Stucky received his Doctor of Philosophy in physical chemistry from Iowa State University (Advisor: R East Rundle) in 1962. In 1962-1963, he was a postdoctoral associate in the Department of Physics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Professor Clifford G Shull). His independent academic career started in 1964, when he was a professor of inorganic chemistry at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
In 1972, he was promoted to full professor at UIUC but left in 1980 to work at Sandia National Laboratory and the DuPont Central Research and Development.
He joined the faculty of the University of California, Santa Barbara, in 1986, where he is now the East. Khashoggi Industries, Limited Liability Company Professor in Letters and Science, professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry (College of Letters and Science), professor in the Materials Department (College of Engineering), and a member of the Interdepartmental Program in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.