Advanced Degree Requirements

Ph.D. in Chemistry or Biochemistry 

Year 1

Qualifying Exams

  • Pass 3 qualifying exams with a “full pass” status.  A “full pass” on any given standardized ACS exam is scoring in the 55 percentile or better.   ACS exams are offered in analytical, biochemistry, inorganic, organic and physical chemistry. A non-ACS exam in structural and molecular biology, and microbiology are offered as well.  Qualifying exams are offered 4 times a year (August, November, February, April).

Complete a minimum of 2 rotations and select a research advisor by the second semester. Your research advisor and therefore ultimately chair of your Ph.D. committee must be a tenure track faculty member of the department.  Co-chairs are permitted.  

Take classes. You must have a minimum of 6 (3-credit) classes in which you earn a B or better to remain in good standing with the Graduate School.  You will need to consult with your research advisor on specific classes that are most helpful for you.    

Year 2

Establish a graduate committee and submit a Program of Study to the Graduate School by third semester. 
  • A minimum of 4 members are required for the committee including the chair.  A majority of faculty on your committee must be from the department.
Organic students have to pass 2 cumulative exams by the end of their 4th semester and prior to sitting for the oral comprehensive exam.
Pass your Comprehensive Exam (both written and oral components).
Finish the coursework requirement.

Year 3

Finish your coursework (if necessary) and continue with your research.
Organic students – pass two more cumulative exams for a total of 4.
Complete your 3rd (or 4th) seminar requirement and have a committee meeting to get feedback on progress to date and time-line to graduation. Form to be filed by the student and their advisor can be found here.

Year 4

Complete your 4th year seminar requirement and have a committee meeting to get feedback on progress and time to graduation. Form to be filed by the student and their advisor can be found here.

Year 5

Complete your doctoral research, write your dissertation and schedule your Ph.D. defense.
Guidelines for Theses and Dissertations
ETD form (certificate of approval for thesis or dissertation
Survey of Earned Doctorates must be completed to graduate.

Subsequent Years

If no defense is scheduled by the end of the 5th year (and any subsequent years after that), a student must have an annual committee meeting as required by The Graduate School. Please read the following document.

Information about program requirements can be found in the department's Graduate Program Handbook (pdf)

The Graduate School-

Dates and Deadlines

Every student in our program is expected to become familiar with the Graduate School's website and the information and resources available to them.