Department of Chemistry

Sultan Qaboos University


Historical Overview

1.  Introduction

Sultan Qaboos University is the premier university in the Sultanate of Oman. The University was established in 1986. The history of the Department of Chemistry at Sultan Qaboos University began with the establishment of Sultan Qaboos University. Four departments were initially established in the college of science and the Department of Chemistry had been the major hallmark of the college since its inception.


2.  Infrastructure, Location and Facilities

The Department occupies the second floor of the College of Science building, consists of six laboratories for undergraduate teaching, several small research labs, and one glass-blowing workshop. These laboratories are equipped with wide-ranging facilities including specialized instruments such as 60MHz NMR (Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectrometer), IR (Infra-Red Spectrometer), HPLC (High Performance Liquid Chromatograph), GC/MS (Gas Chromatographs / Mass Spectrometer), flame photometers and UV/Vis (Ultra Violet / Visible)  spectrophotometers and a laser optics lab. Over the years most of these instruments were replaced by state of the art instruments including 400 MHz NMR, GC/MS, CHN analyzer, AAs, CE, CV Voltammetric Analyzer, Bipotentiostat, Rotating Disk Electrode, Low Current Module, etc. In order to accommodate the growth in faculty and students, the College acquired a new building, from which the department of chemistry was given a 60 student laboratory and two research laboratories in 2003.


3.  HODs and Faculties

The development of the Department of Chemistry has been remarkable. During the earlier years, the department had seven faculty members, five technical staff and one coordinator all of them were expatriates. The number of faculty grew from seven to twenty nine including thirteen Omanis. The number of technical staff increased from five to seventeen technicians. The number of undergraduate students increased from eight to 75 students per cohort, and the number of MSc candidates grew from five to ten per cohort. The numbers of research articles   published in the first 10 years were 43 articles.  Salma Al-Kindy the first Omani faculty with a PhD in Analytical Chemistry was appointed in the department in 1989. The first Omani demonstrator appointed in the department was Muna Al-Mandhary who joined in 1987; she was a graduate of the American University in Cairo. The first Omani technical staff to be appointed was Abdalla Al-Hamdi who joined the department in 1986. The first Omani Laboratory Superintendent was Salim Al-Saidi who took over the position from Charles Rowe in 2000.

The first head of the Department of Chemistry was Prof. Ralph Stock. A chronological listing of the head of departments of chemistry since its inception is given in the following table

Chronological listing of the departmental head



Prof. Ralph Stock


Prof. Stan Anderson


Prof. Roger Decock


Prof. John Rutherford


Dr Abdulrahman Abulnoor


Dr Salma Al-Kindy


Dr Mohamed Khan


Dr Muna Al-Mandhary


Prof. Majekodunmi Fatope


Dr Haider Al-Lawati


4.   Education; undergraduate, postgraduate and degree plans:

Throughout its history the Department has maintained a strong undergraduate program.  The department opened its doors to

e students were taught foundation programmes in block of seven weeks. The foundation programmes included

chemistry, biology, physics and earth sciences. The Structure of the degree programme was changed an its first batch of students in 1986.  From 1986 to 1989 the department started teaching courses in organic, inorganic and physical chemistry and in 1990 analytical chemistry specialization was also introduced. The B.Sc. curriculum taught accounted for 162 credit hours. 

Initially the  first batch of chemistry graduates graduated in 1991 and consisted of five students, two males and three females. The department appointed Saleh Al-Busafi its first SQU graduate as a demonstrator in the department in accordance to the university strategy; to appoint its best graduates as demonstrator and send them abroad for further postgraduate training in order to re-join the department as faculty members. Several alumni have now completed their higher degrees and occupy faculty positions.d the total degree requirements were reduced to 135 credits in 1996 when intensive English was introduced as part of the programme in the college of science. 

Figure-1: Number of Chemistry graduate since inception of the Chemistry Department


In the year 2000, the department started to offer M.Sc.programme in chemistry. The initiation of the Master's program was another corner stone in the developmental strategy of the department where many new advanced courses were introduced by the faculty. In addition this programme led to the strengthening of the research output in the department. The first batch of students 

graduating with MSc. in chemistry (five students) from the department was in 2001. At first there were only a few candidates but the numbers has been gradually increasing.

Figure-2: Number of Chemistry postgraduate since inception of the Chemistry Department


Since 2001, the undergraduate curriculum has been reformed so as to place students at the leading edge of inquiry into chemical knowledge while maintaining high standard of teaching. In order to gain research experience, the department introduced compulsory undergraduate research for all final year students for the first time in the college of science. Our faculty members also offer various elective courses in fields of their own specialties such as Forensic Chemistry, Chemical Safety, corrosion and many others. At this time twelve new courses were introduced into the curriculum.

The department worked hard to introduce minor programs into its degree in order to improve job opportunities for the graduates and to cope with the market demand. Minor programs currently offered with our degree include minor in business administration, geology, computer science physics etc.The department continued to expand regularly with an increase in student’s intake by the university. The department has expanded to be the one of the largest in the college with an establishment of 25 faculty, 3 demonstrators, 3 lecturers, 1 research Associate, 18 technical staff, 1 glass blower, and 2 coordinators.


In 2006 a new degree in Applied Chemistry was approved, the students take the same courses as for the regular degree but start taking specialized courses in the fourth year of their programme. The department reserved a quota of 15 students initially for the new degree programme. 

Another landmark in the department is the establishment of the Ph.D. programme in chemistry which was initiated in 2008. The department has currently five doctorate students, two of which are funded by faculty grants, one is externally funded and two are on University Scholarship.

The 1st Chemistry Alumni Congress was held on the 10th April 2008. The Day was a resounding success with over 50 people attending. Staff and Alumni had a welcome opportunity to catch-up with one another and the event allowed the Department to highlight ways in which it can continue to offer services to its Alumni such as consultancies and opportunities for further education.


Figure-2: Number of Ph.D. completed in  the Chemistry Department

5.   Research in the Department of Chemistry

The tradition of excellence in research continues today. At present, the Department has faculty with research interests covering a broad range of topics at the forefront of modern chemistry, including organic synthesis, organometallic chemistry, natural product chemistry, physical chemistry, coordination chemistry, molecular spectroscopy, electrochemistry, microanalysis, chromatography, mass spectrometry, microfluidic, environmental chemistry, biosensors, nanochemistry, and spectroscopy. Research projects carried out by our faculty are funded by internal research funds, His Majesty (HM) trust fund and The Research Council (TRC).  In 2001 the department acquired the first HM funded grant for the college of science on natural product chemistry. Thereafter, it becomes the norm for the department to acquire research grants nearly yearly on various projects of strategic importance to the Sultanate. In 2010, the department acquired major funding from TRC on its project on solid state sensors.


Several of our faculty members have received distinguished local and international recognitions. Some of them have been awarded University Best research Award and Teaching Award. Some of our technical staff and coordinator received the Best Technical and Administrator award in 2010.  Some of our faculty plays active roles in the editorial boards of first-rate international journals. In addition, members from the Department collaborate actively with researchers and scientists national and international as well as with some private enterprises to promote the transfer of the technologies developed in our programs so that our research results can better benefit the country.


6.   Milestones



First Batch Of Chemistry Graduates


The Department Acquired Its First 400 MHz NMR


The Department Started To Offer MSc Programme In Chemistry


First HM Funded Grant For The College Of Science On Natural Product Chemistry


Proposal For The Establishment Of Central Analytical And Research Facility


A New Degree In Applied Chemistry Was Approved


The Department Started To Offer Ph.D. Programme In Chemistry


First Chemistry Alumni Congress


First Ph. D. Graduate


Accreditation of B. Sc. Program (Chemistry) By Canadian Society of Chemistry


First Chemistry Conference


Accreditation of M.Sc. Program (Chemistry) By Royal Society of Chemistry



It gives me a great pleasure to welcome you to the website of the Department of Chemistry at Sultan Qaboos University.  Our academic, technical and administrative staff as well as our students are glad that you are taking time to visit our website to be acquainted with our programs and activities. 

The department of chemistry was establishment in 1986 and since then it has grown considerably as one of the significant pillars of College of Science at the Sultan Qaboos University. Currently, the department of chemistry offers two undergraduate degree programs which includes, bachelors in chemistry and bachelors in applied chemistry. In addition, department of chemistry offers masters and doctoral (PhD) degree programs in chemistry. The undergraduate program is designed to provide the students with a solid background in chemistry and applied chemistry. The students are teaching the understanding of present trends in science needed for the country to improve the quality of workforce and also to prepare graduates ready for higher studies. The concomitant practical approach offered by the department of chemistry for all degree programs is emphasized with the aid of a collection of modern instrumentation.

The Department of Chemistry strives to maintain its standing as a center of excellence for training in chemistry in the region. To implement quality measures and to improve its services, the Canadian Society of Chemistry (CSC) accredited the chemistry undergraduate program for Chemistry in 2014. The department is preparing itself for the second round of accreditation by the CSC in 2019, along with the Applied Chemistry degree. On the other hand, the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) has accredited our master program in chemistry in 2015.

The department is well established in terms of sophisticated instrumentation and human resources with 29 highly qualified faculty members having expertise and experience over a broad range of subject areas. Our faculty is active in research, and have successfully acquired generous internal and external research funds. The department is additionally supported by strong technical team consisting of 18 highly skilled technicians and research associates. Over the past decade, department has been supported by modern instruments, such as single X-ray diffractometer, femtosecond laser system and NMR equipment’s to support teaching and research.

Furthermore, the department has access to instrument and high performance computational facilities run by the College of Science and other several scientific research centers on the university campus. 


Head of Department

Prof. Fakhr Eldin Suliman 



Elsadig A. Eltayeb (HOD)










              Prof.  Fakhr Eldin Suliman (HOD)

Department of Chemistry, 
Sultan Qaboos University, 
PO Box 36, 
Al Khoud 
P.C. 123
Sultanate of Oman
Tel: 968-24142370
Fax: 968-24141469