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Degree Requirements

Chemistry Ph.D. Requirements

For full Ph.D. requirements, see our graduate program handbook.

The chemistry Ph.D. program is designed to emphasize the importance of research and advanced critical thinking in graduate study with an overall objective of enabling each student to carry out and defend an independent, successful research project at the Ph.D. level.

To accomplish this objective, students must:

  • Advance their broad understanding of chemical knowledge;
  • Master the subject material relevant to their field of study;
  • Complete a successful Ph.D. research dissertation; and
  • Advance their communication skills, particularly in regard to effective communication of chemical knowledge and the defense proposed.

Close interaction between graduate students and their research directors is critically important in designing and completing an appropriate program of study and a successful research project. Coursework and research programs undertaken by students will be individually tailored for students in consultation initially with a faculty advising committee and subsequently with their research director. The student’s research director, faculty committees, and the director of graduate studies will regularly monitor student progress in all areas of graduate study, particularly research performance.

Chemistry Ph.D. Program Timeline

First Year

  • Participate in orientation and teaching assistant training.
  • Enroll in Chem 6901: Introduction to Research and complete three research group rotations by the end of the fall semester.
  • Enroll in the Chem 6900: Professional Development course offered in fall and spring.
  • After completing the research rotations, submit the names of three potential dissertation research faculty advisers.
  • Join a research group by January and begin research as soon as possible. 
  • Complete at least five academic quality-point courses of the course program in addition to Chem 5130, Chem 6900, and Chem 6901 by the end of the first year.
  • Attend the departmental and graduate student seminar series.

Second Year

  • Continue research at an accelerated pace.
  • Complete course program of 24 quality hours.
  • Select members of student Academic and Research Monitoring (ARM) Committee in consultation with your research advisers and complete the Preliminary Examination requirement by October 31.
  • Attend the departmental and graduate student seminar series.

Third Year

  • Continue research as a major effort.
  • Present a public seminar based on your research project as part of the graduate student seminar series. Attend the departmental and graduate student seminar series.
  • Select additional members of student ARM Committee in consultation with research director and complete the Ph.D. Qualifying Examination requirement by March 15.

Fourth and Subsequent Years Until Completion of the Degree Requirements

  • Attend the departmental and graduate student seminar series.
  • Present and defend an independent research proposal coupled with an ARM Committee Review at least six months prior to the final defense.
  • Write a dissertation and complete a public final defense of the dissertation before the student’s Ph.D. committee (final year).

The above timeline is based on student admission in the fall semester. To minimize scheduling conflicts, students may be requested to conform to staggered deadlines for date-specific requirements.

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