Degrees Offered


The Department of Chemistry offers programs leading to the Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees with an emphasis in analytical, inorganic, organic or physical chemistry. Individual programs of study involve an intensive concentration in one of the traditional areas of chemistry or a concentration in a combination of areas.

Both degree programs are research-based, which means that they involve completion and defense of an original research project. In addition to the coursework, the research project comprises the bulk of the effort involved in pursuit of an advanced chemistry degree.

We would be happy to mail you further information about our department and its graduate programs, including a copy of our departmental brochure. If you have any special questions about our department or program that you would like answered, please don’t hesitate to ask. You may contact us directly by phone toll-free at 888-539-8854 (in U.S. & Canada) or 864-656-3095 (outside U.S. & Canada), or by email at

This program will consider applicants for conditional letters of admission (CLA’s) pending successful completion of an approved English as a Second Language (ESL) program. More information can be found on the Conditional Language Admission page.


More information can be found in this graduate handbook.


Program of Study

MS: Master’s students must complete at least 30 semester hours, 24 of which are coursework (typically eight courses) and six of which are research and thesis preparation. Placement examinations and consultations with a faculty advisory committee during the new-student orientation are used to select first-year study courses. Students normally choose a thesis advisor and committee during the first semester and formulate the remaining course program after consulting with them. All degree candidates must present at least one research-based seminar to the department as part of their degree program. Most students also present their work outside of Clemson, for example, at a national or regional meeting of a scientific society, such as the American Chemical Society. The final stage of the graduate degree program involves the writing and defense before the degree committee of a thesis describing the student’s original research project.

PhD: Doctoral students must complete a core sequence of four courses and a selection of other courses relevant to their degree program within the first two years of study. Students must also demonstrate a comprehensive knowledge of their major area by satisfactory performance on a series of written cumulative examinations (in the other areas). All degree candidates must present at least three research-based seminars to the department as part of their degree program, one of which is usually on a literary topic. The final stage of the graduate program involves the writing and defense before the degree committee of a dissertation describing the student's original research project.


The department is housed in the Howard L. Hunter Chemistry Laboratory, which includes more than 50,000 square feet of laboratory space for research and teaching. One of the finest research facilities in the Southeast, this building accommodates about 100 graduate students, postdoctoral scientists and visiting scientists. It includes a satellite chemistry library that houses the field’s most important journals and supplements extensive holdings in the University’s main library. Several chemistry research groups also occupy space in other on- and off-campus buildings.

The department maintains a broad range of multiple-user research instruments. Major research instrumentation holdings include three Fourier-transform NMR spectrometers; X-ray powder, single-crystal and thin-film diffractometers; an electron spin resonance (ESR) spectrometer; gas chromatography/mass spectrometer systems; a thermal analysis system and other state-of-the-art equipment maintained by individual faculty members in support of their research programs or through the department’s research partners.

Clemson University provides a diverse and extensive computing infrastructure supported locally within the chemistry department as well as by the Office of Computer and Network Services and the Division of Computing and Information Technology. Various laboratories in the department have high-speed SGI, Sun and Linux workstations as well as a 28.-processor cluster for parallel computations. PC and Macintosh computers are available in all departmental research labs and in many computer labs around the campus. The College of Engineering and Science has recently installed a 512-processor distributed Beowulf cluster that makes Clemson one of the top supercomputing sites in the Southeast. Clemson also participates in the high-speed Internet 2 and partners with the Center for Advanced Engineering Fibers and Films, which has a state-of-the-art reality laboratory and recently received a $1.3 million grant from the Keck Foundation to create a virtual visualization and design lab.

The Laser Laboratory is managed by Ya-Ping Sun and his research group. The laboratory is equipped with a CW Mode locked Nd: Yag Laser a 20-Hz Q-Switched ND: Yag Laser, and two synchronous pumped Dye Lasers. The laser configuration is capable of conducting pump probe experiments in the nanosecond time-scale region up to the subpicosecond time-scale region.

The Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Resource Center affords easy access to modern high-resolution NMR instruments for students, postdoctoral scientists and faculty members. The primary instrumentation includes three multinuclear high-field spectrometers that are used for routine measurements as well as for advanced one- and two-dimensional NMR experiments in molecular structure determination, molecular dynamics and chemical kinetics and thermodynamics.

Clemson’s Electronic Imaging and Analytical Services (EIAS) group is one of the Southeast’s premier analytical imaging and surface analysis facilities. Area researchers both on- and off-campus can take advantage of a broad range of capabilities, including scanning electron microscopy, transmission electron microscopy and high vacuum surface analysis. The EIAS facility is widely used in a number of areas but particularly in nanomaterial and nanotechnology research, which depend critically on tools that can characterize materials with submicrometer to subnanometer spatial resolution.

The Molecular Structure Center, under the direction of Don Vanderveer, provides the chemistry department with methods of X-ray diffraction analysis, the most reliable and unambiguous means for determining the structure of ordered materials. The center maintains four separate diffractometer systems for performing both powder and single-crystal diffraction experiments. These include two Rigaku diffractometers. One is a sealed tube system equipped with a CCD area detector; the other has a detector that uses a powerful 18-kw rotating anode source. The center also has a conventional four-circle diffractometer with a sealed tubesource. A Scintag 2000 system with a germanium detector and a seven-position automatic sample changer is used for powder diffraction. Data processing and analysis are run on numerous PCs running Microsoft Windows and Red Hat Linux. The center has access to many electronic databases, including Cambridge Structural Database, Inorganic Crystal Data File and Powder Diffraction File.

Our Students

The chemistry department comprises about 25 research faculty and 100 graduate students, including approximately 40 women and 50 international students.


Application Information

An applicant must complete an application form and supply transcripts from the undergraduate program and any prior graduate programs, test scores from the GRE general exam (verbal, quantitative, and analytical), at least two letters of recommendation from people familiar with the student’s background, a completed personal statement form, a completed personal statement form and a completed financial assistance form. International students must also submit a test score for the TOEFL exam. The TSE exam is not required for international students; however, a TSE score above 50 greatly improves the chances of admission. Applications are currently being considered on a rolling admissions basis

The application fee through the Clemson Graduate School can be waived for qualified applicants.  Applicants are encouraged to request a fee waiver before applying.  An official application, with a paid application fee, is required for the application to be given formal consideration.

Required Documents


Chemistry graduate students at Clemson are normally supported by either teaching or research assistantships during the full course of their studies. Students in the first year are normally supported as teaching assistants in undergraduate laboratory sections. Stipends for teaching assistantships are competitive and change frequently. In Fall 2015, the stipend is $22,000 per 12 months. Research assistantships are often available to support students working on funded research projects. Department and University fellowships that can supplement the stipend for well-qualified applicants are also available.


Program Contact(s)

Program Coordinator(s)