Degree Programs | Department of Chemistry

Degree Programs

Ph.D. Degree in Chemistry

The Ph.D. degree emphasizes independent research in an area of chemistry and equips you with a solid understanding of the fundamentals of chemistry related to that area at a professional level. Collaborations and interdisciplinary research projects are a growing feature of our program.

PhD Degree Plan:

  • 42 hours of graduate credit beyond the Masters degree
  • 72 hours of graduate credit beyond the Bachelors degree


In your first year as a graduate student, you must demonstrate proficiency in three out of five areas: analytical, inorganic, organic, chemical biology and physical. You may satisfy the proficiency requirements by either passing the ACS exam or passing the proficiency course. These courses will not count towards the credit hours needed for graduation. One area must be Physical Chemistry and one must be your area of specialization.

BIOC 5540 - Chemical Biology Proficiency (Offered Fall Only)
CHEM 5200 - Physical Proficiency (Offered Fall only)
CHEM 5560 - Inorganic Proficiency (Offered Fall only)
CHEM 5380 - Organic Proficiency (Offered Spring only)
CHEM 5460 - Analytical Proficiency (Offered Spring only)


CHEM 5390 - Chemical Biology Core (Offered Spring Only)
CHEM 5500 Physical Organic Chemistry (Fall only)
CHEM 5570 Advanced Analytical Chemistry (Fall only)
CHEM 5210 Advanced Physical Chemistry (Spring only)
CHEM 5710 Advanced Inorganic Chemistry (Spring only)


  • A minimum of 18 hours of formal (lecture) courses are required above the proficiency level, which includes a minimum of two Core courses and four additional advanced or special topics courses. Up to two of the advanced courses may be the third or fourth Core course. Up to two of the six advanced courses may be in another department if the student's Ph.D. advisor and advisory committee approve.

CHEM 5010 Introduction to Graduate Teaching & Research (Fall only)
CHEM 5940 Seminar in Current Chemistry
CHEM 6010 Seminar for Doctoral Candidates (Qualifying sequence)
CHEM 6940 Individual Research - varies according to degree
CHEM 6950 Dissertation

Ph.D. Dissertations must be of scientific significance and suitable for publication in refereed scientific journals. A final oral examination is required which will be primarily a defense of the thesis or dissertation. For a Ph.D. candidate, it is required that at least one paper will have been accepted in a refereed journal by the time of the oral defense.

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