Ph.D. Program

An advanced degree represents demonstrated scholarship as well as intellectual independence and stands as a symbol of continuing development. The Graduate Program in Chemistry will provide a platform from which one may build expertise and continue a life-long process of inquiry and growth. It is not the intention of this program to provide detailed training in every aspect of chemistry or its applications. Rather, it is our goal to provide the fundamentals for a much-expanded personal development, provide the environment where intellectually active people may thrive, and provide the facilities to conduct research to learn new chemistry. The faculty provides a number of aids in this process of preparation including graduate courses, seminars, examinations, and considerable personal assistance and advice. Although the emphasis of graduate education is on student initiative, all programs have several mileposts to assist both the faculty and students.


  1. Successful completion of 18 hours of graded research relevant coursework (typically six courses) and the CHEM 7010-7031 professional development courses with course grades of B- or better.
  2. Total course credit accumulation of at least 72 hours (that may include hours of research but must include at least 24 graded course hours) with at least a B cumulative average.
  3. Successful completion of the Candidacy Examination.
  4. Presentation of research in the third year poster session.
  5. Completion of a written dissertation that describes the research and presents results suitable for publication in the scientific literature. The dissertation must be approved by a Doctoral Examining Committee comprised of the student’s Advisory Committee and one or more faculty members from outside the Chemistry Department.
  6. Successful oral presentation of the dissertation work in a seminar to faculty and students.
  7. Successful oral defense of the dissertation to the Doctoral Examining Committee

It is expected that these requirements will be satisfied before the end of the student’s fifth year in residence. Extensions to this five-year rule may be granted with approval of the research advisor and the Graduate Studies Committee.

Failure to satisfy these requirements will preclude readmission to the Chemistry Department Doctoral Program. In such cases the student may be eligible for the M.S. or M.A. degree.

2nd Year Candidacy Exam

Students eligible to pursue a Ph.D. degree will take an oral and written examination during their fourth semester in residence to advance to candidacy for this degree. This examination consists of  two parts: (1) description and summary of your current research, and (2) a critique of a journal article.

The primary purpose of the candidacy examination is to discover whether students are able to integrate their training to solve problems that arise in the general course of research efforts. Creative solutions, evidence of general chemical knowledge, and an appreciation of alternative approaches to experimental and theoretical difficulties are important aspects of a successful examination.

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