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Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry

A minimum of 72 credit hours is required for the Ph.D. in chemistry. Students who have received an M.S. degree from another university may petition for transfer of up to 32 credit hours applicable toward the Ph.D. degree. Students must pass the Ph.D. Qualifying Examination in their area of specialization (as determined by the student's thesis advisor) by the end of their fourth semester in the Ph.D. program. Ph.D. qualifying examinations are given in the following areas:

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Polymer Chemistry
  • Physical Chemistry

The comprehensive examination will be taken and passed on each student's research progress and thesis proposal. A student must write a thesis proposal and present a research seminar on his or her thesis progress before the Ph.D. thesis committee. Students must pass the comprehensive exam before the end of their third year. The final phase in the Ph.D. degree program is the successful oral defense of the dissertation and submission of a Ph.D. dissertation approved by the academic advisor and the thesis committee.


Admission Requirements

All degree applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited educational institution, with a minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is required. Applicants with a GPA less than 3.0 may be granted provisional admission.

  • Minimum GRE scores: 310 (quantitative + verbal) and 3.0 (analytical writing)
  • Minimum TOEFL score: 80 -or- Minimum IELTS score: 5.5, for international applicants.

Program Requirements 

Required Courses

Programs of study must include the following core courses:

CHEM 584 Graduate Seminar in Chemistry  
CHEM 684 Graduate Seminar in Chemistry  
CHEM 585 Chemistry Colloquium  (to be taken twice)
CHEM 685 Chemistry Colloquium (to be taken twice)
CHEM 691 Thesis Research  24–36 credits
Electives 18–30 credits


The required coursework includes a minimum of four core courses chosen from the following courses. Each of the four core courses must be chosen from six different chemistry disciplines including analytical chemistry, biochemistry, inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry, physical chemistry, and polymer chemistry.

CHEM 455 Advanced Organic Chemistry or CHEM 530 Organic Reactions and Mechanisms
CHEM 500 Advanced Analytical Chemistry or CHEM 505 Spectroscopic Methods I
CHEM 520 Advanced Inorganic Chemistry or CHEM 521 Structural Inorganic and Solid-State Chemistry
CHEM 550 Quantum Chemistry
CHEM 470 Introduction to Polymer Chemistry or CHEM 535 Polymer Synthesis
BIOL 504 Biochemistry Lectures


Elective courses will be chosen in consultation with the student's adviser. All research for the dissertation must be carried out under the direct supervision of a faculty research adviser. The faculty research adviser also will act as the candidates academic adviser. Students must have passed the written qualifying examination before registering for CHEM 691 Ph.D Thesis Research.