Doctoral Requirements

The Ph.D. requirements in our department are designed to train students to have broad-based knowledge, experience in independent solution to research problems, and experience in presenting chemistry to an audience. There are a number of aspects to the graduate educational experience at Rochester.

  Chemistry Department Graduate Studies Handbook (pdf)

Breadth and Depth

All students enrolled in the Ph.D. 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

Five courses determined by the student's interests and field of study are required. 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 M.D./Ph.D. students.


At Rochester, the teaching and research missions of the University are viewed as central and inseparable. Accordingly, 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 (cumulative exams) 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 Ph.D. 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 completion of the fourth year of study, the student will meet with his/her Ph.D. examination committee to discuss progress leading to a successful completion of the dissertation. The purpose of the meeting is to promote timely completion of the Ph.D. degree, rather than to serve as a second oral examination.

Student Responsibilities (pdf)

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Quick application information...

  • There is no application fee.
  • Application Deadline: The priority deadline for submitting the application materials for admission to the graduate program in the Department of Chemistry is December 15. Applications received after the priority deadline will still be accepted and processed but will be given consideration according to the availability of positions in the program.
  • You must submit GRE scores, your undergraduate transcript, and three letters of recommendation. TOEFL scores are also required for non-native English speakers.
  • All correspondence should be sent to:

Graduate Studies Office
Department of Chemistry
RC Box 270216
Rochester, NY 14627-0216