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Graduate Program

PhD Program

The PhD requirements in our department are designed to train students to have broad-based knowledge, as well as experience in independent research and in presenting chemistry to an audience.

For more information about our program see the Chemistry Department Graduate Studies Handbook (PDF).

Breadth and Depth

All students enrolled in the PhD program must demonstrate a basic knowledge of chemistry through satisfactory performance on standard ACS exams. These exams are given to all entering students during their first week in the program.

Course Requirements

PhD students are required to take five courses determined by the student's interests and field of study. Students may choose from a variety of intermediate and advanced chemistry courses in all areas of chemistry with the guidance of their advisor.

Programs of study can be modified to best address a student's research needs and interests. Thus, courses in related fields, such as biochemistry, pharmacology, biophysics, physics, optics, and mathematics are also available. Specially designed programs are also available for MD/PhD students.

Research

The department encourages interdisciplinary research. We've grouped our faculty into the following areas:

  • Biological Chemistry
  • Chemical Physics
  • Materials Chemistry
  • Synthesis. Catalysis, & Mechanism

A number of our students have joint advisors. These collaborations between groups often lead to cross-disciplinary learning opportunities. In addition, our proximity to other departments including earth and environmental sciences, biology, biochemistry & biophysics, physics, optics, and biomedical engineering facilitates inter-departmental interactions.

Teaching

At Rochester, teaching and research are viewed as central and inseparable. All graduate students participate in the teaching program as teaching assistants in undergraduate and graduate courses, usually during their first three semesters.

Qualifying Examinations

Students must pass a set of written qualifying examinations by April of their second year. By July 31 of that same year, students must pass an oral qualifying examination, which is based on their proposal for further PhD research.

Seminar Presentation

During the third year of study, students present a departmental seminar on a research topic as is customary within the student's sub-discipline.

Fourth-Year Review

By the end of the fourth year of study, students will meet with their PhD examination committee to discuss progress leading to a successful completion of the dissertation and promote timely completion of the PhD degree.

Student Responsibilities (PDF)