Chemistry: Chemistry Education (Ph.D.)

Chemistry: Chemistry Education (Ph.D.)

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Why pursue a Ph.D. in chemistry education at UNH?

Our purpose is to prepare professionals who will change the field of teaching and learning in chemistry.This requires developing a deep knowledge of chemistry, fluency with the literature and methods of education,and skill with research tools from the cognitive and social sciences. You will be prepared for careers involving college-level chemistry teaching, STEM curriculum design, student assessment and STEM professional development. You will conduct original research leading to submission of a dissertation, and develop strong written and oral communication skills necessary for advanced work in education, research and academia.

Program highlights

UNH has one of the early national Ph.D. programs in chemistry education. You will engage with the program like all other chemistry graduate students—taking a small set of core advanced chemistry courses and participating in master’s-level chemistry research. Some students may enter the program with a master’s degree, courses, and research experience already in hand. Within the first year, you will begin to participate in chemistry education group meetings and to plan your pathway for study of human cognition, qualitative research methods, and quantitative statistical methods. Your research could involve interviews to understand how a few students conceive of molecules or solve chemistry problems. Or you might design and test a new learning approach within a chemistry course of hundreds. There is a variety of interesting research questions in this relatively new field of study. Financial support is typically available through teaching assistantships.

Potential career areas

  • Chemistry professor
  • College laboratory coordinator
  • Curriculum designer
  • Educational program assessment coordinator
  • Teaching and learning center professional development provider

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Curriculum & Requirements

The Ph.D. Option in Chemistry Education is designed for students who plan a career at the interface of Science and Education (e.g. discipline-based education research, educational program assessment, STEM curricular design, chemistry teaching, etc.). The rigorous program involves coursework in Chemistry, Psychology and Education and original research in Chemistry Education, leading to the submission of a dissertation. Students with a research-based MS (or equivalent) will be admitted directly to the program. Students with a BS (or equivalent) will first obtain an MS degree, carrying out original laboratory-based research with a faculty mentor, and submitting a thesis. The program has a focus on developing strong writing and oral communication skills. Financial support is typically available through a teaching assistantship.

Ph.D. Option in Chemistry Education

  • Demonstration of a broad understanding of undergraduate chemistry by passing a series of basic examinations or satisfactory performance in approved courses.
  • Demonstration of chemistry laboratory research proficiency by completing a thesis-based M.S. (or equivalent) either at UNH or another university.
  • Satisfactory performance in a series of courses in science education, cognition, and qualitative/quantitative research methods.
  • 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.
  • GPA of 3.0 or higher required to graduate.
  • Please contact the department for additional information on this option.

Faculty Research Advisor and Dissertation Committee

Students select a research advisor 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 the Faculty Research Advisor. In the second year of residence and before the Research Progress Report, a dissertation committee is selected. This committee evaluates the student's Research Progress Report and the Research Proposal Defense. Once the Research Proposal Defense has been passed and the student advances to candidacy, a fifth committee member is selected and added to the Dissertation Committee to evaluate the Dissertation Defense.

Required department courses
CHEM 802Critical and Creative Thinking for Chemists1
CHEM 992Graduate Writing Portfolio1
CHEM 997Seminar1
3 Chemistry CORE courses in a sub-discipline recommended by research advisor or MS degree
Quantitative Stats
Choose 1 course from:
PSYC 705Tests and Measurement4
PSYC 805Research Methodology and Statistics I4
PSYC 806Research Methodology and Statistics II4
PSYC 907Research Methods and Statistics III4
EDUC 981Quantitative Inquiry: Methods and Techniques of Educational Research4
MATH 835Statistical Methods for Research3
MATH 839Applied Regression Analysis3
Quantitative Stats
Choose 2 courses from:
SOC #894Evaluation Research4
EDUC 982Qualitative Fieldwork & Data Analysis4
Cognition
Choose 1 course from:
PSYC 783Cognitive Development4
PSYC 710Visual Perception4
PSYC 712Psychology of Language4
PSYC 731Brain and Behavior4
PSYC 914Advanced Seminar in Cognition4
PSYC #917Advanced Seminar in Sensory and Perceptual Processes4

All graduates will be able to:

  • Comprehend, plan and conduct advanced research under the guidance of a research advisor while developing their intellectual independence that demonstrates scholarship.
  • Develop the ability to design and conduct experiments safely, as well as to analyze and interpret data.
  • Develop and demonstrate oral and written communication skills to enable effective communication in all aspects of their professional career. This would include presentations, developing papers for published works and grant writing.
  • Develop and apply theories, methodologies, and knowledge to address questions and resolve problems in the field of chemistry and in associated interdisciplinary projects.
  • Develop the capacity of function and work effectively alone and in a team environment.
  • Develop professional and ethic responsibility and follow this throughout their careers in the field or in academia.
  • Investigate research ideas related to the content, context, and human experience of chemistry learning.
  • Understand and implement research methodologies from education, psychology, and sociology.

Deadlines

Applications must be completed by the following deadlines in order to be reviewed for admission:

  • Fall: Feb. 15 (for funding); April 1 (final)
  • Spring: Dec. 1
  • Summer: N/A
  • Special: N/A

Application fee: $65

Campus: Durham

New England Regional: No

Accelerated Masters Eligible: No

New Hampshire Residents

Students claiming in-state residency must also submit a Proof of Residence form. This form is not required to complete your application, but you will need to submit it after you are offered admission or you will not be able to register for classes.

Transcripts

If you attended UNH after September 1, 1991, and have indicated so on your online application, we will retrieve your transcript internally; this includes UNH-Durham, UNH-Manchester and UNH Non-Degree work. 

If you did not attend UNH, or attended prior to September 1, 1991, then you must request one official transcript be sent directly to our office from the Registrar's Office of each college/university attended. International transcripts must be translated into English. We accept transcripts both electronically and in hard copy:

  • Electronic Transcripts: Please have your institution send the transcript directly to grad.school@unh.edu. Please note that we can only accept copies sent directly from the institution.
  • Paper Transcripts: Please send hard copies of transcripts to: UNH Graduate School, Thompson Hall- 105 Main Street, Durham, NH 03824. You may request transcripts be sent to us directly from the institution or you may send them yourself as long as they remain sealed in the original university envelope.

Transcripts are required for any school you earned a degree from, attended for at least one year, or attended for 2 or more semesters. Exceptions to this rule may be approved at the discretion of the program you are applying to and the UNH Graduate School Admission’s office.

Letters of recommendation: 3 required

Recommendation letters submitted by relatives or friends, as well as letters older than one year, will not be accepted.

Personal Statement

Prepare a brief but carefully crafted statement that includes: 1) Research experience. State the goals of your previous research and accomplishments to date. Including a list of publications, presentations, and awards within the Experience and Background section of the application is encouraged; however, please do not send actual publications or presentations. 2) Clear reasons why you wish to perform graduate work in chemistry education research. Include your immediate and long-range objectives. 3) Those UNH Chemistry faculty whose research interests you and why. If you do no yet hold a research-based M.S. degree, be sure to include those faculty whose laboratory-based research interests you. 4) Additional information that will enhance the selection committee’s understanding of your personal background and life experiences, including educational (e.g. teaching and leadership experience), cultural, familial, or other opportunities or challenges.

Statements must be included with your submitted application.

Important Notes

All applicants are encouraged to contact programs directly to discuss program specific application questions.

International Applicants

The University of New Hampshire recommends that international applicants who are living outside of the United States, and are planning on pursuing a research based degree, submit a preapplication form before submitting a full application. Your preapplication request will be carefully reviewed and a decision usually provided within 3 weeks. If your preapplication is approved then it is recommended you then submit a full application. If you are currently living in the United States (on a H1B visa, etc.), or you plan on pursuing a professional master’s degree, then you do not need to submit a preapplication.

Prospective international students are required to submit TOEFL, IELTS, or equivalent examination scores. English Language Exams may be waived if English is your first language. If you wish to request a waiver, then please visit our Test Scores webpage for more information.

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