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Ph.D. in Chemistry

Admission Requirements

Ph.D. in Chemistry

The Chemistry program admits students directly to the doctoral degree. Admitted students may transition to the MS in Chemistry during their studies. In addition to WVU’s  general admission requirements, applicants for graduate studies in chemistry must have a bachelor’s degree with an overall GPA of 3.0 as a minimum requirement. Applicants must have a major or concentration in chemistry and an appropriate background in physics and mathematics. 

Applicants should submit all required materials. This includes three letters of recommendation from professional or academic references who can comment directly on your skills and experience. Applicants must submit a current curriculum vitae or resume that lists work experience, volunteer activities, internships, academic degrees and honors and other accomplishments you feel the admissions committee should take into account. A statement of purpose must be included. The statement of purpose should discuss specific examples of your ability to write effectively, analyze complex situations, and complete quantitative analyses. The following topics should be included in your statement: why a career in chemistry, what you hope to gain from the doctoral program, why WVU offers you the best opportunity for achieving your future professional goals, and which faculty members and/or research areas you wish to pursue. Information regarding faculty and their research interests can be found  here.  GRE scores are not required for admission. All applicants will be considered for financial support in the form of graduate teaching assistantships (GTAs) and Graduate Research Assistantships (GRAs). 

List of Admission Requirements: 

  • See the steps to apply for admissions and access the application  here
  • Three letters of recommendation from professional or academic references
  • Curriculum Vitae or Resume 
  • Statement of purpose
International Applicants:
  • See the steps to apply for admissions and access the application  here
  • International applications should view additional requirements  here and  here
  • Language proficiency is required in order to hold a graduate teaching assistantship. See  here.
Application Deadline:
  • The Chemistry program admits students for the Fall semester only
  • The priority review deadline for all application materials for fall admission is January 1st
  • Applicants are typically notified of the committee’s decision on or before February 1st
  • Completed applications for admission may be considered after the January 1st  deadline on a space-available basis
  • Exceptional applicants may be nominated by the Chemistry program for competitive University Fellowships. Qualified applicants will be notified if they are nominated. More information on WVU fellowships can be found  here.

For further information, please contact: Director of Graduate Studies,

Certain application requirements may be waived based on a preliminary review of an application by the program.

Major Code: 1439

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

Updated 10/22/2021