The Department of Chemistry was established in 1981 with an intake of 9 students in the Government College, Mangalore. In 1982, the department was shifted to university campus, Mangalagangotri and in 1986 to the present science faculty building. The department started M.Sc. course in Applied Chemistry in the year 1996 and M.Sc. Organic Chemistry course in the year 2007. Presently, the department is running three M.Sc. Courses in Chemistry, Applied Chemistry and Organic Chemistry with a combined intake of about 140 students and a PhD programme in Chemistry. As on today the Department has produced over 1286 M.Sc., 50 M.Phil and 239 Ph.D. graduates. Presently about 70 Research Scholars are working for their Doctoral Degree. The Department has also contributed to science significantly by carrying out research and published over 2492 research papers in peer reviewed national and international journals of reputation and presented about 2000 research articles in national and international Conferences. Mangalore University stands 24th among the top 50 institutes of higher learning in the country with H-index 72 in which major contribution is from chemistry towards the H-index of the University.
The faculty have received several prestigious fellowships and awards in recognition of their research contributions. They include Alexander von Humbolt Research Fellowship of Germany, JSPS Research Fellowship of Japan, Commonwealth Research Fellowship of U.K., Post-Doctoral Research Fellowships from US Research foundations and Korean Federation of Science & Technology, Raman Post-Doctoral fellowship in USA, 'Dr. Kalpana Chawla Young Women Scientist' State Award of Karnataka, 'Best teacher' award of Mangalore University etc.
The faculty members of the department are actively engaged in research in frontier areas of chemistry and in interdisciplinary areas. Research project grants of about Rs. 2 Crores have been sanctioned to the department by UGC, DST, DAE, NPCIL, KSCST, BRNS etc. The department has also entered into MOU with Industries and R&D organizations such as Nuclear Power Corporation of India, Kaiga; Rallis Agrochemical Research Station, Bangalore; and Strides Arcolab, Mangalore.
The department is Supported with UGC- SAP (I Phase- Rs. 37 Lakhs & II Phase- Rs. 75 Lakhs) and DST-FIST (I Phase -Rs. 42 Lakhs) Grants. The Department has conducted 4 international conferences, 10 workshops and several lecture series. The Department has revised / updated M. Sc. course contents 8 times, almost once in every four years and is recently updated in 2016. The students graduating from the department have been recognized for their academic excellence in industries, professional and academic institutions in India and abroad. Several premier chemical industries and R & D centres recruit the students of the department through campus selection. Several students have cleared GATE/SLET/NET examinations. Several alumni of the department have occupied prestigious positions in industries and academic institutions.
The Department has great potential for expansion, particularly because of large scale investment in greater Mangalore on chemical industries like petrochemical company, pharmaceutical and speciality chemical industries, thermal plant, paint and dye industries etc.