Ph.D. in Chemistry
- Competency Examinations
- Financial Support (Teaching Assistantships)
- Graduate Courses & Resources
- Program Mission and Learning Objectives
Program code: PH3311
The department’s mission is to provide a quality education to graduate students while they pursue state-of-the-art research in chemistry. The objective of the graduate program is to educate and train students to become highly effective scientists by providing them with the interdisciplinary tools, research skills and ethical and service sensibilities needed to succeed in their future career. This includes offering a variety of rigorous graduate level courses, maintaining cutting-edge research programs within individual laboratories and compliance with the Code for Professional Ethical Conduct espoused by the American Chemical Society.
Candidates for a Ph. D. degree in Chemistry must demonstrate the ability to plan, execute, evaluate, and communicate original chemical research. The graduate program spans all five traditional disciplines of chemistry (Analytical, Biochemistry, Inorganic, Organic and Physical). Within these five areas the department boasts particular research strengths in chemometrics, forensic chemistry, mass spectrometry, medicinal chemistry, supramolecular chemistry, materials chemistry, nanoscience and nanomedicine, nucleic acid research, protein and glycoprotein engineering, and spectroscopy.
This is a full-time program. Normative time to completion is five academic years, in line with national average as reported by the American Chemical Society.
Graduates with a Ph.D. in chemistry typically pursue academic careers (typically following post-doctoral appointments) and R&D positions in chemical and pharmaceutical companies.
The requirements for a Ph.D. in chemistry consist of a combination of coursework, seminars, research proposals, and original research. Each student will be required to pass three classes (12 credits) in three different chemistry divisions (organic, inorganic, physical, analytical and biochemistry), and pass two classes (8 credits) within their major area of research. A grade of B or better must be obtained in each course attempted. Courses are selected with the assistance of a faculty adviser. Ph.D. candidates must submit and orally defend a dissertation research proposal to their dissertation committee no later than the first semester of their third year of study.
Students select a research adviser at the end of their first semester of study after rotations in several laboratories. Intensive research generally begins in the spring of the first year. The Ph.D. program culminates in the preparation of a research dissertation and a final oral examination.
- A minimum of 90 semester hours in chemistry and approved electives.
- Attendance at a seminar course each semester.
- A qualifying exam must be passed for candidacy. This consists of a written research proposal and an oral defense of the proposal.
- A written dissertation describing the results of the student's research.
- Students must present their dissertation orally at a public meeting followed by an oral defense held before the student's dissertation committee.
- The average period of study is five years.
The following minimum requirements must be satisfied to graduate.
- Complete 90 semester hours in Chemistry and approved electives.
- Demonstrate breadth of knowledge competency by passing at a level of B or higher one 5000-level course in three of these five areas of chemistry: Analytical, Inorganic, Organic, Physical and Biochemistry. One of the three courses must be in the student’s major area, and the other two must be in the other areas. Breadth of knowledge competency must be met during the first year of graduate studies.
- Demonstrate depth of knowledge competency by passing two classes at the 7000-level in the student’s major area of research. A grade of B or better must be obtained in each course attempted.
- Attend each semester the weekly departmental colloquium series.
- Take the graduate seminar course each semester (CHEM 8960, 8970, 8980 or 8990 depending on the student’s research area).
- Participate in the Advanced Seminar in Research Development and Leadership course each semester (CHEM 8900 or equivalent).
- Register to the Doctoral Research and Dissertation course (CHEM 8950) any semester during which research facilities and/or resources are being used. There is no limit on the number of dissertation hours that can be counted toward the 90-hour requirement.
- Take the Chemistry Teaching Assistant Training class (CHEM 5100) during the first semester of graduate studies.
- Take the Graduate Chemistry Research Training class (CHEM 5710) during the first semester of graduate studies.
- Submit and orally defend a dissertation research proposal to a dissertation committee no later than during the fifth semester of study, excluding summers.
- Submit and orally defend a written dissertation to a dissertation committee. The defense is open to the public.
- The student’s graduate advisor and dissertation committee determine the specific requirements for each student within the above framework.
Culminating Experience: All students will write a dissertation that presents the student’s research.
All graduate students new to the Chemistry & Biochemistry Department will be required to take competency examinations in analytical, biochemistry, inorganic, organic, and physical chemistry. The exams will be taken from the current American Chemical Society exam sequence, unless a division decides to generate and grade its own exam. All who score in the 50th percentile or greater on a standardized examination demonstrate competence in that area. Each student must pass a total of three (3) out of five (5) competency exams taken including one in the area chosen as the student's major during the first year of graduate study. The exams will be offered twice during the year in August and January. Alternately, competency can be demonstrated by passing at a level of B or better one 5000 level course in three of the five areas (analytical, biochemistry, inorganic, organic, and physical). One of the three courses can be in the student's major area but the other two must be outside of the student's major area and must be in the other areas of chemistry and biochemistry. General/review courses will be offered each fall at the 5000 level in each research area of chemistry and biochemistry. Students failing to meet the competency requirement during their first year of graduate study may lose their financial support until competency is demonstrated or may be removed from the program at the discretion of the Graduate Committee.
The department's mission is to provide a quality education to graduate students while they pursue state-of-the-art research in chemistry. The objective of the graduate program is to educate and train students to become highly effective scientists by providing them with the interdisciplinary tools, research skills and ethical and service sensibilities needed to succeed in their future careers. This includes offering a variety of rigorous graduate level courses, maintaining cutting-edge research programs within individual laboratories, and compliance with the Code for Professional Ethical Conduct espoused by the American Chemical Society.
Program Learning Objectives
- To demonstrate a broad understanding of chemical concepts and an in-depth understanding of a selected topic in chemistry.
- To demonstrate competence in identifying a significant scientific problem and solving that problem through creative scientific experimentation, data analysis, and evaluation.
- To effectively communicate, both verbally and in writing, scientific concepts and outcomes.
- To work effectively both as an individual and as a collaborative team member.