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History of the Chemistry Program


The University of Houston-Clear Lake (UHCL) opened in 1974. It was established as an upper-level undergraduate and graduate institution in the Clear Lake region of Houston, Texas and neighboring NASA's Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center (JSC). As an upper-level undergraduate and graduate institution, its original mission did not allow the university to teach freshmen, sophomores or doctoral students, therefore most of the original UHCL Programs taught juniors, seniors and master's degree candidates.


The origin of the Chemistry Program at UHCL was the UHCL Physical Sciences program, which was established in 1975, one year after UHCL was founded. It was initially developed as an interdisciplinary Program with courses in physics, astronomy, chemistry and geology. However, establishing a curriculum across these four disciplines was always difficult. Traditionally, most of the students who earned degrees in this Program have concentrated their coursework mainly in one of the four disciplines. 


In response, Dr. Warren Smith, Dean of the School of Science and Technology, and Professor of Chemistry, spearheaded the drive to create a separate Chemistry Program in 1983.


Since 2002, Chemistry Program’s BS degree is accredited by the American Chemical Society (ACS).


In 2007, Chemistry Program received a donation of 400 MHz Varian NMR spectrometer from Dow Chemicals, which after refurbishing (broadband probe from University of Oklahoma, plus various console parts) served us well until 2018 when a new JEOL 500 MHz NMR was acquired.


In 2014, UHCL transitioned to a comprehensive four-year institution by welcoming its first freshman and sophomore students.


In 2016, Natural Sciences Division has split into Department of Physical and Applied Sciences (PAS) and Department of Biology and Environmental Sciences (BES). The PAS department is a very diversified but integrated entity, which now houses Programs in Physics, Chemistry, and Industrial Hygiene & Safety.


In 2018, we moved into a new cutting-edge $65.7 million STEM building, with the whole 3rd floor dedicated for Chemistry.


As of Spring 2021, UHCL enrolls 7,908 undergraduate and 2,778 graduate students in 39 bachelor’s, 45 Master’s and 3 doctoral degree programs.

As of Spring 2021, the Program consists of 6 full-time and 2 part-time Professors, 2 Lecturers, and 1 Lab Technician, 44 BS students, 11 BA students, 9 MS students, and 14 students pursuing a Chemistry Minor. In addition to teaching CHEM students, we teach about 814 students per year from other UHCL Programs (General and Organic Chemistry courses).


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