The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry Graduate Programs offers primarily Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees in Chemistry and Biochemistry.   Our twenty faculty members are research active in the areas of analytical, biochemistry, computational, inorganic, organic, materials, and physical chemistry. Faculty have a broad and complimentary expertise in a range of specialty areas including chemical synthesis, microbiological manipulations, chemical structure, spectroscopic techniques, and mechanism at the molecular level.  The research at our department is highly collaborative with interdisciplinary research opportunities for the student across campus and abroad. 

Applying to our Department

picPriority is given to applications that are in our office by January 15th. Applications received after January 15th, are still eligible for acceptance if space is available. Filling out and submitting an application form is the first step toward becoming a graduate student in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. Contact Doreen Brown prior to submitting your application. The Chemistry & Biochemistry Department will pay the application fee for you if you meet minimum requirements.

We are not accepting spring applications for 2020.

To apply, click here. 

If you have any questions, email or call: 1-877-472-3776 

Doreen Brown Ed.D.
Graduate Program Director
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Montana State University
Bozeman, MT 59717-3400

Admissions Information

Admission decisions are determined by review of applicants' transcripts, personal statement, letters of recommendation, undergraduate research, and strength of chemistry/biochemistry undergraduate background (including general, analytical, inorganic, organic, and physical chemistry courses; mathematics through calculus; and college level physics). Although applications are accepted throughout the year, most offers are made for admission in the fall semester.  Please note, we do not accept students directly into MS tracks.  Applications are accepted for our Ph.D. programs only.

The following criteria should be used as a guide to help you as you apply to our Ph.D. programs. 

  • Undergraduate GPA must be 3.0 or above.
  • The General GRE exam is required for all applicants. Applicants with GRE scores above 155 in both quantitative reasoning and verbal reasoning and an undergraduate GPA above 3.0 will receive priority consideration.
  • All international students must show English proficiency by taking the IELTS or the iBT form of the TOEFL and providing a score report. Please note: only the iBT form of the TOEFL is now accepted.  A TOEFL total score of 90 is required with a minimum speaking score of 26 to qualify for admission to our programs and for a teaching assistantship. A total minimum score of 7.0 is required on the IELTS exam and a speaking component score of 8.0 to qualify for a teaching assistantship.
  • Your personal statement should include your short term academic goals and long term professional goals and why our Department is a good fit for you.  Accordingly, include in your statement, the names of 3 professors you would like to research with and why.
  • Review of applications begin in early January and continues until our class is full. Priority is given to early applicants.
  • Applicants will be notified about acceptance and financial awards no later than April 1st. Complete applications should be in our office by January 15th. Applications received after January 15th are still eligible for acceptance if space is available.
  • Creativity Awards and Presidential Scholarships are available for highly qualified candidates. No special application is necessary for one of these awards; they are made at the discretion of the Graduate Program Committee and The Graduate School.
  • Contact Graduate Program Director, contact Doreen Brown prior to submitting your application. The Chemistry & Biochemistry Department will pay the application fee for you if you meet minimum requirements.
  • Graduate Online Application

Degree Requirements

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. Non-ACS exams 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 form to the Graduate School by third semester. 

  • Have a committee meeting. 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.

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.
Complete your 3rd (or 4th) seminar requirement and have a committee meeting to get feedback on progress to date and time-line to graduation. 

Year 4

Complete your 4th year seminar requirement and have a committee meeting to get feedback on progress and time to graduation. 

Year 5

Complete your doctoral research, write your dissertation and schedule your Ph.D. defense.

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.


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

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