CHED Center of Development

Level III FAAP accreditation (undergraduate program) evaluated by PAASCU

PHP 18M research grants (2015-2017) (equivalent to ~USD360T)


Instituted by SVD priests Fr. Robert Hoeppener and Fr. Edgar Oehler, and bolstered by German chemist Wilhelm Brüll, USC Chem separated from the College of Pharmacy in the early ’50s. Offering a Bachelor of Science major in Chemistry program in 1952, this quickly became a full-fledged Bachelor of Science in Chemistry (B.S. Chem.) program in 1956, obtaining government recognition on June 10, 1957. Five years later in 1962, the department offered a Master of Science in Chemistry (M.S. Chem.), training chemists for academe and a rapidly growing manufacturing industry, as well as preparing graduates for further studies overseas. In 1981, the department transferred from the Downtown Campus to the Oehler Wing of the Arnoldus Science Complex in Talamban Campus. In 2013, the department started to offer a Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry (Ph.D. Chem.) program.

Over the years, USC Chem has received numerous government recognitions and funding, including its designation as a Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Center of Development (COD) in 1998, Center of Excellence (COE) in 2006, and as a COD in 2016. USC Chem is also designated by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) as a Tuklas Lunas Research Center. The Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) also named the department as the country’s top-performing school in 1998 and 2000; USC Chem also had 100% passing rates in the Chemist Licensure Examination in 2010 and 2013.

The USC Water Laboratory, which accepts third-party analysis and samples from the public for a fee, is attached to the Department of Chemistry.

For more information, contact:

The Chair, Department of Chemistry
University of San Carlos
Room EO326, Arnoldus Science Complex
Talamban Campus, Nasipit, Cebu City 6000
Telefax +63 32 344 6715
Trunkline +63 32 230 0100 local 157
Email [email protected]

Program offered

The Department of Chemistry offers two graduate programs (Level II FAAP-accredited through PAASCU evaluation) and one undergraduate program (Level III FAAP-accredited through PAASCU evaluation).

Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry (Ph.D. Chem.)
Master of Science in Chemistry (M.S. Chem.)
Bachelor of Science in Chemistry (B.S. Chem.)

Career tracks

Majority of our graduates of the B.S. Chem. program work in manufacturing industries including food and beverages, carrageenan, packaging, pharmaceuticals, and semiconductors, and tech-related industries in Cebu and elsewhere in the Philippines or even overseas. B.S. Chem. graduates can also work in private or government analytical laboratories, or choose to teach in schools, colleges, and universities. Several of our graduates engage in research in universities, and government or industry laboratories.

Employers of our graduates include:

Food – General Milling Corporation, Universal Robina
Beverages – San Miguel Brewery, Coca Cola
Carrageenan – FMC Marine Colloids, Shemberg, W Hydrocolloids
Packaging – SMC Yamamura, SMC Glass Plant
Pharmaceuticals – IPI, Unilab, Amherst
Semiconductors – Fairchild, Taiyo Yuden
Tech-related – Lexmark
Private analytical laboratories – SGS, USC Water Lab, FAST lab, Technolab
Government laboratories – DOST-RSTC, DOST-ITDI, DENR, DA, DOE, PNP Crime Lab

Research areas

Natural Products Research Group
The Natural Products Research Group (NPRG) screens for bioactivity of plants from terrestrial and marine sources in Cebu province and employs high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and vacuum liquid chromatography (VLC) to separate and purify bioactive compounds. Projects in the NPRG are funded by grants from the Commission on Higher Education Philippine Higher Education Research Network (CHED-PHERNet). The USC Department of Chemistry is also designated by the Department of Science and Technology Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST PCHRD) as a Tuklas Lunas Development Center. For details, contact Patrick John Y. Lim.

Aquatic toxicology
Researches focus on oxidative stress, genotoxicity, and toxicity of Environmental Pollution Agency-priority polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and their derivatives (e.g., NPAHs) to aquatic organisms. Strong collaboration exists with the Faculty of Fisheries, Kagoshima University, Japan. Environmental concentrations of PAHs and NPAHs in road soils, river water, and river sediments have been detected in Metro Cebu and neighboring areas. Studies have been conducted on specific biomarkers in different aquatic organisms that are affected by these persistent organic pollutants. For details, contact Eugene T. Bacolod.

Environmental chemistry
Efforts by Mandaue City geared toward the rehabilitation of Butuanon River are supported by scientific data obtained from years of research into the state of the river. Early baseline studies are now supplemented by the search for remediation strategies using umbrella plants (Ronquillo et al., Kimika 2014, 25(1), 11-26) and guppy fish (Cañete et al.Kimika 2014, 25(1), 27-37). Our research focuses now shifts to the identification of plant species, and possible synergistic effects of fishes, that can remove metal contamination from the river. For details, contact Josephine M. Castañares.

Mercury research
Our published work on the presence of mercury in the environment focused on the Cebu City landfill, where source estimation from a survey conducted by a partner NGO, A2D Project, was verified by empirical assessment of soil, leachate, sediment, and plant samples from the landfill (Buagas et al. Environ. Monit. Assess. 2015, 187(3), 138). Potential sources of mercury include mercurial thermometers and linear and compact fluorescent lamps which may find their way into the landfill, where the soil was found to have the highest mercury levels, although several plants were also found to accumulate mercury. Collaborating with Assoc. Prof. Patricia Anne G. Nazareno (University of the Philippines Cebu), we employed Muntingia calabura Linn. (mansanitas) tree cores and aboveground parts to develop a spatiotemporal profile of mercury contamination over a large portion of Cebu province. For details, contact Patrick John Y. Lim.

Facilities and equipment
laboratory workers


  • Tuklas Lunas Development Center
  • USC Water Laboratory


  • Perkin Elmer FT100 Fourier-Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectrometer
  • Shimadzu DGU-20A High-Performance Liquid Chromatograph (HPLC)
  • Shimadzu AA6300 Atomic Absorption Spectrometer (AAS)
  • Shimadzu UV-1601 UV-visible spectrophotometer
  • Milestone Direct Mercury Analyzer (DMA)-80
  • Milestone Start D microwave digester
  • Gamry Instruments Reference 600 electrochemical instrument
  • Tisch Environmental air pollution monitoring equipment

Student life

The Chemistry Students’ Association (ChemSA) is a co-curricular organization for undergraduate chemistry students, where they hone their leadership and organizational skills.

ChemSA was awarded as one of The Outstanding Carolinian Student Organizations (TOCSO) in 2015 and 2016 and was recently accredited as one of the UNESCO Clubs of the Philippines for 2017.

ChemSA organizes the Chemistry Roadshow which aims to promote chemistry education to grade and high school students through creative experiments and demonstrations that are both entertaining and educational. ChemSA also hosts the annual provincial and regional ChemBlitz, a chemistry examination and laboratory skills competition that serves as the regional qualifier for the Philippine National Chemistry Olympiad.

Chemistry students have their own dedicated ChemSA lounge, where they can study, hold meetings or simply take a break.

Alumni association

Carolinians ALUMNICHEM, Inc. is the SEC-registered alumni organization of USC Chem since 2006. The organization manages three endowment funds, namely the Fr. Edgar Oehler Junior Scholarship, Dr. Wilhelm Brüll Research Fund, and the Moises S. Soriaga Award for Academic Excellence in Chemistry.

Six scholars to date have graduated with support from the Oehler scholarship, while two more are currently enjoying their privileges. Six honor graduates have also received the Soriaga award since its inception in 2007.