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Ph.D. Program

Bill Pennington in a lab with studentsProgram Description

The Ph.D. degree in chemistry is a research-intensive degree with projects focused on aspects of analytical, inorganic, organic and physical chemistry. Research areas also include chemical biology, polymer chemistry, materials chemistry, chemical physics and other interdisciplinary areas.

Entering Ph.D. students are typically appointed as teaching assistants, with an annual stipend of $27,000. After the first year, many Ph.D. students are supported on research assistantships.  Additional fellowship support that increases this stipend is available for particularly well-qualified applicants. 

Ph.D. students must qualify to pursue the degree by completing a flexible curriculum of coursework designed to demonstrate broad chemical awareness, including a distribution requirement and a focus area requirement.  Coursework is typically completed in the first year or two of the program.

Summary of Degree Requirements

The Ph.D. in Chemistry is not awarded solely on the basis of coursework completed, residence, completion of qualifying examinations, or other routine requirements. The final basis for granting this degree is a student’s grasp of the subject matter, competence in planning and conducting research, and the ability to communicate professionally both orally and in writing. This degree requires a minimum of 30 credits beyond the master’s degree, and at least 60 credits beyond the bachelor’s degree. A minimum of 12 credit hours of non-research coursework and a minimum of 18 hours of dissertation research are required. An advisory committee will aid in developing an individualized curriculum (to be outlined in a Plan of Study) that meets program requirements and provides appropriate training to meet student goals. Once a dissertation has been written and successfully defended, a student’s advisory committee will certify that the student has earned a Ph.D. degree.


Please refer to the Graduate Handbook (PDF) for more detailed information regarding the Ph.D. degree program.  If this information does not answer your questions, please contact us at for more details.