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Degree Programs in Chemistry

Doctor of Philosophy

The PhD is awarded primarily for an original investigation which results in a significant advance in knowledge within an area of chemistry. A firm grasp of the fundamental principles, experimental techniques and current theories of chemistry is also required, and an extensive series of courses and seminars helps keep the student abreast of the latest developments in many fields. Students must demonstrate a breadth of understanding over the many areas of chemistry, a perspective of the relation of chemistry to other fields and expertise in the area chosen for dissertation research. We expect most students to complete their PhD programs in four years.

On the path to degree, the students are guided by their research adviser, as well as a dissertation committee, who follow progress of each student with respect to academic standing and research. Details regarding the courses and sequence of milestones can be found in the graduate handbook.

The most important and rewarding component of the PhD program is thesis research. Each student is expected to complete a significant and original research project, publish peer-reviewed research articles, write a thesis describing the work, and defend the work before a committee of chemistry and non-chemistry faculty members. A list of faculty members can be found in the following link:


Master of Science and Master of Arts

Candidates for the MS degree in chemistry must demonstrate a general knowledge in the field and an ability to do original research in a specialized area of chemistry.

While MS students need not take cumulative examinations, they must complete four courses and one semester of graduate seminar. They must also present and defend a thesis that describes and discusses their research.

MA candidates must complete six graduate courses; a research thesis is not required. Requirements for Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) are determined by the Graduate School of Education; a minimum of 20 credits in graduate-level chemistry courses is required.


Biological Chemistry and Biochemistry Track

The graduate program in biological chemistry and biochemistry is a program for students wishing to specialize in the chemistry of biological systems. Students entering this program take a biochemistry placement examination in lieu of an organic, inorganic or analytical placement examination. Students may count an additional course outside the department toward the minimum six to eight courses necessary for the PhD degree.


Materials Chemistry Track

An interdisciplinary graduate program in materials chemistry has been approved by the faculty. Students may take a materials and solid-state placement examination in lieu of the organic and analytical placement examinations. Relevant cumulative examinations are given, and courses outside the department are required toward the minimum courses necessary for the MS and PhD degrees.

Last Updated: 10/10/18