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Ph.D. in Chemistry

Steps to the PhD


Students are expected to take a minimum of six 3-credit hour advanced courses ( 500-700 level ), which must be included in the Plan of Study. Courses outside the department may count towards this requirement provided the Research Advisor recommends the course and the course is approved by the GAC. A final grade of B or better is required to have the course count towards satisfying this requirement. Neither seminar courses nor research credit hours count toward this six course requirement. 

  • Courses equivalent to passing a guidance exam  
  • 6 3-credit hour advanced courses ( 500-700 level )        
  • Divisional and departmental seminar [3 hr] 
  • Research credit from 1 to 9 hours, based upon the student's academic status
  • Minimum GPA – 2.75 overall, Ph.D. requires 3.0 in chemistry courses  
Course Descriptions 


An examination system has been devised to provide guidance for the faculty in evaluating the abilities, achievements, and potential of graduate students in the Ph.D. program. Four types of examinations are contained in the overall system and are administered at various stages in the Ph.D. program.    

  • Guidance Exams 

-Analytical, Inorganic, Organic, and Physical 

-3 chances to pass exam (or course) by June 

  • Candidacy Examinations – Written report and oral defense


The purpose of Candidacy Examinations is to test the ability of the student to use basic knowledge in his/her major field of chemistry. These examinations are in two parts: a written research progress report and an oral defense of the progress report. Special areas or combination of areas for examination may be approved for certain students who petition the faculty through the GAC for consideration of special needs or programs. In such cases where approval is granted, an appropriate examination will be arranged.

  • Oral Defense of an Original Research Proposal

The proposition must demonstrate originality and independence on the part of the student. Therefore, the proposition should contain original contributions from the student. This presentation will be presented in the appropriate CHEM 796 section and can be attended by anyone in the department. 
The proposal must be successfully completed before the end of the fourth year in residence. A written proposal must be provided to the student’s GRC and faculty associated with the appropriate CHEM 796 section 4 weeks before he/she is scheduled to present.
  • Final Dissertation Examination

After the Ph.D. dissertation has been prepared, a preliminary copy must be submitted to the student's GRC at least 2 weeks prior to the Final Dissertation Examination. This examination will include a defense of the results and conclusions through an oral presentation which is open to the public.

The graduate research committee includes the advisor and four additional faculty. One of the faculty members must be from outside the chemistry department.


The major emphasis of the Ph.D. program is on research. The Ph.D. program culminates in the preparation and defense of the Ph.D. dissertation before the student’s graduate research committee.  
  • Select a research advisor and a Graduate Research Committee 
  • Complete an original research project 
  • Publish and present the results 
  • Write a comprehensive dissertation or thesis that documents the project and present and defend it to committee


Application requirements

Updated 01/04/2018