About us

Exterior of Chemical Sciences Building at Kensington campus

Professor Timothy Schmidt

Head of School

Hello and welcome to the School of Chemistry

We like to think of chemistry as being the creative, central science: an essential part of your scientific toolbox. Studying chemistry helps you understand the world from the ground up: from the sub-atomic, atomic, and molecular to the spectacular.

The School of Chemistry has a proud history; predating UNSW, beginning life at the Sydney Mechanics School of Arts in 1833. Today the School of Chemistry is one of the leading centres for both chemistry teaching and research in Australia, and we are unashamedly proud of that!

The school has all the things you'd expect, like state-of-the-art facilities and passionate, award-winning staff to help you.

You might be straight out of high school, starting your PhD with us or an industry partner looking for expert advice. Perhaps you are one of our hundreds of alumni looking to reconnect with the school or a teacher keen to bring students to visit our labs? Wherever you're at, be sure that you have a home here at the School of Chemistry.

Our programs reflect today's current trends whilst building on solid foundations; the Advanced Science program offers challenging chemistry, the Medicinal Chemistry program allows you to benefit from the overlap between chemistry and pharmacology, and UNSW was the first Australian University with the foresight to offer the cross-school Nanotechnology program. The Students of Chemistry Society (SOCS) ensures that our undergraduate and postgraduate students also enjoy letting off steam with regular social activities.

You stand to benefit from the strong links we have developed nationally and internationally. Our staff are leading research programs in key areas of science – with a focus on nanoscience, catalysis and energy and medicinal chemistry, all made possible by our 90 PhD students and 40 honours students and our international collaborators. The UNSW Chemical Society has celebrated its 100th birthday and regularly attracts the best minds from around the world to present talks as part of our named lectureship series.

We look forward to welcoming you to the School of Chemistry!

- Professor Timothy Schmidt

Head of School 

Our values

The School of Chemistry aspires to continue as a leading chemistry school in the region.

Our history

The university was established in 1949, but the School of Chemistry had already been in existence for 70 years by that stage.


The School of Chemistry at UNSW is a leading research centre with world-class research and teaching facilities.

Equity, Diversity & Inclusion

The School of Chemistry aims to provide a safe, supportive and welcoming environment for all students and staff.

Chemical society

The UNSW Chemical Society is one of the oldest societies in Australia.

External Advisory Committee

The committee has representatives from our key stakeholder organisations – industry, government, schools and government research institutes.

Meet our people

Our academic, professional and technical, and emeritus and adjunct staff.

Annual reports

Ways to connect