The Doctor of Philosophy degree prepares students for positions in university research and teaching, industrial laboratories, and government agencies. The major emphasis in our doctoral program is research.
Shortly after entering the Ph.D. program, students choose a major area of study such as inorganic, organic, analytical, physical, or biological chemistry, as well as a research advisor. The first two semesters of graduate study are designed to provide students with fundamental knowledge in their general area of research. The average course load for the first year is four to six graduate-level classes depending upon the student’s background. A vigorous seminar program also offers students an opportunity to broaden their scientific knowledge as well as to keep up with new discoveries and advances in their chosen field.
Students also teach undergraduate laboratories during their first year of study. This normally entails teaching two or three laboratory sections, grading exams and laboratory reports, and holding problem sessions or assisting with the help desk in the general or organic programs. Students are provided with extensive training prior to entering the laboratory as a teaching assistant.
In addition to coursework, seminars, and research, students take a series of cumulative exams during their first two years. Sometime during the second and third year of study, students take preliminary written and oral examinations. Students complete their degree requirements with a final oral defense, a departmental seminar, and the writing of a dissertation. Most students take four to five years to obtain their doctoral degree.