Wiess School of Natural Sciences
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Biochemistry & Cell Biology
Earth Science
Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
Physics & Astronomy

Departments in the School of Natural Sciences


In July, 2014, the departments of Biochemistry & Cell Biology (BCB) and Ecology & Evolutionary Biology (EEB) merged to form BioSciences at Rice. Biosciences faculty members are investigating some of the most important questions on the fundamental properties of living organisms and impacts on the future quality of life on earth. Their research expertise covers a diverse range, including animal behavior, biochemistry, biophysics and structural biology, cancer biology, cell and developmental biology, computational biology, conservation biology, ecology, evolution, genetics, microbiology, neurobiology, plant biology, signal transduction, and synthetic and systems biology.

Chemistry at Rice is where innovation meets collaboration. Two Nobel laureates, dominance in the field of nanoscale science and technology, and significant contributions to both bioscience and materials science have propelled Rice University’s Department of Chemistry to unparalleled status over the past two decades. Chemistry is central to many modern scientific disciplines—biochemistry, materials, multiple areas of engineering—and is a leading department within Natural Sciences in its level of research support.


Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences
Earth Science has 18 professors and a similar number of adjunct professors from the local energy industry and space science community. Department focus areas include the structure and evolution of the continental lithosphere (Earth Structure and Dynamics), the past and present evolution of the Earth's climate, surface, and environment (Earth System Science), and the physics and chemistry of fluid flow and rock-fluid interactions (Environment and Energy Resources).


Kinesiology is committed to health promotion, disease prevention, and training in the sciences of health and human movement. Faculty strive for excellence in providing a professional education in the classroom, industry opportunities in the form of internships with cutting-edge organizations, and opportunities to pursue graduate professional degrees. This is accomplished through appropriate knowledge concerning the practice and application of the health science and sports medicine curriculums.


Mathematics has been central to Rice’s teaching and research missions since its founding in 1912. Mathematics majors contribute in a wide range of fields, including scientific research, technology, law and medicine, teaching, business and national security. Rice mathematics faculty are known for their research expertise in the areas of algebraic geometry and number theory, ergodic theory and dynamical systems, geometric analysis and differential geometry, harmonic analysis and partial differential equation, mathematical physics, and topology and geometric group theory.

PHYAPhysics and Astronomy
Students and faculty in Physics and Astronomy study the fundamental laws and organizing principles underlying the structure of the natural world. This pursuit plays out across all length and energy scales, from elementary particles to the universe, and from ultracold atomic gases to the Big Bang. Students learn about the basic building blocks of matter and how individual particles interact to determine the behavior of complex systems found in condensed matter and biology.