of Arts and Sciences commencement ceremony, and he gave the address to the graduating class at Swinney Recreation Center on campus.

    “This is not a defining moment, this is a moment of celebration,” said Westbrook, who holds bachelor’s degrees in English and psychology from UMKC. “Defining moments are with your professors and your friends.”


    Kathleen Kilway to Receive STEMMy Award

    Dr. Kathleen Kilway shows students objects in a chemistry lab.Kathleen Kilway, Ph.D., Curator’s teaching professor and chair, UMKC Chemistry Department, will be recognized for her professional and technical excellence by the Kansas City Central Exchange with a STEMMy Award.

    The award will be presented by Central Exchange on Sept. 21 at the 4th Annual Stemmy Awards Luncheon at the Arvest Bank Theatre in downtown Kansas City.


    Leaders in Learning: a celebration of faculty achievement

    University of Missouri-Kansas City faculty who received endowed professorships, promotions, tenure and other awards of distinction were recognized in 2017 with the Leaders in Learning celebration, an evening of dinner and jazz at Pierson Auditorium.

    A video tribute included praise for UMKC faculty from students as well as Kansas City Mayor Sly James.


    UMKC Physics and Astronomy Professor, Mark Brodwin, is a Consultant on the Stars

    KCREP Constellations imageHow can actors become knowledgeable on complex subjects for their plays? They consult with a college professor, of course.

    Mark Brodwin, Ph.D., professor in the UMKC Department of Physics and Astronomy, recently collaborated with the Kansas City Repertory Theatre on their current play, Constellations.


    Over 360 students named to CAS Dean’s List for Fall 2017

    CAS Dean's List Fall 2017A total of 369 students in the UMKC College of Arts and Sciences were named to the Dean’s List for the Fall 2017 semester. The CAS Dean’s List recognizes excellent academic performance among full-time undergraduate students with a grade point average of 3.85 or higher for the term.


    Physics Graduate Student Excels: Kameswara Mantha is a researcher, mentor, scientist extraordinaire

    Kameswara ManthaExceptional is just one word to describe Kameswara Mantha, doctoral student at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Department of Physics and Astronomy.

    He is one of five individuals who are vying to be the first physics doctoral graduate at UMKC specializing in astrophysics. He’s making a name for himself through his dedication to physics research, scholarship and mentorship.

    Pure determination and talent brought Mantha to where he is. While physics is Mantha’s passion, the path to a career in the field hasn’t been easy. Owing to the very limited opportunities to pursue physics degrees in his native India, Mantha earned a bachelor’s degree in electronics and communication engineering instead. In order to apply for graduate schools, “I self-taught to take the physics GRE,” Mantha said, and applied to top graduate schools in the United States. However, he was denied admissions by several institutes due to a lack of the right undergraduate degree.

    So, armed with an engineering degree, Mantha joined the UMKC School of Computing and Engineering as a master’s student in August 2014. One day before the scheduled UMKC engineering student orientation, he learned about the UMKC Physics and Astronomy program, which stoked his hopes to pursue astrophysics. In a desperate search for an opportunity, Mantha pondered, “I’m going to try one last time” before approaching Professor Daniel McIntosh in the UMKC Physics and Astronomy Department.


    Syed E. Hasan Receives Fulbright Award

    Syed E. Hasan, Ph.D., UMKC geosciences professor emeritus, has been awarded a Fulbright award to Qatar by the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board (FFSB). Hasan will teach courses in waste management and environmental geology at Qatar University, and offer seminars at other Middle East universities, during the 2016 spring semester

    “Qatar, with its unique marine and desert ecosystems, needs to implement a waste management strategy that is compatible with its natural environment,” Hasan said. “I am looking forward to sharing my expertise in the field of waste management with students and faculty at Qatar University to help them develop a sound waste management plan for their country.”


    UMKC collection offers trip way, way back in time

    KMBC News 9’s Joel Nichols visits the UMKC campus to tell the story of a man’s (Professor Gentile) lifetime love of our areas underground history.


    UMKC Galaxy Evolution Group Assists with Planned Observations with Next Great Space Observatory

    UMKC Galaxy Evolution GroupThe James Webb Space Telescope, the scientific successor to the Hubble Space Telescope, is scheduled to launch in the spring of 2020. It is expected to make history as the largest astronomical observatory ever sent into space, and University of Missouri-Kansas City scientists and students will be among those getting the earliest access to it.


    UMKC Geosciences Graduate Student Interns at NASA

    Forrest Black, a Graduate Research Assistant in the Department of Geosciences, spent this past fall semester interning at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia.

    As an intern, Black helped develop a tool that can ingest standard weather data and flight trajectory data for analyzing the impact of weather on aviation operations. He will stay in Virginia to work on this project throughout the spring 2017 semester.


    UMKC professor recognized by NASA for work on galaxies

    Mark Brodwin, UMKC Physics and Astronomy Professor A UMKC professor has been recognized for his work studying galaxies.

    Mark Brodwin, associate professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, won a NASA Group Achievement Award from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

    Brodwin was one of six recognized for groundbreaking research as part of the Massive and Distant Clusters of WISE (Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer) Survey team, called MaDCoWS, for short.


    UMKC research team receives award for device that may help prevent a nuclear attack


    KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A new tool may soon help the U.S. military stop a nuclear attack, and it was made in Kansas City.

    For the past 8 years, UMKC physics professor, Anthony Caruso, has led a research team of students and professors from UMKC, K-State and University of Missouri – Columbia to develop a new way to find radiation.

    “There’s just not that many options available because there are so many containers and it’s so easy to hide special nuclear material on one of these container ships,” said Caruso.


    UMKC to Present Honorary Doctorates to Outstanding Kansas City-Based Authors

    Dean Wayne Vaught speaks to a faculty member at UMKC commencement in 2016Celebrated Kansas City-based non-fiction authors David Von Drehle and Candice Millard will be honored with honorary doctorates at mid-year commencement ceremonies Dec. 16 at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.


    VFW puts more “ease” into UMKC’s At Ease Zone

    Lynn Roth, III, Nick Lopez and Ethan Alexander pose for a photo on the new couch in the UMKC At Ease ZoneThe National Headquarters of the Veterans of Foreign Wars has put a little more “ease” into the UMKC At Ease Zone. The VFW recently presented student veterans with a much-desired couch for the space, along with a new coffee maker and a networked printer.

    The UMKC At Ease Zone, located on the second floor of Cherry Hall on UMKC’s Volker Campus, supports UMKC student veterans as they transition into community and campus life. The At Ease Zone is a collaboration between the College of Arts and Sciences’ School of Social Work and the UMKC Dean of Students.



The Department of Chemistry has research programs in a broad range of traditional and cross-disciplinary areas of chemistry.

Our research faculty continue to gain national and international attention by performing cutting edge, scientific research that leads to real-world applications. Our department is small enough to facilitate mentorship while still producing renowned research across various disciplines.

Learn more about our Faculty Research Groups

Part of UMKC’s mission as a research institution is to engage students in research projects. We are proud of the fact that our undergraduate chemistry students are able to enhance their college experience by participating in research projects.

Learn more about Undergraduate Research

Undergraduate Programs

Chemistry is often called the central science. It connects the physical sciences with the life sciences and gives deep understanding to the natural world.

Chemistry is essential to the development of new medicines and materials, the understanding of biological process on a molecular level and many important global issues of today including the environment and energy.

Undergraduate Options

At UMKC, you will receive cutting-edge undergraduate research opportunities with world-renowned faculty; exposure to theory, experiment/observation and simulation; and have access to numerous connection to career opportunities.

Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry

The Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry is designed for students with a strong interest in chemistry but who do not plan to work directly in a chemical field or go on to graduate programs.

Learn more about the B.A. in Chemistry

A Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry emphasizes a broad education and provides more flexibility than the B.S. in chemistry. Many students pursue the B.A. in preparation for graduate work in dentistry, law and academia. Some students choose to pursue the B.A. in chemistry while also taking courses in Biology or another secondary interest.

Students wanting to double-major may find the flexibility of the B.A. more amenable to scheduling and completion of required courses. Requirements and sample schedules can be found in the UMKC Undergraduate Catalog.

Bachelor of Science in Chemistry

The Bachelor of Science in Chemistry is designed to offer comprehensive preparation in all areas of chemistry through hands-on laboratory training, rigorous coursework and independent research.

Learn more about the B.S. in Chemistry

A Bachelor of Science in Chemistry provides a comprehensive foundation for students interested pursuing careers in the pharmaceutical, government or academic sectors. Many students go on to pursue studies towards advanced degrees, such as a Master of Science or Ph.D. in various areas of chemistry and molecular sciences.

The UMKC Department of Chemistry’s B.S. degree is accredited by the American Chemical Society. Requirements and sample schedules can be found in the UMKC Undergraduate Catalog.

Chemistry Minor

The chemistry minor is designed to allow students to obtain a thorough background in chemistry in conjunction with a major in another academic subject.

Learn more about the Chemistry Minor

A minor in chemistry allows students outside of the department to obtain a strong background in the discipline. The minor is open to all UMKC students and is particularly beneficial to any student whose career aspirations require a basic understanding of the molecular sciences.

Requirements and sample schedules can be found in the UMKC Undergraduate Catalog.

Academic Advising

As an undergraduate chemistry student at UMKC you will receive specialized academic and career advising tailored to meet your individual needs.

Learn more about undergraduate advising for chemistry students.

Undergraduate Research

Chemistry undergraduates participating in research projects experience the excitement of discovering answers to real world problems using principles learned in class.

By participating in research projects, undergraduates have the opportunity to not only perform cutting-edge experiments, but also gain the potential to present at national and international conferences and earn co-authorship on scientific publications.

Chemistry majors are strongly encouraged to do research. There are multiple opportunities for undergraduates to take part in research projects at UMKC, across the nation and even internationally.

How do I learn about faculty research?

The best way to begin is to view the webpage of faculty and read the descriptions of their research interests and current projects.

Visiting faculty webpages and learning about their research interests and current projects are great places to start. Talking with friends and classmates who have worked on research projects with a faculty member is also a good idea.

We recommend that students explore research opportunities in other interdisciplinary areas, such as material physics, geosciences or molecular biology, in order to broaden their own interests and abilities.

How do I approach a faculty member about doing research in their group?

Once you have identified faculty members who perform research that interests you, contact them via email. In the first message, you should tell a little about yourself. Examples of what to say are:

  • What courses you have taken up to the current semester
  • What are your future plans
  • A sentence or two describing the research in which you are interested
  • A sentence describing prior research you have done, if applicable
  • Ask to set up an appointment to meet and discuss about participating in research

Faculty usually try to respond as quickly as possible.  Keep in mind that when you first work with a group, it is a time to be productive learn about the research process. You should not expect to be paid a salary during the year (although some faculty do offer a stipend), but expect to gain ample research experience.

Are there summer research opportunities outside UMKC?

There are a wide variety of summer research programs for undergraduates across the country and abroad. A few programs are listed below.

One of the largest formal research programs for undergraduates is the National Science Foundation Research Opportunities for Undergraduates (REU). Government laboratories such as Argonne National LaboratoryOak Ridge National Laboratory, and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory offer various research opportunities.

Other opportunities exist in various industries and we recommend visiting their websites for more information.

Why Chemistry

When most people think of becoming a chemist, they think of a villainous scientist in a white lab coat. In reality however, that’s not what a professional chemist does or looks like.

Chemistry is central to the development of new medicines and materials, the understanding of biological processes on a molecular level and many important global issues of today including the environment and energy.

Instead of mad scientists, chemists are often multi-disciplinary, acquiring understanding across multiple sub-fields of chemistry, biology, physics, engineering and even business.

Chemists find employment in many fields, including research, product development, marketing, teaching and within the government sector. A degree in chemistry is also excellent preparation for the professional schools of dentistry, medicine and pharmacy.


Students who study chemistry at UMKC receive cutting-edge undergraduate research opportunities with expert faculty; exposure to theory, experiment/observation and simulation; and numerous connections to career opportunities within Kansas City, the country and abroad.

Our major courses are small in size, giving you more one-on-one attention. You will also have the opportunity to regularly work with faculty who are known on both a national and international level.

Our faculty are readily accessible and committed to the education of our students through our ACS certified curricula and invigorating research.

UMKC chemistry graduates have gone to nationally recognized graduate and professional programs in chemistry, biochemistry, medical, dental, veterinary, law and pharmacy.

At Home in Kansas City

UMKC’s location in Kansas City makes it an ideal place for chemistry students. Many internship and job opportunities across both industrial and government sectors are available in the City of Fountains.

The Department of Chemistry is housed in two buildings, Flarsheim Hall and the Spencer Hall. Spencer Hall is currently undergoing renovations, which will provide world-class chemistry laboratories for UMKC’s students and staff.