Department of Cat-Mistry

Cats. Chemistry. Cat-Mistry.

A fluffy cat looks into the camera. It is cast partly in shadow-very dramatic.

The cat is out of the bag.

Today, we are announcing a bold new direction for the Emory University Department of Chemistry. Henceforth, we will be known as the Emory University Department of Cat-Mistry. We will study chemistry entirely and exclusively through the lens of Felis catus, the common house cat.

This new direction just makes sense. We expect to be very successful in grant competitons and to attract the best students in the country to our one-of-a-kind program. Yes, we did consider dogs. But the name wasn't as catchy.
Dr. Stefan Lutz, Department Chair

We're excited about this new journey. Cats have a lot to teach us.


A black cat with a white stomach and chin peeks out from under a table.


A striped tabby with light green eyes looks at the camera knowingly.
I believe that the central dog-ma has a lot to teach us about cats.
Dr. David Lynn
The image shows the "dog-ma" of DNA -> RNA -> protein superimposed over cat cartoons.

Harnessing the power of Darwinian evolution to explore the origins of cats. Where did they come from? Where are they going? And why are they so fluffy?


A dark gray cat lounges on a read blanket, one paw flung over the side.
We've always used lasers in our work. Cats like chasing lasers. It is a logical transition for us. We just need to figure out proper feline PPE.
Dr. Tianquan (Tim) Lian

After many years pioneering advances in green chemistry, we're switching gears to focus entirely on cat-alysis. We're also going to be working on developing environmentally-friendly kitty litter.


An orange cat stands against a black backdrop. He is scratching his chin with his back foot.
People keep saying this is going to be a big change. But I've been herding cats for years.
Dr. Daniel Morton, Managing Director, CCHF

Cat-alysis and novel strategies for total cat-synthesis. The NSF-funded Center for Selective C-H Functionalization will immediately be converted into a kitten nursery. An ancillary service core will focus on pioneering the development of faster, cleaner, cheaper cat toys.


A white cat with a gray face mask and blue eyes stares into the camera. She is posed on a table in front of a colorful vase.
At first, I wasn't sure I wanted to leave astrochemistry to focus on cat-mistry. However, staring into the eyes of my beautiful cat, Star (pictured), really is just as good as exploring the infinite universe.
Dr. Susanna Widicus Weaver

Experiments and calculations designed to get to the heart of the structure, reactivity, and dynamics of cats. With special expertise in the controversial research area: are some cats really like dogs or is that just something cat people say?


A small multi-colored cat looks winningly into the camera.
Why does the internet seem to consist mostly of cats? I don't think it's incidental.
Dr. Francesco Evangelista

In partnership with the Emerson Center for Scientific Computation, we will use advanced quantum and classical computational methods to investigate cats.


A multicolored logo of brightly colored chemistry hexagons with the label "Cat-Mistry Unbound" and a cartoon cat lounging in the foreground.
This is a welcome shift in direction for our majors. Also, why don't cats like shopping online? Because they prefer cat-alogues!
Dr. Jeremy Weaver, Director of Undergraduate Studies

Our exciting reimagining of the undergraduate curriculum, Chemistry Unbound, has received national attention for reframing the student experience.

We expect Cat-Mistry Unbound to make an even bigger splash.

A black cat sits on a curved scratching post and stares meaningfully at the camera.

Undergraduates at Emory will now be immersed in the study of cats. Appropriately, early classes will focus on kittens:

  • When do kittens open their eyes?
  • Why are kittens so adorable?
  • How do kittens conserve energy?
A striped cat stretches across a fluffy blanket as if ready to pounce.

The program of study will progress to more advanced topics:

  • Lions, Tigers (not Bears)
  • Cat-ions
  • Why do cats purr?
A black and white cat sits by the back door asking to go outside...seemingly oblivious to the plastic bag stuck around his waist.

Don't get stuck in a normal chemistry curriculum...or in a plastic bag!

Don't get stuck in a normal chemistry curriculum...or in a plastic bag!

Cat-Mistry Unbound will prepare students for a wide range of cutting-edge, cat-related careers, from cat caretaker, to cat food scientist, to regular chemist who has a very happy pet cat.


A cat hooks its paw around a table leg and stares straight at the camera.
I'm very confident that we are the best cat-mistry graduate program in the country. I'm excited about what we have to offer to our students and to cats.
Dr. Simon Blakey, Director of Graduate Studies

Our already competitive financial support for graduate students is getting even better. In addition to a $31,000 base stipend, 100% tuition waiver, 100% insurance subsidy, and up to $7,500 in non-competitive professional development funding per student, admitted students entering in Fall 2020 will also receive a free cat.

A gray cat stares at the camera with piercing green eyes. He is sitting inside a cardboard cat scratcher.

Free cat. (Note: Actual cat received may vary.)

Free cat. (Note: Actual cat received may vary.)

In addition to research, we require six graduate courses and two semesters of T.A. as part of each student's training. We're a little concerned that our average time-to-degree of 4.9 years might go up as people take more cat naps. But that's a risk we're willing to take.

My Emory experience has taught me to collaborate, innovate, and to never pet cats on their tummy no matter how much they look like they want you to.
Brooke Andrews, Graduate Student (Dyer Group)
A black cat sits to the right side of a table next to a stack of books. An American Chemical Society 2018 banner is being used as the tablecloth.

Conference attendance is an important aspect of professional development. As long as your cat approves.

Conference attendance is an important aspect of professional development. As long as your cat approves.

Our program gives students an opportunity to build their skills in cat husbandry and the design of cat-related research through a series of milestones.

  • Second Year Qualifying Exam
  • Third Year Research Quad Proposals
  • Fourth Year Original Research Proposal
  • Dissertation

We will also accept the submission of original cat memes and cat-related photography in lieu of any of these requirements.

A black and white cat wearing a giant bow-tie decorated in hearts.

An example of appropriate attire for the dissertation defense.

An example of appropriate attire for the dissertation defense.

Applications for entry in Fall 2020 will open in September. We do not require GRE scores. Join our mailing list to receive application information and cat pictures.


To learn more about the Emory University Department of Cat-Mistry, contact Kira Walsh, Communications and Outreach Coordinator.

Cats featured on our website include:

...and the adoptable cats at JavaCats as photographed by Dr. Fred Strobel (Director, Mass Spectrometry Center).

Emory University

Department of Cat-Mistry

Atlanta, GA

A skinny, short haired black cat with big green eyes looks towards the camera. His shoulders are hunched as if he is taking in the situation.