Gustaf H. Carlson School of Chemistry

Student and professor in lab

Ph.D. Requirements


Qualifying Exams

Students take standardized ACS exams in Analytical Chemistry, Biochemistry, Inorganic Chemistry, Organic Chemistry and Physical Chemistry. Students are required to pass 4 of the 5 exams before the end of the second semester following admission.The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry has compiled a guide to help study for the ACS exams.

Qualifying Exams II

A written exam concentrating on the student's area of research.

Preliminary Exam

A written and oral exam. The student generates an original research idea and writes it in the style of a grant proposal. Instructions [PDF]


Students must complete a minimum of 6 courses including Chem 389, Research Methods. The courses must be taken from at least three of the four subdivisions: Biochemistry, Inorganic/Organic Chemistry, Analytical Chemistry/Spectroscopy and Physical/Computational Chemistry.

Teaching Experience

All graduate students are required to have at least one year of teaching experience.


All graduate students are required to participate in the department's seminar series and periodically present seminars.


An acceptable written dissertation is presented to the department as a seminar and defended orally before the student's committee.

Please refer to the Handbook of Ph.D program, Gustaf H. Carlson School of Chemistry and Biochemistry for details of our Ph.D. requirements.