VCU Bulletins

Chemistry, Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Rutan, Sarah C.
Graduate Coordinator, Department of Chemistry
(804) 828-7517

Collinson, Maryanne
Chair, Graduate Recruiting and Admissions Committee, Department of Chemistry
(804) 828-1298

Admission requirements summary

Chemistry, Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Indicate specialization:
Analytical, Inorganic, Organic, Physical or Chemical Physics

of entry:


April 15
Oct 15


Students seeking the Doctor of Philosophy degree must demonstrate competency in analytical, inorganic, organic and physical chemistry by satisfactory performance on the proficiency exams or with a minimum grade of B in the appropriate course.

The Doctor of Philosophy student must earn a minimum of 18 credits in eight didactic graduate courses, not including credit for seminar (CHEM 690 or 692), research (CHEM 697) or CHEM 693 Chemistry Perspectives and Ethics. The credit hours must include three of the core courses (9 credits) selected from the following four areas.

3 credits of graduate analytical course work

CHEM 620 Advanced Inorganic Chemistry I

CHEM 504 Advanced Organic Chemistry I

CHEM 510 Atomic and Molecular Structure or
CHEM 511 Chemical Thermodynamics and Kinetics

Additional graduate courses to be taken will be determined in consultation with the faculty research adviser and the faculty of the Department of Chemistry. Students are expected to participate in the department’s seminar program and present at least two formal talks in the seminar program (2 credits of CHEM 692). In addition to course work and seminar, the doctorate requires a minimum of 30 credits in CHEM 697 (directed research), and the total of all credits must be at least 60.

All Ph.D. students are required to take CHEM 693 Chemistry Perspectives and Ethics in their first year enrolled as an admitted graduate student in chemistry.

All Ph.D. students are required to enroll in CHEM 698 Investigations in Current Chemistry Literature (0.5 credit) twice during the course of their graduate studies, including the semester preceding their literature seminar presentation. Up to 2 credits of CHEM 698 may be presented toward didactic course graduation requirements to count as one course.

Students who wish to include a chemical education component in their research will choose two advisers: one in the cognate area and one in the area of chemical education. All formal requirements for the degree are otherwise the same as for any doctoral student.

The student is required to complete written and oral examinations in his/her major field to become a doctoral candidate. The written examinations consist of a series of cumulative exams based on the chemistry literature. The oral examination includes the presentation and defense of the proposed dissertation research. The student must conduct a substantial original investigation under the supervision of his/her adviser and must prepare a dissertation reporting the results of the research and analyzing its significance in relation to existing scientific knowledge. An oral defense of the dissertation will be held. Full-time students should complete the degree requirements in four to five years.

Student learning outcomes



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Last update: 1/14/2014

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