The University of Delhi is a legendary place and home to some of the most accomplished scientists and academic leaders. The chemistry teaching in Delhi University started in 1922 with three constituent colleges - St. Stephens’, Hindu and Ramjas. The chemistry teaching was confined to a two year course for the B.Sc. degree in the Department, and the teaching up to the I.Sc. level was conducted in the constituent colleges of the University. In October 1933, the University Offices and library were shifted to the Viceregal Lodge Estate and the Chemistry Department made an inconspicuous beginning in the Viceregal Kitchen, which was used for conducting the lectures and practical classes. In 1942, new laboratories and lecture rooms were constructed and visionary faculty members were invited by the special efforts of the illustrious Vice Chancellor, Sir Maurice Gwyer, The M.Sc. degree course in the Departments was started with an intake of 12 students under the guidance of the Head of the Department, Prof. Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar, Dr. S. Z. Siddiqui (first Head of NCL), Dr. Jagdish Shankar, Dr. B. D. Jain and Dr. S.B. Dutta. In June 1949, Professor T R Seshadri took over as Head of the Department and, owing to his untiring efforts, the research activities gradually increased, and the Department attained a formidable reputation in the International scene as one of the finest Schools of Chemistry. In 1963, the University Grants Commission recognized the Department of Chemistry as a Center of Advanced Study for the Chemistry of Natural Products. In 1965, the Department of Chemistry was recognized as a Center of Advanced Study in Chemistry.
The Department of Chemistry is well-known for its excellence in teaching and research. The faculty members of the Department are engaged in excellent research and are encouraging/mentoring college teachers in quality research. The Department has over 600 M.Sc. students and 500 Ph.D and Post-Doctoral fellows. The Department has made great strides by revising and updating the B. Sc. and M. Sc. syllabus time and again. A thoroughly updated and revised M. Sc. syllabus was implemented in the year 2009. In the International Year of Chemistry, the Department incorporated project work in its M. Sc. curriculum and students are now being exposed to writing a project and also developing communication skills. Advanced level optional courses are also offered at the Ph.D. level and these courses are taught semester wise. Collaborative research programs with many National and International Research Institutes/Universities are also operating with mutual benefit. The Department has distinguished itself as a Center for Innovative and Pioneering Research in a wide range of areas in Chemistry and Chemistry interfacing with Physical and Biological sciences. It has attained the status of a DST-FIST Sponsored Department. The Department was recognized as one of the best performing Chemistry Departments in the country by DST in the International Year of Chemistry (2011). The Department is also a Center for the activities of the Royal Society of Chemistry, London and the American Chemical Society.
Taken as a whole, the faculty has a record of achievement that is virtually unmatched in academia. Throughout the Department's history, the faculty has received prestigious honors, including the world's most prestigious Fellowship of the Royal Society (FRS) to two of its faculty members, namely, Prof. Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar and Prof. T. R. Seshadri, half a dozen Fellows of Royal Society of Chemistry (FRSC), several Fellows of the National Academy of Science (FNASc), Indian Academy of Science (FASc) and Indian National Science Academy (FNA), Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Laureate (Bhatnagar Award), Rajib Goyal Young Scientist, Rhode Fellowship, Life Time Achievement Award of the Indian Chemical Society, Fulbright Fellowship, Rockefeller Foundation Award, BOYSCAST fellowship award, UGC Career Award, Research Scientist Award, Millennium Plaque of Honor Award of the Indian Science Congress, among other prestigious honors.
Our faculty members are passionate, curious, energetic, and are working to explore and to unravel the causes of disease. The fundamental questions that inform their research are posed in the service of expanding knowledge, and the results they generate have opened up new fields and overturned long-held dogma. It is this emphasis on inquiry and discovery above all else that sets DU-Chemistry apart from its peers and it has sustained its excellence over more than 98 years. The DU-Chemistry faculty asks questions that push the very boundaries of Human Knowledge. Ours is a highly flexible masters and doctoral degree program designed to educate and inspire tomorrow's scientific leaders. Our laboratories are at the center of the student experience. Our dedicated faculty is made up of some of the brightest and most creative scientists, including innovators, pioneers. The faculty members are remarkably productive and empowered to perform at their best. That is why we have an unparalleled concentration of researchers and trainees recognized with top awards. Our faculty members get to know every student one-on-one, helping each to plan and execute a course of study that is just right for them. In addition to mentorship from the faculty advisors, students receive careful and thoughtful guidance. The faculty members listen to the student's needs, and help create a strategy to achieve it. Students design and conduct experiments to yield new knowledge, working across disciplines and benefiting from the knowledge and resources of our research laboratories across broad research areas.
DU Chemistry Department education opens the door to opportunities in academia, biotech, pharma, business, policy and beyond. Our Office of "Career and Professional Development" offers students personal assistance in exploring their options and clarifying their goals, offering a springboard to a rewarding career in science. Our student life extends far beyond the laboratory bench. Our students perform in cultural activities, play sports and volunteer in the community. Scientific and non-scientific speakers fill the University's lecture calendar. Venturing beyond our leafy, serene campus, the students find themselves in the heart of Delhi. Easy access to world-class museums, concerts and theatre provides the artistic balance to scientific pursuit. The DU Chemistry Department is committed to providing professional and personal support that allows our students to take on learning. We offer a generous stipend to the selected meritorious masters students, and full fellowships to all research degree (Ph.D.) students, health benefits for students, and an annual research budget intended to enrich scientific training. On the DU campus, Delhi University Women's Association (DUWA) provides affordable group childcare for the entire community. Our students receive subsidized housing in clean, secure and comfortable University hostels.
Our Science Outreach Program goals to engage students with hands-on, mentored science and to run workshops to provide teachers with the tools they need to instill a passion for science in their students. What is even more fascinating is not just that the University has been successful, but that it has sustained this success over time. The act of creating something truly novel occurs so rarely that it is seldom followed by another such act. Our alumni and their achievements make us proud as their alma mater seeks their support, and we plan to have regular interaction with them.
We are committed to mobilizing Delhi University Chemistry Department's intellectual, human and financial resources to fully realize our promised dreams. We invite you to join us across the University, the nation and the world in our campaign to achieve academic excellence and contribute for the benefit of "MANKIND".
Professor Rita Kakkar
Head of the Department