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About the Division

Founded by Nobel laureates and members of the National Academy of Sciences, our Departments of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Mathematics, and Physics have all played a central role in UC San Diego’s rapid rise to national and international prominence. Just as it was at its founding, the division is broad in scope and inherently interdisciplinary.

Researchers within the division delve into scientific and computational issues that are of critical relevance to all facets of society. We address climate change, fabricate nanoparticles to image tumors and deliver drugs, probe the fundamental nature of matter, trace the evolution of the universe, hunt for elusive sub-atomic particles, design detection systems for toxins and explosives, to name only some of the faculty’s achievements. Graduate students have the opportunity to work with leaders in their fields.

Because the physical sciences are fundamental to all disciplines, including engineering, medicine and biology, we contribute to the education of most undergraduate students at UC San Diego. Through the departments, we offer undergraduate degrees with a wide range of choices in focus and breadth. And we are helping to meet California’s need for qualified science teachers through the California Teach Science and Math Initiative.


  • 1 Nobel Laureate
  • 1 Fields Medalist
  • 9 Members of the National Academy of Sciences
  • 9 Fellows of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
  • 151 Faculty


  • 544 Graduate Students
  • 4,093  Undergraduate Majors
  • 62,820 student enrollments in Physical Sciences undergraduate courses per year