Chemistry Ph.D.

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Chemistry Ph.D.

Program Overview

The Ph.D. program prepares students for careers in science as researchers and educators by expanding their knowledge of chemistry while developing their ability for critical analysis, creativity, and independent study. Graduates are well placed for careers as professional chemists in industry, academia, government, and related areas. All students take coursework, carry out original research with a faculty mentor, and submit a dissertation. The program has a focus on developing strong writing and oral communication skills. Financial support is typically available through a teaching assistantship.


Curriculum & Requirements

Ph.D. Degree Requirements

  • Demonstration of a broad understanding of undergraduate chemistry by passing a series of basic examinations or satisfactory performance in approved courses.
  • Satisfactory performance in a path-specific (analytical, inorganic, organic, or physical) series of 3-6 courses.
  • Selection and completion of two courses outside the student's program area. One course must be a 900 level.
  • Attendance at Department seminars and research Lunch Talks.
  • Satisfactory presentation of a Research Progress Report in the second year of residence
  • Present a department seminar on a topic unrelated to dissertation research in the third year of residence.
  • Preparation and oral defense of an original research prospectus in the third year of residence. Successful completion of the research proposal defense enables the student to advance to candidacy.
  • Preparation, public presentation, and oral defense of a written dissertation.
  • Required 3.0 GPA or above to graduate.

THESIS Mentor and Committee

Students select a thesis mentor during the first semester in the program after interviewing at least three faculty members. During each semester thereafter, students conduct independent research under the supervision of this faculty member. In the second year of residence and before the Research Progress Report a committee is selected.  This committee evaluates the student's Research Progress Report, the Research Proposal Defense and the Dissertation Defense.

General Program Requirements
CHEM 800Chemistry Teaching Seminar1
CHEM 802Critical and Creative Thinking for Chemists1
CHEM 992Graduate Writing Portfolio1
CHEM 997Seminar1
CHEM 999Doctoral Research0
Analytical Program Requirements
CHEM 930Advanced Optical Methods3
CHEM 933Chemical Separations3
CHEM 934Chemical Equilibria3
CHEM 935Advanced Analytical Chemistry3
MATH 835Statistical Methods for Research3
Inorganic Porgram Requirements
CHEM 903Advanced Inorganic Chemistry I3
CHEM 904Advanced Inorganic Chemistry II3
CHEM 947Inorganic Biochemistry3
Organic Program Requirements
CHEM 808Spectroscopic Investigations of Organic Molecules3
CHEM 855Advanced Organic Chemistry3
CHEM 902Theoretical Organic Chemistry II3
CHEM 911
Synthetic Organic Chemistry I
CHEM 917Special Topics in Organic Chemistry2-4
CHEM 918Special Topics in Organic Chemistry2-4
Physical Program Requirements
CHEM 905Advanced Physical Chemistry I3
CHEM 925Surface Chemistry3
CHEM 926Physical Chemistry of Condensed Phases3
CHEM 927Chemical Kinetics and Reaction Dynamics3
CHEM 995Colloquium1-4

Explore Program Details

Admission to the Doctor of Philosophy degrees is based upon a strong undergraduate record, which requires satisfactory work in the usual undergraduate courses in analytical, organic, inorganic and physical chemistry. In addition, satisfactory completion of the normal support courses of mathematics and physics are required.

Entering graduate students are expected to take placement examinations in chemistry to assist in starting each new graduate student at the appropriate level. These examinations will be offered during the orientation period of the semester; the dates are to be announced in the departmental graduate calendar.
Students with strong backgrounds in other areas may be accepted as “provisional”, and are expected to complete the normal undergraduate degree requirements in chemistry before entering the graduate program

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