PhD in Chemistry

The doctoral program in chemistry prepares individuals for teaching and research in academic institutions, and for research in industrial and governmental positions. To be eligible for admission, students need at least a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, or a closely related discipline.

Course Requirements

Post-Bachelor’s Requirements

In order to be eligible to earn a post-bachelor’s PhD, students must accumulate 64 credits:

  • At least 20 credits of academic coursework (five 4-credit courses).
    • Four of these courses must be at or above the 600-level
    • Two courses acceptable for graduate credit in mathematics or natural sciences other than chemistry may be substituted for chemistry courses
  • The remaining credits should be PhD research credits (CH 901/902: PhD Research in Chemistry)

Courses with a grade lower than a B- are not degree-eligible. The student’s major advisor or the Graduate Programs Committee may require that specific non-research courses be taken beyond the requirement. Of the non-research courses, appropriate courses will be determined in consultation with their major advisor, and will be dependent upon the student’s background and interests. Students may petition to be excused from non-research courses on the basis of equivalent courses taken elsewhere.

Post-Master’s Requirements

The requirements for candidates who enter with a master’s degree are as described above, except that the total number of credits required is 32.

Language Requirement

There is no foreign language requirement for this degree.

Qualifying Examinations

All students who wish to be promoted to PhD candidacy must successfully complete an oral qualifying examination by spring of their second academic year. The oral qualifying examination is intended to test background in subject specialty and ability to think critically, independently, and creatively. Each student is required to write a proposal describing his or her dissertation research project, and to defend it in an oral examination administered by members of the student’s Dissertation Advisory Committee. The written proposal should define the background, objectives, significance, and plan of study for the research problem; a bibliography must be included. Recommendations to the department for advancement to PhD candidacy will depend on the results from the oral qualifying examination and on performance in coursework and research.

Dissertation and Final Oral Examination

Candidates shall demonstrate their abilities for independent study in a dissertation representing original research or creative scholarship. A prospectus for the dissertation must be completed and approved by the readers, the director of graduate studies, and the department chair/program director. Candidates must undergo a final oral examination in which they defend their dissertation as valuable contributions to knowledge in their fields and demonstrate a mastery of their fields of specialization in relation to their dissertation. All portions of the dissertation and final oral examination must be completed as outlined in the GRS General Requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy Degree.