Why study Chemistry

Why Chemistry at the University of Ottawa?

Competitive Stipends

Graduate students are paid while they work toward their graduate degree through scholarships, stipends and/or teaching and we guarantee minimum stipend of $21 000/year.  Our department offers stipends and scholarships that are very competitive with other Canadian universities. Even if you don’t hold external scholarships such as those from NSERC, our department offers all full time graduate students with an admission average of 8.0/10 (A-) or higher with an Admission Scholarship valued at $7,500/year at the M.Sc. level and $9,000/year at the Ph.D. level. Admission scholarships last up to two years for M.Sc. students and four years for Ph.D. students.

Click here for all of the financial details.

Research Excellence

The University of Ottawa ranks fifth in research intensity among Canada’s top 50 universities. Our department is one of the most research intensive chemistry departments in Canada per capita, and has an exceptionally strong track record for innovation and faculty awards:

  • The uOttawa Chemistry department ranks in the top three Chemistry departments in Canada in terms of quality of research publications, according to the 2010 Academic Ranking of World Universities. Our depart was one of three Canadian Chemistry departments to rank in the 100 in the world overall.
  • Since it was introduced in 2000, two of our researchers (Alper and Scaiano) have won the annual Gerhard Herzberg Canada Gold Medal, which is Canada’s top honour in all of Science and Engineering. uOttawa researchers have won three of these prizes since 2000.
  • Our Professors have won the most prestigious prize in the province awarded to new Faculty, the John C. Polanyi Prize in Chemistry.  Our new faculty have won the award on 7 occasions (Scott, Fogg, Barriault, Fagnou, Goto and Bryce and Pratt), , more than any other chemistry department in the province.
  • Our Faculty believe that outstanding research and outstanding teaching go hand in hand. You'll have the opportunity to learn from professors at the top of their fields who are committed to training the next generation of scientists 
World Class Facilities

We have unparalleled research facilities, instruments and technical staff, dedicated to helping advance your research and your knowledge base. Highlights include:

High-Throughput Facility

The High-Throughput Facility, part of the University's Centre for Catalysis Research and Innovation, was a world first in academia. Equipped with instrumentation specifically designed to conduct high-throughput experiments, the facility enables the acceleration of research through the speedier discovery of significant trends. The presence of a full-time manager ensures that researchers can fully benefit from this outstanding resource.

Anna working in the Symyx high throughput catalyst discovery facility in the Center for Catalysis Research and Innovation

Anna working in the Symyx high throughput catalyst discovery facility in the Center for Catalysis Research and Innovation

NMR Facility

We have one of the best NMR facilities in the country, run by a full-time Manager who is one of its core assets. The NMR manager and his technician can help you apply the newest NMR experiments, or simply help you quickly perform routine experiments. The University of Ottawa also manages the National Ultrahigh-Field NMR Facility for Solids, which houses Canada’s only 900 MHz spectrometer (www.nmr900.ca).

NMR Facility

Melanie, working with our materials characterization facilities manager, Dr. Liu.

Materials Characterization

Through the Centre for Catalysis Research and Innovation, the department has access to a number of cutting edge materials characterization tools:

  • XPS/Auger/ISS/SIMS
  • Field Emission Scanning Electron Microscrope (JEOL 7500)
  • Transmission Electron Microscope – TEM (JEOL 2100F)
  • Atomic Force Microscope

We also have a full time manager for these tools to help you learn and apply the techniques effectively.  Through the Physics and Biology departments, to which a number of our Faculty are cross-appointed, you will also have access to the most advanced tools for imaging biomaterials.

Computational Chemistry

The department houses a 400 CPU high performance computer cluster dedicated to computational chemistry.  We also have a full time staff computational chemist to support and expand your research project with the most advanced computer simulations.

Ottawa-Carleton Chemistry Institute

Carleton University is the other major university in Ottawa and our graduate program is affiliated with Carleton University’s chemistry program.  The Chemistry departments at the University of Ottawa and Carleton University share graduate courses, thereby offering students from either University a wider choice of graduate courses. uOttawa graduate students have access to equipment at the Carleton Chemistry department and can use the library resources at Carleton.

French or English

The University of Ottawa is North America’s largest (French/English) bilingual university.  You don’t have to be bilingual to pursue your graduate studies here, but the University provides many opportunities, from formal to informal, to help you learn or improve your French or English.  Undergraduate courses are taught in French and English, so you can TA in either language.

Live in Ottawa!

Ottawa is Canada’s capital with a wealth of opportunities for cultural and social exchange.  Our beautiful downtown campus is located minutes from Parliament Hill, the National Arts Centre, the National Gallery of Canada, the Canadian Museum of Civilization, and the bustle, cafés, and nightlife of the Byward Market.

Summer or winter, Ottawa is the home of numerous festivals and concerts that enrich life outside the lab.  Many of them are held within a 15 minute walk from the University.  Just to name a few:

  • Ottawa Blues Fest
  • Canada Day – Ottawa has Canada’s biggest and best Canada Day party.
  • Ottawa International Jazz Festival
  • Orchestras in the Park – free concerts presented by the National Arts Centre Orchestra.
  • Winterlude – one of the biggest winter festivals in Canada.
  • Festival franco-ontarien
  • Ottawa Fringe Festival

While the uOttawa offers the rich cultural experience of downtown living, the campus is only a 15 minute drive to Gatineau Park, a spectacular federal park famous for its lakes and forest trails. 

There are several small downhill ski centres within a half-hour drive from the university.  Mont Tremblant, ranked the number 1 ski destination in eastern North America for several years running, is less than 2 hours away.

Map of downtown Ottawa showing the University

Map of downtown Ottawa showing the University 

The Rideau Canal

The Rideau Canal is one of only 6 United Nations Cultural World Heritage sites in Canada and it is only a 2 minute walk from the Chemistry building.  Students, postdocs, and faculty are found skating on the canal in winter, and jogging along it in summer.

Careers for recent graduates in Chemistry

Students with a degree in chemistry play a major role in a variety of leading-edge research projects in a multidisciplinary environment. They work in areas such as biotechnology, energy management, and nanotechnology.

You can also visit the SASS Career Center for more information: What can I do with my studies in Chemistry?

Graduate Studies

Graduate studies are another option. Students with a BSc in physics can enter graduate programs in all areas of chemistry.


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