He is a writer, dramatist and Professor Emeritus of Chemistry at Stanford University, and is one of the few American scientists to have been awarded the Portuguese National Medal of Science (for the first synthese of a steroid form of oral contraceptive) and the National Medal of Technology. He is a member of the American National Academy of Sciences, of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Royal Society (London) and the Leopoldina (the German National Acadermy of Sciences) as well as other foreign academic bodies. He has also received twenty-six Honoris Causa doctorates (most recently from the University of Porto) and has also been awarded various other honorary titles. He founded the Dejerassi Resident Artists Program (Woodside, California), which has supported residencies and studies for more than 2000 artists in the areas of visual arts, literature, choereography and music.
His literary work (short stories, poems, five novels, nine plays, as well as an autobiography and a book of memoirs) has an overall focus on science. His works of fiction have been translated into seventeen languages. Many of his plays have been broadcast by the BBC World Service, by West German Radio and by National Public Radio in the United States.